We’re often thankful for the shade during the hottest part of the day, but it’s sometimes hard to find plants that put on a great show in these locations. We’ve asked our staff to provide some suggestions, along with the amount of shade their suggestions generally prefer. Keep in mind that many of the plants we identify as ‘Part Shade’ plant generally prefer morning sun only or dappled shade all day — don’t plant them in the hot afternoon sun.

Bernice’s Pick: Blushing Bride Hydrangea
Part Shade

Interest For Shade - Blushing Bride Hydrangea

Part of the Endless Summer series of hydrangeas, this mophead produces large, round, pure white flower heads in July that take on a very subtle pink blush over time. The flowers positively glow against the equally large dark green leaves. They are a vigorous grower, and unlike many other mophead hydrangeas, will re-bloom if they are deadheaded. They grow to a mature size of around 5 feet tall and wide.

Devin’s Pick: Rainbow Leucothoe
Full Shade

Interest For Shade - Rainbow Leucothoe

This unusual shrub produces clusters of tiny bell-shaped white flowers in the spring, but the real draw is the foliage, which is often dappled a combination of white, green, and pink. Curiously, this plant prefers deeply shaded locations, and seems to colour best if it is only given a few hours of light. It prefers well-draining, acidic soil – Rhododendron & Azalea food is a great fertilizer to use for it. In our climate, it is rather slow-growing, eventually reaching a mature size of about 2-3 feet tall and wide, with a slight tendency to grow wider than tall.

Irène’s Pick: Variegated Brunnera
Part to Full Shade

Interest For Shade - Variegated Brunnera

This off-the-beaten-path variety of Brunnera has soft green heart-shaped leaves with striking, thick cream-coloured margins. Variegated brunnera has particularly large leaves, especially when compared to more popular varieties such as ‘Jack Frost’. It produces bright blue forget-me-not-like flowers borne on tall spikes in the spring. It serves as a great filler plant in shady nooks, under trees, or in any woodland-themed garden.

Lorrie’s Pick: Sun King Aralia
Part Shade

Interest For Shade - Sun King Aralia

Also referred to as Japanese Spikenard, this fast-growing perennial makes an impressive statement in semi-shaded areas. Moderately large golden foliage adorns this plant from spring through fall. In the summer it produces small white flowers which are followed by inedible ornamental dark purple fruit. It can tolerate deep shade but the leaves will become a chartreuse-green colour over time in these locations. It prefers sheltered locations, and will ultimately grow to two or three feet tall and wide.

Nancy’s Pick: Shade Coleus
Part Shade

Interest For Shade - Coleus

Annual coleus has been around for a while, and (deservingly so) is a staple of the shade garden. These days, coleus is offered in such a dizzying number of unique colour combinations that there’s virtually no limit to their use in shade gardens. Their dramatic colour combinations as well as their general ease-of-maintenance makes them a reliable choice in just about any shady area.

Paul’s Pick: Obsidian Coral Bells
Part Shade

Interest For Shade - Obsidian Coral Bells

Speaking of shade plants that have been around for a while, Obsidian is still one of the best coral bells available in the gardening world. It has a mounding habit, white flower spikes, and rich, deep purple-black leaves that hold their colour from spring until frost. It is hardy, remarkably free from pest and disease issues, and stays quite compact, reaching a mature size of around a foot and a half tall and wide (the flower spikes can reach up to two feet). They are excellent as small accent plants or en masse along the edge of a bed.

Looking for other shade plant suggestions? Check out ourPlants For Shade Tip Sheet for other great ideas!