Zone 6 Shade Loving Plants: Growing Shade Plants In Zone 6


By: Liz Baessler

Shade is tricky. It’s not that tricky, though – while options are slightly limited, there are more than enough zone 6 shade loving plants out there. Keep reading to learn more about growing shade plants in zone 6.

Shade Plants for Zone 6 Gardens

Here are some of the best shade plants for zone 6:

Bigroot Geranium – Hardy in zones 4 through 6, this 2-foot (0.5 m.) tall geranium produces pink flowers in the spring and the foliage of some varieties changes color in the fall.

Ajuga – Hardy in zones 3 through 9, ajuga is a groundcover that reaches only 6 inches (15 cm.) in height. Its leaves are beautiful and are purple and variegated in many varieties. It produces spikes of blue, pink, or white flowers.

Bleeding Heart – Hardy in zones 3 through 9, bleeding heart reaches 4 feet (1 m.) in height and produces unmistakable heart shaped flowers along wide spreading stems.

Hosta – Hardy in zones 3 through 8, hostas are some of the most popular shade plants out there. Their foliage comes in a huge variety of color and variegation, and several produce extremely fragrant flowers.

Corydalis – Hardy in zones 5 through 8, the corydalis plant has attractive foliage and stunning yellow (or blue) clusters of flowers that last all the way from late spring to frost.

Lamium – Also known as deadnettle and hardy in zones 4 through 8, this 8-inch (20.5 cm.) tall plant has attractive, silver foliage and delicate clusters of pink and white flowers that bloom on and off all summer.

Lungwort – Hardy in zones 4 through 8 and reaching 1 foot (0.5 m.) in height, lungwort has striking variegated evergreen foliage and clusters of pink, white, or blue flowers in the spring.

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17 Shade Flowering Plants and Perennials that Grow Easily

Is your garden in a shady location and are worried that most if not all your garden plants won’t thrive and flower? Well, you are not alone. Many gardens have shady areas, where sun-loving plants have it tough to survive, leave alone flowering. But the good news is, there are plenty of shade flowering plants and perennials that grow easily in shaded areas.

The most important thing is to understand the type of shade that you have and choose the right plant for your garden.

In this article, there are 17 shade flowering plants and perennials that are low maintenance and grow easily from which you can choose the one that matches your garden.

As you will see, the article touches on a wide variety of flowers and plants that grow in a shade that are also perennials.

These shade-tolerant flowering plants can be planted once and will come back with lovely flowers year after year.

Sounds good right? Then let’s begin!


Shade Plants

This collection of part and full shade plants is perfect for the cool, shady spots in your garden. Most of our part-shade perennials prefer morning sun and afternoon shade. If you have morning shade and 6+ hours of afternoon sun, choose a full sun plant. Many of our shade loving perennials are drought resistant/drought tolerant plants (xeric) and also suited for high altitude gardening. Learn more about gardening in the shade by reading Plants For Shade And Part Shade. View only plants for full shade.

To choose the best plants for your garden, use our filters at left.

To choose the best plants for your garden, use our filters below.

6" tall x 12" wide. Iberis sempervirens Purity is a tidy compact variety of Iberis that blooms in late spring with a profusion of bright white flower clusters. The mounding, evergree.

Hardy Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides) is one of the most versatile groundcovers for cold climates growing in both sun and shade and most soil types. Plumbago blooms in late su.

2001 Plant Select Winner 4-6" tall x 15-18" wide. Orange Carpet® is a vigorous perennial groundcover that blooms in mid- to late summer with a profusion of bright orange trumpet .

White Nancy is an outstanding Old World groundcover for shade and semi-shade. Blooming much of the summer with bright white flower helod over green and white variegated foliage, this.

30-36" tall x 18" wide. Golden Spur columbine yellow blooms for months beginning in late spring with a profusion of large, cheerful yellow flowers that attract hummingbirds. Allow th.

