GARDENS BY THE BAY
SHADE PERENNIALS & THEIR COMPANIONS - 3
|Shade has finally come into its own as a garden environment. And a wonderful place it is for any of the shade-lovers below or on the two previous pages of perennials, ornamental grasses and bulbs that prefer the coolness of a shady bower. Plant them with the recommended companions for extra emphasis.
* Watch for the animated hummingbird and butterfly with the plants that attract them. *
The deer icon indicates plants that deer are not usually attracted to.
The best time and method to propagate plants can be found on our image-intensive PROPAGATION page.
To help your plants grow their best, check out our FERTILIZATION page.
To create your own plant partnerships based on tried and true color theory, check out our GARDEN COLOR page.
To see if a particular plant is on this page press Ctrl+F, type in the name, then click the Find button.
All Solomon's Seal forms have a graceful look about them. Alternate leaves grow all along the arching stems, and clusters of bell-shaped white or greenish flowers dangle beneath in late spring. Give them moist humus-rich soil in part to full shade.
Polygonatum: Solomon's Seal
with: Astilbe x arendsii, Bergenia cordifolia including 'Bressingham Ruby', Phlox divaricata
Polygonatum biflorum: Small Solomon's Seal, 12-36"
including 'Laphamii' (a rich crystal blue)
with: Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum' (cream-striped leaves)
Polygonatum commutatum: Giant (Great) Solomon's Seal, 3-4'x2-3'
synonym: Polygonatum giganteum
where : moist woodlands, borders
Polygonatum humile: dwarf Solomon's Seal, 8", a rare & choice form
Polygonatum odoratum: Fragrant Solomon's Seal, Japanese Solomon's Seal, 18-30"
Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum': Fragrant Solomon's Seal, 24"x12"
where: shade or woodland gardens, under shrubs
prefers: constantly moist sites but will grow in dry shade of trees
with: Polygonatum biflorum (a more vigorous form)
with: Astilbe, Hosta, Pulmonaria, Iris, Dicentra
with: Tulipa (white & green)
with: wildflowers, ferns, Iris x germanica
combined with: Astilbe chinensis 'Pumila', Asarum europaeum, Athyrium goeringianum 'Pictum',
Polygonatum odoratum (var. thunbergii) 'Variegatum': the most fragrant form
Hosta sieboldiana 'Elegans' & Convallaria majalis
where : shady sites
generally with : bold foliage plants (to compliment its architectural quality)
with : Hosta, ferns, Heuchera, Alchemilla mollis
combined with : Adiantum pedatum & Hosta spp.
A plant with "presence", Solomon's Seal can be used as described on the following page.
white Solomon's Seal
Solomon's Seal with variegated foliage
Lovely Lungwort will enchant in spring with often spotted foliage and variously-coloured nodding flowers. Some forms have blooms that start out pink, then change to blue. Other forms have flowers whose colour remains consistently white, pink, blue or red. If your plants go dormant early, your soil is too dry. Move them into evenly moist conditions in partial to full shade.
Pulmonaria: Lungwort, Bethlehem Sage
Pulmonaria: Lungwort, Bethlehem Sage, blue
foliage contrast with : Alchemilla mollis, Bergenia cordifolia, Hosta
with: Primula including Primula x polyantha
with shade-loving forms of: Ornamental Grasses, Phlox including P. divaricata
in woodlands with: ferns, Erythronium, Polygonatum odoratum
with : Anemone blanda, Aquilegia, Astilbe, Aster (shade-loving forms)
with: Brunnera macrophylla, Dicentra eximia, Heuchera, Iris x germanica,
combined with: Heuchera 'Chocolate Ruffles', Heuchera 'Ruby Veil', Hosta & Astilbe
over: Lysimachia nummularia 'Aurea'
Pulmonaria 'Sissinghurst White'
picture this beauty anywhere in your shaded garden with the companions suggested above
in front of: Eremurus himalaicus (white) & Tulipa (cream)
Pulmonaria saccharata: Bethlehem Sage, 10"x12"
with: Heuchera micrantha 'Palace Purple'
Pulmonaria saccharata 'Mrs. Moon'
combined with: Delphinium elatum 'Blue Connecticut Yankee' & Liatris spicata (rosy-purple)
A more subtle perennial than most, the Lungwort can be found in other forms at the link below.
