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Native Plants: Flower Power in the Shade!

Flowers from March to October in Part Shade.


As a new gardener, whenever I had extra time, one of my favorite things was to get up early on a weekend, grab a cup of coffee to go and head to the nearest nursery as soon as it opened to explore and pick up a few plants. I did that for a number of years before I realized to always have flowers blooming would require actual planning! Who knew?


Having recently created a new garden bed in part shade, I was thinking about how to get a long, long succession of perennial blooms. I gathered this list of commonly available, easy to grow native perennials suited to part shade, in mostly clay soils with medium moisture levels.


If you are north or south of Washington D.C., you may need to adjust bloom times depending on how far north or south you are. We all have so many variables in our gardens that might affect bloom time. You may have even noticed the same plant in different locations in your garden blooming at different times. Sun, soil or moisture conditions can affect bloom time so please use this as a rough guide as your results may vary!

March

Creeping Phlox (Phlox Stolonifera)

Golden ragwort (Packera aurea)

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)


April

Creeping Phlox (Phlox Stolonifera)

Golden ragwort (Packera aurea)

Golden alexanders (Zizia aurea)

Foamflower (Tiarella cordiofolia)

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata)

Wood poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum)


May

Dwarf crested iris (Iris cristata)

Golden alexanders (Zizia aurea)

Phlox 'May Breeze' (Phlox divaricata)

Wild geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides)


June

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Eastern bee balm (Monarda bradburiana)

Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)

Skullcap (Scutellaria incana)


July

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Joe pye weed (Eutrochium maculatum)

Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Penstemon (Penstemon digitalis)

Skullcap (Scutellaria incana)


August

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)

Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Heuchera 'Autumn Bride' (Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride')

Great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)


September

Bluebird Smooth Aster (Symphiotrichum laeve 'Laeve Bluebird')

Heuchera 'Autumn Bride' (Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride')

Great blue lobelia (Lobelia siphilitica)

Obedient plant (Physostegia virginiana)

Turtlehead (Chelone glabra)

White wood aster (Euryibia divaricata)

October

Bluebird Smooth Aster (Symphiotrichum laeve 'Laeve Bluebird')

Heuchera 'Autumn Bride' (Heuchera villosa 'Autumn Bride')

White wood aster (Euryibia divaricata)


If you have others to recommend, please do add them in the comments. Succession planning for perennial flowers is sure to spur a superb season of blooms, even in shade!


Happy gardening.


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We want you to be as excited about planting Chesapeake natives as we are. “Plant This or That” gives you a native alternative to popular plants. Other posts highlight really fabulous fauna native to the Chesapeake.

Nuts for Natives, avid gardener, Baltimore City admirer, Chesapeake Bay Watershed restoration enthusiast, and public service fan.

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