25 Shade Tolerant plants ideal for UK gardens

25 Shade Tolerant plants ideal for UK gardens

Do you have a shaded area in your garden where nothing seems to Grow?

I know the feeling as i have been faced with the same issue in my own garden. Here I reveal 25 plants that have been able to cope with this same problem. Hopefully once you have seen these gorgeous shade tolerant plants you will be able to put colour and interest back in your garden.

Let’s get started…...

1. Coral Bells plant – Heuchera Family

Primarily evergreen perennials which come in a multitude of foliage colours. They grow in shade and are extremely Low maintenance . Heuchera Plum Pudding and Marmalade are my favourites.

Coral Bells Plant

2. Dead Nettle – Lamium

This is another perennial and is related to the Nettle family. Distinctive green . white foliage with purple pink flowers. Bit of a ground cover plant and will make ground quickly.


3. Foam flower – Tiarella cordifolia

A cracking perennial plant and a good upright grower. Use in clumps for drift style planting , Does exceptionally well under trees. Loves ideally cool, rich, moist humus based soil with plenty of leaf mould. Produces individual blooms on one stem. If your looking to add a splash of colour then this next one is a great spring winner. Ideal and proven winner as a great perennial shade loving plant

Foam flower

4. Lungwort – Pulmonaria Species

Pulmonaria can be herbaceous or semi-evergreen rhizomatous perennials with terminal clusters of funnel-shaped flowers in late winter or early spring, and often strikingly patterned leaves developing in summer. Some great varieties to choose from to include: Blue Ensign, Sissinghurst White, Rubra and Silver Bouquet.


5. False Goat’s Beard – Astilbe

Another great shade loving plant that flowers well. Butterflies love this plant and draws them in en masse. These comes in some great colours to include Bressingham White, Fanal (Deep crimson) and Peach Blossom.

False Goat's Beard

6. Foxglove – Digitalis

A shade loving plant with flowers. These plants do well in woodland style gardens and produce a tufted clump of leaves and then tall flower spike up to 6ft in one season. They come in a multitude of colours. Digitalis alba is a great white form and planted in clumps look amazing especially under birch trees. Purpurea is the common form with its deep pink / purple flowers. Mertonensis is a chocolate form. These flowers are Bee magnets. Once flowering is finished leave the dead flower heads on so the plant will seed freely.


7. Bell flower – Campanula

There are many varieties of bellflower, most of which thrive in shade. Campanula lactiflora alba (pictured) bears pretty clusters of purple-blue bell-shaped flowers, above heart-shaped green leaves, from summer to autumn. It’s perfect for growing toward the back of a border and works well in traditional or cottage garden planting schemes. Like all bellflowers, its blooms are a magnet for bees and other pollinators.

Campanula lactiflora alba

8. Solomons Seal – Polygonatum

Solomons Seal is an old cottage garden plant, bearing graceful, arching stems with paired, oval leaves and dangling, green-tipped, white bell-shaped flowers from late spring to early summer. It’s perfect for growing in a partially shaded border or woodland planting scheme, and looks lovely paired with corydalis and bleeding heart.

Solomons Seal

9. Spurge – Euphorbia family

A useful perennial for the garden and most flowers will display a lime green / sulpher coloured yellow flower. These can be large upright forms like Euphorbia Wulfenii or dwarf forms like Euphorbia Robbiae. These are toxic plants so will produce a white milky sap. use of gloves advisable when working around these plants and avoid using in a garden when children play.


10. Lady’s Mantle – Alchemilla mollis

Lady’s Mantle is a perennial that has many uses. Some use it to decorate wreaths and others use it for décor. While others use it as a live edging.

