Top 10 Shade Perennials for your Minnesota Garden

Updated on June 8, 2022

Do you have some not-so-sunny areas of your gardenscape that could use some color and texture? While Hostas do offer a tremendous variety of color and texture, there’s no reason to limit yourself to just this one type of plant. There are a plethora of other choices! The perennials below will come back year after year, filling your shady spots with color!

1. Aconitum carmichaelii ‘Arendsii’ (Monkshood)

Beautiful bright blue fall flowering perennial.  Loves moist soil.  Makes a great cut flower.  Cautionary warning:  this plant is toxic to humans and pets.

2. Anemone tomentosa ‘Robustissima’ (Windflower)

Soft pink single, cup-shaped flowers on tall stems that float above deep green foliage.  Blooms late summer to fall.  Attracts butterflies.

3. Aruncus dioicus (Goats Beard)

Excellent background plant for shady and moist areas. Attractive feathery plumes of creamy white flowers that rise above dark, green foliage.  Blooms early to mid-summer.  Loved by bees and butterflies.

4. Astilbe ‘August Light’ (False Spirea)

Blooms later than most Astilbe (mid to late summer).  Beautiful dense, scarlet red plumes. Resistant to pests such as deer and rabbits and will tolerate wet sites. 

5. Bergenia cordifolia ‘Winter Glow’ (Pigsqueak)

Leathery waxed leaves that take on a red cast in the fall.  Dark rose-pink flowers are held on stems from March through May. Does not like wet feet.  Very easy to grow.

6. Chelone lyonia ‘Hot Lips’ (Turtlehead)

Upright perennial with pink snapdragon-like flowers that resemble the heads of open-mouth turtles.  Blooms late summer to early fall.  Excellent plant for rain gardens.

7. Hakonechloa macra ‘All Gold’ (Japanese Forest Grass)

A Japanese Forest grass that has bright golden foliage that gleams in the shade.  Grows to around 14 inches.  Beautiful accent for woodland gardens.

8. Heuchera Northern Exposure Series (Coral Bells)

If you love coral bells, you’ll love this new line of heuchera sold by Sargents.  This collection features an exceptional range of rich-colored foliage and great hardiness.  Choose from various colors:  amber, lime, red, sienna and silver.

9. Ligularia dentata ‘Othello’ (Leopard Plant)

Known for its large leaved foliage and yellow/orange daisy like flowers.  The flowers develop on tall stalks that reach above the foliage. Prefers well drained moist soil.  Blooms mid-summer to early fall.

10. Pulmonaria ‘Raspberry Splash’ or ‘Trevi Fountain’ (Lungwort)

Otherwise known as Lungwort, this shade loving perennial has attractive pink (Raspberry Splash) or cobalt-blue (Trevi Fountain). Early spring blooms.  The silver-spotted leaves offer continuous beauty throughout the growing season.  Pulmonaria makes a lovely edging for a shady border.

These are just a FEW of the shade perennials we stock at Sargent’s. Give us a call or stop in to check out our current inventory. Our expert staff is ready to help you find the perfect plant for your unique garden. 

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