- Perennials For Shade: Shade Tolerant Perennials For Zone 8
- Zone 8 Shade Perennials
- Partial or Dappled Shade Perennials
- Shade-loving perennial flowers: 15 beautiful choices
- What does “shade” really mean?
- The best shade-loving perennial flowers for your garden
- Group 2: Partial shade flowering perennials
- Zone 8 Plants
Perennials For Shade: Shade Tolerant Perennials For Zone 8
Selecting perennials for shade is no easy task, but choices are plentiful for gardeners in moderate climates such as USDA plant hardiness zone 8. Read on for a list of zone 8 shade perennials and learn more about growing zone 8 perennials in shade.
Zone 8 Shade Perennials
When looking for zone 8 shade tolerant plants, you must first consider the type of shade your garden has. Some plants only require a little shade while others need more.
Partial or Dappled Shade Perennials
If you can provide shade for part of the day, or if you have a planting location in dappled shade under a deciduous tree, selecting shade tolerant perennials for zone 8 is relatively easy. Here is a partial list:
- Bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) – Colorful foliage; white, pink or blue flowers
- Toad lily (Tricyrtis spp.) – Colorful foliage; white or blue, orchid-like flowers
- Japanese yew (Taxus) – Evergreen shrub
- Beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.) – Berries in fall
- Chinese mahonia (Mahonia fortunei) – Fern-like foliage
- Ajuga (Ajuga spp.) – Burgundy-purple foliage; white, pink or blue flowers
- Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) – White, pink or yellow blooms
- Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) – Late spring blooms, attractive foliage
- Sweetspire (Itea virginica) – Fragrant flowers, fall color
- Pineapple lily (Eucomis spp.) – Tropical-looking leaves, pineapple-like blooms
- Ferns – Available in a range of varieties and sun-tolerance, including some for full shade
Perennials for Deep Shade
If you’re planting an area in deep shade, selecting zone 8 shade perennials is challenging and the list is shorter, as most plants require at least minimal sunlight. Here are a few suggestions for plants that grow in deep shade:
- Hosta (Hosta spp.) – Attractive foliage in a range of colors, sizes and forms
- Lungwort (Pulmonaria) – Pink, white or blue flowers
- Corydalis (Corydalis) – Colorful foliage; white, pink or blue flowers
- Heuchera (Heuchera spp.) – Colorful foliage
- Japanese fatsia (Fatsia japonica) – Attractive foliage, red berries
- Deadnettle (Lamium) – Colorful foliage; white or pink blooms
- Barrenwort (Epimedium) – Colorful foliage; red, white or pink blooms
- Heartleaf brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla) – Heart-shaped leaves; blue flowers
Shade-loving perennial flowers: 15 beautiful choices
This post may contain affiliate links. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Find our full disclosure here.
While shade may feel like a limiting factor when it comes to colorful garden plants, it simply isn’t. Yes, your plant palette may not be quite as full as it is in a sunny garden, but there are scores of excellent shade-loving perennial flowers that produce bright blooms all season long. Shade gardeners are often told they need to focus on variegated or colorful foliage plants if they really want to have a lot of color in their gardens. But, while having various textures and hues of foliage can certainly add a lot of pizzazz to a shady garden, foliage plants aren’t the only option. Case in point: the 15 blooming shade perennials featured below.
What does “shade” really mean?
Before introducing you to the best shade-loving perennial flowers for your garden, it’s important to explain what “shade” really means when it comes to a garden.
Typically, shade conditions are divided into two categories: partial shade and full shade.
- Partial shade flowering perennials are happiest where they’re protected from the sun during the mid-day hours when the sun is at its strongest, or else they’re planted in a spot where the sunlight is dappled, perhaps under the shelter of a small shade tree or beneath a pergola or trellis.
- Full shade flowering perennials thrive in areas that receive no direct sunlight, even though they often do receive some sunlight, largely in the form of reflected or heavily filtered light. Full shade areas are often found under large trees or on the north side of structures.
Shade gardens can be colorful spaces, as long as you select the right plants for the job.
When choosing shade-loving perennial flowers for your garden, it’s important to note how much shade each specific plant prefers. If a full shade flowering plant receives more light than it can handle, foliage burn, leaf curl, or wilting could be the result. To make your decision easier, I’ve separated the 15 best blooming shade perennials on this list into two categories – those that prefer full shade and those that prefer partial shade.
The best shade-loving perennial flowers for your garden
1. Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica): This lovely flowering shade perennial grows between 1 and 2 feet in height and produces attention-grabbing elongated red flowers that open into a yellow star. Bloom time occurs in June and lasts for several weeks. Hummingbirds are quite fond of this tough native plant that’s hardy from USDA growing zones 5 to 9. (Source for Indian pinks).
