Shade-Loving Flowers and Bushes

May 27, 2019

Shade doesn’t have to limit you when it comes to planting pretty flowers in your yard and garden – there are plenty of shade-loving perennials that will bloom bright and colorful without full sun. 

Blogger and gardening author Jessica Walliser at Savvy Gardening likes to define shade for the kinder-gardener. First, there’s full shade which describes areas that receive no direct sunlight,only reflected or heavily filtered light. Full shade is usually found at the base of big trees or on the north sides of houses. Then there’s partial shade, and that’s ideal for flowering plants that grow best in filtered sunlight, like under a pergola or trellis, or in places where they don’t get hit with the strongest sunlight of the day (10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.).

Shade-Tolerant Perennials

If you’re like some of us — who confuse perennials vs. annuals – maybe this will help. Perennials are like some of our favorite millennials. They stick around, year after year. Annuals are good for one year, maybe two – unless they’re self-seeding, then you might see them again. Annuals may be less expensive, but we think spending a little extra for the perennials’ repeat performance is always worth it! However, if there are annuals you love, love, love – plant those, too. Why not surround yourself with your favorite beauties?

The bigroot geranium is a tough plant that doesn’t mind heat and low-watering conditions. In the spring it blooms with pink or white flowers and some varieties provide fall coloration in their woodsy-scented foliage. According to the USDA, Aurora is in the hardiness zone 5b, with a cold weather range from -15º to -10º F, which is perfect for the bigroot geranium. Better Homes and Gardens recommends planting speckled toad lilies next to these perennials for height and visual interest in your garden. 

For shade-loving groundcover, check out the ajuga. With a wide variety of foliage colors in deep burgundy hues – sometimes with pink edges – these are spiky flowers you’ll see in the spring and summer — bright blue, purple, pink or white.

Another beautiful ground cover that will survive and thrive in shade in our zone 5b is the creeping veronica. You’ll find different varieties but Georgia blue and waterberry blue are striking and they’ll reach six inches in height. 

Shade-Loving Annuals

HGTV recommends 14 pretty go-to shade annuals that are happiest in partial or full shade including the classic impatiens, a low-maintenance, long-time favorite of many amateur and veteran gardeners.

If you’re looking for something a little more showy, the blossoms of the tuberous begonia are rose-like, delicate pastel blooms that come in cascading varieties for hanging porch and patio baskets to grace your exterior.

For bold color it’s hard to beat the torenia, the summer wave wishbone flower with solid purple or pink flowers, and startling white with yellow centers. HGTV also recommends seven different shrubs that flower and flourish in the shade.

And if you want some hands-on help,  Nick’s Garden Center in Aurora at 2001 S. Chambers Rd. has a great selection of shade-loving plants and plenty of savvy staff to help you with your selects.

The Many Colors of Southshore

Images of the master-planned community of Southshore always include the cool blue of 800 acres of water, minutes from every resident’s front door — and golden fields that biking paths traverse. But there are also multi-colored blooms gracing porches and patios here. Drive by and tour the exquisite model homes offered by Century Communities, Richmond American Homes and Toll Brothers. Available in ranch and two-story designs, and priced between the $400s and the $700s.