Landscape Your Own Shady Areas with Lily of the Valley and These 7 Perennials

It also has health benefits. The lily of the valley contains several organic compounds called cardiac glycosides that can be used to remedy congestive heart diseases. However, these chemicals make the berries, flowers, and leaves of the plant poisonous when ingested in high amounts. Get the complete growing guide at Gardener’s Path to learn more about its proper handling and upkeep.

Imagine enjoying a warm summer afternoon under the shade of trees on a hammock, sipping away on freshly extracted fruit juice while immersing yourself in a compelling book—what a scene. You can maximize your garden and boost its aesthetic by ensuring that each space is thoughtfully designed with a plant that can thrive there. Perennials are ideal for this role since they’re flexible, versatile, and easy to cultivate.

Lily of the Valley

The lily of the valley not only beautifies your backyard or lawn; it also emits an outstanding fragrance to keep the entirety of your home smelling pleasant. This plant blossoms in the summer months and withers away during the colder season, returning to its glorious state again in the next few months.

It also has health benefits. The lily of the valley contains several organic compounds called cardiac glycosides that can be used to remedy congestive heart diseases. However, these chemicals make the berries, flowers, and leaves of the plant poisonous when ingested in high amounts. Get the complete growing guide at Gardener’s Path to learn more about its proper handling and upkeep.

To plant the lily of the valley in your garden, you must:

  • Pick the Right Spot – This perennial plant needs a substantial area so it can spread naturally as it develops. It’s also crucial that you select the perfect location in your garden where it won’t suffer too much under the heat of the sun.
  • Fix the Soil – Fertile soil is necessary for the flower to thrive so amend your soil with humus, peat moss, or compost if you haven’t already. This process improves moisture retention, which is essential since the plant typically blooms in the summer months.
  • Select the Best Time – The ideal time to plant the lily of the valley is at the start of the spring season. Ensure that it gets adequate care at this time so that it can survive and thrive with a healthy root system.
  • Create a Watering Schedule – Tools like a moisture meter can aid you in making a watering schedule to keep the soil surrounding the plant soaked.

Here are other perennial plants that you can plant in the shady areas of your garden:

1. Bleeding Heart

Bleeding Heart

This flowering plant is a native to East Asia and got its name from its flower that looks like a heart with a single overhanging drop. Bleeding hearts favor places with colder climates. They also do well under partial shade so it’s best to plant them beside a tree or beside your home where it can get protection from the sun’s heat and rays beneath the roof.

As with any other perennial plant, you need fertile soil in your garden for bleeding hearts to grow. Fortunately, they aren’t sensitive to the land’s pH levels. One secret to keeping your lawn green and healthy is to water it thoroughly, and it’s especially true for this flower. The ground should be kept moist all throughout the summer months even when the flowers disappear because the roots are still alive underneath.

2. Hydrangea

Hydrangea shrubs are beautiful additions to your garden with their vibrant colors such as blue, pink, lavender, and white. Plus, they’re relatively easy to plant and care for since they can tolerate any type of soil, as well as withstand being placed entirely under the sun.

An easy way to grow hydrangeas in your garden involves getting a cutting from a well-established shrub. These are some things you should remember before doing this:

  • Make sure that the branch has not flowered at all. This part has a lighter color than old growth with a more flexible stem.
  • Cut the branch four or five inches beneath its tip horizontally. You should end up with a cutting that has three to four pairs of leaves on it.
  • Roots can grow quickly from leaf nodes, which are exposed when you remove the lowest pair of leaves from the branch and trimming them to the stem.
  • When placing the cutting in a pot, you should sink it to the first layer of remaining leaves and cover it loosely using a plastic bag to promote moisture. You’ve got to ensure, though, that the leaves won’t touch the covering or else they’ll rot.

3. Viola

Violas are also easy to cultivate and takes convenience up a notch since it self-seeds. They also favor colder seasons and remain in bloom throughout winter. They are also edible and have a variety of uses such as for garnishing, decoration for cakes, and as an ingredient in your everyday salad.

These versatile perennials can blossom outdoors as well as inside your home. For your backyard, violas can be used as borders or to indicate a pathway. Varieties of violas include sweet violets, Johnny-jump-ups, horned violets, and garden pansies.

4. Ferns

Ferns are hardy plants that can withstand even the harshest winter. While they may seem boring with primarily green foliage, they complement other flowers and serve as a remarkable background for your other plants.

There are several types of ferns, such as:

  • Southern maidenhair Fern – The Southern maidenhair fern may look delicate, but it’s as hardy as any other type of greenery. It has an outstanding survival instinct with its ability to tolerate any soil condition, even rocky and acidic soils.
  • Lady Fern – Another tough type of fern, the lady fern is described as drought tolerant and can grow up to three feet.
  • Autumn Fern – This fern changes color with the seasons turning a reddish pink in the spring, a healthy green in summer, and brownish red in the fall. It can add more vibrancy and shade to your garden.
  • Christmas Fern – While the Christmas fern may have a slow growth rate, it’s evergreen nature makes it worth the wait. It’s a common plant in eastern North America and thrives in moist and shady areas.
  • Male fern – The male fern is also native to North America and got its moniker from being deemed as the male counterpart of the lady fern because of its robust appearance and fast growth rate.

They can thrive even with minimal caring and cultivating. When you place them in fertile and well-drained soil, however, they grow exceptionally well. During very dry seasons, this plant just needs regular mulching and watering.

5. Astilbe

Astilbes are beautiful flowers that bloom on top of fern-like foliage. It adds color and texture to shady areas in your garden. This perennial plant prefers light to moderate sunlight and won’t survive under the full heat of the sun. Surprisingly, it prefers soil that drains well, which leads to a slightly lower moisture level.

It’s crucial to remember that their seeds are difficult to germinate. What you can do is to trim cuttings from other well-established astilbes and plant them in the spring or fall. At this time, the divisions should be placed in moist and humus-rich soil. It’s only when the plant is sturdy enough that you can lessen the water level in the ground.

6. Ground Orchid

These evergreen terrestrial herbs thrive in any weather condition. Ground orchids are native to countries with tropical climates like in southeast Asia. One remarkable characteristic of orchids is that they have visual indicators that can alert you of the plant’s health and condition so that you can administer appropriate care whenever they need it.

These are the steps to planting and taking care of ground orchids:

  • Add fertilizer and compost to improve your soil. Charcoal can also help keep the ground loose, which can facilitate the spread of the roots.
  • Remember that ground orchids grow and reproduce more when you separate them from each other. Provide ample space between each plant to allow their roots to spread out.
  • The soil should be watered every five to twelve days, based on the humidity levels in your area. The roots should be allowed to dry completely before you water again; otherwise, the plant may drown.
  • Ground orchids should be kept in shady areas. Too much sunlight can lead to red-colored leaves while too little can result in dark green ones. In the right location, their foliage should turn into a bright green color.

7. Dead Nettle

Dead Nettle
Dead nettles are called as such because their leaves look like stinging nettles without producing the unpleasant sensation. In mild climates, this plant has the capability to become near-evergreen. They have attractive two-toned leaves that are either frosted or splash-marked.

In the late spring or summer months, tiny flowers can bloom in colors such as white, pink, or purple. Depending on how you see it, dead nettles can be perfect for you since it can creep into unoccupied spaces in your garden. However, removing them can be a challenge when you need to clear up that particular location.


Perennials are perfect for adding pops of color to shady areas of your garden. There’s an assortment to choose from. Choose the plants that you can care for to the best of your abilities and enjoy a vibrant home environment.