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11 Plants For A Shaded Border

Pretty shaded Border

If our gardens were perfect, they would have an even amount of sun and shade, acid and alkaline soil and the right amount of moisture.

But perfection in gardening is very rare indeed.

One of the more challenging gardens can be north facing or surrounded by trees, causing shade throughout the day.

But just because you have a shaded border doesn’t mean you can’t have a pretty one. It’s just knowing the correct plants to grow in that space.

In fact, some of my favourite flowers are best planted in a shaded border and if you are really clever you can have colour and interest throughout the year.

Now is a great time to find and plant things like hellebores and heuchera.

The garden centres and nurseries are packed full of them, as they are showing their full potential right now.

If you would like some ideas, I’ve created a list below of my top 11 plants for a shaded border to help you on your way.

Astrantia for shaded borders


A beautiful evergreen perennial with pretty flowers from January through to March. Low growing this will be better at the front of a border. One of the first flowering plants of the year and always makes me smile on gloomy winter days.


Best at the back of a border to give height. This wildflower biannual will self-seed year after year and is a huge hit with the bees in late spring/early summer.

English Bluebell

Not to be confused with the Spanish variety which now invades our gardens, the English bluebell is a daintier blue flower than the more upright and purple in colour equivalent. Flowers mid April and great planted under trees.

Perennial Geranium

This lovely plant will flower early summer and is great used as ground cover. Comes in a wide variety of colours ranging from pretty pinks to deep purples.

Astrantia (pale coloured)

I love these pin cushion type flowers, some of which can put on a show from Summer to Autumn.  A great mid border contender these sit between 30-90cm depending on variety. The paler colours do better in the shade than the redder ones.


This graceful perennial is great towards the back of the border as some grow as high as 120cm. Flowering from Summer through to Autumn the shelf life makes this great value for money. Flowers appear at the top of long stems so a lovely addition to break up grasses and ferns.


A cottage garden favourite, salvias flower throughout summer and have over 100 species. Originating from the sage family their leaves can have a lovely scent as well as pretty spike like flowers. Ranging from 30-120cm there’s a vast number of varieties to choose from.

Japanese Anemone

Another of my all time favourites, I find these flowers the prettiest of the shaded border bunch. Flowering late summer and early autumn they can easily fill a mid border spot reaching 90-150cm tall. Colours are a little more limited with mainly whites and pinks.


An evergreen “all year round interest” plant that comes in a great variety of colours from acidic yellowy green to the deepest purple. Low growing, these leaves will perk up any shaded border, and flower late summer.

Ornamental Grasses

Another candidate for “all year round interest” I do enjoy seeing grasses sway through borders, especially if you have some flowers like Gaura and Verbena growing through it. Movement and texture can far outweigh a brightly planted combination of perennials if done correctly.


A shaded border staple, creating a backdrop of texture and greenery from Spring to Autumn. Can grow a meter tall so mid border is best for this.

Plant ferns in a shaded border

If you have a shaded border that you don’t know what to do with, I hope I’ve helped you out with some ideas.

Let me know if you have a favourite plant that you like to see in a shaded border in the comments below.


Lisa's shaded border collection



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