25 Beautiful Partial Shade Perennials for Your Garden

Finding the right plants for your shaded garden may feel like an impossible task at first, but no need to despair! When it comes to dressing up these locations, beautiful partial shade perennials can add a whole new dimension to your landscape design with their alluring colours and textures.

To help you nurture happy, healthy plants, spend some time identifying your hardiness zone (plantmaps) and taking notice of the light patterns in your garden. Plants classified as “partial shade plants” require about 3 to 6 hours of indirect light per day.

These (generally) low-maintenance treasures have been known to survive well past their expected lifespan in ideal conditions.

So, are you ready to transform the lifeless areas in your garden? We’ve got you covered with this list of 25 beautiful partial shade perennials.

Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris)

This enchanting wildflower is a popular choice for shaded gardens. Columbine is an adaptable, reliable flowering perennial, happiest when sited in partial shade. In mid-spring, they produce their beautiful, distinctive bonnet-shaped flowers. You can find hybrids in a seemingly infinite range of colours. The flowers delicately droop from their stems; they usually reach between 15 and 30 cm (6-12 in) tall. Columbine’s dense, dark green foliage is made up of a mass of dainty, rounded leaves. The individual plants live 3–5 years, but as they self-seed, long-lived colonies will grace your garden for years to come. They are not only a beautiful addition to your borders and beds, but they do well in containers too.

Hardiness Zones: 3-8
1. columbine

Columbine (Aquilegia vulgaris), also known as granny’s bonnet.

Primrose (Primula spp.)

Recognised as a symbol of youth and renewal, these pretty little partial shade perennials are one of the first to bloom in the cooler days of early spring. Primrose flowers look spectacular when planted in large bands in garden beds, along borders, on shady banks, or under hedgerows. The available varieties come in a wide array of beautiful colours and sizes, ranging between 15–30 cm (6–12 in) tall. They’re native to damp, woodland-like conditions, favouring partially shaded areas under trees or planted with ferns and hostas. Take care to wear gloves when handling primrose leaves; they have tiny hairs that may cause immediate skin irritation if touched.

Hardiness Zones: 4-8

2. primrose
Primrose (Primula Belarina Amethyst Ice) has vibrant multi-petaled blooms.

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis)

Happiest beneath the dappled shade of ferns and trees, the lily of the valley is a flowering partial shade perennial that can survive for decades. They produce sweetly-scented clusters of beautiful little white bell-shaped flowers throughout spring and early summer. This classic woodland plant will invite butterflies into your garden. These dainty perennials, not usually taller than 10–20 cm (4–8 in), thrive in cool weather. Lily of the valley does have a tendency to form large colonies, so some maintenance may be required to prevent them from becoming invasive. Lily of the valley is poisonous to humans and animals if ingested.

Hardiness Zones: 3-9

3. lilies of the valley

Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) has sweetly-scented clusters of little white bell-shaped flowers.

Hellebore (Helleborus)

Hellebore, or lenten rose, brings a little charm into the garden during the late winter months, continuing through early spring. They may appear delicate, but this beautiful wildflower is a long-lived hardy perennial that thrives in colder climates. Hellebore’s quaint disc-shaped flowers range from white, apricot, and yellow, to dusty pink, maroon, and green. The plants usually reach between 30-60 cm (1-2 ft). Most varieties do exceptionally well in partial shade, protected from harsh sunlight. Full shade will reduce the number of flowers produced. Their large, light-green leaves have soft serrated edges but do become quite dense. You may consider pruning them occasionally to better expose their flowers.

Hardiness Zones: 6-9

4. hellebore
Hellebore (Helleborus orientalis) is a long-lived hardy perennial that thrives in colder climates.

Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla)

Siberian bugloss flourishes in full or partial shade but will appreciate a touch of morning sun. This flowering perennial has proven to be dependable, resilient, adaptable, and long-lived. Their sprays of tiny light blue flowers are often mistaken for forget-me-nots. Siberian bugloss has lush foliage of broad heart-shaped leaves. They make a stunning ground cover, spreading at a medium pace.

Hardiness Zones: 3-8

5. Siberian bugloss

Siberian bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla) is often mistaken for forget-me-nots.

Hardy Geranium (Geranium bohemicum)

Prized for their long blooming period, hardy geraniums produce an abundance of beautiful, bright, frilly flowers in summer and autumn. Also known as fan-leaf cranesbill, hardy geranium is a flowering perennial ground cover of robust, sprawling, light-green leaves that reach up to 30 cm (12 in) tall. It’s true that they flourish in full sun but adapt very well to partial shade. This beautifully endearing, long-lived perennial is tolerant of the most difficult garden situations. They are traditionally used in informal garden layouts and courtyard gardens, but they also work well planted in borders and beds.

