The transition between summer and fall is the perfect season for spending time relaxing outside – but as summer temperatures continue to hang on in many parts of the country, staying cool is still a priority. Shady spots under trees or on the north side of buildings are ideal places for relaxing shade gardens.
Avoid the late summer heat and enjoy your garden at the same time with these five shade-loving perennials!
A native plant in the eastern U.S., the woodland phlox has many varieties. The May Breeze grows to 16" tall and blooms in spring with small, fragrant white flowers. It has semi-evergreen foliage that grows in clumps, and the plant spreads by its roots. And in case your shade garden is located on your porch or patio, this plant also does well in containers!
Hostas are a popular shade plant with many, many varieties to choose from. The Guacamole Hosta is just one species out of the over 70 known as plantain lilies! Its wide, oval leaves are a pretty golden green, an avocado-like color that gives the plant its name. In summer, the Guacamole Hosta blooms with fragrant flowers on tall stalks reaching up to 36" high. The large, bright leaves of this hosta will stand out in any shade garden.
The Ivory Prince Christmas Rose is a fast-growing, spreading hellebore that reaches only a foot in height. Its flowers, which bloom in the spring, are white and soft pink, while the evergreen leaves are a deep green with silver veins. This perennial will tolerate some filtered sun, but it needs full shade to thrive. When first planted, it also needs consistent and thorough watering to establish a healthy root system.
The Deutschland Astilbe, also known as False Spirea, does best in light shade with a bit of sun to promote blooming. The astilbe needs regular watering, which makes it a little high-maintenance, but the reward is a perennial with deep green, fern-like leaves and prolific, unique flowerheads: branching clusters of small white flowers on tall stems.
The Celandine Poppy, also known as the Yellow Wood Poppy, is a native perennial wildflower commonly found in woodland areas. Its bright yellow flowers in late spring and early summer are easy to spot in a shaded garden, and its lobed leaves are a pretty forest green. The Celandine Poppy can tolerate some sun, but it can burn if it gets too much. The plant reaches about a foot in both height and width and self-seeds readily.
Shade garden plants may not always be as showy as some sun-loving perennials, but they definitely have their own special charm – and they give you a reason to stay out of that summer sun!