8 Low-Maintenance Perennials for Shade Gardens


Easy to grow, shade-loving perennial; many variegated leaf varieties; blooms white or purple in summer. (Hosta spp., Zones 3-9, Full shade to part sun)


Known as Christmas Rose or Lenten Rose; delicate flowers in shades of pink, maroon, purple, and black; blooms early spring. (Helleborus spp., Zones 5-8, Full shade to part shade)


Hardy, fast-spreading vine with five-pointed blooms in purple, white, lavender, and blue; invasive in parts of the U.S. (Vinca minor, Zones 4-9, Shade to full sun)


Delicate, airy flowers loved by hummingbirds and bees; blooms in various colors mid-spring; ideal for pollinator gardens. (Aquilegia spp., Zones 3-8, Partial to full shade)

Coral Bells

Colorful leaves in shades of green, purple, black, red, and coral; spring blooms; often evergreen in warmer climates. (Heuchera spp., Zones 4-9, Partial shade)

Bleeding Heart

Striking spring flowers resembling pink hearts; blooms early spring and retreats in warm weather; thrives in woodland settings. (Lamprocapnos spectabilis, Zones 3-9, Partial shade)

Tufted Hairgrass

Ornamental grass with cloud-like tufts; adds height and texture to shade gardens; blooms light green and yellow flowers in summer and fall. (Deschampsia cespitosa, Zones 4-6, Partial shade)

Japanese Painted Fern

Low-lying fern with colorful fronds in silvery gray to purple; grows well in shaded, wooded gardens. (Athyrium niponicum, Zones 3-8, Partial shade to full shade) 4o