Shade-Tolerant Flowers - Diane's Flower Seeds
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Shade-Tolerant Flower Seeds

Shade-Tolerant Flowers
by Diane Linsley

What are the best flower seeds for shade?

There are plenty of sun lovers, but shade-tolerant flowers are rare. Your local nursery will probably recommend hostas and ferns. But what about flowers?

Most shade-tolerant flowers actually prefer part shade. Very few plants can survive in full shade. A few hours of morning sun is ideal. Sunlight filtering through the leaves of deciduous trees is fine.

Other factors to consider are soil quality and water. Most shade-tolerant flowers enjoy rich, moist soil. Only a few will survive in poor, dry soil. You may have to experiment to see which plants will work in your garden. Here's a list of the best shade-tolerant flowers from seed.

Shade-Tolerant Annual Flowers

Balsam 'Camellia Flowered Mix' -- Wonderful, self-sowing annual for shade.

Blue Woodruff -- Easy-to-grow annual that tolerates full sun to full shade.

Bupleurum 'Green Gold' -- Blue-green leaves and yellow-green flowers.

Centaurea 'Polka Dot Mix' -- Pink, white, blue and lavender flowers for shade. Easy to grow from seed.

Cynoglossum amabile -- Chinese Forget-Me-Not. Indigo-blue flowers.

Monarda citriodora -- Lavender-pink flowers for hummingbirds and butterflies.

Nemophila maculata -- Self-sowing, annual bulb cover that tolerates shade. Easy to grow from seed.

Nicotiana 'Sensation Mix' -- Fragrant flowers that bloom well in part shade.

Nicotiana sylvestris -- Large annual with trumpet-shaped, pure white flowers.

Pansy 'Swiss Giants Mix' -- Excellent annual for shade. Wide range of colors. For more pansies, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Phlox drummondii -- Pink, red, rose, magenta, white and bicolor flowers. Easy to grow from seed.

Viola 'Chantreyland' -- One of my favorite flowers for shade. Soft apricot-orange. For more violas, see Annual Flower Seeds.

Shade-Tolerant Perennial Flowers

Allium cernuum -- Nodding clusters of purplish-pink flowers for part shade.

Aquilegia 'McKana's Giants' -- Colorful mixture of long-spurred flowers. For more aquilegia species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Aubrieta deltoidea -- Spreading mounds of purple flowers in spring. Easy to grow from seed.

Campanula americana -- Very tall stems of violet-blue flowers. Native perennial for full shade to part sun.

Campanula latifolia 'Brantwood' -- Large, violet-blue flowers for part shade.

Campanula medium -- Large, bell-shaped flowers in pink, purple and white.

Campanula persicifolia 'Telham Beauty' -- Shade-tolerant, china-blue flowers.

Campanula rotundifolia -- Short, spreading perennial with violet-blue flowers.

Centranthus ruber -- Long-blooming perennial with reddish-pink flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Easy to grow from seed.

Cheiranthus allionii -- Bright orange flowers in late spring. Nice with tulips.

Digitalis 'Excelsior Hybrids' -- Shade-tolerant flowers in pink, purple and white. For more digitalis species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Dracocephalum tanguticum -- Rare, shade-tolerant perennial with blue flowers.

Echinacea pallida -- Pale mauve flowers with narrow, drooping petals. For more echinacea species, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Eupatorium maculatum -- Large heads of mauve flowers on tall stems.

Euphorbia polychroma -- Shade-tolerant, chartreuse flowers in early spring.

Hesperis matronalis -- Light violet flowers on tall stems in early summer.

Lunaria annua -- Fragrant, purple flowers followed by ornamental seed pods.

Lupine 'Russell Hybrids' -- Dense spikes of flowers in a wide range of colors.

Lychnis chalcedonica -- Glowing, scarlet-red flowers for hummingbirds.

Lychnis coronaria -- Purplish-red flowers & silvery-green leaves for part shade.

Lychnis viscaria 'Feuer' -- Brilliant, reddish-pink flowers that light up the shade.

Myosotis sylvatica -- Spring-blooming groundcover with blue flowers for shade.

Penstemon calycosus -- Light purple flowers that tolerate part shade.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' -- Bronze-red foliage and pale pink flowers.

Platycodon 'Hakone Blue' -- Double, blue balloon flowers in late summer. For more platycodon selections, see Perennial Flower Seeds.

Polemonium caeruleum -- Shade-tolerant, lavender-blue flowers in late spring.

Rudbeckia subtomentosa -- Native perennial. Butter-yellow, daisy-like flowers with brown centers.

Rudbeckia triloba -- Native perennial. Small, yellow daisies with black centers.

Ruta graveolens -- Blue-green foliage and greenish-yellow flowers for shade.

Sidalcea malviflora -- Tall, narrow stems with small, purplish-pink flowers.

Tanacetum parthenium -- Small, white, daisy-like flowers. Shade-tolerant filler.

Thalictrum minus 'Adiantifolium' -- One of our best shade-tolerant perennials.

Verbena bonariensis -- Clusters of rosy-purple flowers that bloom the first year from seed.

Viola tricolor 'Helen Mount' -- Easy-to-grow, shade-tolerant flowers.

Related Articles

Container Garden Design -- Create eye-catching container gardens.

Fragrant Flowers -- The most fragrant flowers you can grow from seed.

Groundcovers from Seed -- Annual and perennial groundcovers.

Recommended Books

The Complete Flower Gardener by Karan Davis Cutler

Color in the Garden: Planting with Color in the Contemporary Garden by Nori and Sandra Pope

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