by Diane Linsley
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 Seeds
Centaurea cyanus -- Pink, white, blue and lavender flowers for shade. Easy to grow from seed. Nemophila -- Self-sowing, annual wildflower that tolerates shade. Makes a great bulb cover. Easy to grow from seed. Nicotiana -- Trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of pink, purple, lavender, crimson and white. Some varieties are fragrant. Lovely in the shade. Pansy -- Excellent annual flower for shade. Wide range of colors. Phlox drummondii -- Pink, red, rose, magenta, white and bicolor flowers. Easy to grow from seed.
Shade-Tolerant Perennial Seeds
Allium cernuum -- Nodding clusters of purplish-pink flowers for part shade. Aubrieta (Rock Cress) -- Spreading mounds of violet-purple, lavender-blue or rosy red flowers in spring. Easy to grow from seed. Campanula (Bellflower) -- Blue, pink or white bell-shaped flowers. Perennials and biennials for part shade to full sun. Centranthus ruber -- Long-blooming perennial with reddish-pink or white flowers that attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Cheiranthus allionii -- Bright orange flowers in late spring. Nice with tulips. Easy to grow from seed. Euphorbia polychroma -- Chartreuse flowers in early spring. Nice with early-blooming bulbs. Very shade tolerant. Lunaria annua -- Fragrant, purple flowers followed by ornamental seed pods. Lychnis chalcedonica -- Scarlet-red, salmon-pink or white flowers on tall stems. Great for attracting hummingbirds. Lychnis coronaria -- Purplish-red, pink or white flowers with silver-green leaves that brighten up the shade garden. Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan) -- Native perennial. Daisy-like flowers with dark centers. Blooms in shades of yellow, gold, orange and mahogany-red. Ruta graveolens -- Blue-green foliage and greenish-yellow flowers for shade. Viola cornuta -- One of my favorite flowers for shade. Blooms in cool weather.