Perennials for zone 6

Zone 6 Shade Loving Plants: Growing Shade Plants In Zone 6

Shade is tricky. Not all plants grow well in it, but most gardens and yards have it. Finding cold hardy plants that thrive in shade can be even trickier. It’s not that tricky, though – while options are slightly limited, there are more than enough zone 6 shade loving plants out there. Keep reading to learn more about growing shade plants in zone 6.

Shade Plants for Zone 6 Gardens

Here are some of the best shade plants for zone 6:

Bigroot Geranium – Hardy in zones 4 through 6, this 2-foot tall plant produces pink flowers in the spring and the foliage of some varieties changes color in the fall.

Ajuga – Hardy in zones 3 through 9, ajuga is a groundcover that reaches only 6 inches in height. Its leaves are beautiful and are purple and variegated in many varieties. It produces spikes of blue, pink, or white flowers.

Bleeding Heart – Hardy in zones 3 through 9, bleeding heart reaches 4 feet in height and produces unmistakable heart shaped flowers along wide spreading stems.

Hosta – Hardy in zones 3 through 8, hostas are some of the most popular shade plants out there. Their foliage comes in a huge variety of color and variegation, and several produce extremely fragrant flowers.

Corydalis – Hardy in zones 5 through 8, the corydalis plant has attractive foliage and stunning yellow (or blue) clusters of flowers that last all the way from late spring to frost.

Lamium – Also known as deadnettle and hardy in zones 4 through 8, this 8-inch tall plant has attractive silver foliage and delicate clusters of pink and white flowers that bloom on and off all summer.

Lungwort – Hardy in zones 4 through 8 and reaching 1 foot in height, lungwort has striking variegated evergreen foliage and clusters of pink, white, or blue flowers in the spring.

Have areas in your garden that get very little sun? Here are some lovely and fast-growing flowering shrubs that can thrive in the shaded areas of your property.

Azalea

The azalea is a woody plant in the genus Rhododendron with delicate blooms that are often a shade of pink. Azalea bushes continue to grow for their entire lives and can become massive. The leaves and flowers are poisonous, and azaleas are susceptible to pests like caterpillars and scale. This shrub likes acidic,well-drained soil, and the bushes bloom for several weeks from the end of April through May.

Soil pH: 4.5 – 6.5
Growing Zone: 5 – 10

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle is a low-growing bush that spreads out by sending out suckers that form new plants. It’s good for covering large areas and keeping soil from eroding. Honeysuckle bushes grow to about 3 x 3 feet and lose their leaves in the fall. There are clusters of yellow, red or orange tubular blossoms on the plant from June to September.

Soil pH: 6.0 – 8.0
Growing Zone: 3 – 7

Japanese Pieris

This plant has evergreen leaves, brittle stems, and white, bell-shaped flower clusters. It likes moderate shade and can grow up to six or seven feet wide and eight feet tall. Originally from Japan, the Japanese Pieris blooms for about three weeks in March and April. The shrub does best in partial shade with well-drained, sandy soil. The foliage turns a striking red color before becoming a dark, shiny green. The leaves and flowers are highly toxic.

Soil pH: 4.5 – 6.5
Growing Zone: 5 – 8

Leucothoe

The broad, variegated leaves of the leucothoe are beautiful, and the plant produces little white or blue bell-shaped flowers in the spring. Growing a leucothoe bush in partial shade will increase the variegation of the slightly curled leaves. Rainbow leucothoe has striking leaves with green, bronze, pink and cream streaks. It’s an easy plant to care for since it rarely suffers from pests or disease. The plant is a transplant from Asia that does well in moderate climate zones.

Soil pH: 4.5 – 6.5
Growing Zone: 5 – 9

Mountain Laurel

This flowering shrub is in the heather family, although the blooms are similar to rhododendrons and azaleas. The beautiful bowl-shaped flowers are white with dark pink markings that look like stencils. They’re highly shade tolerant and grow masses of blooms from late spring to early summer. The mountain laurel thrives in moist, well-drained acidic soil. Bushes can grow from 6 to 15 feet tall and dwarf bushes grow up to four feet.

Soil pH: 4.5 – 5.5
Growing Zone: 5 – 9

Red Chokeberry

The chokeberry likes moderate shade or direct sun and it can grow up to 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide. The flowers and berries will grow more abundantly in bright sunlight. In the spring, the chokeberry produces white or pink blossoms. Birds love the berries and will eat them all through the fall and winter. The red chokeberry is pest-resistant and drought-resistant, and it can grow in a wide range of soils, although it likes acidic soil best.

