Bright Spots for Shade

Think that dank, dark shady spot is the cross your garden has to bear? Think again—color and shade don’t have to be exclusive.

How about Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’? Only the second grass to be named the Perennial Plant Association’s Perennial Plant of the Year. This cascading Japanese import forms a waterfall of bamboo-like leaves. Graceful yellow-green variegated foliage in the spring, highlighted with hints of pink and red in the fall.


Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

And ‘Hello Yellow’! Here’s a Belamcanda bursting to brighten. Belamcanda chinensis ‘Hello Yellow’ stuns with beautiful clear yellow blooms on fan-shaped leaves. Known as the blackberry lily, but is actually in the Iris family. After flowering, clusters of shiny black seeds are exposed when the seed capsules split open, hence the name blackberry lily.


Belamcanda chinensis ‘Hello Yellow’

Ugly name, beautiful plant – leadwort spices up your shady spots. Ceratostigma plumbaginoides boasts brilliant gentian-blue flowers from late summer until the first hard frost. It spreads to form a dense mat of zig zag stems with leathery, oval leaves that have beautiful fall color.

ceratostigma plumbaginoides

Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

What’s shade without a fern? Athyrium Metallicum is one of our favorites, a Japanese Painted Fern with delicate fronds touched in silver with green highlights and subtle burgundy veination.

Athyrium nipponicum ‘Metallicum’

Athyrium Metallicum

Texture and motion reign supreme, especially in shade, and Chasmanthium latifolium, or northern sea oats, delivers in spades. Seed clusters resembling oats dangle from bamboo-like foliage. Fall colors will surprise as seeds and foliage morph into bronze and copper tones.


Chasmanthium latifolium

Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’ gets gardens and pots glowing. This beautiful golden chartreuse shrub is sure to brighten your shade garden. Extra points for extended seasonal interest too, thanks to its summer swell of white blooms and fall rush of dark purple berries—favorites of our fine feathered friends.

Aralia Sun King gdn

Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’

And finally, add a perennial that keeps on giving! Stokesia ‘Color Wheel’ sends up branched bloom stalks that open almost pure white. As the days progress, the same bloom cools to lavender, then to deeper lavender and finally to purple. It’s pure pleasure watching its palette progress!

stokesia colorwheel 1

Stokesia ‘Colorwheel’


Pick your own palette, or paint by numbers with one of our pre-planned shade gardens. Questions? Call 1-866-681-0856 or e-mail

This entry was posted in Jude Groninger, Ornamental Grasses, Perennials, Shade, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Bright Spots for Shade

  1. Pingback: Bright Spots for Shade | Plumes and Blooms

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s