Native Plant Shade Garden

Dark shadows don’t mean your gardening days are doomed. Numerous options abound for creating eye-catching shade gardens. These easy shade solutions will help turn your shady yard into the colorful retreat you’ve always wanted.

A shade garden can be of lower maintenance than the full sun garden so if you won't need to spend so much time gardening to maintain it. The flowers grow slower in the shade and they don't require as much care.

Determine the various degrees of shade in your yard. How much sunlight areas receive—and when they receive it—dictates what kind of plants will thrive there.

Dew dries faster in areas that receive morning sunlight, so use plants there that require moderate or drier conditions.

Poor soil often hampers shade gardens more than lack of sunlight, so liberally add organic matter in spring, fall or whenever preparing a new garden. Be careful not to disturb tree roots.

Under deciduous trees, plant bulbs that will bloom before shady canopies develop. Smaller bulbs that naturalize—or spread on their own—work best, such as crocuses, daffodils, grape hyacinths and winter aconite.

Help conserve moisture and add nutrients and organic matter by mulching with shredded leaves, evergreen needles and other organic materials.
When you lay out new flower beds, take heed of the shadows thrown off by nearby buildings, shrubs and trees.

Use shade-loving shrubs to anchor beds, add height and structure, and provide a dark backdrop off which bright blooms visually pop. Good choices include azalea, camellia, dogwood, hydrangea and rhododendron

There are many Wisconsin Native perennials that can live comfortably in shade without needing the same amount of care as other types of plants. You can have a beautiful garden without it taking up so much of your time. Perennials are plants that live for many years, unlike annuals which need to be refreshed each year. Here are 10 suggestions for your shade garden.

If you would like to see even more Shade Garden Plant choices, visit Advanced Plant Search and search by light conditions.

Native Shade Garden Plants

Columbine, Aquilegia canadensis Columbine
Benefits: Bees, Birds
Height: 1-3 feet
Bloom Time: Late Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam, Sand
Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Red, Yellow
Fire Pink, Silene virginica Fire Pink
Benefits: Bbirds
Height: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 4, 5
Soil : Sand, Loam
Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: Pink, Red
Tall Bellflower, Campanula americana Tall Bellflower
Benefits: Bees, Birds
Height: 2-5 feet
Bloom Time: Late Summer
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Blue
Goat's Beard Goat's Beard
Benefits: Bees, Butterflies
Height: 3-6 feet
Bloom Time: Late Spring
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: White
Jack- in-the-Pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum Jack-in-the-Pulpit
Benefits: N/A
Height: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Partial Shade, Shade
Zones: 4, 5
Soil: Clay, Sand, Loam
Moisture: Normal, Moist Wet
Color: Green
Canadian Wild Ginger, Asarum canadense Canadian Wild Ginger
Benefits: N/A
Height: 3-5 inches
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Part Shade
Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Moist
Color: Green, Purple, Red, Brown
Yellow Trout Lily, Erythronium americanum Yellow Trout Lily
Benefits: Bees
Height: 1-2 feet
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Partial Shade, Shade
Zones: 2, 3, 4
Soil: Clay, Loam
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Yellow
Chokecherry, Prunus virginiana Chokecherry
Benefits: Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Height: 15-20 feet
Bloom Time: Spring
Sun: Partial Shade, Shade
Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Dry, Medium, Moist
Color: White
Early Meadow Rue, Thalictrum dioicum Early Meadow Rue
Benefits: N/A
Height: 2-4 feet
Bloom Time: Spring, Early Summer
Sun: Partial Shade, Shade
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Dry, Medium
Color: White
Tall Bellflower, Campanula americana Bleeding Heart
Benefits: N/A
Height: 1 to 1.5 feet
Bloom Time: Spring, Early Summer
Sun: Part Shade
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Clay, Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium
Color: Pink