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University of Illinois Extension
Beyond Impatiens and Petunias

Perennials for Shade

There are many interpretations of part shade. As a guide, part shade can refer to those areas that are shaded for 4-6 hours per day. Morning sun or dappled light obstructed by trees are examples. Full shaded areas receive no direct sun. North sides of buildings or areas under fully leafed out trees would be examples.

Yellow Fumitory

Yellow Fumitory - Corydalis lutea

Height: 12-18 inches.

Width: 12-18 inches.

Bloom: yellow, May-Sept.

Notes: Lacy foliage, long season of bloom, will reseed. Best in part shade.


Toad Lily

Toad Lily - Tricyrtis hirta

Height: 18-24 inches.

Width: 18-24 Inches.

Bloom: White, Bi-color, Pink, Aug- Oct.

Cultivars: 'Gilt Edge', 'Dark Beauty', 'Tojen', 'Miyazaki'.

Notes: Good late season blooming perennial with orchid-like flowers. Best in part to full shade.


Lungwort

Lungwort - Pulmonaria saccharata

Height: 12-18 inches.

Width: 18-24 inches.

Bloom: Pink, Blue, Apr-June.

Cultivars: 'Trevi Fountain', 'Raspberry Splash'.

Notes: Attractive spotted foliage, good early bloom, flowers change colors as they age. Best in part shade.


Saxifraga

Saxifraga - Bergania cordifolia

Height: 12-18 inches.

Width: 12-18 inches.

Bloom: Pink, Apr-May.

Cultivars: 'Magic Giant'.

Notes: Glossy, semi-evergreen foliage, early flowering. Best in part shade.


Siberian Forget-me-Not

Siberian Forget-me-Not - Brunnera macrophylla

Height: 12-18 inches.

Width: 12-18 inches.

Bloom: Blue, May-June.

Cultivars: 'Jack Frost', 'Variegata'.

Notes: Attractive heart-shaped foliage, clusters of tiny blue flowers. Best in part to full shade.


False Spirea

False Spirea - Astilbe sp.

Height: 12-36 inches.

Width: 18-24 inches.

Bloom: Pink, White, Red, Lavender, June-July.

Cultivars: 'Fanal', 'Red Sentinel', 'Visions', 'Rhineland'.

Notes: Large plume-like flowers, lacy foliage, heavy feeder, prefers moist soil. Best in part to full shade.


Fern-Leaf Bleeding Heart

Fern-Leaf Bleeding Heart - Dicentra eximia

Height: 12-18 inches.

Width: 12-18 inches.

Bloom: Pink, May-Aug.

Cultivars: 'Luxuriant', 'King of Hearts'.

Notes: Long season of attractive flowers, fine textured foliage. Best in part shade.


Lady' Mantle

Lady' Mantle - Alchemilla mollis

Height: 12-18 inches.

Width: 18-24 inches.

Bloom: Chartreuse, June.

Notes: Old, reliable perennial with felt-like foliage. Best in part shade.


Jacob's Ladder

Jacob's Ladder - Polemonium reptans

Height: 12-24 inches.

Width: 12-18 inches.

Bloom: Blue, White, May-June.

Cultivars: 'Heaven Scent', 'Stairway to Heaven'.

Notes: Attractive foliage, scented flowers. Best in part shade .


Solomon's  Seal

Solomon's Seal - Polygonatum sp.

Height: 2-3 feet.

Width: 18-24 inches.

Bloom: White, May-Jun.

Cultivars: 'Variegatum'.

Notes: Graceful, arching foliage, flowers followed by berries, good naturalizer. Best in part to full shade.


Japanese Anemone

Japanese Anemone - Anemone sp.

Height: 2-3 feet.

Width: 2-3 feet.

Bloom: White, Pink, Aug-Oct.

Cultivars: 'Honorine Jobert', 'September Charm'.

Notes: Good late season bloomer, will spread. Best in part shade.


Blue-Eyed Grass

Blue-Eyed Grass - Sisyrinchium striatum

Height: 6-12 inches.

Width: 12-18 inches.

Bloom: Blue, May-June.

Cultivars: 'Lucerne'.

Notes: Star-like flowers on top of grass-like foliage. Good accent plant. Best in part shade.


Foamflower

Foamflower - Tiarella cordifolia

Height: 6-12 inches.

Width: 12-18 inches.

Bloom: Pink, White, May.

Cultivars: 'Iron Butterfly', 'Pink Skyrocket', 'Sugar and Spice'.

Notes: Attractive foliage, some with good fall color. Best in part to full shade.


Japanese Painted Fern

Japanese Painted Fern - Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum'

Height: 12-18 inches.

Width: 12-18 inches.

Bloom: none.

Notes: Attractive multi-colored foliage. Best in part to full shade.


Christmas Fern

Christmas Fern - Polystichum acrostichoides

Height: 18-24 inches.

Width: 18-24 inches.

Bloom: none.

Notes: Semi-evergreen, leathery foliage. Best in part to full shade.