Bellium is a vigorous grower, covering itself with a multitude of 1/2" white daisies from late spring through the summer.

Bella Blue Self-Heal (Prunella grandiflora Bella Blue) is a vigorous, long-blooming groundcover with short spikes of violet-blue flowers that attract butterflies.

Appalachian Sedge (Carex appalachica) is a native grass-like plant with thin, fine-textured leaf blades. Appalachian Sedge is an outstanding choice for use as an attractive grassy gr.

Rocky Mountain Columbine is planted for its beautiful blue and white flowers. Native to the higher elevations of the intermountain West, is best suited to mountain gardens and areas .

'Shell Pink Improved' Lamium (Lamium maculatum) is is a tough and long-lived groundcover with lovely with heart-shaped leaves dashed with a silver streak. Interesting foliage is topp.

A dwarf variety of Rocky Mountain Columbine with red and white flowers. This little beauty comes true from seed and should be encouraged to re-seed itself in the garden where it make.

Phlox Jeana is a new garden phlox introduction notable for its multi-month bloom time and colorful lavender-pink clusters of sweet fragrant flowers. It is also exceptionally cold har.

Herman's Pride Variegated Yellow Archangel is one of our best Old World groundcovers for shade and semi-shade. Lamiastrum galeobdoblon Herman's Pride features short spikes of bright .

Exclusive. Little Treasure is a dwarf yellow flowered form of a columbine native to the shady canyons of southern New Mexico. The bright flowers face upwards to the sky and attract.

Exclusive. A stunning native wildflower, 'Mountain Red' blooms for months with hummingbird attracting clear red trumpet-shaped flowers. This is our special cold hardy strain and it d.

Lamium maculatum Orchid Frost (Orchid Frost Deadnettle) is showy, repeat blooming groundcover for shady areas with large orchid-pink flowers and frosty variegated foliage.

The Serene Shade Garden uses a bright, blooming assortment of perennials to color-up the shady areas of your yard. Our expertly designed garden includes a planting map and a detailed.

The Fabulous Flowers and Foliage Shade Garden provides season-long interest with a superb combination of 18 plants with colorful foliage and beautiful flowers in pink, yellow and whi.

Try several of our customer favorite Columbine varieties in this Aquilegia Collection. Buy three of the Aquilegia Collections and you'll have a complete shade garden.

Try several of our customer favorite Columbine varieties in this Aquilegia Collection. Buy three of the Aquilegia Collections and you'll have a complete shade garden.

Big Leaf Variegated Periwinkle (Vinca major variegata) is large-leafed evergreen, that grows equally well in full sun or deep shade. The quarter-sized purple flowers appear in late s.


When it comes to gardening, shade is a lot like a rainstorm at a picnic: It isn’t in your ideal plan, but you have to make the best of the situation. Believe it or not, I actually prefer to garden in the shade because it takes more thought and creativity to combine plants successfully. We all know that the key to combinations that work is how we use color, texture, and form. But when it comes to shade, color is the most important factor. Without color, shade gardens would be nothing but a sea of never-ending green. How boring.

I rely on three specific colors to make low-light areas pop: white, gold, and some sort of red hue (crimson, burgundy, deep pink, or orange). I use each of these colors differently and in specific areas of the garden. By following the guidelines I’ve developed, you’ll be able to create stunning shade combinations. So if you believe that only people with sunny gardens can achieve eye-catching plant pairings, think again.

White lightens the deepest shade

Areas of deep shade can be the most problematic spots to infuse life. Under trees or on the north side of a building is usually considered a “no-plant’s land” of the garden, where you’re happy just to have anything grow at all. But these spots are ideal opportunities to site plants with white variegation. Because the plants that live in these black holes of the garden are usually dark green, dashes of white not only offer a nice color contrast but also highlight the form and texture of the surrounding selections.