Ladys Mantle

11. Hydrangea – Hydrangea family

These large deciduous shrubs make fantastic additions to most gardens. They come as Mop head and Lace cap forms. They are deciduous and prefer to moist shade. As the name suggest Hydra . Hydro, water loving. Annabelle is a blousy white form and King George a cracking light pink form. Preioza a deep red form and if you have acidic soil then a deep blue form will do well called Blue Wave


12. The Cranesbill – Geranium (Herbaceous forms)

Excellent groundcover plants that come in a large selection of colours. Used alkot in woodland and Cottage garden planting schemes. We use a lot of these for garden design clients. Wargrave Pink, Johnsons Blue and Bevans variety are a selection of our favourites. Geranium chocolate candy has lovely small chocolate foliage set off with deep pink flowers. Great for using in a garden border for contrasting.

The Cranesbill

13. Himalayan Blue Poppy – Meconopsis bailyana

This poppy bears spectacular, bowl-shaped blue flowers with bright yellow centres, in late spring to early summer. It makes a dramatic statement when grown en masse, and does best when grown in moist, neutral to acid soil in a partially shaded spot.

Himalayan Blue Poppy

14. Hostas

Great large foliage perennial plants for adding an injection interest to garden borders. Favoured by slugs sadly but use of organic treatments will help keep these critters at bay. Alternatively plants these up in big pots to locate in back to middle of border in order to give the bed height and interest. Bird friendly pellets or wool are effective pest deterrents. These are ideal shade plants for pots in courtyard gardens.


15. Busy Lizzies – Impatiens

Primarily annuals these are good bedding plants for a shade bed for summer colour and interest. These come in a multitude of colours,

Busy Lizzies

16. Meadow Rue – Thalictrum

Meadow Rue is a perennial that loves to grow in swamp-like areas or along shaded, wooded areas. It is a pretty flower that comes in pastel colors. Another added bonus of Meadow Rue is that it is not prone to diseases or pests. The only thing is to make sure that you keep it watered as it hates drying out and can develop rust.

Meadow Rue

17. Japanese Spurge – Pachysandra terminalis

Pachysandra are mat-forming evergreen perennials or subshrubs with creeping stems and short upright branches bearing leathery leaves clustered at the tips, and erect spikes of small flowers, the males with prominent white stamens

Pachysandra terminalis

18. Hattie’s Pincushion – Astrantia

Astrantia are clump-forming herbaceous perennials with palmately lobed basal leaves and branched, erect, wiry stems bearing compact umbels of tiny flowers surrounded by a rosette of showy bracts

Hattie's Pincushion

19. The Oregon Grape- Mahonia

A family primarily of evergreen shrubs which produce rich yellow flowers in winter or early spring. A good backbone plant to provide interest and height. It is also ideal for use in gardens that get regular deer as its deer resistant

The Oregon Grape

20. The Snowberry – Symphoricarpus

A spreading deciduous shrub with rooting branches, small, ovate leaves and tiny white flowers in late summer, followed by white fruit speckled with red

The Snowberry

21. Christmas Rose – Helleborus

A winter-flowering , evergreen shade plant and staple in the cottage garden, hellebores thrive in dry shade, bearing large clusters of saucer-shaped flowers with white, pink, green, mauve or smoky purple flowers.


22. Cyclamen – Cyclamen coum

Hardy cyclamen is a pretty hardy perennial, bearing delicate silver-lined dark green leaves and dainty blooms in shades of white, pink and red, from late winter to early spring. It’s perfect for growing in shade as ground cover at the base of small shrubs and trees, and naturalising in grass.

Hardy Cyclamen

23. Granny’s Bonnet – Aquilegia

Aquilegias are a charming, old-fashioned cottage garden plant with bonnet-shaped flowers, perfect for growing in partial shade.


24. Spotted Laurel – Aucuba japonica

A tough and reliable evergreen, with lustrous green foliage that is generously freckled with small creamy yellow spots.

Spotted Laurel

25. Japanese Aralia – Fatsia Japonica

Often grown as a foliage houseplant for cool situations, Fatsia japonica is also a very successful shade-tolerant garden plant. The large glossy leaves make it a useful addition to tropical-type planting plans.

Japanese Aralia

So there you have it, 25 Gorgeous Shade Tolerant plants for you to consider for your garden, Get in touch if you would like help if a problem area in your garden or why not use our Plant sourcing service and we can provide a plant list service for your garden



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