Have you ever wanted to grow your own garden but live in an area that only receives a few hours of sunlight? We’ve got you covered!
Below, you’ll find a list of plants that thrive with less sunlight. To add variety to your garden, we’ve listed numerous houseplants, vegetables, and flowers. Each plant has general care tips and interesting facts to make your gardening journey as fun as possible!
15 Best Shade Loving Plants
This easy care houseplant is one of the most versatile in the indoor gardening world. The nickname of this plant is ‘Devil’s Ivy’, because it’s so difficult to kill that even beginners will find it a breeze to care for.
With its heart-shaped leaves and striking green foliage, Pothos plants can be grown in a variety of conditions. Some Pothos plants have even been shown to grow in dark rooms!
The Pothos plant can be grown in gardens that receive only morning sun with no problem at all. Keep this beautiful plant in an area with 2-3 hours of sunlight to maximize white variegation and longer vines.
Lamium Maculatum (Deadnettle)
The Lamium Maculatum or Deadnettle is often used as a ground cover in shade gardens. With its wonderful, deep pink flowers and heart-shaped leaves, you’re sure to adore this plant too.
As a perennial, deadnettles grow back every year. This plant can grow in low light, shady areas; full shade or part shade is perfect for this variety. Give this plant 2-4 hours of light to see its pink flowers bloom.
This plant grows and blooms from May to June, so it’s the perfect spring season addition to your garden this year!
With their enticing green leaves specked with white or yellow-green variegation, hostas are houseplants that enjoy low levels of light. With proper care, these plants produce delicate white flowers that delight gardens around the world.
Because there are so many varieties of Hosta plants, sunlight exposure will vary. A good rule of thumb is to notice the color of the leaves: The darker the foliage is, the lower sunlight levels it can tolerate. Overall, at least 2 hours of sunlight is necessary for these houseplants.
Hostas can be grown pretty much anywhere in the garden, especially North or East facing areas. As perennials, these plants die back in the winter and return vibrantly in the spring.
No list of shade-loving plants is complete without the Snake Plant! This plant can tolerate full shade. In fact, this beloved houseplant is so hardcore that it can even survive in rooms without any light at all.
The Snake Plant is a type of succulent with sword-shaped foliage. As a succulent, this plant thrives on little watering. Monthly waterings are more than fine.
Snake Plants prefer 4 hours of sunlight at most. Too much light may burn its leaves, so shady areas or bright indirect light will work best.
As an easy beginner plant, peace lilies are one of the most forgiving. They grow in a variety of environments: full shade to bright indirect light is best for this plant.
What makes peace lilies so special is that they warn you when they require water. Almost dramatic in nature, the foliage of this plant appears like it’s dropping dead when it’s thirsty.
The beautiful peace lily grows all year long and produces white flowers every few years. 2-4 hours of sunlight is more than enough to keep these perennials happy.
You may like this related article: How to get peace lily to bloom?
The Dieffenbachia is a must-have plant in your shade garden. Not only does it produce big, leafy foliage, it also does magnificently in full shade.
As one of the plants in this list that is known for its large leaves, it’s surprising that dieffenbachias can grow with just morning sun. Because this houseplant comes from tropical regions, it lives under tree canopies and naturally receives just about 2-3 hours of sunlight.
For an exotic vibe to your garden, try planting dieffenbachia varieties this summer!
Note: Dieffenbachia plants can be toxic to pets and young children if eaten, so keep them out of reach.
Shade-Loving Herbs and Vegetables
The arugula plant is one of the perfect low-maintenance herbs that thrives in shady areas. Arugulas prefer shade! In fact, they are shade-loving plants that absolutely need less sunlight.
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Arugula plants are best grown in shady spots in your garden. This herb is a cool-season grower, so too much light and heat will cause it to grow seeds instead of foliage. The best part: this plant can be harvested in under 8 weeks!
Try to keep this herb’s sun exposure to only 4 hours a day. Spring, fall, and winter are the perfect season for growing arugula leaves. With just the right amount of sun and consistent watering, you’ll soon be growing your very own salads for consumption!