  1. ‘Autumn Bride’ heuchera (Heuchera villosa ‘Autumn Bride’, USDA Hardiness Zones 5–9)
  2. ‘Hadspen Cream’ brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla ‘Hadspen Cream’, Zones 3–7)
  3. ‘Silver Sceptre’ sedge (Carex ‘Silver Sceptre’, Zones 5–9)
  4. ‘Silver Tassel’ sedge (Carex morrowii ‘Silver Tassel’, Zones 5–9)
  5. ‘Milky Way’ epimedium (Epimedium × youngianum ‘Milky Way’, Zones 5–9)

  1. ‘High Society’ hosta (Hosta ‘High Society’, Zones 3–9)
  2. Arborvitae fern (Selaginella braunii, Zones 7–11)
  3. ‘Silver Sceptre’ sedge (Carex ‘Silver Sceptre’, Zones 5–9)
  4. ‘Great Expectations’ hosta (Hosta ‘Great Expectations’, Zones 3–9)
  5. Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra, Zones 5–9)

  1. Korean boxwood (Buxus microphylla var. koreana, Zones 4–9)
  2. Hosta (Hosta cv., Zones 3–9)
  3. Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides, Zones 3–8)
  4. ‘Mister Big’ hosta (Hosta ‘Mister Big’, Zones 3–9)

  1. ‘Ice Dance’ variegated sedge (Carex morrowii ‘Ice Dance’ , Zones 5–9)
  2. Hosta (Hosta cv., Zones 3–9)
  3. ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ boxleaf honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’, Zones 6–9)
  4. ‘Yoshino’ Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Yoshino’, Zones 6–9)
  5. Dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica’, Zones 2–6)
  6. ‘Anceps’ fountain bamboo (Fargesia nitida ‘Anceps’, Zones 5–9)

  1. ‘Silver Sceptre’ sedge (Carex morrowii ‘Silver Sceptre’, Zones 5–9)
  2. Japanese tassel fern (Polystichum polyblepharum , Zones 6–8)
  3. Fastigiate plum yew (Cephalotaxus harringtonia ‘Fastigiata’, Zones 6–9)

Red breaks up the green in light shade

Soft colors don’t usually work in shade because they aren’t dynamic enough to shine in the darkness. Use, instead, plants that have blossoms or foliage with vibrant, hot colors. These hues need more sunlight, so areas of light shade are best. Because of their vibrancy, these colors act like beacons, attracting attention not only to themselves but also to their neighbors. Red and most other hot colors are also opposite to green on the color wheel, so they naturally complement the customary hue of the shade garden.

  1. Tiger eyes™ cutleaf staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Bailtiger’, Zones 4–8)
  2. ‘Shaina’ Japanese maple (Acer palmatum* ‘Shaina’, Zones 5–9)
  3. ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ fuchsia (Fuchsia ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’, Zones 9–10)
  4. ‘Alabama Sunset’ coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides ‘Alabama Sunset’, Zone 11)
  5. ‘Pee Dee Ingot’ liriope (Liriope muscari ‘Pee Dee Ingot’, Zones 6–10)
  6. ‘Filigree Lace’ weeping birch (Betula pendula* ‘Filigree Lace’, Zones 2–7)

  1. Threadleaf bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii, Zones 5–8)
  2. Purple perilla (Perilla frutescens* ‘Atropurpurea’, annual)
  3. Chinese indigo (Indigofera decora, Zones 7–9)

  1. ‘Nikko’ deutzia (Deutzia crenata var. nakaiana ‘Nikko’, Zones 4–8)
  2. ‘Othello’ ligularia (Ligularia dentata ‘Othello’, Zones 4–8)
  3. ‘Sagae’ hosta (Hosta ‘Sagae’, Zones 3–9)
  4. ‘Mt. Fuji’ Japanese iris (Iris ensata ‘Mt. Fuji’, Zones 3–9)
  5. ‘Spectabile’ knotweed (Polygonum ‘Spectabile’, Zones 5–9)

Gold makes partial shade glow

I use golden (and sometimes chartreuse) plants in medium-shade areas to help enhance the glow of what little sunlight touches the garden. Gold magnifies sunlight, casting a glow onto plants nearby. It’s a bad idea to put gold-variegated plants in deep shade because they like to revert back to all-green. In areas with too much sun (with only light shade), they turn an unsightly electric yellow and burn out. The illuminating quality of gold brings out the rough or puckered texture of plants. So if you have a hosta with deeply ridged leaves, place a golden or chartreuse companion with a smooth texture nearby.

