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  • Writer's pictureNina Melillo

Flowers That Grow in the Shade – Best Cut Flowers

Updated: Nov 21, 2023


Delicate bell shaped tiny white blossoms along a stem

Cut flowers in an arrangement on the kitchen table, coffee table, or island bring joy whenever you gaze at them. Flowers that love full sun are bountiful in the summer. But what if you only have a shaded area in which to plant your flowers?


Many people think that only plants with colored foliage that are void of blossoms will thrive in the shade. But guess what? There are many pretty blossoming flowers that flourish in part to full shade. So if you’re like me and your garden is in a shaded area, read on to learn about flowers that thrive in the shade. These are some of the best cut flowers that will add a splash of color to your home.


A shaded path full of flowering plants

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Cut Flowers – Shade vs. Sun


There are some limitations to growing cut flowers in the shade. For one thing, shade flowers have stems that are shorter and weaker than those grown in full sun. (For more information on full-sun cutting flowers, click here.) Shaded stems are more flimsy and whimsical. Therefore, when you create a bouquet be sure to add multiple stems and use greenery as fillers to support the stems. Any stem from shrubs or trees will do as long as the length of the stem is in proportion to the flower’s stem.


One other limitation is the number of blossoms. If you have a heavily shaded garden, some plants may not produce as many stems as compared to those that grow in partly shaded areas.

Regardless of these limitations, you’ll still have plenty of flowers to cut and admire for the entire growing season. Shorter stemmed flowers can be put in tiny vessels and placed in powder rooms or on a side table next to a bed. Longer stemmed flowers can be part of a larger, more elaborate display.


For more tips on how to create a secret shade garden, check out Beautiful Shade Garden Ideas.


Shade Loving Flowering Perennials


Here are just a few shade loving perennials that can be cut to create a beautiful bouquet. Before purchasing some of these perennials, check your hardiness zone to see if they will withstand winters in your area.



Lily of the Valley


These shade loving beauties are quite fragrant and grow 6 to 12 inches tall. They thrive in shade to partial shade and bloom in May. In addition to delicate white, bell shaped flowers, they also come in varieties of soft pink. Moreover their blossoms look beautiful in small containers perched on a powder room sink or on a nightstand next to a bed. Be sure to cut some leaves along with the flower stems to create a full, yet compact display.


Lily of the Valley grow from rhizomes and spread rapidly. They make a wonderful groundcover.


Tiny white bell-shaped flowers cascading from a stalk
A bunch of tiny white aromatic bell shaped flowers in a small vase









Astilbe


Astilbe is quite the shade lover. They have spikes of color in red, pink, and white and bloom during the spring and summer. Astilbe attract butterflies and their feathery blooms can range in size from 6 inches to 2 feet depending on the variety. The plant height ranges from 6 inches to 5 feet! Undoubtedly they make a lovely addition to any shade garden. They will last up to 5 days in a vase if given the right care.


Feathery pink stalks with edged green leaves

Coral Bells/ Heuchera


This perennial features beautiful foliage and is rabbit and deer resistant. They enjoy part sun to full shade and thrive best if they receive 4 to 6 hours of filtered sunlight. Rather than their spikey feathery flowers, their colorful leaves are the main event. In fact some varieties do not bloom at all.


The colorful leaves grow in the shape of rosettes, the foliage can be ruffled or smooth, and their colors range from neon lime to pinks, burgundies, purple, and almost black. Heuchera have a mounding habit and grow 6 to 12 inches tall and 1 to 3 feet wide. Their foliage add beauty to any bouquet.


Rust colored curved leaves
Rust and yellow colored leaves









Bleeding Heart


The Bleeding Heart is considered an old fashioned perennial flower. The things it symbolizes range from strong, unconditional love to heartache and sadness. Regardless of what it represents, it is a beautiful, graceful flower that adds a pop of color to any shade garden. It blooms bountifully in early spring and then fades down to the ground when warm weather sets in.


Plant other shade loving annuals around the base of the Bleeding Heart plant to round out your garden in the summer and fall.


Bleeding Heart has graceful arching 3 foot stems embellished with heart-shaped pink, red, or white flowers. At the tip of each heart a spot of red, white, or pink drips down the flower pretending to be bleeding. More unusual blossom colors include yellow, wine, rose, violet and/ or a combination of these.


Graceful arching pink and white heart shaped flowers


Shade Loving Flowering Annuals



There are also numerous shade loving annuals. The following flowers will unquestionably bring beautiful color to your shade garden. You can use the annual foliage as a “filler” in your bouquet, add some tall stemmed flowers, and then tuck in some cut perennials to make a bountiful display.


Dianthus (Pinks/Sweet William)


These fragrant beauties grow in full sun to part shade depending on the variety. Dianthus come in 6 main types: carnation; cottage pinks; cluster head like sweet william; hardy rock gardens; China pinks; and miscellaneous types. They have long stems good for cutting, and the plant grows from 12 to 24 inches tall. Dianthus will bloom all summer long if you deadhead the old blooms. Dianthus attract butterflies and hummingbirds.


Light pink dainty flowers
Deep purple dainty flowers trimmed in white








Begonias


Most Begonias do not have long sturdy stems to cut for a bouquet, but despite this you can cut the stems for smaller groupings that trail over a vase or low bowl. They come in a variety of colors along with single and double blossoms. One variety that is not seen too often but has a thick, long stem with upright growth patterns is the cane begonia. Two varieties of these are angel wing begonias and dragon begonias.


Multi layered salmon colored blossoms


Nicotiana (Flowering Tobacco Plant)


Nicotiana like rich, well draining soil. They prefer morning sun and afternoon shade especially if you live in a very hot climate. They have tubular trumpet shaped flowers that usually open at night. Nicotiana bloom in shades of green, white, red, yellow and pastels. They grow from one foot to over ten feet tall. If the plant is not grown in a sheltered area, be sure to stake them.


Tubular trumpet shaped flowers


Snapdragons


Snapdragons make for lovely cut flowers. They prefer light shade and will bloom in cooler temperatures in shades of orange, red, white, pink, and yellow from summer through fall. They are low maintenance and have a spread of 6 to 18 inches and an average height of 1 to 3 feet depending on the variety. Snapdragons are full of nectar which attracts bumblebees.


Tall stalks of flowers in shades of orange, red, white, pink, and yellow

Flowers That Grow In the Shade – Final Thoughts


Shade gardens do not have to be 50 shades of green! They can be cool, whimsical, cozy, and secretive. With a little thought and knowing your correct growing zone, you can create a lovely cutting flower garden in your shaded backyard. Try adding them to containers on a balcony or patio. They will provide a pop of color you can enjoy not only in your garden, but in your home in your favorite vase or decorative bowl.


For more information on how and when to grow and maintain cut flowers, check out Best Cut Flowers to Grow in Your Garden.


I hope you enjoyed this post. Please leave a comment below and share it with friends and family.


Happy Gardening,


Nina


bestgardeningforbeginners@gmail.com


www.bestgardeningforbeginners.com

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