There are enough shade loving perennials to grow that even the most avid of gardeners will never be able to collect them all. I’m working on it. (grin)
The queen of the shade garden is of course the Hosta. There are thousands of varieties of this plant – from huge ones stretching four to five feet wide to tiny little ones that could grow in a thimble.
Hosta ‘Empress Wu’ from Proven Winners
The plant that I grow more than any other shade loving perennial (except Hosta) is the Christmas Rose. I grow several different varieties and flower colors and I would recommend them highly. They are not difficult to grow as long as you don’t try to move them or divide them. That root is a big one that doesn’t like to be messed with.
A double white Hellebore in my garden
The ubiquitous shade perennial is the Heuchera family. Now available in leaf colours ranging from bright gold ‘Lime Rickey’ to almost black ‘Obsidian’. Combine them to give summer-long foliage contrast.
Heuchera Midnight Rose
I have grown Jacobs Ladder or Polemonium for many years and actually stopped growing them when the breeders “improved” them and made them too tender in the winter and too prone to “melting out” in the summer heat. I do love the species and I have a few brand new ones in my garden for trial.
I have never understood why so many gardeners like this Money Plant (Lunaria) Put it into a garden and money will grow almost everywhere. It hardly needs any instructions on how to grow it (put the roots in the ground) but it does grow well in the shade. It can easily turn into a weed (garden thug alert here).
On the other hand, Toadlilies are a superb fall-blooming plant. Their delicate flowers won’t compete with fall mums but they are in a class by themselves when it comes to fairy-like flowers.
Japanese Painted Ferns have been a Perennial Plant of the Year and a tremendous addition to the shade garden. I have always enjoyed their coloring and growth habit. C
Athyrium ‘Wildwood Twist’ Image courtesy Terra Nova Nurseries