Top Shade Perennials
One of the earliest blooming plants in spring, Virginia Blue Bells (Mertensia virginica), appears before dense leaf cover and is gone before summer. Clusters of small blue, bell-shaped flowers will cover a wooded landscape in growing zones 3-8 and provide an attractive blue signal that spring has arrived.
Virginia Blue Bells are native woodland plants and are self-spreading via underground roots. The plant will also spread via seeds and quickly fill in any landscape area that provides the plant with partial shade and moist soil.
English Ivy (Hedera helix) can be grown as a houseplant or in any outdoor area that is partially shaded. Hardy in growing zones 4-8, these vines will thrive in poor soil and hard-to-reach locations.
English Ivy is a non-blooming vine that produces small roots along the length of the vine. This root system allows the plant to access nourishment and moisture from many locations to survive where other plants fail.
The vine is slow growing but will reach a mature length of 50 feet in a few years.
The colorful, bell-shaped flowers of the Columbine (Aquilegia) are a favorite of hummingbirds.
Early spring blooming plants, the Columbine will produce blooms in a wide range of colors all summer when planted in partial shade and heavily mulched.
This plant will adapt to most soil conditions and self-seed, reaching a mature height of 6-10 inches. Hardy in growing zones 3-9.
Also known as the Cardinal Plant, Lobelia plants (Lobelia spp.) are low maintenance and bloom all summer when planted in partial shade.
This perennial has compact growing habits and will produce masses of blue blooms throughout the summer. Lobelia is hardy in growing zones 3-8, will become almost any soil type and makes an ideal border plant.
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Moss also works well when using shade perennials. Plant under perennial for complete weed control.