Soil pH: 6 – 6.5
Growing Zone: 4 – 9

Red Osier Dogwood

The dogwood is a fast-growing shrub tree at two feet a year, and it can get as big as 9 x 9 feet. It has green, oval leaves and produces clusters of tiny white flowers in the spring and white berries in the fall. The bark of the tree is red, and the flexible stems have traditionally been used to make baskets and wreaths. The tree usually grows just four or five feet tall, and it may become a hedge through the spread of underground shoots. Many species of migratory birds and songbirds eat the berries.

Soil pH: 5.5 – 7.5
Growing Zone: 2 – 7

Winterberry

Sometimes referred to as the Christmas berry, the winterberry has showy scarlet berries in fall and early winter. The berries are a food source for wildlife but can be poisonous for humans and pets. The shrub can grow 6 to 12 feet high and almost as wide, but you can control the size by pruning it every other year in the early spring. The shrub does best in full sun, but it needs partial shade in hotter climates.

Soil pH: 4.5 – 6.5
Growing Zone: 3 – 9

Witch Hazel

The witch hazel has long-lasting blooms in the late winter and early spring. The ribbon-shaped flower petals are often yellow but can be any color between yellow and red. The simple leaves are green and, if left untrimmed, this shrub tree can grow up to thirty feet tall. The plant does well in moist, slightly acidic soil and thrives in sun or shade.

Soil pH: 4.5 – 6.5
Growing Zone: 3 – 6

Yew

The yew is an evergreen shrub that grows well in partial shade or sun. It has flat green needle-shaped leaves and produces red berries from March to May. It makes a good hedge since the branches grow upward at the same height. All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested by people or pets. The yew likes sandy, well-drained acidic soil, and it’s a hardy plant that requires little care.

Soil pH: 5.0 – 7.5
Growing Zone: 4 – 7

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10 of the longest flowering perennials for your garden

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A well-designed garden provides interest from early spring through late autumn, and beyond if you also select plants for winter structure. But, for the main growing season, much of that interest comes from flowering and foliage plants. Gardeners who want a lower maintenance landscape would be wise to look for perennial plants that are both easy-to-grow and offer a long blooming period. Most perennial plants flower for two to four weeks, but the longest flowering perennials, like coneflowers and catmint, measure their flowering period in months, not weeks.

The Longest Flowering Perennials

When planning a garden with long-blooming perennials, the same basic rules of design apply; choose a mixture of early, mid-season, and late-flowering plants. Of course, you can also affect both the bloom time and length of the flowering period with pruning practices; pinching, deadheading, and shearing. Read on to discover how to encourage months of blooms by combining clever pruning with the longest flowering perennials.

The Early Bloomers:

Catmint ‘Walker’s Low’ (Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’, zones 3 to 9). With its relaxed, trouble-free growth habit, ‘Walker’s Low’ catmint is a perfect fit for a cottage garden or rock garden, or the front edge of a perennial border or rose garden. Plus, the plants bloom their heads off from late spring until mid-autumn with a heavy show of purple-blue flower spikes that are extremely attractive to pollinators and beneficial insects. It’s no wonder this drought-tolerant, hardy plant was chosen as the 2007 Perennial Plant of the Year. Once the initial flush of flowers begins to fade, give the plant a haircut, shearing it back by about one-half. Without a trim, the plant will continue to flower moderately, but a good shearing encourages tidy foliage and plenty of blooms that will persist until frost.

Catmint Walker’s Low is a very long-blooming perennial that is popular with the bees and butterflies. Shear it back after the initial bloom to encourage fresh flowers.

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (Geranium x ‘Rozanne’, zones 4 to 9). I don’t like to throw the term ‘low-maintenance’ around irresponsibility, but with ‘Rozanne’, it’s the perfect description. This hardy plant forms 12 to 18 inch tall mounds of spreading foliage, which is topped from early summer until frost with two-inch wide, violet-blue flowers. After its initial bloom, the plants will continue to pump out a moderate amount of fresh flowers for months. However, if you shear the plants back by one-third after the first blossoms fade, you’ll encourage another heavy show of flowers.

Bleeding Heart ‘Luxuriant’ (Dicentra formosa ‘Luxuriant’, zones 2 to 9). Long-blooming perennials for shady spaces are hard to come by, but this is where ‘Luxuriant’ shines! Growing just knee-high, this hardy selection produces clusters of reddish-pink, heart-shaped blooms throughout late spring and summer. The ferny foliage is also attractive, and makes a nice foil for the old-fashioned flowers. Plant this shade-tolerant perennial in a woodland garden, shady border, or along a tree-lined pathway. Clipping out faded flowers will ensure months of bloom.

