The Most Beautiful Shade Flowers That Thrive With Little Sun Exposure

Here are some great shade-loving plants everybody should know

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By Alex

Shade Flowers

One of the wonders of nature that cannot be praised enough is that of shade flowers. Why? It’s that simple. If much of your garden remains in the shade for many hours a day, or your balcony is not hit by sunlight for most of the day, you can probably guess it.

In fact, little sun exposure doesn’t mean you have to give up on beautifying your outdoor spaces with the colors of plants and flowers. There are many species of plants, often ornamental, which are suitable for exposure to shade. Some, among other things, also produce beautiful and fragrant flowers. With this article we will take you to discover many types of shade flowers.

Best Outdoor shade flowers

In the next lines we will list the main outdoor flowering plants, including those for balconies. Generally, these are undemanding plants that do not require much effort in care and cultivation. Since they are shade plants, they generally have fairly limited development and growth.

To avoid drawing up an infinite list of names, and therefore to facilitate the reading and consultation of this guide, we have tried to subdivide them based on macro characteristics.


To begin our excursus on shade flowers, we will first mention hydrangea. It’s an ornamental shrub with a high decorative power which, from July to September, gives sensational blooms. Its flowers, collected in large, very showy and showy inflorescences, appear from July to September.

The colors vary and range from white to intense pink, almost fuchsia, up to the very particular and elegant blue and light blue. Hydrangea requires acidic soil and frequent watering during the flowering period. It can also be grown in pots, with specific soil for acidophilic plants and, always, in shaded places.

shade flowers: hydrangea
Hydrangeas can flourish with minimal sun exposure.

Perennial shade flowers

We begin our list by introducing perennials.

  • Impatiens: a perennial shade plant, also grown as an annual. With very high decorative power, it is mainly used to add a touch of color to flower beds, balconies and terraces. There are several varieties. The most common is impatiens walleriana, better known as the “glass plant.” It blooms from late spring to late fall, with shades ranging from red to pink, white to purple
  • Anemone x Hybrida: a highly adaptable perennial whose flowering period extends from mid-August until late October. Its elegant flowers are white and pink.
  • Ligularia dentata: also know as summer ragwort or leopardplant, it’s a perennial characterized by large, rounded leaves mottled with delicate purple hues. In midsummer, yellow and orange inflorescences, shaped like daisies, appear on the tall stems.
  • Lamium: a perennial that fills with white and pink flowers in spring. The leaves, green or streaked with white, are covered with a thin down and have a serrated outline,
  • Heuchera: a semi-evergreen groundcover, grown only for its wonderful foliage that varies in color from red, purple, bronze and silver
  • Houttuynia cordata: a perennial groundcover with heart-shaped leaves, variegated with yellow or edged with pink. The flowers are white with 4 petals
  • Lobelia: comprising more than 400 different varieties, it is a perennial that is usually planted to color borders and flower beds, but also in pots to beautify terraces and balconies. The colors of the flowers are varied: pink, red, purple…
  • Alchemilla mollis: this plant is commonly known as Lady’s mantle. With a groundcover habit, it has rounded leaves and light green to yellow flowers, which appear in early summer
  • Hosta: perennials of which there are many cultivars that vary in leaf color and size
  • Fern: There are various types of fern. All, however, like full shade and moist soil
  • Hellebore: Also known as Christmas Rose, it is an evergreen perennial plant that produces large white flowers shaded pink from December to March.
  • Ajuga reptans: A flowering plant with a groundcover habit and green, burgundy or variegated leaves. White or pink spiky flowers appear in spring and summer.
  • Bergenia: An evergreen perennial with broad, glossy, fleshy green leaves that turn reddish in autumn. Depending on the variety, the bell-shaped flowers that bloom between winter and spring may be white, pink or purple. This plant is commonly known as St. Joseph’s Flower because it blooms around March 19th.
  • Pachisandra terminalis (Japanese Spurge): A perennial, groundcover plant that reaches a height of 15 cm during the flowering period. It is a plant that resists cold temperatures and is characterized by jagged leaves and white spikes.
bergenia shade flowers
Among shade flowers, Bergenia should not be forgotten.