Hardiness Zones: 3-9

6. hardy geranium

Hardy Geraniums (Geranium bohemicum) profusely bloom in summer and autumn.


This fine little plant produces an abundance of flowers in mid-summer. Known as a perennial herb in warmer regions, lobelia creates delicate trailing edges along garden beds and looks beautiful flowing from hanging baskets. They will thrive in partial shade. Keep them happy with morning sun, afternoon shade, and regular watering. Depending on the variety, the plants grow between 40 and 60 cm (15–23 in) in height. Lobelia is mostly found in hues of blue, but lilac, red, pink, and white are available too.

Hardiness Zones: 2-11

7. lobelia

Blue, white, and purple lobelia create delicate trailing edges.

Spiderwort (Tradescantia)

Spiderwort is a resilient yet exquisite choice for your garden. These partial shade perennials are forgiving of most garden soils. Their striking foliage grows rapidly into clumps of slender, curved, bright-green leaves, reaching up to 90 cm (3 ft) high. In summer, this delicate looking wildflower displays blooms for up to 8 weeks. Their beautiful 3-petaled flowers range in colours from hues of purple and blue, to pinks and reds. They work wonderfully well in borders and edging, attracting bees and butterflies to your garden.

Hardiness Zones: 4-9

8. spiderwort

Spiderwort (Tradescantia) attracts bees and butterflies.

Toad Lilies (Tricyrtis hirta)

Toad lilies are celebrated for their beautifully intriguing spotted blooms. Their flowers are almost star-shaped. These uniquely exotic-looking flowers appear in late summer or early autumn, depending on your hardiness zone. Reasonably easy-going, toad lilies grow to 80 cm (30 in) high. They are partial shade perennials in cooler climates but will tolerate full shade in hotter climates.

Hardiness Zones: 4-9

9. toad lily

Toad lilies (Tricyrtis hirta) are celebrated for their beautifully intriguing spotted blooms and leaves.

Calla Lilies (Zantedeschia aethiopica)

Calla lilies are simply beautiful. They have elegant funnel-shaped flowers that gracefully bloom for weeks from late spring through summer. A multitude of varieties are available in just as many colours, including yellow, red, and black! The plants grow to about 30–90cm (12–36in) tall. They prefer partial shade but do tolerate full sun. Calla lilies are easy going perennials provided they’re sited in loose, well-draining soil. They are stunning additions to beds and borders. Calla lilies are dangerous to humans and pets if ingested.

Hardiness Zones: 8-10

10. calla lilies

Zantedeschia ‘Pink Puppy’ in bloom.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis)

Daylilies are beautiful summer-flowering perennials that add vibrant colour and gorgeous blooms to your garden for weeks! The flower petals differ slightly depending on the variety, but are always striking. They can be found in stunning hues of gold, red, orange, pink, and white. Each exquisite flower only lasts for 24 hours, but a mature plant can bear dozens of blooms over a flowering season. Daylily plants can grow up to 150 cm (5 ft) high. They are best planted in trios for a more pleasing visual effect. They look great in beds and borders, as ground cover, and in containers. They thrive in full sun and partial shade equally well.

Hardiness Zones: 4-9

11. daylily

Daylilies (Hemerocallis) can be found in stunning hues of gold, red, orange, pink, and white.

Bleeding Hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis)

Bleeding hearts are early-blooming perennials that are loved for their adorable, showy heart-shaped flowers in spring. They are native to cool, woodland conditions and flourish in partial or dappled shade beneath evergreen trees. Bleeding heart’s attractive foliage reaches between 30–90 cm (1-3 ft) tall in the growing season, and then completely dies back in summer. They add vibrant colour when planted under hedgerows and trees or in between summer flowering shrubs.

Hardiness Zones: 3-9

12. bleeding heart

Bleeding hearts (Lamprocapnos spectabilis) has adorable, showy heart-shaped flowers in spring.

Peonies (Paeonia)

Peonies, known for their beautiful, long-lasting flowering shrubs, may just put your patience to the test! They can take up to 3 years to establish, but their stunning blooms are well worth the wait. Lush glossy green foliage starts to develop in early spring. By summer, peonies have large, gorgeous multi-petaled flowers. There are plenty of peony varieties to choose from. As flowering comes to an end in late summer, the plant makes an adorable low hedge. They thrive when they do not have to compete for nutrients, light, and moisture. The leaves begin to turn an eye-catching purple-red (or golden) in autumn. Peonies dislike being disturbed, so plant them in a sheltered spot with dappled or partial shade.