Indian pinks are a fantastic perennial for shade gardens. The red tubular flowers with yellow, star-shaped centers are a real stand-out.
2. Yellow Bleeding Heart (Corydalis lutea): If you’re looking for a blooming shade perennial that produces flowers for months, instead of weeks, this is the plant for you! Hardy in zones 5 to 7, yellow bleeding heart thrives even in dense shade. The bluish green, 12 inch tall, ferny foliage forms neat mounds that are constantly covered with clusters of yellow, tubular flowers. No deadheading required. This is one of the longest blooming of all the shade-loving perennial flowers out there. It self-sows in the garden, too, spreading nicely into a colony if you don’t weed out the unwanted seedlings. (Source for yellow bleeding hearts).
Corydalis lutea is a very long-blooming shade perennial that’s in flower from April through October.
3. Dwarf Chinese Astilbe (Astilbe chinensis var. pumila): Native to the high mountains of Asia and hardy in zones 4 to 8, this shade perennial flower is in bloom from mid-spring through late summer. The purple-pink flower spikes stand 10-12 inches tall, above serrated green foliage. Dwarf Chinese astilbe makes a great flowering groundcover for the shade and is more tolerant of dry soils than most other astilbes. (Source for dwarf Chinese astilbe).
Dwarf Chinese astilbe produce gorgeous pink-purple flower spikes that are very long lasting.
4. Fern-leaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra exima): This trouble-free, North American native shade perennial has every trait you could ever want in a flowering perennial for the shade. Its soft blue foliage isn’t bothered by pests, its growth habit is compact, and it produces pink, white, or red blooms from April straight through to fall’s first frost with no care required. With a height of 12-18 inches and an equal spread, there are many hybrids and cultivars of this plant so there’s many to choose from! Hardy in zones 3 to 9. (Source for fern-leaf bleeding hearts).
Fern-leaf bleeding hearts have lovely blue-green foliage and pink flowers. They bloom for months on end.
5. Hardy Begonia (Begonia grandis): Yes, there is such a thing as a hardy begonia, and when it comes to shade-loving perennial flowers, it’s one worth seeking out. Winter hardy down to zone 6, this shade perennial flower stands tall at 18-24 inches and produces clusters of pink or red flowers from summer through fall. It tolerates heavy shade quite well and will even survive under a black walnut tree where little else will grow. There are many cultivars available, including ‘Heron’s Pirouette’ and ‘Pink Teardrop’. The large heart-shaped leaves and thick stems add interest to the shade garden, too. (Source for hardy begonia).
6. Barrenwort (Epimedium spp.): Though barrenwort is only in bloom for a week to ten days, it’s a plant worth growing because it tolerates both dense shade and very dry soil, making it a good fit for under pine trees and dense shade cover. There are many different species that produce varying bloom colors, but all have elongated, heart-shaped leaves and spread nicely throughout the garden. Standing around 12 inches tall and hardy from zones 5 to 9, barrenwort is a great full shade flowering perennial.
Though the flowers are small and short-lived, Epimediums are worth growing. Their leaves are semi-evergreen and great for dry shade.
7. Berry Exciting Corydalis (Corydalis anthriscifolia ‘Berry Exciting’): Similar to the yellow bleeding heart described above, ‘Berry Exciting’ also has lovely, soft, lace-like foliage, but instead of being bluish green, it’s bright chartreuse. And then to add icing to the cake of this blooming shade perennial, it’s topped with clusters of grape-purple, tubular flowers almost all summer long. Hardy in zones 5 to 9, this plant doesn’t tolerate drought and may shift into summer dormancy if it’s grown in very hot climates.
Group 2: Partial shade flowering perennials
1. Mourning Widow Perennial Geranium (Geranium phaeum): Of all the hardy geraniums, this variety is the best one to include on a list of shade-loving perennial flowers because it tolerates more shade than most other species. The green leaves are splotched with a central chocolate-brown marking and the dark maroon-purple (almost black) blooms pop up above the foliage from early spring through late summer. Winter hardy down to zone 5, mourning widow grows up to 2 feet tall and is very low maintenance.
2. Toadlily (Tricyrtis spp.): Toadlilies are among the most unique shade-loving perennial flowers. Almost orchid-like in appearance, both the plant and the late-season blooms are capable of stopping the neighbors in their tracks. There are many different varieties of toadlilies, but most have white blooms splotched with speckles of pink, rose, or burgundy. The leaves wrap around the stems, and they come in a wide range of plant heights, depending on the specific variety you choose. Toadlilies are hardy in zones 5 to 8 and spread very nicely (but not invasively!). (Source for toadlilies).
The striking flowers of toadlilies brighten shady spots late in the season.
