Perennials for Shady Garden areas in Zone 9
Bigroot Geranium– One of the longest bloomers in the garden, hardy geranium bears little flowers for months at a time. It produces jewel-tone, saucer-shape flowers and mounds of handsome, lobed foliage. It needs full sun, but otherwise it is a tough and reliable plant, thriving in a wide assortment of soils. Many of the best are hybrids. Perennial geraniums may form large colonies.
Light: Sun, Part Sun; Zones: 5-9; Plant Type: Perennial;
Plant Height: 6 inches to 4 feet tall; Plant Width: 1-4 feet wide; Landscape Uses: Containers, Beds & Borders, Slopes, Groundcover
Special Features: Flowers, Attractive Foliage, Fragrant, Fall Color, Winter Interest, Drought Tolerant, Tolerates Wet Soil, Deer Resistant, Easy to Grow
Toad Lily – No fall garden should be without toad lilies. These Asian curiosities bloom with orchid-like flowers that demand a close look, when the garden is winding down in fall. They do best in light shade in humus-rich soil that retains moisture, and are suitable for borders or less formal parts of the garden and among shrubs gradually becoming large clumps. Some self-seed but not aggressively.
Light: Part Sun, Shade; Zones: 4-9; Plant Type: Perennial;
Plant Height: 1-3 feet tall, depending on variety;Plant Width: 1-2 feet wide, depending on variety; Flower Color: White, mauve, yellow flowers, depending on variety; variegated leaves, depending on variety; Bloom Time: Blooms late summer through to late fall, depending on variety; Landscape Uses: Containers, Beds & Borders
Special Features: Attractive Foliage, Fall Color, Cut Flowers, Drought Tolerant, Tolerates Wet Soil, Deer Resistant, Easy to Grow
Ajuga is one of the most indispensable groundcovers around. It has many uses and looks great much of the year. Also known as carpetweed or bugleweed, ajuga forms a 6-inch-tall mat of glossy leaves that always seem to look neat and fresh. In many cases, the leaves are colored with shades of purple, white, silver, cream, or pink. Individual plants grow as a rosette, but they intertwine to form a solid carpet that withstands some foot traffic. Blue, lavender, pink, or white flower spikes adorn plants spring to early summer.
Ajuga is great in rock gardens, in the front of beds and borders, under leggy shrubs or small trees, along paths, and just about any other place in the landscape you want to cover the ground with attractive foliage and little flowers.
Light: Sun, Part Sun, Shade; Zones: 4-10; Plant Type: Perennial; Plant Height: 4-9 inches tall; Plant Width: 6-18 inches wide; Flower Color: Blue, purple, pink, or white flowers, depending on variety; foliage is often tinged with maroon, bronze, purple, pink or white; Bloom Time: Blooms appear in spring to early summer; Landscape Uses: Containers, Beds & Borders, Slopes, Groundcover
Special Features: Flowers, Attractive Foliage, Deer Resistant, and Easy to Grow
Old-Fashioned Bleeding Heart – It’s easy to see the origin of bleeding heart’s common name when you get a look at its heart-shape pink or white blooms with a protruding tip at the base of the heart. They grow best in partial to full shade in moist, well-drained soil. Some types bloom only in spring and others bloom spring, summer, and fall, provided temperatures aren’t too high.
Light: Part Sun, Shade; Zones: 3-9; Plant Type: Perennial; Plant Width: 1-3 feet wide; Landscape Uses: Containers, Beds & Borders
Special Features: Flowers, Attractive Foliage, Cut Flowers, Deer Resistant, Easy to Grow
Hosta – are the easiest plants to grow, as long as you have some shade and ample rainfall. Hostas can grow in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors. From tiny plants suitable for troughs or rock gardens. to massive 4-foot clumps with heart-shape leaves almost 2 feet long that can be puckered, wavy-edged, white or green variegated, blue-gray, chartreuse, emerald-edged. Every year there seems to be a new variety, with new, must-have features. This tough, shade-loving perennial, also known as plaintain lily, blooms with white or purplish lavender funnel-shape or flared flowers in summer. Some are intensely fragrant. Hostas are a favorite of slug and deer.
Light: Sun, Part Sun, Shade; Zones: 3-9; Plant Type: Perennial; Plant Height: To 5 feet tall; Plant Width: To 4 feet wide; Landscape Uses: Containers, Beds & Borders, Privacy, Slopes, Groundcover
Special Features: Flowers, Attractive Foliage, Fragrant, Cut Flowers, Drought Tolerant, Tolerates Wet Soil, Easy to Grow
Lungwort – In early spring, the brilliant blue, pink, or white flowers of lungwort bloom despite the coldest chill. The rough basal leaves, spotted or plain, always please and continue to be handsome through the season and into winter. Planted close as a weed-discouraging groundcover, or in borders as edgings or bright accent plants, lungworts are workhorses and retain their good looks. Provide high-humus soil that retains moisture. Although lungwort tolerates dry conditions, be alert for mildew.
