Shade-Tolerant Flowers - Diane's 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 Seeds

Ageratum -- Fuzzy, purple-blue flowers. Great for cutting and butterflies.

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

Centaurea cyanus -- 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 -- 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.

Aquilegia (Columbine) -- Spring-blooming perennial in a wide range of colors.

Aubrieta 'Whitewell Gem' -- Spreading mounds of violet-purple 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.

Digitalis (Foxglove) -- Shade-tolerant flowers in a range of colors and heights.

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

Echinacea (Purple Coneflower) -- Mauve or white flowers with drooping petals.

Euphorbia polychroma -- Chartreuse flowers in early spring. Nice with early-blooming bulbs. Very shade tolerant.

Hesperis matronalis -- Violet or white 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 -- 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.

Lychnis viscaria 'Feuer' -- Brilliant, reddish-pink flowers that glow in 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 grandiflorus -- Blue, pink or white balloon flowers in late summer. Long-lived perennial.

Polemonium (Jacob's Ladder) -- Lavender-blue flowers in late spring to early summer. Very hardy and shade tolerant.

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.

Sidalcea malviflora -- Small, pink, hollyhock-like flowers on tall stems.

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

Thalictrum aquilegifolium -- Fluffy pink, purple or white flowers on tall stems.

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

Viola -- One of my favorite flowers for shade. It comes in a variety of colors and blooms in cool weather.

Related Articles

Container Flower Seeds -- The best annuals and perennials for containers.

Fragrant Flowers -- The most fragrant annual and perennial flowers 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


Annual Flower Seeds

Perennial Flower Seeds

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shade tolerant flowers
flower seeds for shade