Plants for Shady Borders

Most gardeners have at least one dark or shady spot in their garden. Having a garden with lots of shade can make it difficult for plants to grow as shaded areas tend to be colder and damp.

However, there are some beautiful plants that tolerate these low-light conditions so you can still add some colour to your shady borders.

To grow healthy plants in shady borders, it is important to match the degree of shade that a plant needs or will tolerate with available light.

Partial Shade: A garden with half sun and half shade. There is some direct sun but for less than half the hours of daylight.

Full Shade: Under trees, shrubs, and buildings. Less than 2 hours of direct sun a day.

1. Begonias

Begonias are a favourite for a lot of gardeners throughout the country and are well known for their wide range of flower shapes, sizes and vivid colours. Whether you’re looking for bedding plants for shady areas or cascading varieties for your baskets and containers, we’re sure you’ll find the perfect Begonia for your garden or patio in our range.

Begonias are cheerful plants that will brighten up shady areas of the garden. Our Begonia Amber Delight radiates sunshine colours with their red and orange flowers in an original designer mix. The flowers contrast with the dark green of the foliage and the mix of warm colours is particularly delightful. 

Our other brightly coloured varieties that tolerate shade include Begonia Pendula Mix with its colourful flowers contrasting beautifully against the dark foliage or our impressive Begonia Double with huge double blooms reaching up to 20cm across!

2. Busy Lizzies (Impatiens)

Busy Lizzies also known as Impatiens are a vibrant, cheerful annual plant that is especially good at brightening up shady areas in the garden with its colourful flowers. They will thrive in partial or full shade and prefer to be planted out of full sunlight.

If well cared for, your Busy Lizzies will produce a magnificent carpet of colour in your summer beds, borders or rockeries.

Our Impatiens Double Deluxe have beautiful double flowers in deep reds and light pinks, from May until the first frosts. Shade tolerant, it will produce a profusion of blooms in a delightful mix of red, pink and orange hues from May until the First Frosts.

3. Bluebells

Bluebells are a much-loved addition to English country gardens that grow in abundance under trees where other plants struggle. They are renowned for their distinctive lilac-blue bell-like flowers and are a real treat to the eye when planted en-mass.

With their beautiful fragrance, they are an ideal choice for encouraging bees, moths and butterflies. For smaller gardens where there is less space for naturalising they can also be grown in containers.

Bring the sense of a traditional English woodland to your garden with our Classic English Bluebells. Plant them anywhere in your borders, beds and under shrubs and in Spring they will burst into bloom creating waves of lovely colour.

4. Cyclamen

Cyclamen are perfect for edging borders and containers with their delicate pink and red flowers. They will flower in Autumn and early Winter giving welcome bursts of colour when it is most needed. They are perfect for growing in partial shade, at the base of small shrubs and trees, and naturalising in grass.

Our Cyclamen Hardy Neapolitanum variety gives off a beautiful scent and is perfect for planting in an informally designed garden, they will start to naturalise and multiply year after year.

5. Heuchera

Heucheras are perfect plants for shady borders. Heuchera’s boast many variations in leaf colour including silvery, burgundy, purple, pink and orange which provides the most visual enjoyment – excellent for brightening up your borders during the winter months. They are also amazing for ground cover, borders or in front of shrubs.

We have a wide range of Heuchera Plants available in a variety of sizes with some pre-planted options too for quick and easier gardening.

Our Heuchera Red Hot Collection will develop and change colours throughout the year giving you four seasons of colourful displays. Or why not opt for our Heuchera Autumn Shades Collection – a real mix of colours and simple to grow.

Now that you know what the best plants are for shady borders and gardens why not take a look at our suitable shade collection.