Perennial Shade Plants

Written by Helen Glenn Court
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Perennial shade plants include hosta, which are the most numerous, and lungwort. Both are full shade plants that tolerate a certain amount of limited sun. The range of perennials that enjoy partial shade is far wider.

Varieties of Perennial Shade Plants

The aquilegia are one group of perennials that do very well in partial shade. One is Aquilegia canadensis, which has fern-like foliage and gracefully drooping blossoms of rose and yellow spurs. Aquilegia flabellata is just as hardy, about 12 inches tall, and has a five-petal lilac-blue and cream blossom. Ferns, of course, do well in dappled and full shade.

The delicate feathery rose-pink to deep red plumes of astilbe figure high on any list of perennial shade plants. Liriope, with its grass-like foliage and blue flower spikes, is tolerant on pH and soil type and moisture. Ivy, of course, is one of the most well-known perennial shade plants and survives for decades and longer once it takes hold.

The spring-blooming lungwort--botanical name Pulmonaria--is an especially hardy perennial and thus very dependable. Its blooms range from light pink to a deep blue. It too is very tolerant as to soil type, pH levels, and moisture. It is, furthermore, resistant to deer and rabbits. Often used as an edging plant, lungwort does well massed, in rock gardens, and in containers.

Hostas, with their low stature and broad thick leaves, are well known as a hardy perennial that thrives in shade and tends to overwhelm small gardens. Hundreds of varieties are available, both variegated and solid leaf. Average height is about 12 inches.

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