Pruning Tip – Don’t be afraid to grab those pruning shears once that initial bloom of spring flowers starts to wind down. Many perennials, like Geranium ‘Rozanne’ will continue to produce flowers all season, but in a lesser quantity. If you want a heavier bloom, shear the plants back by one-third to one-half to push out fresh foliage and flowers.

The Mid-Season Superstars:

Ornamental Onion ‘Millenium’ (Allium ‘Millenium’, zones 5 to 9). The 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year, ‘Millenium’ is a showy selection with grassy foliage and two-inch diameter, rounded flower clusters in a cheerful shade of lavender-purple. The flowers bloom for around six weeks each summer, attracting every bee, butterfly, and beneficial insect for miles around. The one-foot tall and wide clumps are perfect for the front of a perennial border or a rock garden where the ball-shaped blooms can be appreciated. Technically a bulb, this plant is usually sold as a potted perennial and can be planted in spring or fall. Unlike many perennials, pruning doesn’t produce more flowers.

Long-blooming ‘Millennium’ Allium adds a pop of color to mid and late summer garden beds.

Coneflower ‘White Swan’ and ‘Magnus’ (Echinacea purpurea, zones 3 to 9). Coneflowers are the cornerstone of a summer perennial garden, blooming for months, even in dry, hot conditions, and providing food for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. There are countless cultivars available to gardeners, but for months of flowers, it’s hard to beat old school selections like ‘Magnus’ and ‘White Swan’. ‘Magnus’ is a classic purple-flowering coneflower, while ’White Swan’ has large blooms with white petals and orange-copper cones. Both flower from early summer into mid-autumn, especially when deadheaded regularly.

Coreopsis ‘Full Moon’ (Coreopsis x ‘Full Moon’, zones 5 to 9). This eye-catching plant is among the longest flowering perennials with a season that stretches from early summer to early autumn. It’s also the first introduction in the new ‘Big Bang’ series of coreopsis, boasting large, soft yellow flowers that grow up to three-inches across. It also has excellent drought tolerance and is popular with the pollinators. ‘Moonbeam’ is another popular long-flowering coreopsis with pale yellow blooms that are smaller, but no less plentiful than those of ‘Full Moon’. With both cultivars, deadhead flowers as they fade to encourage new buds.

A popular mid-summer bloomer, Moonbeam Coreopsis bears hundreds of small, soft yellow flowers.

Astilbe (Astilbe species, zones 4 to 9). Astilbe stands out among the longest flowering perennials. Besides being super easy to grow, they thrive in both sunny and shaded gardens, and have feathery flowers that offers months of graceful color. And speaking of color, the blooms can be white, lavender, purple, bubblegum, deep pink, apricot, or red, often with bronze or purple foliage as well. The plants form tidy clumps with the flower plumes emerging in early to mid summer and persisting into winter. The plants do appreciate ample moisture and regular watering in dry summers can prolong the blooming period. Outstanding cultivars include ‘Bridal Veil’, ‘Pumila’, and ‘Fanal‘.

The feathery flowers of astilbe are a perfect pick for semi-shaded spaces.

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium, zones 3 to 9). A butterfly favorite, yarrow is a robust summer bloomer with pretty, flat-topped flowers that bloom for 6 to 8 weeks. The ferny foliage emerges in early spring and is followed by the two to four-foot tall flower stems in early summer. Yarrow is one of the longest flowering perennials that grows best in full sun with well-drained soil of average fertility; over-fertilizing can cause the stems to flop over. Flower colours can range from soft pastels to rich jewel shades. Deadhead spent flowers by clipping the flower stem back to the main foliage. Top varieties include ‘Moonshine’, which has pale, yellow flowers and ‘Cerise Queen’, a bright cherry-red bee magnet.

Drought-tolerant yarrow thrives in a sunny garden and produces mid to late summer flowers in soft pastel shades or rich, jewel tones.

Pruning Tip – As summer flowers fade, deadhead often, cutting down to a fresh stem or set of leaves. This will push the plants to continue producing more blooms. Small flowered perennials, like ‘Moonbeam’ Coreopsis, can be quickly and easily deadheaded with hedge shears, rather than snipping individual blooms. In late summer, as flowering winds down, stop deadheading to allow some blooms to go to seed. Seedheads provide valuable food for birds and add interest to the winter garden.

