Landscape with Shady Plants!

Brian J. Wheat owns The Lafayette Florist and Garden Center in Lafayette and loves to talk to people about gardening. A CSU master gardener since 1985, he runs a family business that’s been in the area for 70 years, four generations, with a large garden center and greenhouses.

“The thing about shade plants in Colorado is that they’re a little touchy, because we have high intensity sun, more than other places in the country,” Brian says. “You really have to be careful when you plant so they get only morning sun, because anything past noon will cook it!”

Brian says that information and education about the best plants for the shade is vital in Colorado because of the heavy clay soils, high intensity sunlight, and drying winds. “You have to choose the right plant for the right place and have the right information about growing it to be successful.”

The Lafayette Florist and Garden Center is open seven days a week and has an entire row of colorful shade plants to choose from. A few of the basic shade perennials that Brian says are popular in Colorado include Bleeding Hearts, Forget-Me-Nots and the state flower, Columbines.

 Colorful and Showy Shade-Loving Plants

Astilbe presents colorful plumes in wine red, but some of the newer varieties also have showy foliage in bronze, pale green or dark green. If you choose a few varieties with different colors, bloom times and heights, you’ll have lots of color and texture (and visual interest!) throughout the season. These shade plants also attract butterflies, another reason to include them in your garden!

Coral Bells, offer a variety of leaf colors: silvery, burgundy, purple-blue, chartreuse, salmon and rusty orange. With this shade plant it’s the leaves that provide the visual excitement, though some varieties also have showy flowers on tall, slender stems.

Tall and stately Foxglove is mostly a biennial, meaning the first year is a foliage year and the second year it flowers then dies. But don’t worry, these vertical plants are self-seeding so that you’ll have flowers every year in white, lavender and pale and vivid pink. Interesting fact: Foxglove, also known as Digitalis, is used to make a prescription drug called digoxin which is used to treat heart ailments.

Hakonechloa is a Japanese forest grass that grows best (and looks its best) in partial shade. It reaches a height of about 12 inches and is clump-forming, with leaves that are thin and papery and resemble bamboo. Depending on the variety, the colors of this grass can be golden green, lime green or variegated, and some even turn red, orange or purple in the fall.

Ground Cover for Shady Spots

Rugged and carefree, the Hosta is one ground cover that might need a bit more sun to reach its best variegated colors. It can be found in green, blue, and gold-leaved types. Spotted Deadnettle and Bunchberry are two other plants native to North America that produce dainty white flowers for two totally different looks. 

Just because some ground covers are great for shade, doesn’t mean you’ll want them because they could end up taking over your yard! Some of the invasive species like Liriope, Sweet Woodroof and the super-aggressive Bugleweed are spreaders that can get out of control unless you watch them and are careful to curb their takeover tendencies!

Landscaping Looks in Colliers Hill

The curb appeal of the homes in Colliers Hill reflect the preferences and personalities of the buyers who now call this master-planned community “home”! Take in the stunning front-range views as you visit our 12 spectacular model homes from Shea Homes, Richmond American Homes and Meritage Homes (with more on the way!). You’ll find ranch and two-story designs that fit your style, priced from the upper $300s to the $600s.