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Annual and Perennial Flowers for Part Shade

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Some annuals and perennials are well adapted to growing in part shade. Part shade is also sometimes described as filtered shade, dappled shade, and intermittent shade.

Plants that grow and thrive in part shade are typically understory plants, that is plants found under open-branched trees. These plants are also a good choice for planting in the shade of buildings and structures, often on the east side of a building where morning sun falls. Part shade plants may not do well when morning shade turns into direct afternoon sun.

Part shade plants generally prefer to stay cool.

Prepare the planting area for part shade plants by preparing the ground deeply and adding or replacing the soil with large quantities of acid soil amendments (most part shade plants are acid loving). Check the soil to be sure it does not stay soggy. Where the soil is dry, mulch around part shade plants to conserve soil moisture.

Ajuga, Bugleweed Flower

Annuals and Perennials for Part Shade

A-C Common NameBotanical NameZones
AgapanthusAgapanthus spp.8-10
Ajuga, BugleweedAjuga spp.3-9
Amethyst flowerBrowallia speciosaAnnual
Begonia, hardyBegonia grandis6-10
Begonia, waxBegonia x semperflorens-cultorumAnnual
Brunnera, heart-leafDicentra spp.3-9
Cardinal flowerLobelia spp.2-9
ColumbineAquilegia spp.3-9
Coral bellsHeuchera sanguinea3-9
CorydalisCorydalis spp.4-8
CupflowerNierembergia spp.Annual
Cyclamen, hardyCyclamen hederifolium7-9
Flowering tobacco, Nicotiana
Flowering tobacco, Nicotiana
D-G Common NameBotanical NameZones
DaylilyHemerocallis spp.3-10
Dead nettle, spottedLamium maculatum3-9
Flowering tobaccoNicotiana spp.Annual
Foam Flower, AlleghenyTiarella cordifolia4-9
Forget-me-not, ChineseCynogolssum amabileAnnual
Forget-me-not, WoodlandMyosotis sylvaticaAnnual
FoxgloveDigitalis purpurea4-8
FuchsiaFuchsia spp.8-10
Geranium, hardyGeranium spp.3-8
GoatsbeardAruncus dioicus3-7
GoldenstarChrysogonum virginianum5-9


Obedient plant, Physostegia virginiana
Obedient plant, Physostegia virginiana
H-O Common NameBotanical NameZones
HelleboreHelleborus spp.5-9
Kafir lily; cliviaClivia miniata9-11
Lady’s mantleAlchemilla mollis4-7
Lily-of-the-valleyConvallaria majalis3-8
LilyturfLiriope muscari7-10
MimulusMimulus x hybridusAnnual
Mondo grassOphiopogon japonicus7-9
Money plant; honestyLunaria annua4-8
MonkshoodAcontium spp.3-7
Obedient plantPhysostegia virginiana2-9


Torenia or Wishbone flowers
Torenia or Wishbone flowers
P-Z Common NameBotanical NameZones
PansyViola x wittrockianaAnnual
Phlox, creepingPhlox stolonifera2-4
PrimrosePrimula spp.3-8
Queen-of-the-prairieFilipendula rubra3-8
Salvia, annual redSalvia splendensAnnual
Sweet alyssumLobularia maritimaAnnual
TrilliumTrillium spp.4-8
Turtlehead, pinkChelone lyonii3-8
Vinca, periwinkleVinca spp.Varies
VioletViola spp.Varies
Wishbone flowerTorenia fournieriAnnual

Also of interest:

Annuals and Perennials for Shade

Shade Gardening

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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Annual and Perennial Flowers for Shade

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