Bok Choy plants are another addition to your shade garden. With its dark, leafy green color and many health benefits, this awesome plant can be grown in part shade.
This vegetable grows best with 3-5 hours of sunlight a day. Grow it before the summer season, as this vegetable isn’t a fan of heat or too much light.
With 2 months until harvest season, you’ll be using this leafy vegetable for Japanese and Chinese-inspired dishes!
As a close relative of the Deadnettle plant mentioned previously in this list, mint plants thrive in part shade. These perennials are very rewarding to grow, as this spring delight can be harvested multiple times.
Mint plants grow best with 4-6 hours of sunlight and also need moist soil to grow. Daily watering is encouraged for this plant, and no extra fertilizer is necessary. This lovely herb is a perennial, so it can die back in late winter only to return in the spring.
Mint is best known for its peppery foliage, which is often mixed into tea. The best planting time for Mint is the spring season, so late spring is the perfect time for harvest.
As one of the most irreplaceable ingredients for quiche and most vegetable dishes, Spinach plants can easily be grown in part shade!
Spinach plants are cool-weather vegetables; they grow best in late winter and early spring. When temperatures are lower, Spinach plants can grow in full sunlight. Majority of the time, though, this plant grows just fine with 4-5 hours of sun and daily watering.
With a quick growing season of 7-8 weeks, this leafy green is a great choice for beginner and expert vegetable gardeners alike.
Flowers for Shade Gardens
Astilbe flowers are perfect for late spring and early summer. With its long, woody stems and bright pink flowers, these shade plants are a wonderful sight to behold.
Astilbe plants grow well in the summer, but need afternoon shade to avoid getting sunburn. These plants perform best with 4-6 hours of sunlight. Some varieties of this plant bloom from mid-to-late summer, so check out your local nursery for specific types.
As a drought-tolerant plant, the astilbe needs less watering than other flowers. Aim to water this plant 2-3 times a week, but hold back on watering when the soil is still moist.
While common flowers like Roses and Sunflowers require full sun to grow, the Impatiens (Touch-Me-Not) needs only 4 hours of light to produce awe-inspiring blooms.
Impatiens flowers produce colors that range from varieties of pink, purple, and bright red. This plant is perfect for spring and grows as an annual in most parts of North America. Some areas, like Zones 10-12, can grow these delicate shade-loving flowers as a perennial plant.
This plant works as a ground cover, as well as a beautiful addition to window sill planter boxes.
Hydrangeas are known for their stunning blue flowers and easy care. As a hybrid of sorts, this shrub enjoys a mix of sun and shade.
Grown in the fall or early spring season, hydrangeas enjoy 3-6 hours of sunlight. However, when placing this in the garden, choose a spot that shields these plants from the afternoon sun. These beauties dislike heat and too much light!
The best type of sunlight these blue perennials enjoy is the morning sun. Grow this plant underneath trees or large-leafed plants so that it can receive afternoon shade.
Primroses are popular blooms that show their flowers in early spring up to late summer. The name ‘Primrose’ comes from the way that this plant produces the first, ‘prime’ flower of the spring season.
With an assortment of shades, these plants come in pink, yellow, green, and virtually any color combination you can think of. Primrose varieties come from a family of over 400-500 subspecies, so you are free to choose which colors call out to you.
Keep this plant in an area that receives partial shade (6 hours of sunlight) to maximize its foliage and blooms. As perennials, primroses grow back every year without fail.
Heuchera (Coral Bells)
The Heuchera plant, also known as the Coral Bell, produces foliage colors that range from muted pinks to bright oranges and more. Its nickname, Coral Bell, comes from the shape of its leaves, which resemble intricate corals found in deep seas.
This plant often produces bright pink flowers with just 4-6 hours of sunlight, which makes it a popular choice for gardens. These perennial plants naturally grow in woodland areas, and so it thrives in sandy, dry soil. These hardy plants are also drought-resistant, and weekly watering will suit them just fine.
Coral Bells can be grown year-round without much fuss, but dividing the plant’s bulbs every few years will make it grow more flowers.