Whittier Fertilizer Blog

Top 10 Most Beautiful Shade Tolerant Plants

While many annuals and perennials crave sunshine and need a sunny location for optimum health, there are a number of plants who not only tolerate shade well–they actually prefer it. If your landscape contains numerous trees and contains a wealth of shade, you’ll want to choose plants that thrive in these types of conditions. The following are among the most gorgeous and interesting shade-tolerant plants to consider.

Astilbe Hybrid

Astilbe Hybrids

Astilbe hybrids are perennials that boast fern-like foliage and delicate, shower flowers in shades of pink, red, or white flowers. Shade gardeners love them for the splash of color and unique texture that add to the landscape. These plants prefer humus-rich soil that’s routinely moist (not waterlogged) and light to moderate shade. Too much sun scorches the plant’s foliage.


Coleus (Solenostemon scuttellarioides)

Outside of the tropics, coleus plants are grown as annuals to add vibrant foliage to shady settings. Available in a dazzling range of hues, including hot pink, red, purple, black, and cream, coleus thrives in part shade and prefers moist but well-draining soil. Showiest examples of coleus include ‘Marisposa’ and ‘Ruby Ruffles.’

Garden Hydranga

Garden Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

Renowned for their big, long-lasting blooms, garden hydrangeas bring old-fashioned charm to any garden. These deciduous shrubs sport large leaves and clusters of flowers that may appear white, blue, purple, or pink depending on the pH of the soil. These shrubs thrive in partial shade and require consistently moist soil and annual pruning to ensure optimum health.



Among the most popular annuals, impatiens are shade-loving flowers that come in a medley of hues that include red, pink, yellow, and white. Impatiens require daily watering–and sometimes twice a day when conditions become extremely hot. No deadheading is required.



Meadow rue, specifically ‘Lavender Mist,’ features stunning purple blooms tinged with yellow accents and purplish stems. With its upright growth habit, this herbaceous perennial will add vertical interest to your garden. It prefers partial to full shade and moist, well-draining soil. At maturity, this plant can reach three feet in height and width of 24 inches, so be sure to afford it with the room it needs to thrive.



Also known as coral bells, heucherella come in a wide array of varieties, most of which thrive in shady conditions. Celebrated for their distinctive foliage that comes in colors like purple, lilac, green, and even copper, these plants also sport delicate blooms in multiple colors. Easy to care for, these reliable perennials prefer well-draining soil.

Persian Shield

Persian Shields

Perfectly dazzling with their nearly metallic purple foliage, Persian shields are ornamental plants that are grown as annuals outside of tropical locations where the plants are native to. They prefer partial shade and thrive in moist, humid conditions. They love organically rich, well-draining soil. When they’re happy, they can grow as tall as three feet.


Begonia (Tuberous)

Renowned for their vibrantly hued blooms, tuberous begonias provide season-long blooms and thrive in shade locations. These plants feature flowers in a myriad of colors such as salmon, yellow, white, orange, and red. They’re popularly displayed in hanging baskets or containers on porches or patios. They prefer fertilized, well-draining soil. Allow the soil to become slightly dry before watering.

Blood Sorrel

Blood Sorrel (Rumex sanguineus)

Blood sorrel is a herbaceous perennial that features arresting pale green foliage veined deeply with crimson. These plants will thrive in partial shade and are popular choices for water gardens and pond settings as they prefer moisture-rich soil.

If you have a shady landscape, consider these plants to adorn your setting. Their care needs are minimal and they’ll add loads of visual interest to your garden.

Caladium or Elephant ear or Heart of Jesus or Angel wings.

Fancy-Leaved Caladium

With its big broad leaves adorned with colorful hues and veining, fancy-leaved caladium like Caladium x hortulanum prefer loose, slightly acidic soil and partial to full shade. Soil should be warm, damp, and well-draining to ensure optimum growth and plant health. During the cold months, bring the bulbs indoors to store until the next growing season.

Posted in: Gardening, Landscaping

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