Gardening in the shade can sometimes seem like an uphill battle, but add in dry conditions and it becomes an impossible feat. However, there are some perennials that will thrive under these conditions and transform your shade garden into a colourful space.
Here are some dry shade perennials:
Ajuga (Bugleweed) – a spreading perennial that forms a low mat of spoon-shaped green, bronze, brown, burgundy-red, purple, white, gold, or variegated leaves. In mid spring it produces showy spikes of blue flowers for several weeks. This is a great groundcover for tricky areas; the textured colourful leaves add interest and the blue flowers add colour.
Barrenwort – a versatile perennial that forms a low spreading clump of unequally heart-shaped leathery green leaves, sometimes tinted with bronze or purple. In spring it produces short sprays of starry flowers in dark violet-purple, yellow, cherry-red, rose, pink, orange, white, or bicolour. It’s flowers resemble mini-columbines.
Bergenia - a multi-season plant that tolerates a wide range of conditions. An evergreen perennial that forms a low clump of leathery green leaves that turn bronze, reddish-bronze to burgundy in the fall and winter. Showy clusters of nodding flowers appear in spring in shades of white, pink and red. A true star for shady gardens!
Dwarf Fleeceflower – this tough low growing perennial forms a carpet of leathery dark green leaves that turn burgundy-red in the fall. In the summer it produces short dense spikes of red flowers that fade to pink. It tolerates poor soils and drought, a great choice for difficult sites.
Goat’s Beard – a beautiful perennial that forms a clump of lacy green leaves and showy creamy-white plumes of flowers in the summer. There are dwarf and giant varieties that are stunning specimens for the perennial garden.
Lady’s Mantle – a popular adaptable perennial that forms a mound of round, scalloped, velvety, olive-green leaves. In the summer it produces sprays of chartreuse flowers. Lady’s Mantle is a reliable, easy care plant that grows happily under most landscape conditions.
Lily-of-the-Valley – a popular groundcover that forms a spreading clump of large green leaves that produces short spikes of fragrant, white, bell-shaped flowers in the spring. A versatile perennial that is tolerant of poor soils and dry shade.
Masterwort – an easy to grow, versatile perennial that forms a clump of lacy green leaves. In the summer it produces unique clusters of starry button-like flowers in white, pink and red. A long blooming, disease resistant plant that will grow and thrive in most conditions.
Pulmonaria – a dependable perennial that forms a low mound of coarse leaves that are often heavily splotched or dotted with silver. They produce showy clusters of flowers in the spring in shades of blue, pink, red, and white. Pulmonaria are a reliable, easy to grow, spring blooming perennial.
Solomon’s Seal – an exotic looking shade loving perennial that forms a spreading clump of arching stems with green or variegated leaves. In late spring it produces delicate dangling bell-shaped creamy-white flowers followed by blue-black berries in the fall. A great choice for woodland gardens and in borders.