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Perennials for Shady Spots in the Garden

Posted on July 7, 2018 in Garden, Garden Tips

Written by West Coast Gardens

Shade Perennials 

Sometimes it seems like everything in your garden is fighting for those coveted spots with the most sun (and probably the neighbourhood cat as well) while the shadier spots might be languishing. It’s tough trying to figure out year to year what could grow well under trees or along shade covered fence areas, besides those pesky mushroom patches. Need a tip? We think it’s a great idea to use perennials in these areas because it solves your shade garden problems this year, next year, and every year after that! 

We’re here to give you some of our best ideas for shade perennials to use in your yard! These trees, shrubs and vines are best grown in dappled shade, which includes areas under trees with an open framework of branches (not evergreen trees), along the side of the house where there is ambient light but still shady, or other lightly shaded spots.

Top Trees for Shady Spots

  • Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)
  • Judas Tree (Cercis)
  • Dogwood Tree (Cornus)
  • Yew (Taxus)
  • Hemlock (Tsuga)
shade perennials for your garden

Japanese Maple

shady plants

Judas Tree



shade perennials for your garden


shady plants

Top Shrubs for Shady Spots

  • Azalea (Azalea)
  • Boxwood (Buxus)
  • Camellia (Camellia)
  • Mexican Mock Orange (Choisya)
  • Flowering Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
  • Heavenly Bamboo (Nandina)
  • Nine Bark (Physocarpus)
  • Sweet Box (Sarcococca)
shade perennials for your garden

Mexican Mock Orange

shade perennials for your garden

Nine Bark

Top Vines for Shady Spots


  • Porcelain Vine (Ampelopsis)
  • Evergreen Clematis (Clematis armandii)
  • Ivy (Hedera)
  • Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris)

When planting in the shade, make sure to space your plants out to allow for airflow and to give their leaves the best chance to catch the low light. There are a lot of choices for shade loving perennials and each one adds its own visual interest, from berries to blooms! Choose a variety of foliage colours, sizes and textures to create beautiful spots in your garden, even if they are shady.

Bring our handy shopping list with you when you go to the nursery to pick out your new shade loving perennials. Just click on the image to the right, then print or save it to your phone.

perennial planter ingredient list