Gardening in the shade has the characteristic of being challenging, but it doesn’t have to be.
Choosing the right shade-loving plants makes it possible to have a wonderfully blossoming garden, even in shaded areas.
Some of the most renowned garden plants are reliable standbys for a reason: they provide season-long enjoyment even for novice gardeners with the right location and care.
Here are some of the best shade-loving plants to get you started on the road to a lush, shady oasis.
Green, yellow, variegated, and white kinds of Dieffenbachia brighten and purify the air in your home.
Furthermore, you may put this plant almost anywhere because it thrives in low, medium, and direct light.
2. Snake Plant (Sansevieria)
Not only can the snake plant survive in low light, but it’s also drought-tolerant, so it won’t wilt and die if you forget to give it water. It gets its name from the wavy, striped patterns on its leaves that resemble snakes.
3. Prayer Plant
Prayer plants are shade-loving plants that are very tolerant of low light but not cold weather. The best temperature is 65–80 degrees Fahrenheit, like their natural jungle and woodland habitats.
4. Bird’s Nest Fern
The wavy leaves of this plant have a charming quirkiness that will intrigue you daily. This plant looks great in a pot or on a plank (as you would grow a staghorn fern).
This unique plant, sometimes known as the Swiss Cheese Plant, grows wild in Panama and is a member of the Araceae family of plants. The word Araceae means “abnormal” in Latin. Monstera leaves are clearly out of the ordinary–in the best conceivable manner. In a rainforest setting, its vast, pierced leaves can grow up to two feet wide.
6. Maidenhair Fern
Don’t be deceived by its delicate appearance: it is incredibly hardy and requires uniformly wet soil. Check to see whether it needs water every several days.
7. Oyster Plant
This plant, often known as the “boat lily” or “Moses-in-the-Cradle,” is straightforward to grow and maintain. To keep the soil moist, water once or twice a week. It is best to prune any leaves that have begun to fade with age.
8. Staghorn Fern
Not only does the Staghorn fern thrive in low light, but it also thrives in dampness, making it an ideal bathroom plant. According to plant designer Lisa Muoz, plant life in the bathroom offers warmth and fresh air to places that can be sterile at times.
They’re beautiful, and they look like taxidermy plants on the wall–this taxidermy is a lush, green, air-purifying plant. A Staghorn fern can be potted or hung on a wall.
9. Creeping Fig
This ficus family member is native to the tropics and thrives in low light and humidity. The baby rubber plant, known as Peperomia obtusifolia, loves medium light. Although it may grow more slowly, it will survive in low light.
Another one of the best indoor shade-loving plants is this one. It’s also known as the Chinese evergreen, and it is so low maintenance that it can go three weeks without water. It also doesn’t require fertilizer and can thrive under fluorescent lighting–talk about a hardy plant!
11. Spider Plant
This South African plant not only grows to incredible lengths, but it also blooms! So if you observe small white blooms growing from the leaves of a spider plant, don’t be surprised.
12. Heart-Leaf Philodendron
Philodendrons with heart-shaped leaves can be planted or hung. However, because these beauties are toxic, adding them to hanging baskets is wise if you have dogs or small children.
It’s simple to look after this houseplant and is best to water once a week. If the plant’s leaves are going brown, it’s time to give it some more water. If the leaves are turning yellow, you’ve over-watered the plant.
13. Red Anthurium
Anthurium plants bloom all year round, with each bloom lasting about six weeks. You can find pink, white, or red waxy flowers in this species.
It is ideal if you water this plant once or twice a week. If you see a buildup of dust or insects, regularly wipe off the leaves with a damp, wet towel.
Japanese moss balls are known as kokedama or “poor man’s bonsai.
You can enjoy some greenery without having to use a planter with Kokedama. Hang them in low or medium-light (too much light can cause them to dry out). Before rehanging them, soak them once a week and spray them as needed.
Another sort of moss ball is Marimo, which lives explicitly in water. It doesn’t like direct sunlight, so make sure your marimo vase is in a dark location.