  1. ‘Baggesen’s Gold’ boxleaf honeysuckle (Lonicera nitida ‘Baggesen’s Gold’, Zones 6–9)
  2. ‘Painter’s Palette’ knotweed (Persicaria virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’, Zones 5–9)
  3. ‘Globosa Nana’ Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica ‘Globosa Nana’, Zones 6–9)

  1. ‘On Stage’ hosta (Hosta ‘On Stage’, Zones 3–9)
  2. Purple perilla (Perilla frutescens* ‘Atropurpurea’, annual)
  3. ‘All Gold’ Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’, Zones 5–9)
  4. ‘Painter’s Palette’ knotweed (Persicaria virginiana ‘Painter’s Palette’, Zones 5–9)
  5. ‘Hi Ho Silver’ hosta (Hosta ‘Hi Ho Silver’, Zones 3–9)

Inta Krombolz gardens deep in the woods of West Chester, Pennsylvania, and likes to create welded garden statuary in her spare time.

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10 Great Plants for the Shady Spots in Your Garden

Dress up the shady places in your garden with splashes of color. These shade-loving plants will make those dark corners shine!

Move over hostas and impatiens! You already know these shade-lovers are reliable performers, but there are a whole lot of other beauties out there that flourish in less sunny locations. The trick is to choose the right plant for the right place. "There are many degrees of shade," says Michael Sheek, senior horticulturalist with the Atlanta Botanical Garden. "Pay attention to your planting area for a few days to get a sense of what kind of light it receives at different times of day." For example, full shade means the area never receives direct light. Part shade means it doesn't get more than three or four hours of direct sunlight daily. Some sun-loving plants will tolerate a bit of shade, and some shade plants can handle a little sun, especially if it's in the morning. (Ask your nursery or read the plant tag to find out whether a plant you've fallen in love with will do well in your specific conditions!)

These shade-lovers will brighten up any dark corner of your yard or patio:

The large, dense clusters of flowers on these native shrubs last all season, even through fall and winter to provide three-season interest and texture. They come in a variety of sizes ranging from a few feet tall to 7 or 8 feet tall. Most tolerate a bit of sun, especially if it's not super-hot late afternoon sunlight. They're a nice transition from lawn to woodlands along a property line. Dwarf types do well in containers, too.

• Gatsby Gal: Spectacular, large white blooms that turn pinkish in fall

• Pee Wee: Dwarf variety that maxes out around 4 feet tall

These vigorous low-maintenance annuals bloom continuously until a hard frost without the need to pinch spent blooms. Flowers can be a variety of beautiful shades including rose, red, white, salmon or orange. Some types are grown more for their gorgeous foliage. Begonias thrive equally well in the landscape or in pots.

• Dragon Wing Red: Hardy, heat-tolerant true red flowers that bloom all season long

• Jurassic Green Streak Rex: Beautiful patterned leaves of green and white with a pinkish tinge

Frothy, delicate ferns are hardier than they appear, reappearing after even tough winters. These perennials come in an amazing array of shapes, sizes, and colors and absolutely adore shade. Many prefer somewhat moist ground but are drought-tolerant once established. Use as ground covers, borders or accents.

