Established in 1935

Order by 3pm for Same Day Delivery

UK Delivery from £4.99

What to plant and grow in shaded areas

Tuesday, 25 June 2019 13:44:28 Europe/London

What can I grow in a border that gets very little, if any, sunlight? It might surprise you that some plants and shrubs love the shade!

When planting in shaded areas, as well as sunny spots, you need to choose the right plants. Different species can cope with varying degrees of light - and so you also need to consider what you are dealing with: eg. dappled, light, partial or complete shade etc. Your soil is a consideration, too: does the shaded area you want to plant in have dry or damp soil? Once you know what the conditions are, you can plant accordingly. 

Here are some ideas for you:


Shrubs for dry or damp conditions



Bright yellow flowers during late autumn into spring, followed by blue-purple berries. Very bee friendly!

Snowberry/waxberry or ghostberry

White or pink berries in winter and is a good source of bird food as well as being great for bees.


One of the most diverse shrubs available, from evergreens to wonderful shades as the deciduous leaves fall in autumn. Great for insects and garden animals.


An evergreen shrub which is slow growing and compact, at 1-2m high, and a member of the box family; Bears fragrant flowers often in the winter.

Shrubs for dry shade


Cotoneaster Horizontalis

Deciduous or evergreen shrubs/small trees, with clusters of small white or pink flowers in spring and summer, followed by showy red, purple or black berries. The berries are extremely popular with garden birds.

Pyracantha Firethorn

Aside from its superb foliage, also bears magnificent colored berries in Autumn.


A tough, evergreen, Autumn flowering shrub. Suitable for exposed sites.

Garrya Elliptica 

Known as silk tassel bush, a vigorous evergreen shrub with simple leathery leaves and small greenish cascading catkins.

Hypericum Calycinum

A spreading dwarf shrub, thriving in sun and shade with large golden yellow flowers from June to September. Excellent for ground cover. Its common name is “Rose of Sharon”.


A very beautiful spring-blooming evergreen shrub that releases a jasmine-like scent. It is very hardy and grows relatively slowly, so is easy to care for. The common name is “Devilwood”.

Flowering quince

A member of the rose family; easy to care for and flowers in early spring.

Shrubs for damp shade


Spotted Laurel

A terrific evergreen hedge with glossy, thick, dark green leaves with yellow spots and bright red berries from late summer to early spring - and small maroon flowers in spring.


One of the most popular landscape shrubs available. Slow growing, and noted for their compact forms, ease of care and adaptability. Often trimmed like a ball, but just as beautiful in the ground as it is in pots.

Tea Plant 

A hardy evergreen plant producing tea leaves which can be picked in spring.

Rice Paper Plant -

Undoubtedly one of the most spectacular architectural, hardy, exotic plants possible to grow here in the U.K. 


Easy to care for when given suitable growing conditions. Choose from easy to grow species including popular lacecap and mopheads, as well as unusual and exotic varieties.



Some bulbs burst into life in shaded areas, and you’ll have seen evidence of this if you walk in woodlands. For varying degrees of dry shade, Bluebells and Snowdrops fare well, as do some Cyclamens and Anemones. For damp shade, go for: Giant Lily and Eranthis (winter aconite), which produces vivid buttercup-like flowers in late winter. 


Many of these plants provide a welcome pop of colour for the shaded areas of your garden.For dry shade, there is: Foxglove and Honesty. For damp shade, try: Begonia; Busy Lizzies; Mimulus; or Pansy.


Perennials fare particularly well in the shade, and you'll find a huge variety for darker areas of your garden. We are fond of Bergenia Cordifolia (known as Heartleaf Bergenia or Elephant’s Ears), a clump-forming evergreen perennial noted for its incredible hardiness and vigor, plus beautiful bronze Autumn foliage.

Lily of the Valley can thrive in damp or dry shade. And for dry shade in particular, you can plant: Lady’s Mantle, Siberian Bugloss, Great Forget-Me-Not and Dicentra. Additionally, try Ferns - which have neither seeds nor flowers - add greenery and interest and are also tolerant of many soil conditions.

For damp shade, try: 

False goat's beard (Astilbe)

Hardy herbaceous perennials cultivated by gardeners for their large, handsome, often fern-like foliage and dense, feathery plumes of flowers.


A vigorous plant which produces many flowers. Astrantia major 'Star of Beauty' (Great Masterwort) features large clusters of tiny white flowers with magenta-purple tips.

Bronze Sedge or 

Carex Comans Bronze-Leaved

A versatile grass which forms dense tussocks of narrow, bronze-brown leaves and is happy in most situations: sun or shade. 

Carex Comans Bronze-Leaved is a delightful ornamental plant which forms a dense tuft of reddish-brown leaves and brown flower spikes in late summer.

Wood Cranesbill

Can be annuals, biennials and perennials, herbaceous or evergreen.


Use in damp or shady borders, where many other plants might struggle. Hostas produce flowers, but are usually grown for their foliage.There are many hosta varieties to choose from, all with different leaf patterns, colours and sizes.

California Privet; Primrose; Jerusalem Sage; Meadow-Rue; and Bellwort.


Other options to try!


If you ever need gardening advice, please give us a call or drop us an email - or pop in to see us if you live close to any of our flower shops or Livingston Garden Centre


Posted in News By

Tech Support