16. Rex Begonia
The vibrant leaves of the rex begonia can grow up to nine inches long and five inches wide. They enjoy both indirect light and humidity. Water this plant when the soil feels a bit dry to the touch.
17. Peace Lily
The peace lily cleans the air, blooms all year, and doesn’t require any special care. It will thrive in low light, but you can expect more flowers to grow if you position it in bright, indirect light.
18. Dancing Bones Cactus
Jungle cacti are epiphytes, meaning they grow (harmlessly) on tree trunks in their natural habitats–and they don’t resemble the severely prickly cacti you might imagine.
Hatiora salicornioides, for example, resembles a long-haired moss and produces charming small yellow blooms when in season.
Water when the soil is nearly (but not entirely) bone dry, and pot with succulent soil. It’s easy to see how the dancing bones cactus got its name from its spindly, occasionally floppy branches.
19. Schefflera “Soleil”
Never allow the Schefflera “Soleil” to rest in a tray of standing water since it needs good drainage.
Its large leaves have a lemon-lime tint to them. However, the most significant part about this beautiful plant is that it can grow huge with proper care because it’s a tree.
20. Jewel Orchid
Another one of the shade-loving plants is the jewel orchid. Jewel orchids are grown for their leaves and aren’t as difficult to care for as their more well-known orchid cousins with their exquisite blooms. Their leaves have a velvety texture and are rich purple and pinstriped. When the soil is dry, water your jewel orchid.
Dracaena means “female dragon,” derived from the Greek language. This low-maintenance plant got its name from the red resin that accumulates in the plant’s stems, which supposedly resembles a dragon’s blood.
Dracaena plants are native to Madagascar and thrive in semi-shade or filtered light environments (for example, through a sheer curtain).
However, exposing certain plants to direct sunlight is detrimental to their health as the sun can scorch their leaves, so keep your dragon out of direct sunlight, please!
22. Rattlesnake Plant
Rattlesnake plants, often grown for their foliage, have a jungly appearance. Rattlesnake plants have lance-shaped, ruffly leaves with dark green, bright green, and purple variegated patterns.
They want humidity, so have a squirt bottle of water nearby, spray it whenever you feel friendly, and water the soil before it fully dries out.
23. Nerve Plant (Fittonia)
The exquisite patterns on the leaves of this South American plant will captivate you. The designs can be red, pink, or white, and they genuinely make the plant pop. In addition, they are low-maintenance shade-loving plants.
Bromeliads resemble huge flowers with their lustrous, broad leaves and swirling rosette forms, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You won’t water the soil they’re in since their root systems are so small. Instead, keep a small pool of water in the central cup of the plant.
It’s simple to see why this plant is known as the queen of the shadow garden. You can plant hosta for its beautiful leaf, which comes in a broad range of colors, patterns, forms, and sizes, from teacup to truck tire size.
This tough-as-nails plant thrives in cooler climates and flourishes when given rich, well-amended soil and consistent water. Many kinds are tolerant of intense shade and challenging growing conditions, such as those found behind trees.
Many shade-loving wild plants, such as coral bells, ferns, and columbine, go nicely with hosta plants. These hardy perennials will provide you with years of consistent color in your yard.
26. Coral bells
Coral bells (Heuchera) offer a practically infinite variety of foliage colors, patterns, and forms. There’s a color for every garden palette, ranging from lemon yellow to almost black, making this a landscape designer’s dream plant.
The fireworks-like blossoms that explode above the foliage in late spring/early summer are just the cherry on top.
This semi-evergreen perennial’s low maintenance requirements, as well as its tolerance to a wide range of light and soil conditions, make it an excellent choice for most settings.
They thrive on soil that is rich, well-draining, and evenly moist. In addition, coral bells have a flexible design feature that you can use in various locations, including mixed borders, mass plantings, and containers.
Few plants in the garden can match the strong impact of angel wings for an exotic vibe (Caladium). Most people plant this tropical annual for its arrow-shaped leaves in hues ranging from pure white to multi-colored variegation, making it popular as a Victorian conservatory plant.
