Whether you are a casual or avid gardener, there are universal facts that affect everyone.

First, it will rain an hour after you cut your grass and/or pull the weeds from your flower beds – even when the TV meteorologist says there’s zero-percent chance of showers.

Second, when you need a go-to flower to spruce up a shady spot in your garden, hostas and impatiens will always do the trick.

However, they aren’t the only plants that will flourish without a lot of sun. The key is to choose the right plant or flower for the right location. Full shade means the area never receives direct light, while part shade means it doesn’t get more than three or four hours of direct sunlight each day.

Some sun-loving plants can tolerate a little shade and some shade-loving plants can handle a bit of sun, usually if it’s in during the morning hours. Always read the plant tags at the nursery or garden shop you are purchasing from or ask the gardener there to clarify any questions.

These lovely shade-flourishers will brighten up your dark garden spots just as beautifully as your sun-lovers do:

Oakleaf Hydrangeas

The dense clusters of flowers on these shrubs last through fall and winter and come in a variety of sizes ranging from a few feet tall to as tall as seven or eight feet. Most of the species can handle a bit of sun, as long as it isn’t the hot afternoon sun.

Country Living suggests:

  • Gatsby Gal: Spectacular, large white blooms that turn pinkish in fall
  • Pee Wee: Dwarf variety that maxes out around 4 feet tall


These gorgeous low-maintenance annuals will bloom until there’s a hard frost and come in a  variety of colorful shades for any desired effect. Begonias are also a great patio plant since they thrive equally in the ground or in a pot.

Country Living suggests:

  • 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


Ferns are widely popular for a reason. Not only are they hardier than their delicate appearance, but they will reappear after a harsh winter. These perennials come in every size, shape, and color you can imagine and are the perfect shade-loving plant for your borders or accents.

Country Living suggests:

  • Autumn: Feathery, coppery-red plant that matures to deep green
  • Japanese Painted: Silvery or red-tinted fronds that stand out against other plantings

Click over to Page 2 for more colorful shade-lovers that will make your garden the envy of the neighborhood!