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Smart Thoughts

ABC’s of Shade Gardening: 6 Shade Loving Perennials for Your Garden

Perennials grown in shade

A shady spot can provide a soothing and enticing garden, especially in the heat of the summer. There are plenty of shade perennials and annuals that will give you all the color and texture you dream about. So hang a hammock and consider some of these colorful shade loving perennials:

A is for Astilbe… This colorful perennial has fern-like, lacy foliage, and a plume of flowers in white, pink, salmon, and other shades of red. Beautiful in groups, they give height, color, and a soft billowing foliage through the spring, summer, and fall.

B is for Brunnera… With beautiful, heart-shaped leaves in various shades of green, silver, and white, this spring perennial is topped with sprays of tiny, sky-blue flowers held on delicate stems above the low cluster of leaves. It’s a great shade perennial for the front of the garden, where the leaves will really shine.

C is for Coleus… A colorful shade perennial in warmer zones, and easily rooted annual in others, coleus has an unbelievable range of striking color combinations in a seemingly infinite number of patterns. Lime green, dark green, pink, purple, white, and fuchsia swirl through the leaves. And a spike of lavender or white flowers appear from time to time throughout spring, summer, and fall.

And for Columbine… A mountain native, this shade loving perennial shines with delicate,scalloped leaves. Its tall, airy stems are topped with flowers in a multitude of pastel colors.

D is for Dicentra… The old-fashioned Bleeding Heart your grandmother planted. Unusual heart-shaped flowers dangle from delicate stems in the spring, and ferny foliage persists until fall. Some newer varieties have brilliant chartreuse foliage that really stands out in a garden of shade loving perennials.

E is for Elephant Ears… Gigantic leaves stand tall above colorful perennials, providing great height, a tropical feel, and a dramatic appeal. Perennial in warmer zones, elephant ears provide a tropical touch to your garden of colorful and shade loving perennials. In cooler climates, they’re easily lifted and replanted the next year.

This easy primer is just the beginning of the combinations, colors, and textures your shade garden needs. Heck, we all know F is for ferns!