Flowers for shade, especially perennials, are usually associated with springtime, before the leaf canopy fills in and blocks most of the sunlight.  We do have a few summer blooms in our shady back garden, though.


There’s a ‘Darlow’s Engima’ rambling rose growing on an arch that leads into the Back Garden. It would probably like more sun than it gets, as its flowers are fairly sparse.


Sparse or not, they have a lovely fragrance.


Purple-Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratum) likes shade and generally blooms throughout the summer.


The flowers are pretty and the big maple-shaped leaves are attractive, but the fruit is nothing to write home about.


Some say that Bee Balm (Monarda didyma) wants full sun, but the rhizomes I planted here in part shade seem perfectly happy. I just have to make sure they don’t overwhelm the Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica) growing at lower right.

Indian Pink

While I aim to emphasize white flowers in the Back Garden, many of the summer-blooming perennials that like it here bloom in red, purple, and yellow.


White summer flowers are provided by ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) which has big poofy-looking clusters of bloom through much of the summer. You can cut this plant back hard since it blooms on new growth.


Are there any summer-blooming perennials in your shade garden right now?

38 Comments on “Summer Blooms for the Shade”

  1. The raspberry is beautiful, worth having even if it didn’t have any fruit. I love bee balm. I can grow quite a few kinds, but my typical kind, Panorama Red Shades, is my sacrifice plant. It is chewed up every year, and none of the nearby plants are touched.

  2. The white hydrangea blooms are lovely, especially combined with their deep green foliage. The Indian Pink is native here in Texas, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen it for sale. It’s sure a pretty one! Lovely summer garden!

  3. Great ideas, thanks! Add rabbit cover to the challenges of shade gardening. It seems just about any colorful plants I try to add that bloom in midsummer are gobbled up. (My Spigelias are caged; although I think the rabbits are leaving the tops of them alone now that they’re established.) I can see why the previous owners planted so many Hostas!

  4. Yes, my favorites right now are Tall Bellflower which is a beautiful blue and Silene which is a bright red for the most part. I just noticed today that there is one blooming pink. I didn’t know they would do that.

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