6 Colorful Shade Plants

A shaded yard with trees and a brick pathway.

When you’re looking to add plants or flowers to your garden, yard, or the landscaping of your home, there may be a lot of space to fill. And, most likely, some of that space may be draped in shade the majority of the time. For that reason, plants that are known to thrive in the shade must be chosen to fill those spots to avoid any dying or troublesome shrubs. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to sacrifice on color, style, and aesthetic! There are many plants that not only don’t require much sunlight to survive, but that also bring a pleasing pop of color to your yard. Keep reading to learn about some of these shade plants and how to care for them.

1. Astilbe

Pink astible flowers.

These are vibrant plants that come in a variety of colors and vary in times of bloom, depending on which types you choose. Most typically in shades of pink or red, these plants have a fern-like look to them, adding varied texture to your landscape. For optimal growth, this plant should be placed in soil that provides an average to slightly below average level of moisture. It should also be soil that drains well and doesn't puddle or become waterlogged in rain. These flowers are even suitable to be clipped once they bloom and brought inside to form a beautiful arrangement!

2. Primula/Primrose

Yellow primrose flowers.

This is the perfect shade plant that comes in almost every color of the rainbow and 425 species. They also range in size; the dwarf version can be as tiny as three inches and taller versions can be up to four feet. They will fit perfectly into any size garden or yard. These flowers typically bloom in early spring and can last all the way to the early fall. Also, they are likely to return and even multiply year after year. These are adaptable plants that thrive in damp woodland conditions. Primrose should be planted in soil that drains well, but the soil should be kept moist. During the warm summer months when there is little rain, these plants should be watered at least once a week or more. Watering should taper off once it begins to cool at the beginning of fall.

3. 'Mrs. Popple' Fuchsia

Fusica flowers.

This is the perfect plant to add a pop of scarlet and purple, especially for a shady bordered lawn or garden. These flowers hang from arching stems and are surrounded by deep green leaves, which add another element of beauty to them. They typically bloom between June and October, and should be planted in rich, well-draining soil. Mrs. Popples attract moths and bees and grow quickly.

4. Sempervivum

Sempurvium succulents.

Commonly referred to as "houseleek" or "hens and chicks," these succulent plants easily survive in the shade. They will also easily grow in very little soil or even among rocks or sand as long as it is well-draining—they do not like much water and won't survive in a rainy climate. They actually require little to no maintenance and care on an ongoing basis. They will begin to bloom in the spring, typically two to six weeks after being planted.

5. Alpine Forget-Me-Not

Tiny blue flowers.

To include something blue in your garden, this may be a great choice. These are small flowers that dot your garden with their azure beauty. However, as dainty as they are, don’t be fooled by their looks! They can stand up to rugged conditions that don’t necessarily allow many other plants to thrive, as they like damp and shaded areas. (It’s no wonder they're the state flower of Alaska!) This plant easily reseeds itself, so it’s bound to return year after year in larger quantities. They are known to bloom May through October and can grow up to two feet tall as the blooms rest at the end of long, droopy green stems. These flowers are low-maintenance as they don’t require frequent watering, although they love humid areas. They should be fertilized twice a season, once in spring and once in autumn.

6. Viola

Purple and white viola flowers.

With 500+ species, these heart-shaped or scalloped flowers also come in many different colors, but are perhaps most recognized in their shade of violet. Violas, notably, can flourish in colder climates, making them the perfect start to spring or end of fall in your garden. These plants will thrive in rich, moist, well-draining soil and require regular waterings—but only after the soil has become dry again. In high temperatures, increase watering frequency and add mulch to offset any stress or damage the heat can do to these flowers.