One of my favorite things about spring is heading out to all of the greenhouses to see all the flowers and plants. Over the years, I’ve become more and more interested in landscape and gardening. Although I’m not a huge fan of the maintenance. When we first moved into our house in Michigan, we tried a lot of different plants. Some worked, some didn’t. Over the last couple years we’ve perfected what has worked in our yard which has a lot of shade. I am not a fan of having to “pick” the dead flowers or leaves in order for them to continue to grow. I like low maintenance plants that I don’t have to touch other than to water occasionally.
Favorite Shade Plants
There are many plants and flowers that do well in shade but here are my favorite shade plants that have worked in our yard.
One of the toughest plants we have in our yard. I love them because they are perennials that come back each year better than the year before. They are extremely low maintenance. Pretty much we just water them when it’s really hot outside and they thrive in the shade. Hostas also transplant well and can be split off into multiple plants. We have relocated our hostas multiple times without any casualties. Deer and rabbits love to eat hostas so you may need to spray your hostas with a repellent if you are having this problem.
I just discovered this plant last year and I absolutely love it! It’s so low maintenance and doesn’t require attention besides the occasional watering. It is a perennial but I haven’t had success with this yet but that might be because I use them in pots instead of the ground. This plant is great of ground cover or great for flower pot fillers. I love to use this as a flower pot filler because it will grow off the side and wander down to the ground. By summertime the creeping Jenny’s will be spread out so nicely inside the pot and over flowing down the edge. These are definitely a popular plant in our area because by mid-May they are extremely limited.
Aka the polka dot plant. Another pot filler (or border brightener) that I love, it’s low maintenance and tolerates little sun. This helps to really brighten up a pot with the mixes of red, pinks, greens and whites. I’ve used this plant indoors and outdoors and have found that it is much easier to take care of outdoors. This plant does well in partial shade and loves the humidity of a Midwest summer.
Aka elephant ears. This plant is so pretty and fun to me because they really do look like elephant ears. These plants like hot weather, warm soil and partial shade. Each spring I will buy 1 of these plants per pot and by mid-summer they are huge. They are a great foliage plant that brightens up any pot or landscape. They come in different variations of greens, whites, reds and pinks.
For so many years I’ve tried hanging baskets with flowers- they always die by mid-July because I haven’t water them enough or I haven’t picked the dead flowers off enough. Ferns have become my dream hanging basket because it gives the volume that I love without the extreme maintenance. Some fern varieties are more tolerant than others but I prefer the Boston fern because it can also be a house plant when the weather get colder. Boston ferns love the humidity of summer, in partial shade but they do like to be watered often and are not drought tolerant. Hanging baskets full of ferns is my favorite look!
This is probably the only “flower” that doesn’t die from my lack of care. These do well in containers or hanging baskets in partial shade. It does say that these flowers need to be deadheaded (dead flowers pick off) but I have never picked the flowers off and they come back each time (I probably just jinxed myself). Begonias are deer resistant too so plant them in the areas where the deer love to eat. Begonias like their soil to dry out a little bit and then to be watered again.
- By “shade plants”, I mean partial shade. All plants love the sun but these plants do not want direct, full sunlight. Usually 4 hours a day of sun is ideal.
- Although a lot of these plants and flowers do not require a lot of maintenance, most of them do require watering and are not fans of becoming too dry.
- Buy flowers about a week before Mother’s Day so they are not picked over. You can definitely find a better selection at the beginning of May.
- Keep the flowers inside until it is warm enough to plant. Michigan plant date is AFTER May 15th.
- Mulching around ground plants helps by adding nutrients to the plants.
Note: These are my favorite shade plants for southwest Michigan weather.
Do you have any favorite shade plants?