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Smart Garden

Colorful outdoor plants that don't need sunlight

 Colorful outdoor plants 



Not all plants need direct sunlight. In fact, many annuals, perennials, and tropicals thrive in shade. Whether you're looking to brighten up those dim corners of your yard or elevate a spot in the shade of a large tree, these shade-loving flowering plants will happily grow where their full-sun counterparts don't.


1. Bleeding heart



Brighten up the dark corners of your landscape with a generous helping of bleeding heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis). These hardy shade perennials produce beautiful, arching branches of heart-shaped flowers that have a small tear drop at the base of each flower. In addition to its beautiful flowers, bleeding heart produces beautiful, ferny, blue-green leaves. This fuss-free plant goes dormant in mid to late summer and reappears the following spring.


2. Fuchsia


Cool, shady locations are ideal for fuchsias, which do not tolerate extreme heat (they may not be a good choice for hot climates). Many fuchsia species form small bushes in mild climates and are hardy in zones 7 and 8. Others are considered annuals and grown in hanging baskets that display eye-catching, pendulous flowers. Long blooming plants in red, pink, white, violet and purple colors are a favorite of hummingbirds and butterflies.


3. Astilbe



No shade garden is complete without astilbe. These rugged, long-blooming perennials thrive in moist shade, giving you a summer's worth of feathery flower heads. Even when not in bloom, the plant's mounding, fern-like foliage is beautiful. Astilbe flowers come in white, red, pink, orange, and purple and typically appear in late spring and early summer.


4. Toad Lily


With a name like the Todd Lily (Tricyrtis hirta), you might not expect much in terms of beauty, but this hardy perennial turns into a prince in late summer, producing jewel-white flowers with generous purple flecks. Capable of blooming in full shade, the toad lily will slowly naturalize a small area, carpeting it with late-season color.


5. New Guinea impatiens



The large, colorful flowers of New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hockeri) are a must-have annual for your shade garden. New Guinea impatiens thrive better in containers than planted directly in the garden. But, no matter how grown, they add tons of spectacular color to the darkest corners of your landscape. Bloom colors include pink, red, white, orange, lavender, and bicolor. Leaves can be dark green, green with red veins, or cream and green. It is possible to grow New Guinea patience from seed, but it is much easier and faster to purchase young plants in the spring at your local garden center.


6. Wax Begonia


Wax begonia (Begonia × semperflorens-cultorum) is easy to grow in your garden and requires little maintenance. This mounding, compact plant has thick, fleshy stems with bronze or green leaves and almost always blooming, sporting clusters of white, pink, red or bi-colored flowers until frost. Plants thrive in both containers and borders. More exotic, double-flowered varieties are also available.


7. Impatiens walleriana



A go-to flower for shady spots, impatiens (Impatiens walleriana) can turn any dark corner into a flower festival. Many gardeners use impatiens as a quick-growing summer groundcover for hard-to-plant spots under tall trees. Single and double flowering varieties are available and bloom in white, pink, peach, yellow, orange, lavender and bicolor. Impatiens also grow well in containers. If your garden is affected by powdery mildew, switch to New Guinea impatiens or wax begonias.

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