Summer is here and it’s a great time to revitalize your yard and take your curb appeal to the next level.

Many homeowners are faced with a landscaping dilemma. They have a great yard with beautiful mature trees, but with those trees comes lots of shaded areas. Many flowers and plants need full sun to thrive, so this begs the question, "What plants thrive in the shade?"

Shade gardening can be a challenge until you know what plants love to keep cool. Here’s a list of 10 shade-loving plants that are sure to take your yard from lackluster to lush in no time flat.


  • Impatiens. This inexpensive annual is perfect for low borders, pots, and hanging baskets. You can choose from a wide range of colors. Consider going with just one color in all your blooms to create a powerful impression.


  • Hostas. These full-bodied beauties come in a variety of shades. Choose from solid green leaves or leaves that have stripes of color! As an added bonus you’ll also get a late summer bloom from this perennial plant. Plus, if you’re really hungry, hostas are edible.


  • Begonias. This is one of the most popular flowering houseplants, but it does well in gardens as well. Asymmetrical leaves and tiny flowers are the trademark of this beauty. This plant, like impatiens, also works well in a pot or hanging basket.


  • Ivy. Do you have an unsightly shed or fence in your yard that you’d rather not see? Consider introducing some ivy to the scene. It loves to have something to grow up and over! Just keep in mind that climbing plants have a way of rotting away at the structure they’re attached to, so keep them off your house if you can.


  • Hydrangeas. There’s nothing more spectacular that a hydrangea tree (a hydrangea pruned into a tree form). The plant is super hardy, growing in up to Zone 3. Most have pink or white blooms. The only downside: most blooms aren’t fragrant.


  • Ornamental Grasses. From blue and pink to plumes of white there’s a grass to fit every design plan. Most ornamental grasses get quite tall, so be sure to put them at the back of flower beds or in focal points all their own. Cut them back in the Fall to encourage new Spring growth.


  • Ferns. This is a show-stopper in a hanging basket and can then be easily brought in to weather the winter in your home. Ferns like well-drained soil, but don’t require any extra fertilizer. This makes them fairly maintenance free.


  • Azalea. Keep this plant moist. Don’t let it’s little roots dry out or you’ll have a dead azalea on your hands. This plant blooms early with small blooms.


  • Mint. Mint julep or iced anyone? Landscaping with mint comes with some great added benefits. Not only is it lush, but it also is fragrant and downright useful in the kitchen. A word of caution, however. Mint loves to spread. This can be a bonus or a menace depending on where you put it!


  • Heuchera: Not all shade loving plants have to be "boring"old green. Heuchera plants comes in a delightful variety of colors. Plant these as borders around the base of trees or even along the edge of walkways!


Embracing the shaded areas of your yard means saying goodbye to patchy grass and ho-hum appeal. Instead, you’ll have a lovely, lush yard that looks good all season.

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