3. Creeping Veronica (Veronica umbrosa ‘Georgia’): Zones 4 to 8 hardy, creeping veronica is a wonderful perennial groundcover for shade. There are other cultivars of this plant, but ‘Georgia Blue’ is a personal favorite as is ‘Waterperry Blue’ (see photo below). The bright blue flowers in late spring have a white central eye and the trailing foliage is a glossy green that turns burgundy in the autumn. If you don’t want to use it as a groundcover, it also makes a great addition to the front of a woodland perennial garden. This shade perennial reaches just 6 inches in height.
‘Waterperry Blue’ veronica is a lovely low-growing shade perennial, just like its darker-colored cousin, ‘Georgia Blue’.
4. Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla): The heart-shaped leaves of this blooming shade perennial are covered in small hairs, making them unpalatable to deer and rabbits. Plus, the self-sowing nature of this perennial means it naturalizes into a nice colony within a few years. Clusters of tiny blue flowers smother the plants every spring. Reaching a height of about 18 inches and hardy in zones 3 to 8, Siberian bugloss is a must for any shade garden. (Source for bugloss).
5. Leopard plant (Ligularia spp.) : Probably the most striking of all the shade-loving perennial flowers, this bold and beautiful plant is tough to miss. Depending on the species, tall spikes or clusters of bright yellow flowers shoot out above the heart-shaped or serrated leaves in mid-summer. Reaching an imposing height of up to 4 feet, Ligularia tolerates wet soils but wilts readily if allowed to dry out. Hardy in zones 4 to 8, you can’t beat this big, bold shade perennial’s flowers. There are several different varieties, including spiky ‘The Rocket’ and red-leaved ‘Brit Marie Crawford.’ (Source for leopard plant).
Ligularia is a striking perennial for shade gardens. The flowers can be spikes or daisy-like, depending on the species.
6. Bear’s Breeches (Acanthus mollis): Another big shade perennial with bold flowers and foliage, bear’s breeches is an absolute knock-out. The long, serrated leaves and thorn-covered stems are imposing, but the tall spikes of hooded flowers make it all worth it. The bumblebees adore this plant, and with a height of 3 to 5 feet, it requires a large growing space. Hardy down to zone 6, these shade-loving perennial flowers will not be easily forgotten. (Source for bear’s breeches).
The bold, tall flower spikes of bears breeches stand tall above the garden, whether it’s in sun or shade.
7. Green and Gold (Chrysogonum virginianum): Another excellent shade perennial groundcover or for the front of the border, the low, medium green leaves of this beauty are covered in canary yellow, daisy-like blooms in the early spring. A fast spreader (but not invasive) that forms a dense mat, this North American native plant is a must for any shade garden with a lot of ground to cover. Topping out at just 6 inches tall, the plants are hardy in zones 5 to 9. (Source for Chrysogonum).
Green and Gold is a lovely small perennial for the shade. It make a great ground cover and blooms in the spring.
8. Celandine poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum): Though the main flowering show of this shade perennial is in the early spring, if you cut the plants back hard soon after flowering a second flush of foliage and flowers quickly pops up out of the ground. A word of warning about this one, though: it readily self-sows, sometimes to the point of becoming obnoxious, so I don’t recommend it for small gardens or places that aren’t regularly weeded. The yellow, cup-shaped flowers are borne in clusters above the foot-tall foliage and the plant is hardy from zones 4 to 9. (Source for celandine poppy).
Celandine poppies prolifically bloom in the shade, but be forewarned that they throw a lot of seeds.
As you can see, there are many colorful choices of shade-loving perennial flowers available for your garden. We hope you’ll give some of them a try and bring a touch of brilliance to your shady landscape areas. Oh, and if their beauty isn’t enough, all of the plants mentioned here are also deer resistant. (And here’s another post on more deer-resistant plants for your garden, if you want even more to choose from.)
For more information on perennial gardening, check out the following posts:
- 24 Purple perennials to brighten your garden
- Flowering shrubs for shady areas
- The ultimate list of cottage garden plants
- Pint-sized plants for a miniature plant garden
- 10 of the longest flowering perennials
- Early blooming perennials: 10 favorites
- Beautiful annual flowers for the shade
Do you garden in the shade? Tell us about some of your favorite shade perennials in the comment section below.
If you love having plants that will last for a long time, then you need to add perennials to your garden. These plants will live for more than 2 years, creating a beautiful landscape in your garden or backyard.
Zone 8 Plants
The USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the guideline that you should follow when you’re shopping for plants. Being in zone 8 means that you should choose plants that can tolerate a temperature range of 10°F to 20°F.
Luckily, there are lots of options available. Here are 15 of the most popular perennials that grow in zone 8.