Potted shade flowers

Here are shade flowers that we can grow in pots to beautify balconies and windowsills.

  • Cyclamen: It is considered to be one of the most suitable plants to be grown in the shade. It includes several species, some spring-blooming and some summer-autumn blooming
  • Calla lily: It’s a very elegant plant, with many varieties. The dwarf ones, which do not exceed 30 cm, are the most suitable for growing in pots
  • White Anemone (Windflower): A rhizomatous species with a stem height of about 30 cm and very elegant flowers
  • Primrose: A perennial plant that usually does not exceed 30 cm in height. The varieties vialii or littoniana, bloom between May and June, with the appearance of red-violet flowers
  • Carex morrowii (Ice Dance): Excellent for cultivation in pots, it is a botanical species of which there are several shade-loving varieties, such as C. morrowii, C. oshimensis and C. pendula
shade flowers: the primrose
Another classic: the primrose.

Scented shade flowers

Let us now see which shade flowers give off an intense fragrance.

  • Sarcococca (Sweet Box): an evergreen plant that includes many varieties. The most common are the S. Humilis and the S. Confusa which can reach 50 cm and 2 meters in height, respectively. In winter, its beautiful white flower gives off an intense intoxicating fragrance. It can be grown both in pots and in the ground
  • Lily of the Valley: a perennial herbaceous plant that produces very small, white bell-shaped flowers that are very fragrant between April and May. It is usually grown in the open ground to decorate flower beds. It can also be planted in pots to beautify balconies and windowsills
  • Daphne: an evergreen shrub beloved for its abundant flowering. The most popular variety is D. odorosa, which can grow up to five feet tall. Wonderful pink flowers that are particularly fragrant make their appearance in early spring.
  • Galium odoratum (Sweet woodruff): another lovely plant in the Rubiaceae family. It grows very rapidly and in spring blooms pretty, very fragrant white flowers. Commonly known as “asperula” or “odorous starlet”
Shade Flowers: the lily of the valley
The delicate beauty of the lily of the valley flowers.

Flowers for shade and half-shade

There are also plants and flowers that live well in both shade and half-shade.

  • Astilbe: a shade-loving herbaceous plant with high decorative power due to its very distinctive blooms. In fact, the tiny flowers are clustered in upright panicles that look like feathers. Flower coloration, plant height and flowering period vary between species
  • Muscaries (Grape hyacinths): belonging to the Liliaceae family, they have distinctive little blue flowers that are arranged in a spike shape and emit no scent
  • Aquilegia (Columbine): ideal for bright shady areas, they spread rapidly by seed. The abundant multicolored blooms are much appreciated for decorating flower beds and borders
  • Corydalis flexuosa: a botanical variety characterized by highly decorative leaves and flowers. The leaves are small and delicate, while the inflorescences appear as clustered bells, in shades ranging from light blue to deep blue
  • Akebia x pentaphylla: from the Lardizabalaceae family, has beautiful, highly decorative foliage and can also be grown in pots. Flowers appear in late spring
  • Ivy: there are varieties with darker leaves do best in full shade: those with light leaves like bright shad instead.
  • Heuchera micrantha: a groundcover with distinctive bronze-colored leaves. It produces small, salmon-pink flowers in summer.

Receding shade flowers

  • Lobelia: growing it on the balcony and using hanging planters, it creates a wonderful cascade of colorful little flowers
  • Dicentra spectabilis: also know as “Bleeding Heart”, it is a plant with long clusters of white or pink flowers. Also very decorative are the leaves, deep green and finely incised
shade flowers: the lobelia
Lobelia’s distinctive little blue flowers.

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