Fantastic Fall Flowers:

Black-eyed Susan ‘Goldsturm’ (Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’, zones 3 to 9). Widely considered to be among the best perennials of all time, ’Goldstrum’ lights up the late summer garden with weeks and weeks of bold color that persists into October. Each coneflower-shaped flower has a raised chocolate-brown center cone that is surrounded by golden petals. The drought-tolerant plants grow about two-feet tall and offer the best visual effect when planted en masse. Deadhead faded flowers to prolong the bloom period.

Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ is one of the most popular perennials of all time. The brilliant gold flowers bloom for months and are beloved by pollinators and beneficial insects.

Purple Flame Grass (Miscanthus sinensis ‘Purpurascens’, zones 3 to 9). Maiden grasses add striking form and texture to the perennial border all summer long. By late summer, many cultivars produce soft, feathery plumes that emerge above the narrow foliage. Purple Flame Grass is a medium-sized maiden grass, growing three to four-feet tall with foliage that turns from bright green to fiery reddish-orange in early autumn. The attractive plumes are silvery-white and persist on the plants throughout winter. Plant it in a sunny site with well-drained soil. Pruning is only necessary in early spring when the dried foliage and flower stems from the previous season are cut back before the fresh growth emerges.

Pruning Tip – In late spring, pinch out the tips of late summer and fall blooming perennials like sneezeweed, Joe Pye weed, Russian sage, and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’. Pinching will slow flowering and produce bushier growth, which means more flower-bearing stems.

For more info on growing great plants, check out the following articles:

  • Rudbeckias Powerhouse Plants
  • 24 Perennials with Purple Flowers
  • Early-blooming Perennials: 10 Favorites
  • The Best Plants for Beneficial Insects

What are the longest flowering perennials in your garden?

Evergreen shrubs that thrive in shade. – Knowledgebase Question

You are in gardening zone 6 and the following shrubs will perform well in the shade:
Buxus microphylla, Littleleaf Boxwood, Compact, dense, evergreen shrub with a rounded growth habit. The variety Green Gem is very cold hardy and resists winter burn. Grows 3 to 6 feet high and wide. Zones 4 to 6.
Euonymus fortunei, Winter Creeper, Glossy green foliage in forms that range from shrub to ground cover. Emerald ‘n Gold is a yellow and green variegated variety. Grows 3 to 4 feet high and wide. Zone 5 to 8.
Ilex crenata, Japanese Holly, Great for mass plantings and hedges. Red fruit. Many cultivars exist from the tall and narrow Sky Pencil to Green Luster which grows wider than it is tall. Grows 5 to 10 feet tall. Zones 4 to 8.
Ilex glabra, Inkberry, Native. Full sun to part shade. Black (or sometimes white) fruit. Grows 4 to 10 feet tall and wide. Zones 4 to 9.
Ilex xmeserveae, Meserve Hybrid Hollies, Red fruit. Can be pruned to maintain shape. Blue Princess is an excellent variety. Grows 6 to 12 feet high. Zones 4 to 7.
Juniperus squamata, Blue Star Juniper, Silver/ blue foliage. Great size for residential landscapes. Grows 3 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide. Zones 4 to 7.
Kalmia latifolia, Mountain Laurel, Fantastic bunches of geometrical flowers bloom in May and June. Plant in sun or shade, prefers acidic, well-drained soil. Grows 7 to 15 feet high and wide. Zones 4 to 9.
Leucothoe axillaris, Coastal Leucothoe, Arching growth habit. Plant in shade. Deer resistant. Leaves turn bronze to purple in winter. Grows 3 to 6 high and wide. Zones 5 to 8.
Leucothoe fontanesiana, Drooping Leucothoe, Arching growth habit. Plant in shade. Deer resistant. Leaves turn bronze to purple in winter. Grows 3 to 6 feet high and wide. Zones 5 to 8.
Ligustrum ovalifolium, California Privet, Semievergreen in Upstate NY, but evergreen in Zones 7 and 8. Great for Hedge planting. Can be pruned to maintain shape. Grows 10 to 15 feet high. Zones 5 to 8.
Mahonia aquifolium, Oregon Grape holly, Very cold-hardy, but can get wind-beaten, so plant in a protected area. Yellow fragrant flowers in March and April followed by bluish fruit in summer. Shade tolerant. Grows 3 to 6 feet high and wide. Zones 4 to 8.
Pieris japonica, Japanese Pieris, Deer resistant, shade garden staple. Japanese Pieris is one of our favorite varieties, its new growth is bright red and the color fades from red to peach to green, as the leaves mature. Plant in shade, full sun will burn leaves. Fragrant white flowers bloom in March and April. Remove spent flowers. Grows 6 to 12 feet high and 4 to 8 feet wide. Zone 5 to 8.
Best wishes with your landscape!

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