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Upright Shade Plants for the Shade Garden

If your shade garden includes a lot of hostas, heucheras, azaleas, Siberian bugloss, lungwort and astrantia, as many shade gardens do, you may notice that it has an overload of mounded shapes. Adding several upright shade plants among your mounding plants will create contrast and a little excitement. Here are some vertical plants for shade:


Upright shade plants for deep shade
Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum) or variegated Solomon’s seal (P. odoratum var. pluriflorum ‘Variegatum’

Gladwyn iris (Iris foetidissima)

Ostrich fern (Matteuccia struthiopteris)

Western sword fern (Polystichum munitum)

Sweet olive (Osmanthus delavayi)

Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) (Note: This species is listed as invasive in parts of the Southeast US and Southern California.)

Fastigiate yew (Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata’)

Upright shade plants for dappled or partial shade
Indian hyacinth (Camassia leichtlinii)

Harts-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium)

Variegated Japanese iris (Iris ensata ‘Silver Band’), which may not flower in shade but will add shape and color with its foliage

Variegated sweet flag (Acorus calamus ‘Variegatus’)

Huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum)

Hybrid mahonia (Mahonia xmedia ‘Arthur Menzies’)

Bonus plants: Mounded perennials with dramatic upright spikes of flowers
White foxglove (Digitalis purpurea f. albiflora) (biennial)

Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa)

Leopardplant (Ligularia dentata)

Monkshoods (Aconitum spp.)

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