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Herbaceous flowering plants that will flourish in shade and suit borders or planting under trees

There are a number of herbaceous flowering plants that will benefit from shade conditions. Most of these plants will produce both flower alongside an attractive bold foliage. Many are planted as much for their large attractive foliage as they are for blossom.

Many of these shade tolerant herbaceous plants have evolved under sheltered woodland canopy and as such their foliage will scorch in a exposed sunny location. As with all other herbaceous plants you will need to dig compost into the soil when planting as well as put time into mulching around plants with compost every few years; this will help improve soil fertility as well as lock in soil moisture.

Many of these herbaceous plants will also require lifting and dividing when old and congested, this will encourage rejuvenated growth and flowering as well as new sense of vigor. Some of the taller plants will also need staking to stop larger plants from collapsing, especially in more exposed locations.


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Latin &
Common Name
EarmarkType & FormFlowers & Foliage
Euphorbia amygdaloides - Robbiae - Wood SpurgeEuphorbia amygdaloides

'Robbiae'

Wood Spurge
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingGreen flowers (Spring)
Hosta halcyon - Plantain LilyHosta halcyon

Plantain Lily
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Rounded - ClumpWhite flowers (Summer early)
Bergenia Sunningdale - BergeniaBergenia 'Sunningdale'

Bergenia
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingDark pink flowers (Spring)
Liriope platyphyllus - Lily TurfLiriope platyphyllus

Lily Turf
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingViolet flowers (Autumn)
Helleborus feotidus - Stinking Hellebore,  HelleborusHelleborus feotidus

Stinking Hellebore, Helleborus
Herbaceous Flowers, Upright - ClumpGreen flowers (Winter, scented)
Convallaria majalis - Lily of the valleyConvallaria majalis

Lily of the valley
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Rounded - ClumpNon-flowering
Tiarella - Spring Symphony - Foam Flower, TiarellaTiarella

'Spring Symphony'

Foam Flower, Tiarella
Herbaceous Flowers, SpreadingWhite flowers (Summer)
Symphytum - Album - ComfreySymphytum

'Album'

Comfrey
Herbaceous Flowers, Herbs, Ground cover, Culinary, Container-friendly, SpreadingWhite flowers (Summer early)
Dicentra - Langtrees - Dutchmans trousers, DicentraDicentra

'Langtrees'

Dutchman's trousers, Dicentra
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading clumpWhite flowers (Summer)


You can use our plant-finder to find plants that match your garden conditions exactly, for example Herbaceous flowering plants that will flourish in shade and suit borders or planting under trees - click to give it a try!

Have you seen our other plant top ten recommendations?