Shade Loving Plants For A North Facing Garden

Shutterstock / Annaev © Dogs tooth violets growing in a shady garden

Green-fingered people with north-facing gardens can now create an outside space to rival those of their south-facing neighbours.

The experts at have revealed the best plants to grow if your garden is in the shade.

Homes with north facing gardens can lack sunlight for much of the day. But even with a shady plot, you can build up a stunning display of plants and shrubs.

Among the suitable plants are shade-loving hostas, sweet-smelling Lily of the Valley and colourful Rhododendron.

Chris Bonnett from Gardening Express said, “South facing gardens are top of the wish-list for lots of homeowners. But if your garden faces the north, don’t worry, there is still lots you can do.

“It’s all about picking the right plants and shrubs – those which grow well in shade – and planting them in a suitable place in your garden. In no time at all you’ll have a flourishing space.

“South-facing gardens can have their downsides too. Some plants will find it too hot, and constant summer sun can make the space too hot to enjoy.”

Here are the Gardening Express tips for the best plants for a flourishing north facing garden:

Lily of the Valley

This plant loves full shade so is perfect for a north facing garden and will spread to create a lovely show of foliage and flowers. The small, delicate, bell-like flowers have a beautiful, rich scent.


Pic: Shutterstock

Hostas love the shade and only need a little sun to bring on the colour in their leaves. These are perfect for borders or containers in a north facing garden. There is a whole range of sculptural and variegated leaves. All hostas have delicate white or pale purple flowers.

Slugs and snails love the juicy leaves, so use a natural deterrent such as sharp grit, or copper tape around pots.


Not all Rhododendrons thrive in shade, so check before you buy. Those that do will provide evergreen colour all year round, as well as beautiful blooms during spring. They are nutrient-hungry, though, so be sure to enrich the soil at regular intervals.


These are moisture-loving herbaceous perennials which will thrive in boggy, shady conditions. There are varieties with pink or white flowers so you can pick something to complement other planting and your garden colour scheme.


Ferns are the perfect choice for a north facing garden and will thrive in the shade. These won’t bring you big blooms but will add interest and texture. Planting in  containers will prevent them taking over the entire garden.


Pic: Shutterstock

Dog’s tooth violets are gorgeous, dainty spring-flowering bulbs which need to be planted during the autumn. Plant towards the front of a border for maximum impact.


Snowdrops are always the first sign that spring is just around the corner. Grow snowdrops in a sunny spot and the flowers will only last a short time. Plant in a shady border and you will get the best display.

Snakes’ head fritillaries

These beautiful wildflowers are eye-catching and very easy to grow in full or partial shade. They are also great for attracting bees and butterflies into your garden.