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Shade Perennials

Select a well-drained but moist, fertile soil, and with only indirect sunlight. As with other perennials, your shade plants require minimal work before transplanting! Transplant potted plants as soon as possible after receiving your plants.

If you live in a dry area, water shade plants frequently, watering the base of the plants and not the leaves, fronds, or petals.

Flowering shade plants, such as bleeding hearts or toad lilies, will die back when out of season.


Astilbe prefers moisture-retentive soil, but won't thrive in soggy conditions. The plants can tolerate some sun, particularly if they're planted in a boggy region, but will burn if exposed to too much. Plant astilbe 18 to 24 inches apart. No deadheading is required, but the flowers can be cut back after blooming season.

Bleeding Hearts

Bleeding hearts are a favorite for full- to partial- shade spots. Because grown height and spread depends on variety, check for planting instructions included with your bleeding hearts. Choose a spot with well-drained soil, and work in compost to help retain moisture. Most bleeding heart varieties die back by midsummer, so consider planting them with other shade-tolerant plants to avoid bare patches.

Coral Bells

Coral Bells are extremely tolerant, surviving in full sun or partial shade. These plants flourish in shady spots or rock gardens! Most species hold their color best in partial shade. Plant coral bells in well-drained soil, and water weekly throughout the first summer.


Ferns thrive in heavy shade, or filtered light with plenty of humidity. Plant ferns in humus-enriched soil. For bareroot ferns, dig a hole large enough to spread out roots without bending them. Set roots 1 to 2 inches below ground-level and water thoroughly. Don't let the soil around ferns dry out - water regularly and use mulch to lock in moisture.


Hostas grow best in morning sun and afternoon shade. Generally, blue-leaved hostas require shadier conditions than gold- and white-leaved varieties. All hostas prefer organic-rich soil, so add loam to the soil before planting. Soak the roots of the plant for about 30 minutes prior to planting.


Primroses prefer moist soil and cool conditions. Enrich soil with hummus before planting. Plant primroses at the same depth they were growing in containers, and water thoroughly.

Toad Lilies

Plant toad lilies in a location that provides plenty of shade. Plant the lilies 18 to 24 inches apart. Water toad lilies generously (twice per week or more) to keep the plants constantly, uniformly moist. Consider adding mulch to control weeds.