Hardiness Zones: 3-8

13. peony

Peonies create a beautiful display of colour in the garden (Paeonia lactiflora ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ in full bloom).

Japanese Anemone (Anemone hupehensis)

These beautiful partial shade perennials boast big, delicate blooms, giving them their attractive airy appearance. The Japanese anemone’s leaves begin to grow in late spring, and then, in summer and autumn, gorgeous, saucer-like flowers proudly appear in shades of pink and white. Exposure to the morning sun and protection from the afternoon sun will keep them at their happiest. The Japanese anemone is an adaptable, easy-to-grow plant. Notorious for sending out root runners, these long-lived plants can spread wildly. Consider planting them along the back of your garden border, underneath the dappled shade of trees, or next to shadow-casting walls.

Hardiness Zones: 5-8
14. japanese anemone

Japanese anemones’ outstanding blooms give them an attractive, airy appearance.

Agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus)

Agapanthus is an eye-catching flowering herbaceous perennial that usually blooms in late summer and early autumn. Reaching up to 1-1.5 m (3-5 ft) high, their globe-shaped clusters of fragrant blue or white funnel-shaped flowers are airy and elegant. Plant these partial shade perennials in multitude, their slender, shiny leaves make a great ground cover. Agapanthus are a gorgeous addition to any garden, creating stunning displays in flower beds and along pathways. All parts of the agapanthus plant have possible toxicity to animals if eaten in quantity.

Hardiness Zones: 8-10

15. agapanthus

Agapanthus (Agapanthus africanus) boasts beautiful clusters of airy globe-shaped blooms.

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Foxglove is a rather short-lived perennial (or biennial) that creates a sensational vertical display of colour in early summer. They are well suited to damp, partial shade conditions. Their cascading, speckled tubular flowers are a good source of pollen for bees. Due to the impressive heights of some varieties, 60–150 cm (2–5 ft), choose a location sheltered from strong winds. Handle with care. Foxglove may irritate sensitive skin and is toxic if ingested.

Hardiness Zones: 4-9

16. foxglove

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) has beautiful, cascading, speckled, tubular flowers that are a good source of pollen for bees.

Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica)

Fuchsia plants produce a multitude of delightful fuchsia-coloured, bell-like flowers in late summer and early autumn. With varieties growing up to 3m (9 ft) tall, hardy fuchsias make beautiful informal flowering hedges. Half-hardy varieties such as bush and trailing fuchsias add colour to your beds and hanging baskets or containers. They will do equally well in full sun or partial shade. Shelter them from harsh sunlight and cold winds.

Hardiness Zones: 6-9

17. fuchsia

Fuchsia (Fuchsia magellanica) produces a multitude of delightful fuchsia-coloured, bell-like flowers.

Fragrant Winterhazel (Corylopsis glabrescens)

This tall, wide-spreading perennial shrub boasts soft beauty year-round. Fragrant winterhazel prefers dappled or partial shade and a sheltered area in the garden. In early spring, fragrant winterhazel has elegant hanging clusters of scented, yellow bell-shaped flowers that appear before their green oblate leaves make an appearance in summer. Their leaves turn from orange to golden brown in autumn, exposing their interesting branches.

Hardiness Zones: vary depending on the variety.

18. fragrant winterhazel

Fragrant winterhazel (Corylopsis glabrescens) has hanging clusters of scented, yellow bell-shaped flowers that appear on bare branches.

Passion Flower (Passiflora spp.)

The passion flower vine is an exotic-looking climber that sporadically blooms beautiful, intricate flowers in late summer, followed by a deep orange coloured fruit in autumn. Depending on the variety, the fruit is edible but has a very mild flavour. These herbaceous perennials usually reach between 6–9 m (30 ft) long. The passion flower vine has lush, shiny green leaves and sweet little climbing tendrils. They do equally well in full sun and partial shade areas, adding interest and colour to wall-side borders, trellises, and pergolas.

Hardiness Zones: 6-9

19. wild passion flower

Bluecrown passion flower (Passiflora caerulea) has white petals and beautifully intricate purple, white, and blue filaments.

