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Top 10 shade-loving plants


Are you looking to create your own woodland garden? Are you struggling to know what to plant in that difficult, shady patch of your garden? It can often be a challenge to know what to plant in those shady areas of your garden, although there are a lot more plants suited to these areas than you may initially think. Luckily, we have compiled a list for you to help get you started.

Keep reading for our top 10 shade-loving plants, ideal for creating your own woodland garden!


1. Trillium


Trillium may be a harder plant to grow but the pay-off is totally worth it. This clump-forming and long-lived woodland wildflower will create a spectacular carpet of elegant flowers. Large, striking flowers sit upon a ‘shelf’ of foliage during spring and each year the number of flowers increase, giving you a plethora of blooms.

Click here to browse our Trilliums.

Trillium grandiflorum

Trillium grandiflorum

Trillium grandiflorum is a wonderfully graceful, RHS award-winning variety that is ideal for illuminating dark, shady areas with its brilliant white, three-petaled flowers.

2. Actaea


Actaea thrive in partial or full shade so are perfect for an informal woodland garden. Their tall bottlebrush spikes hold fluffy flowers in summer which will sway in the breeze, adding texture, movement and height to those shady borders.


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Actaea Pink Spike

Actaea Pink Spike

Actaea Pink Spike is a particularly attractive variety with sweetly scented, fluffy pink flowers. The striking dark, purple-bronze flowers are what really makes this plant something to be admired.

3. Pulmonaria

Known for their intriguing silvery marked evergreen foliage, Pulmonaria are guaranteed to brighten up your shady spots. One of the very first perennials to bloom in spring, you’ll look forward to seeing their pretty funnel-shaped blooms open up each year.

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Pulmonaria Victorian Brooch

Pulmonaria Victorian Brooch

If you’re looking to add a bright pop of colour to shady areas then this Pulmonaria Victorian Brooch is a perfect choice. Masses of blooms open lilac then quickly change to a rich red-pink as they mature, providing an early source of nectar for the pollinators.

4. Epimedium


These shade loving plants are perfect for planting underneath trees, making excellent groundcover. Delicate, hanging star-like flowers appear on wiry stems in spring through to summer above heart-shaped leaves, understated by oh so beautiful.


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Epimedium Pink Elf

Epimedium Pink Elf

Epimedium Pink Elf is a particularly beautiful variety with the most dainty, soft pink blooms. Deer resistant foliage changes colour from green to bronze as it matures, always giving you something new to admire in your shady areas.

5. Snowdrops


The ultimate sign that spring is on its way, snowdrops are one of the first winter bulbs to appear whilst most other plants slumber, their cheery blooms instantly brightening up your garden and your mood. They’re an incredibly versatile plant, happy in borders, containers or in a lawn and are so easy to grow, requiring zero maintenance.


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Galanthus nivalis

Galanthus nivalis, or the common snowdrop, is perhaps one of the most loved of its kind and is such a crowd pleaser. An RHS award-winner, in the depths of winter, glistening white blooms appear like gems, thriving in even the harshest of weather conditions.


6. Convallaria

In the language of flowers, Lily of the Valley signifies the return of happiness and you will certainly be happy too with this plant in your garden. Highly scented bells nod in late spring on arching stems, filling your garden with their sweet fragrance.


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Convallaria Berlin Giant

Larger than other Convallaria, Berlin Giant is such a charming plant. It’s excellent for cutting too, making a wonderful addition to spring bouquets and flower arrangements, so the blooms can be enjoyed in your home as well.

7. Cypripedium


You’ll be the envy of all your friends with Cypripedium in your garden, as they are such a highly desirable plant. Also known as Lady’s Slipper Orchid, they look extraordinary planted in borders and grass areas where they will naturalise to form informal drifts.


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Cypripedium Ulla Silkens

Cypripedium Ulla Silkens

One of the most spectacular of its kind, Cypripedium Ulla Silkens is not only beautiful but it is also an RHS award winner. White blooms with red spots and large lower lips bloom in June and July, each bloom slightly different to each other.

8. Lamium


Much like a nettle in appearance, you may be tempted to overlook this plant, but you really shouldn’t. A perfect addition to a shady border and ideal as groundcover under trees and shrubs as well, it will flourish in the most difficult, dry, shady areas of your garden.


Click here to browse our Lamiums.

Lamium Beacon Silver

Lamium Beacon Silver

Much like the name suggests, Lamium Beacon Silver offers silver foliage, which will form a glistening carpet at the base of shrubs and trees, lighting up dark areas. This foliage is adorned with bright magenta blooms in late spring and early summer, giving a glorious splash of eye-catching colour.

9. Ajuga


Ajuga offers dramatically stunning ground cover for those really difficult shady spots of your garden. A perfect plant if you’re looking for something to quickly fill an area, carpets of fascinating foliage hold dense spikes of showy flowers in spring and summer.


Click here to browse our Ajugas.

Ajuga Burgundy Glow

Ajua reptans Burgundy Glow

Blue is always a sought-after colour in the garden and this Ajuga Burgundy Glow offers showy blue flowers in abundance which are loved by our pollinating friends. In autumn, the foliage becomes blushed with shades of pink and red, creating a multicoloured display.

10. Astilbe


Perfect for shady areas with moist or boggy soil, Astilbe will be the star of your shady borders, adding texture, drama and colour with their feathery plumes of fluffy flowers.


Click here to browse our Astilbes.

Astilbe Straussenfede

Astilbe Europa

Astilbe Europa is a florist’s dream with frothy blooms that are excellent for cutting and drying. Light pink frothy blooms appear in spring and early summer, like plumes of feathers above the dark, fern-like foliage.

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