1. Creeping Thyme
If you’re looking for an aromatic groundcover to grow among stepping stones or in your patio, creeping thyme will be a suitable perennial. It’s an evergreen with lightly haired foliage that grows in several zones and can withstand the low temperatures.
Creeping thyme grows quickly creating a colored cover that attracts butterflies. It can survive in the sun or shade.
2. Phlox Paniculata
These fragrant perennials, also known as Blue Paradise, will bloom throughout the summer. The flowers have large lavender-blue heads and tiny red centers.
Hummingbirds and butterflies love them but they’re subject to mildew and root rot if you don’t take care of them. They’re perfect for beds and borders.
3. Agastache Blue Fortune
These showstoppers have a long blooming season from midsummer till early fall with spiked flowers and foliage that smells like licorice. This is why lots of people choose to use them to add a distinctive flavor to their cold drinks.
The stems can reach a height of 3 feet so they’re used to add colorful vertical lines to your landscape design. When other plants are fading away, your Blue Fortune will add color to your garden.
4. Lemon Queen Sunflower
Lemon Queen is a low-maintenance perennial that can grow in several soil conditions. It usually blooms from late summer until fall and will bloom again the next season.
Bees, birds, and hummingbirds are very fond of this plant, so you should expect to see them often. The flowers have yellow ray florets and a dark yellow central.
5. Achillea Terracotta (Yarrow)
A gardener’s favorite, Achillea has a pleasant fragrance and feathery foliage. The flowers bloom in the summer growing orange and peachy petals.
Achillea loves full sun exposure but can tolerate partial shade. However, you’ll see the brightest colors that attract butterflies only when the flowers have access to the sun.
6. Dahlia Frost Nip
These flowers are also known as Dinner Plate Dahlia due to their massive size. They have eye-catching raspberry pink flowers with white edges so they’re great for bouquets.
They’ll bloom from midsummer till the first frost. They love full sun but can grow in partial shade. Deadheading is necessary to grow more flowers.
7. Ox-Eye Daisy
Bees and butterflies love the amazing fragrance of this floriferous plant. It’s a free-flowering perennial that produces single white daisies that have bright yellow centers.
The stiff stems can reach a height of 26 inches and the plant will self-seed, so it spreads widely in your garden. It can grow in the patio or small containers.
Also known as Bleeding Hearts, these perennials require partial shade to blossom. They start blooming in late spring and will live throughout the summer if you give it enough attention.
These tuberous perennials have dangling pink flowers with protruding white petals surrounding the hearts. Make sure that your pets don’t eat them because they cause discomfort.
9. Henry’s Lily
These flowers are native to China and are very popular thanks to their nodding eye-catching flowers. They can reach a maximum height of 8 feet and they’re loved by bees and butterflies. However, they’re toxic to cats.
The flowers have orange petals with maroon spots and they point upward. They’ll bloom better in partial shade but can tolerate the sun.
10. Echinacea Tomato Soup
Everyone loves the sight of these massive tomato-red flowers in their garden or backyard. They’re low-maintenance and don’t require much water.
They’re perfect for beds and borders and will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. If you don’t cut off the flower heads in the fall, expect to see birds feeding on their delicious seeds.
11. Sea Thrift
This compact evergreen perennial has round colorful clusters. They could be pink, lavender or white. The dense leaves spread slowly and the flowers start blooming in the spring.
Sea thrift needs full sun but grows beautifully in infertile soil. Once it’s established, it will be resistant to drought and salt. Deadheading will most probably produce more flowers.
The beauty of these blue flowers is outstanding. Moreover, they can be grown in any soil regardless of the pH level. It’s a perfect choice for your balcony, patio or garden.
Every spring, you’ll see that Rozzane will come back bigger and better. The large violet-blue flowers will bloom from late spring until the first frost.
These drought-resistant colorful flowers are short-lived. They require full sun and will bloom from summer till fall.
They’re blanket flowers and available in several warm shades including wine red, yellow, orange, peach or combinations of red and yellow. Faded flowers should be removed to encourage further blooms.
14. Spotted Dead Nettle
This groundcover grows beautifully in the partial sun, so it’s a great plant to add to your shade garden. The heart-shaped leaves have small magenta, pink or white flowers that bloom from spring till summer.
This plant is resistant to deer and rabbits. Cutting back is recommended to encourage new foliage after flowering.
15. Ajuga Reptans
Known as Carpet Bugle, this evergreen perennial has glossy purplish leaves with spike-shaped blue-violet flowers. It spreads in areas where grass can’t grow and this is the main reason why gardeners love this eye-catching cover. It grows in partial and full shade and is generally pest-free. It’s a good choice for beds, borders, slopes, and banks.
To provide the best growing environment for your perennials, don’t start too early. Ask your neighbors and other gardening enthusiasts in your area about their experience but don’t be scared to experiment with your own choices.