• Autumn: Feathery, coppery-red plant that matures to deep green

• Japanese Painted: Silvery or red-tinted fronds that stand out against other plantings

This exotic-looking perennial, also called hardy ground orchid, flowers in early spring in white, purple and various shades of pink. The blooms often last up to six weeks. It's a pretty, unusual landscape plant for warmer climates, or it can be overwintered indoors if planted in containers.

• White Pearl: Fast-multiplying type with pure white flowers

• Soryu: Lovely mauve-lavender flowers with white throats and deep purple ruffles

Spirea are dense, rounded shrubs that don't need coddled. They're extremely cold tolerant and will accept part sun conditions. Newer types come in bright colors and more compact sizes that stay neat as they grow. They work well in mass plantings, borders, or as pops of color in the landscape.

• Double Play Candy Corn: Red new growth turns to yellow, then orange, with purple flowers

• Double Play Red: New growth is purple with red flowers

With ruffled leaves and colorful foliage, heuchera, also called coral bells, is a bright perennial addition to any shade garden. Grown primarily for its pretty foliage, its mounding habit shoots up small flower spikes in spring to mid-summer. It's an attractive accent plant that will tolerate some sun, though its best color occurs in shade.

• Amber Waves: Golden ruffled leaves and compact habit

• Carnival Candy Apple: Reddish-pink rounded leaves offer nice color to dark areas

These perky snapdragon-like annuals in purple, white, pink and yellow last from spring to fall and attract hummingbirds. They're sometimes called wishbone flowers. Their trailing habit makes them perfect for window boxes and hanging baskets, but they also do well as a groundcover.

• Catalina Midnight Blue: True blue color with bright yellow throats

• Catalina Pink: Eye-catching two-tone dark pink and pale pink flowers with yellow centers

Huge heart-shaped leaves in splashy, vibrant colors offer plenty of drama. Caladiums are tropical so they love the heat. If you live in a cooler climate, place them in pots so they can be brought indoors and enjoyed as a houseplant in a bright spot over the winter.

• Artful Fire and Ice: Impressive large green and white leaves with red and pink veins

• Gingerland: Unique dwarf variety with green edges and dark red spatters

These charming perennials also are known as fairy wings or bishop's cap due to the beguiling shape of their flowers. The delicate flowers appear in early spring. They're cold hardy but they tend to not like foot traffic, so situate them where they won't be disturbed as a ground cover.

• Pink Champagne: Purple-splotched leaves and ethereal pink flower spikes

• Lilafee Lavender: violet flowers with elegant long spurs

Coleus is a sturdy annual that comes in every imaginable color ranging from lime green to deep burgundy with varying leaf shapes and heights available. Many types tolerate either sun or shade, so they're versatile as the ultimate low-maintenance landscape plant or ideal for providing height to mixed containers.

•Henna: Striking serrated foliage in shades of chartreuse, copper and burgundy

•Lime Delight: Bright color offers a contrast to the usual dark greens of the landscape


FlowerChick.com … Here’s the Scoop:

I’m Laura Hofman and my husband Jim and I developed FlowerChick.com to help Zone 5 & 6 gardeners create, maintain, and enjoy your garden …

We’ve been gardening in Zone 5 and at the edge of Zone 6 for over 30 years. During that time I’ve become a “go to” person among friends and family for practical, straightforward gardening advice. A long time friend dubbed me “Flower Chick” many years ago and the nickname kind of stuck! When we decided to develop a website to help other Zone 5 & 6 gardeners, FlowerChick.com became a reality …

We cordially invite you to explore our site. To your right, there’s a list of helpful gardening how-to articles on just about every topic imaginable! Our menu at the top of the page groups all our site’s articles by category. We add to FlowerChick.com frequently, so please check back often …

Most of all, have fun and enjoy your garden!

All the best,

Laura Hofman, aka “Flower Chick”

Follow me on Twitter … for outdoor & indoor plant tips, dog friendly garden advice, rose care suggestions, Zone 5 & Zone 6 garden visits and much more…@FlowerChick826

Jim Hofman (FlowerChick.com) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.


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