Pulmonaria with silver foliage
Pulmonaria with variegated foliage
Let the word "fast-spreading" forewarn you about this perennial for partial shade. Keep it out of your formal gardens and put it with companions that aren't apt to be overcome by its aggressively creeping nature.
Ranunculus repens: Buttercup, 18-24" tall
Try the link below for more ideas.
Magnificent Rodgersia, also known as Roger's Flower, is a bold foliage perennial that demands consistently moist to wet soil. If you possess such conditions, such as a bog or water garden, consider this plant. Its airy plumes when in bloom are a sight not available to those of us with mostly sunny and dry gardens.
Rodgersia: Rodgersia, Roger's Flower
where: bog and water gardens, along streams, in dappled shade of high trees
with: Iris x germanica
with: water-loving Iris, Filipendula, Trollius, Astilbe, Hosta, Primula, ferns
with: Ligularia stenocephala 'The Rocket'
Another perennial for shade that has arching leaf-clothed stems is Solomon's Plume, or False Solomon's Seal. Sometimes known also as False Spikenard, Solomon's Zigzag and Treacleberry, this spring-blooming native wildflower prefers neutral to acidic soil in light to full shade, although bloom will be better with some sun. Correct pronunciation for this genus can be either smye-luh-SEE-nuh or smye-luh-SIGH-nuh.
Smilacina: Solomon's Plume, False Solomon's Seal, 2-4' tall
where: light to full shade, under trees and flowering shrubs
with woodland plants: ferns, Epimedium, wildflowers
with: Aquilegia, Hosta, Dicentra, Pulmonaria
Visit the link below for more information.
white Solomon's Plume
Foamflower, or Allegheny Foamflower, provides wonderful fuzzy spring flowers on stalks rising out of somewhat heart-shaped foliage. If your soil is slightly acidic, so much the better since this is what they prefer. Try this plant soon. You won't be disappointed.
Tiarella cordifolia: Allegheny Foamflower, 6-10"x12" tall
Tiarella cordifolia 'Mint Chocolate'
I love this perennial! It will delight you as well in its many forms. Check out the link below for more.
where: groundcover in shade, under shrubs and flowering trees, woodland gardens
with shade-loving types of: Phlox i.e. P. divaricata including 'Laphamii, P. stolonifera
with: ferns, woodland plants, wildflowers
with: Uvularia grandiflora
with: Pulmonaria, Aquilegia canadensis, Dicentra eximia, Hosta, Iris, Sanguinaria canadensis
with: Anemone blanda, Asarum canadense, Dicentra, x Heucherella, Iris cristata 'Abbey's Violet' (the best blue form)
combined with: Trillium (white), Polemonium reptans & Phlox divaricata
in light shade with: Iris x germanica
For light to partial shade, you just can't beat Common Toad Lily. Flowers are purple-spotted white and appear, unlike those of many shade perennials, in late summer and fall. Plant them where they can be seen up close.
Tricyrtis hirta: Toad Lily, Common Toad Lily, Japanese Toad Lily, 2-3'x1-2'
where: shady areas where they can be seen up close
with: Astilbe, Dicentra, Hosta ferns, woodland plants
A native wildflower, Trillium makes any shaded area come alive with its white, sometimes red, spring flowers.
