Q. Which cold-climate perennials grow in shade?


Perennials can grow in sun, part shade, and shady conditions. Here is a list of some very hardy perennials for a shady garden (although some morning sun is helpful to the growth of many shade-loving plants). These plants are plants hardy in Zones 3-4 to 8-9.

Botanical Name Common Name                    Zones          
Aquilegia x hybrida columbine 3-9
Asarum canadense wild ginger 3-9
Asarum europaeum European wild ginger 3-9
Athyrium nipponicum ‘Pictum’ Japanese painted fern 3-8
Bergenia cordifolia heartleaf bergenia 4-8
Brunnera macrophylla Siberian bugloss 3-9
Cimicifuga racemosa black snakeroot 3-9
Convallaria majalis (rampant groundcover, can be a pest, sometimes red berries in fall) lily-of-the-valley 3-8
Corydalis lutea (dormant in summer if dry) yellow corydalis 4-9
Dicentra spp. bleeding heart 3-8
Digitalis purpurea (very adaptable; self-sows) foxglove 4-8 (most varieties)
Epimedium x rubrum (good for dry shade) red barrenwort 4-9
ferns--various species
Geranium macrorrhizum 'Elizabeth Ann' cranesbill 3-8
Helleborus orientalis lenten rose 4-9
Heuchera sanguinea coral bells 4-9
Hosta spp. plaintain lily 3-9
Lamium maculatum deadnettle 3-9
Lobelia cardinalis (sun to part shade) cardinal flower most zones 4-9
Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’ variegated Solomon's seal 4-9
Pulmonaria saccharata lungwort 3-9
Tiarella cordifolia foamflower 4-8

For more information, see Cornell Cooperative Extension's Landscape Plants for Shady Areas and the University of Minnesota extension's Gardening in the Shade and Shade: Tall Perennials.

For tips on a variety of gardening topics, see our Plant Information Guides.
- Courtesy of NYBG Plant Information Service


  • Last Updated Apr 02, 2018
  • Views 366
  • Answered By Anita Finkle

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