Liven up a shady spot under mature trees with this easy-care design.

By Viveka Neveln
Updated February 18, 2021
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If you have a spot under mature trees where turf grass languishes, try this colorful perennial shade garden plan. It features a mix of low-maintenance plants that will provide a progression of flowers from spring through fall. Pink and lavender shades predominate among the blooms, with a splash of yellow from the corydalis. The foliage of hostas and Japanese painted ferns contribute silver, white, pale yellow, and chalky blue tones to the composition, as well as contrasting bold and fine, lacy textures. The perennials in this garden plan prefer a shaded location, but will do fine in a spot that gets a little morning sun or dappled light filtered through a tree canopy.

Credit: Lynn Karlin Photography

Plants for Creating the Perennial Shade Garden Plan

  • 3 Rheinland astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii ‘Rheinland’): Zones 3-9
  • 3 Purple Lance astilbe (Astilbe chinensis ‘Purple Lance’): Zones 3-9
  •  2 Pink turtlehead (Chelone lyonii): Zones 3-9
  • 3 Golden corydalis (Corydalis lutea): Zones 4-9
  • 3 Barrenwort (Epimedium x youngianum ‘Roseum’): Zones 4-8
  • 1 Elegans hosta (Hosta sieboldiana ‘Elegans’): Zones 3-9
  • 3 Blue Wedgewood hosta (Hosta ‘Blue Wedgewood’): Zones 3-9
  • 1 Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum): Zones 4-8
  • 1 Bertram Anderson lungwort (Pulmonaria longifolia ‘Bertram Anderson’): Zones 3-9
  • 1 Japanese toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta ‘Miyazaki’): Zones 4-9
  • 2 Japanese painted fern (Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’): Zones 3-8

If you aren't able to find the exact cultivars listed above, substitute with others that have similar colors, shapes, and sizes. And because some plants can become overly aggressive and spread out of control in certain climates, always check which species are considered invasive in your area before planting.

Get the Free Perennial Shade Garden Plan

The garden plan for this design includes an illustrated version of the planted garden, a detailed layout diagram, a list of plants for the garden as shown, and complete instructions for installing the garden. Free, one-time registration allows unlimited access to all garden plans, available as printable PDFs.

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