Trillium grandiflorum: Trillium, White Wake-robin, 18-24"
where: along woodland paths, shade gardens, under shrubs, especially spring-blooming ones
with: wildflowers, ferns i.e. Adiantum pedatum
with shade perennials: Phlox maculata (wild Sweet William), Phlox divaricata, Geranium maculatum,
Trillium cuneatum: Whippoorwill Flower, maroon flowers & mottled foliage
small Hosta i.e. 'Louisa'
combined with: Aquilegia canadensis, Asarum canadense, Brunnera macrophylla, Epimedium, Mertensia virginica
with other bulbs: Endymion hispanicus (a white form), Galanthus nivalis
with: Polemonium caeruleum
combined with: Polemonium reptans, Phlox divaricata & Tiarella cordifolia
combined with: Phlox divaricata, Asarum & Pulmonaria
where: shady bowers
with: Anemone blanda 'White Splendor' (pure white with yellow centres)
This woodlander is also included on the following page.
Trilliums with variegated foliage
Merrybells or Bellwort grows well in moist humus-rich soil. A woodland wildflower, it has nodding lemon-yellow flowers. The foliage continues to grow after the flowering period is over.
Uvularia grandiflora: Bellwort, Merrybells, Great Merrybells, 18-24"x12"
Lots of ideas and information can be found at the link below.
Common Periwinkle, whether its foliage is a shiny solid green or a lovely white-variegated form, is an excellent ground-cover plant for shade. Many forms have blue-purple flowers, but there are choices in white, red-violet, light blue or purple as well.
Vinca minor: Common Periwinkle, blue-purple flowers, 4-6" tall
More information about this genus and its forms can be found at:
seen above left: surrounding emerging Hosta foliage
seen above right: a variegated clump-forming type
FOR MORE PERENNIALS THAT PREFER SHADY SPOTS IN YOUR GARDEN, FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW.
All of our own Gardens By The Bay pages can be accessed by clicking on the links below.
GARDEN POETRY |
GARDEN POETRY MUSE
GEORGIAN BAY VIEW
BOTANICAL LATIN - BASICS
CORNER GARDEN CONSTRUCTION  |
CORNER GARDEN PLANTING |
EAST GARDEN |
HOSTA GARDEN |
NORTH GARDEN |
BLUE PERENNIALS Aconitum -
Iris - Vinca
BULBS Allium - Hyacinthus |
Narcissus only |
Tulipa only |
BUTTERFLY MAGNETS Anaphalis - Hemerocallis |
Liatris - Veronicastrum
DAYLILIES Spider & Unusual Form
EDGERS Arabis - Iris |
Nepeta - Veronica
Alchemilla - Tanacetum
HOSTA Hosta - all
HUMMINGBIRD-FRIENDLY PERENNIALS Alcea - Salvia
ORANGE PERENNIALS Achillea - Tulipa
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES Acorus - Imperata |
Miscanthus - Spodiopogon
PINK PERENNIALS Achillea - Lilium |
Lychnis - Veronica
PURPLE PERENNIALS Aconitum - Liatris |
Polemonium - Veronica
RED PERENNIALS Achillea - Veronica
SHADE PERENNIALS Aegopodium - Erythronium |
Ferns - Polemonium |
Polygonatum - Vinca
SILVER FOLIAGE PERENNIALS
Achillea - Cerastium
Cornus - Limonium
Lunaria - Veronica
SIMPLY SPECIAL PERENNIALS Acanthus - Saxifraga
WHITE PERENNIALS Achillea - Iris |
Kalimeris - Yucca
YELLOW PERENNIALS Achillea - Hypericum |
Inula - Verbascum
VARIEGATED-FOLIAGE PERENNIALS Acorus - Erythronium |
Hakonechloa - Lysimachia |
Miscanthus - Yucca
Dianthus 'Tiny Rubies' |
Geum coccineum |
Kerria japonica |
Paeonia tenuifolia |
Papaver somniferum |
Salvia 'East Friesland'
Veronica 'Sunny Border Blue'
DIVISION - SPRING ONLY |
DIVISION - FALL ONLY |
DIVISION - SPRING OR FALL |
DO NOT DIVIDE
ORNAMENTAL GRASSES |
LOCAL GARDENS |
GARDENING BOOKS |