Light: Sun, Part Sun, Shade; Zones: 2-9; Plant Type: Perennial; Plant Height: 6-12 inches tall, depending on variety; Plant Width: 1.5-2 feet wide, depending on variety;
Flower Color: White, rose, blue violet flowers, depending on variety; variegated leaves, depending on variety; Bloom Time: Blooms spring and summer, depending on variety; Landscape Uses: Containers, Beds & Borders, Groundcover
Special Features: Flowers, Attractive Foliage, Fragrant, Winter Interest, Drought Tolerant, Deer Resistant, and Easy to Grow
Yellow corydalis – It’s hard to find bright color for shade, so it’s a puzzle that brightly colored corydalis isn’t more widely planted. It’s is an outstanding shade plant. Blooms are small, but they appear in clusters. Leaves look similar to those of fringe-leaf bleeding heart. Plants self-seed readily, but excess seedlings are easy to remove. Provide the plant with moist, organic soil for best growth.
Light: Sun, Part Sun, Shade; Zones: 2-9; Plant Type: Perennial, Bulb; Plant Height: 12- 18 inches tall; Plant Width: 12 – 18 wide; Landscape Uses: Containers, Beds & Borders,
Special Features: Flowers, Attractive Foliage, Fragrant, Attracts Birds, Tolerates Wet Soil, Deer Resistant, Easy to Grow
is also know as a False Coleus, Purple Mint or Wild Coleus. It’s beautiful purple leaves will draw you to it in any garden. It is considered a half hardy annual which means it could make it thru milder winters. This plant is a member of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family and has many culinary uses. It is a commonly used ingredient of many Japanese and Korean dishes. Light: Light shade to full sun; Zones 3-10; Plant type: Annual Herb; Plant Height 20-24 inches tall; Landscape Uses: Containers & Beds Special Features: Attractive Foliage, Easy to propagate, self sows
Coleus – is probably one of the easiest plants to grow. They need fertile, well-draining soil. When growing coleus, keep in mind that these beauties can grow rapidly. Plant coleus close together as bedding plants or tuck them into baskets and containers for a fast growing and spectacular addition.
Caring for coleus is just as easy. They need to be kept moist, especially newly planted coleus.
Container plants also require more frequent watering than those grown in the garden.
Light: Partial shade to some sun; Plant Height 20+ inches; Zone: 9-13;
Plant type: Annual;
Landscape Uses: Containers, Borders, Bedding
Special Features: overwintering, as these plants, which are considered tender annuals, are highly susceptible to cold temperatures. Therefore, they must either be dug up, potted, and brought indoors for overwintering or grown through cuttings to establish additional plants.
Astilbe – Also known as false spirea and are one of the easiest perennial flowers to grow. They have long-blooming, plume-like flowers in soft shades of white, pink, and red, and the flowers are held on tall, stiff stalks above the airy foliage. Virtually pest-free, they can light up the shade garden or soften a sunny spot, and they are very low maintenance.
Light: Partial shade to full sun: Plant Height: Up to 2 feet; Zones 3-9;
Plant Type:Rhizomatous flowering plant;
Special Notes: Keep well watered in heat of summer. Astilbe plants prefer a slightly rich, moist soil, as well as a slightly acidic soil pH of around 6.0. They need phosphorus to bloom, so choose a fertilizer with the makeup of 5-10-5 or 10-10-10. Divide every four to five years, to keep the plants healthy.
Caladiums combine colorful arrowhead-shape leaves with easy growth requirements to star in containers and shade gardens from June through fall. Plant them in part shade or where they will receive filtered sun; bright sun can scorch their leaves. Those large leaves can also be damaged by strong winds, so site accordingly.
Light: Shade to Part Shade, some varieties will take full sun (See picture). Plant Height: 6-12 inches. Zones: 9-11. Special Notes: If leave in ground make sure not in wet area during winter or tubers will rot. Caladiums grow best in warm, moist, organically-rich acidic soil. For that reason, don’t plant these heat-lovers too early in the growing season.Plant at least three caladiums together for a bold statement. If you have space, a mass planting of five or seven plants is even better.
Notes: Sun loving Caladium the stem attaches in the middle of the “V” of the leaf. These are called Strap Leaf Caladiums and will need more water. Shade loving Caladium the stem attaches about an inch below the “V” of the leaf and are called Fancy Leaf Caladiums.
Hardy Ferns are essential in today’s modern garden design. When combined with bold foliage plants such as Hosta, Hydrangea or other contrasting foliage they provide just the right display of color for the season. Very low maintenance plants, their only requirement is partial shade and consistent moist soil. When you provide them their favorite spot, you’ll be rewarded with timeless beauty for years to come. There are many Hardy Fern varities to choose from with these being just a few: Holly Fern, Southern Shield Fern, Japanese Painted Fern, Autumn Fern, Maiden Hair Ferns, Lady Fern, Ostrich Fern, Boston Fern, Christmas Fern, and many, many more.