Zone 4 Shade Loving Plants – Best Shade Plants For Zone 4 Gardens

Pink-Green Shade Plants
(Image credit: Jindřich Blecha)

It can be hard finding plants that last through the winter in zone 4. It can be just as daunting to find plants that thrive in the shade. If you know where to look, however, your options for zone 4 shade gardening are pretty great. Keep reading to learn more about picking cold hardy plants for a shade garden, particularly shade plants for zone 4.

Zone 4 Shade Gardening

Choosing cold hardy plants for a shade garden need not be a daunting task. There are actually plenty of zone 4 shade loving plants out there: Hellebore – Suited for dappled light to heavy shade. Hosta – Available in hundreds of varieties with varying shade requirements. Bleeding Heart – Beautiful, signature flowers, partial to full shade. Japanese Painted Fern – Full shade or some sun if the soil is kept moist. Ajuga – Tolerates full sun to full shade. Foamflower – Groundcover that prefers partial to heavy shade. Astilbe – Likes rich, moist soil and full shade. Siberian Bugloss – Likes partial to heavy shade and moist soil. Ladybell – Tolerates full sun to moderate shade and produces blue bell-shaped flowers. Oriental Lily – Tolerates full sun to partial shade. Not quite all varieties are hardy to zone 4. New England Aster – Tolerates full sun to light shade. Azalea – Does very well in shade, but only some varieties are hardy to zone 4.

Picking Shade Plants for Zone 4

When planting shade plants for zone 4, it’s important to pay attention to the plant's needs. Even if a plant is rated for full shade, if it’s languishing, try moving it! See what works best with your climate and your level of shade.

Liz Baessler
Senior Editor

The only child of a horticulturist and an English teacher, Liz Baessler was destined to become a gardening editor. She has been with Gardening Know how since 2015, and a Senior Editor since 2020. She holds a BA in English from Brandeis University and an MA in English from the University of Geneva, Switzerland. After years of gardening in containers and community garden plots, she finally has a backyard of her own, which she is systematically filling with vegetables and flowers.