It’s best for bringing rich color to your garden’s darkest corners, where bright colors might be hard to come by.
Caladium tubers or plants can be grown from tubers. However, because they need a lot of heat to thrive, they’ll do best as plants for people who live in warmer environments or have access to a heat source like a greenhouse or heating pad.
Combine with impatiens, begonias, and fuchsias as a bedding plant or in containers.
28. Japanese Forest Grass
Japanese Forest Grass is among the few attractive types of grass that grow in the shade (Hakonechloa macra).
This deciduous perennial produces low, mounding clusters as it grows. In addition, the leaf of golden or variegated species helps illuminate darker garden areas, detracting from the darkness.
Japanese forest grass can tolerate a wide range of light conditions, from the partial sun to deep shadow, but it loves rich, well-draining soil and consistent rainfall.
Grow as a groundcover, massed along a slope, as a foundation planting, in containers, or in front of a mixed border for various design options.
The graceful, arching habit and flowing leaf texture create a lovely contrast with hostas, hellebores, ferns, and coral bells.
Coleus (Plectranthus, syn. Solenostemon), one of the most popular summer annuals, is grown for its leaf, which comes in an endless variety of patterns, forms, and colors.
Coleus thrives in rich, well-draining soil with consistent water, and it’s easy to propagate from cuttings. Foliage color is best when grown in morning direct sunlight and protection from the intense afternoon sun.
You can use this tropical plant as a stand-alone accent, massed as bedding plants, or in front of a mixed border as a design feature. Combine with flowering annuals like million bells, impatiens, or fuchsia in containers.
Foxglove (Digitalis) is a classic cottage-style favorite that blooms in late spring and summer with statuesque spires of bell-shaped flowers.
Biennials (D. purpura) are the most common garden varieties, producing flowers in their second year. These flowers rapidly self-sow for years of blooming afterward, making them helpful for filling in gaps.
For a mixed border, other perennial species are a fantastic alternative. But foxgloves prefer moist, rich soil and bloom best when exposed to sunlight for at least part of the day. Plant these beauties on a slope or in a woodland setting, cottage garden, or wildflower meadow to naturalize.
Primrose (Primula), a clear harbinger of spring, is a beautiful sight after a long, bitterly cold winter. In garden centers, English primrose (P. Vulgaris), the most well-known cultivar, blooms in early spring in vivid shades of blue, pink, red, yellow, and orange.
Many other garden-worthy plants thrive in milder temperatures–primroses like moist, well-draining soil, consistent water, and partial sun to deep shadow.
However, alpine varieties can endure lighter, drier conditions. They go well with ferns, hosta, iris, and bleeding heart, among other woodland plants. You can plant these in a woodland environment, in front of a mixed border, or in containers.
32. Bleeding Heart
Few shade flowers can match bleeding heart’s romanticism and intrigue. The heart-shaped flowers, white, pink, or crimson, are carried on arching stalks above fern-like leaves.
A spring ephemeral that fades back in summer is the most grown form of this deciduous perennial. Plant them beside hosta or other bold-leaved plants to conceal the withering foliage.
Bleeding heart thrives in rich, well-draining soil that receives consistent precipitation. Fringed and western bleeding hearts have leaves and flowers that will last into the fall with regular care. Grow with other shade-loving plants in a wooded setting or a container as a dramatic focal point.
33. Arrowhead Plant
The arrowhead plant completes our list of the most incredible indoor shade-loving plants (also known as the American evergreen). It can be potted, hung, or grown along a trellis or pole.
Tyler C Rich is the founder and chief editor at TopsyGardening.com. An experienced gardener and a professionally trained agriculture development expert, Rich has worked in the gardening and landscaping industry for more than a few decades. Although he has retired, his spark for developing the best urban and indoor gardens has not faded a bit. He uses TopsyGardening.com as a platform to come across enthusiastic gardeners and share the unique insights he has acquired through years of experience. Rich is interested in aquaponics and technology apart from conventional gardening techniques.