Shade Gardening

by Suzanne DeJohn

More and more gardeners have shady areas in their yards that they want to landscape, and our collection of shade plants just keeps growing. Don't let anyone tell you there's no way to have a grand garden in the shade — including fantastic foliage and loads of color, season after season.

On a hot summer day, a shade garden is a welcoming oasis. Set a bench under a tree, surround yourself with beautiful, shade-loving foliage and flower plants, and you've created your own garden get-away.

If you've struggled to get lawn grass to grow in a shady spot, consider creating a shade garden there instead. It will not only look better, but it also won't require the weekly mowing and frequent watering and fertilizing that lawns demand.

The key to a successful shade garden is to match the plant to the site. Some plants, like Hostas, are quite adaptable to any shady spot. Many of our Woodland Wildflowers, on the other hand, have more exacting requirements. Some need acidic soil, soil that is rich in organic matter or soil that stays consistently moist. So read plant descriptions carefully.

Types of Shade
Some confusion surrounds the terms full sun, part shade (or part sun) and full shade, so here's a rundown:

Full sun. An area that receives four hours or more of direct, mid-day sunlight is considered full sun.

Part shade. Areas under trees with high or thin canopies are usually in part shade. They may receive several hours of direct sun in the morning or in late afternoon, and/or dappled sunlight throughout the day.

Full shade. The area alongside a north-facing wall or under trees with dense foliage is considered full shade. The area may get some sunshine in the early morning or evening, but is shaded during mid-day.

In northern regions, where the sun isn't as intense as it is further south, plants recommended for part shade may grow well in full sun. Conversely, plants recommended for full sun may appreciate some light afternoon shade in regions with hot, sunny summer weather.

  1. Shade Loving Garden - Large

    Our Large Shade Garden features vibrant colors and textures that transform your low light areas into inspired wonderlands. Shade-loving superstars like Mophead Hydrangea and Ligulari...

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    Shade Loving Pre-Planned Garden - Large Shade Loving Pre-Planned Garden - Large
    $231.99 Sale $173.99
    Per Garden of 25 Plants
    Our Large Shade Garden features vibrant colors and textures that transform your low light areas into inspired wonderlands. Shade-loving superstars like Mophead Hydrangea and Ligularia The Rocket burst forward, while understory perennials provide a backdrop of lush, multicolored foliage and delicate blooms. This Pre-Planned Garden comes with a garden layout map to make planting easy.
  2. Blue Virginia Bluebells, Mertensia virginica

    Virginia Bluebell’s gorgeous flowers start out as lovely, pastel pink buds and open up into vivid, true blue blooms. A perfect addition to part and full-shade woodland gardens,...

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    Virginia Bluebells Virginia Bluebells Mertensia virginica
    As low as $17.32 Sale $12.99
    Per Bag of 3
    Virginia Bluebell’s gorgeous flowers start out as lovely, pastel pink buds and open up into vivid, true blue blooms. A perfect addition to part and full-shade woodland gardens, plant Virginia Bluebells to see early spring blooms and frequent visits from pollinators. This native plant increases in size each year and will form a beautiful colony over time with almost no care from the gardener. (Mertensia virginica)
  3. Feathered Friends™ Cordial Canary Ajuga

    Feathered Friends™ ‚Cordial Canary‚ Ajuga readily spreads to form a dense, low-growing groundcover with brilliant chartreuse foliage. Short spikes of blue flowers bloom...

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    Feathered Friends™ Cordial Canary Ajuga Feathered Friends™ Cordial Canary Bugleweed Ajuga Cordial Canary PPAF
    As low as $9.32 Sale $6.99
    Per Plant - 3" Pot
    Feathered Friends™ 'Cordial Canary' Ajuga readily spreads to form a dense, low-growing groundcover with brilliant chartreuse foliage. Short spikes of blue flowers bloom in summer, adding a pop of color and attracting pollinators. This highly adaptable perennial tolerates light foot traffic, making it a great choice for walkways, and its golden foliage makes an attractive lawn alternative for yards and hillsides. Plants are evergreen in regions with mild winters. (Ajuga reptans)
  4. Native Shade Low Grow Plant Collection

    Our Native Shade Low-Grow Plant Collection features native perennial flowers inspired by the natural beauty of a woodland edge. Enjoy the soft textures and colors of these resilient,...

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    Native Shade Low-Grow Plant Collection Native Shade Low-Grow Plant Collection
    As low as $45.32 Sale $33.99
    Per Collection of 4
    Our Native Shade Low-Grow Plant Collection features native perennial flowers inspired by the natural beauty of a woodland edge. Enjoy the soft textures and colors of these resilient, easy-to-grow groundcovers that thrive in shaded areas. Our Low-Grow Collections are perfect for transforming your yard from lawn to flowers, a few square feet at a time! Plant below taller perennials, as edging for a garden border, or as a no-mow lawn alternative. Collection of 4 or 12 plants.
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