7 Of The Best Plants For Shaded Areas In Your Nashville Garden

Whether you are looking for plants that will actually survive your shady areas or just want a new look, you can bet these 7 plants for shaded areas can do both. From astilbe to caladiums to primroses, all of them can add a splash of color to your garden. Most of them are low maintenance too, perfect for any level of gardener.

Let’s take a look at these beautiful plants for the darker spots in your garden.

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1. Astilbe

You can watch as the pink, red, or purple plumes wave to you in the summer breeze from your beautiful garden.

They can really wave at you too as they can be 1-4 feet high depending on the type.

Plant them in the spring and watch as they rise up and bloom into beautiful plants. They love the partial shade, especially in corners, by paths, and around shady decks or patios. You can also grow them in full shade areas.

Red astilbe plant in a shaded area of the garden

You may also attract more butterflies to your garden as they love astilbes. This may make it one of the best plants for shaded areas because it adds a living dimension to your garden, i.e. the butterflies.

You may also like them if you don’t want to have to put in a lot of gardening work.

Light pink astilbe is a great plant for shaded areas

Astilbes are winter hardy in zones 3-8 (Nashville is in the 7’s), are disease and pest resistant, and don’t need much maintenance. This is much like our next beautiful plant for your garden’s shady spots.

2. Impatiens

You will have to replace impatiens every year, but the summer color they can add to your garden may be worth it.

They work wonderfully as summer ground cover in shady areas, full to partial. You can also use them to create a wonderful border alongside walkways or around garden beds. Containers are another common place to find impatiens.

Fun Fact: gardeners also call impatiens “touch-me-nots” because touching them can cause the seed walls to pop. Plus, not only do these plants attract butterflies but they can also bring in hummingbirds too!

Electric blue-purple impatiens

You won’t have to work too hard to care for these plants either. Plant them in rich, moist soil and you will see colorful flowers in shades of red, orange, white and sometimes more than one. They need about 2 inches of water per week.

3. Bletilla Striata

You can have 4-6 weeks of pretty, purple-pink flowers rising 1-2 feet from the ground.

The cool part about Bletilla striata is that they are native to Tibet, Japan, and China, making them an exotic wonder:

Purple bletilla striata are wonderful plants for shaded areas

Each of these exotic purplish flowers has 5 petals with a slight downward bend to them. They also grow about 4 long, upright leaves from around their base. It’s a great frame for the beautiful blooms.

You can best grow Bletilla striata in partial shade with moist and well-drained soil.

As for best places to plant them, they can work equally well in beds as containers or in rock gardens and as border plants.

4. Caladium

Caladiums are a wonderful plant because of their colorful, heart-shaped leaves. You’ll notice they come in combinations of white, red, and green, putting on a colorful show wherever you plant them.

Many people plant them around entryways and mailboxes, as border plants, and pretty much anywhere around the yard.

They work best in full shade followed by partial shade and the love warmer temperatures. They are annuals in our zone, so unless you bring them inside you will need new ones every year.

5. Foamflower

You can bring this queen of plants to your garden (the genus name is Tiarella, which is Greek for tiara).

Known for its foamy look, foamflower creates a beautiful ground cover of green leaves with pink or white flowers in the shape of spires.

This perennial loves part to full shade as it grows to its half to one-foot height and spreads out over 1-3 feet. In autumn the foliage can change from green to reddish-bronze.

Foamflowers are wonderful plants for shaded areas
Foamflowers are wonderful plants for shaded areas

You can bring this queen of plants for shaded areas to your garden (the genus name is Tiarella, which is Greek for tiara).

Known for its foamy look, foamflower creates a beautiful ground cover of green leaves with pink or white flowers in the shape of spires.

This perennial loves part to full shade as it grows to its half to one-foot height and spreads out over 1-3 feet. In autumn the foliage can change from green to reddish-bronze.

6. Primroses (Primulas)

You will see primroses bloom before your other garden plants as they are the harbingers of spring! They can provide 8-12 inches of ground cover in a variety of colors from reds to yellows to blues and more.

Reddish pink primrose with bright yellow center

You can keep them as perennials but you’ll need to care for them properly. Planting them under trees or around shrubs is desirable as this is where they naturally grow.

You’ll want to be on the lookout for pests like aphids and mites as they love primroses. If they get too wet they can get sick more easily, so it’s best to water only at the base.

7. Lungwort

Don’t let the weird name put you off of this amazing flower. Long ago, doctors thought that since the flower looks like a lung it should treat lung disorders (it doesn’t).

You will find the actual flowers to be surprising too:

Blue and purple lungwort work especially well as plants for shaded areas

They can be blue, pink, or white, but the surprise is what color they will be, how many different colors they will be, and if they will fade into a different color as time passes. Lungwort is one of the plants for shaded areas that is full of mystery.

It is a perennial plant that grows best in full to part shade. Most grow to about 1 foot tall and spread out over about 2 feet.

You’ll see it earlier than most plants as it is an early spring bloomer, much like primroses.

Which Is Your Favorite Plant For Shaded Areas?

All of these plants can brighten the darker areas of your yard, but not all of them will be chosen for your garden. Which ones would you like to see in yours? We would love to know your opinion, just let us know in the comments below.

You can find these plants in one of these 5 garden centers >>