Fill those shady areas

You'll be surprised at how many plants actually love these tricky spots!

Shady spots can still enjoy beautiful plantings

by Karen Murphy |
Published on

If you’ve an area of your garden that’s in full or dappled shade there are many different and interesting plants you can grow with great success. Dappled shade is when light conditions are still fairly good, but overhanging branches and foliage filter the strong sunlight out.I

Many plants favour and indeed prefer shady spots to grow and thrive. They’re protected from direct sunlight, which can cause young foliage to scorch, and very often the soil retains moisture for longer because the heat of the sun doesn’t dry it out.

The range of plants that can be grown include spring bulbs, perennials and shrubs, and by carefully selecting the plants you can easily create an attractive woodland-style border that will provide colour and interest for most of the year.

Planting while the soil is still moist and mixing in some garden compost to improve the area will help new plants settle in for the summer. For the first growing season it’s important to water around the roots in dry weather to make sure the plants establish well.


Our pick of plants for shady spots

Bergenia cordifolia1 of 4

Bergenia cordifolia

Also known as elephant's ears, it's ideal and provides interest all year round. Varieties include 'Overture', with green foliage turning dark red in winter, or 'Silberlicht', that has white flowers in spring.

Hostas2 of 4


Most thrive in dappled shade, especially variegated forms that keep their colour better when given protection from sunlight. In damp soil and cooler conditions they'll grow well and make large clumps.

Astrantia3 of 4


A. major is a clump-forming perennial with pincushion-like flowers from late spring into the summer. They can grow 30-75cm (1-2½ft) tall depending on the variety. Good forms include 'Roma' and 'Claret'

Convallaria majalis4 of 4

Convallaria majalis

Best known as lily of the valley, it's an ideal ground cover plant, forming a carpet of foliage with the bonus of sweetly scented flowers in late spring. Try 'Albostriata', that has green leaves with cream stripes.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us