Plantain Lilies (Hosta)

Who said foliage isn’t beautiful? Plantain lilies, or hostas, are adored for their attractive foliage: beautifully glossy wide green leaves with a rippled texture, growing to around 60cm (2 ft) tall. Plantain lilies will tolerate full shade or full sun, but they flourish in partial shade. An indispensable plant for shady gardens! The leaves bring vibrant colour, uplifting your garden from mid-spring to mid-fall. Their blooms are just as impressive. In the summer months, beautiful white, trumpet-shaped flowers emerge from slender stems. Unlike other hostas, the plantain lily’s flower has a lovely strong scent, similar to orange blossom. This low-maintenance, easy-going perennial is striking when planted in large quantities. Please be aware that hostas are toxic if ingested by dogs or cats.

Hardiness Zones: 3-9

20. plantain lily leaves

The plantain lily has beautifully glossy wide green leaves with a rippled texture.

Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea)

Coral bells, also commonly referred to as Heuchera, are celebrated for their beautiful, robust, bushy foliage. Varieties are available in red, burgundy, dark purple, and green. They’re considered partial shade perennials, but they’re well adapted to full sun and full shade. Darker-coloured leaves will tolerate more sunlight than lighter-coloured leaves. The plants usually reach between 30 and 90 cm (12–36 in) tall. Plant coral bells with companions such as hellebore, ferns, and hostas. They look lovely in beds, along borders, and in containers, adding texture and colour to your garden’s landscape.

The coral bells’ relative, the red-leafed mukdenia, is another absolutely stunning addition to any shade garden. The edges of their maple-shaped leaves turn a brilliant shade of red as winter approaches.

Hardiness Zones: 4-9

21. hosta and coral bells
Hosta and coral bells make perfect companions along borders, in beds, and in containers.

Red Barrenwort (Epimedium x rubrum)

Epimedium’s lush, wiry foliage makes this perennial a stunning ground cover. They add beautiful year-round interest to a shady garden. Red barrenwort tolerates full shade well, but for vibrant blooms, plant them in partial shade. In spring, delicate red-edged leaves sprout, and dainty clusters of flowers appear. These flowers are commonly referred to as “fairy wings” or “bishop’s caps.” In summer, mounds of green heart-shaped leaves develop, and in the autumn months, their edges gradually turn a deep red. Red barrenwort grows to around 30 cm (15 in) tall and is a good companion for other partial shade perennials such as columbine and hellebore when planted in shade borders, walkways, and under trees.

Hardiness Zones: 4-8

22. red barrenwort

In the autumn months, red barrenwort (Epimedium x rubrum) gradually turns red.


With their elegant arching fronds and rows of vibrant leaflets, ferns are ancient beauties. These undemanding perennials naturally flourish in the shaded environments. Many are well suited to partial shade and filtered sunlight. Try the Northern Maidenhair fern, Japanese Painted Fern and Autumn Fern, they are fully hardy, withstanding almost freezing temperatures. A fern’s feather-like foliage is an eye-catching addition to any garden!

Hardiness Zones: 2-8 (depending on the variety).

23. fern

Naturally well suited to shaded environments, the fern’s feather-like foliage is elegant and beautiful.

Wild Stonecrop (Sedum Ternatum)

Sedum is a family of perennial succulents available in many beautiful shapes, colours and sizes. Wild stonecrop, in particular, is incredibly hardy, surviving in locations not habitable to other plants. Sometimes called “Iceland moss”, Wild Stonecrop has small, densely packed, fleshy leaves that spiral upwards to between 7–15 cm (3-6 in) high. Splendid clusters of tiny star-shaped flowers appear in late spring through early summer, attracting moths and butterflies. These partial shade perennials are an excellent choice to use as ground cover, in rock gardens, and in flower beds.

Hardiness Zones: 4-8

24. wild stonecrop

Wild stonecrop (Sedum Ternatum) has small, densely packed, fleshy leaves that spiral upwards.

Ornamental Grasses

Looking for something unusually beautiful? Airy, textured ornamental grasses, such as Pink Muhly Grass, can create a warm, dreamy exhibit during the cooler seasons of the year. Many varieties are partial shade perennials. They tolerate the cold well, sheltering other, more delicate, flowers from strong, cold winds. Ornamental grasses are a brilliant form of lush, dense ground cover when planted in large quantities along borders. When planted as a display, they can create a striking textural focal point.

Hardiness Zones: 4-9 (depending on the variety)

25. pink muhly grass

Pink Muhly Grass makes a captivating display of warm colours.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out these beautiful perennials.

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