Perennials For Shade: Shade Tolerant Perennials For Zone 8

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Selecting perennials for shade is no easy task, but choices are plentiful for gardeners in moderate climates such as USDA plant hardiness zone 8. Read on for a list of zone 8 shade perennials and learn more about growing zone 8 perennials in shade.

Zone 8 Shade Perennials

When looking for zone 8 shade tolerant plants, you must first consider the type of shade your garden has. Some plants only require a little shade while others need more.

Partial or Dappled Shade Perennials

If you can provide shade for part of the day, or if you have a planting location in dappled shade under a deciduous tree, selecting shade tolerant perennials for zone 8 is relatively easy. Here is a partial list:

  • Bigroot geranium (Geranium macrorrhizum) – Colorful foliage; white, pink or blue flowers
  • Toad lily (Tricyrtis spp.) – Colorful foliage; white or blue, orchid-like flowers
  • Japanese yew (Taxus) – Evergreen shrub
  • Beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.) – Berries in fall
  • Chinese mahonia (Mahonia fortunei) – Fern-like foliage
  • Ajuga (Ajuga spp.) – Burgundy-purple foliage; white, pink or blue flowers
  • Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) – White, pink or yellow blooms
  • Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) – Late spring blooms, attractive foliage
  • Sweetspire (Itea virginica) – Fragrant flowers, fall color
  • Pineapple lily (Eucomis spp.) – Tropical-looking leaves, pineapple-like blooms
  • Ferns – Available in a range of varieties and sun-tolerance, including some for full shade

Perennials for Deep Shade

If you’re planting an area in deep shade, selecting zone 8 shade perennials is challenging and the list is shorter, as most plants require at least minimal sunlight. Here are a few suggestions for plants that grow in deep shade:

  • Hosta (Hosta spp.) – Attractive foliage in a range of colors, sizes and forms
  • Lungwort (Pulmonaria) – Pink, white or blue flowers
  • Corydalis (Corydalis) – Colorful foliage; white, pink or blue flowers
  • Heuchera (Heuchera spp.) – Colorful foliage
  • Japanese fatsia (Fatsia japonica) – Attractive foliage, red berries
  • Deadnettle (Lamium) – Colorful foliage; white or pink blooms
  • Barrenwort (Epimedium) – Colorful foliage; red, white or pink blooms
  • Heartleaf brunnera (Brunnera macrophylla) – Heart-shaped leaves; blue flowers

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