Great Perennials for Shade (All of Them Deer Resistant)

Here are just a few of my favourite perennials for shade. Though I don't have to worry about deer in my garden, a little research online tells me they are all deer resistant.Gardening is not a case of one size fits all. Check my notes on zones to see if these plants are suitable for your area.
This is one of the first perennials to bloom in my northern garden. Up close you can see that the spotted foliage has a fine, fuzzy texture, which no doubt helps to keep the plant warm on the frosty spring nights. Pulmonaria can be grown in normal, sandy or clay soil. Average to moist conditions. Height: 8-12". Spread: 18-23". USDA Zones: 3-9
Groundcover: Lamium maculatum is a staple groundcover in my backyard. I have it everywhere- in the shade, and even in the sun (although it prefers a little shade). I find that the most common mauve colored plant is the best performer. It does self-seed, but is not hard to remove when unwanted. Average, dry or moist soil. Height: 6-8". Spread: 12-23". USDA Zones: 2-9
Groundcover: My favourite Lamium cultivars however, have to the ones with this interesting silver-green leaves with a narrow green edge. Here is one such cultivar Lamium, 'Red Nancy' Average, dry or moist soil. Height: 6-8". Spread: 12-23". USDA Zones: 2-9

See more information in this post:
Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost' Height: Spread: Heart-shaped silver-green leaves. Blue flowers in spring. Part to full shade. Moist soil. Zones: 2-9.

See additional cultivars in this post:
Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabillis, 'Alba'. Height: 70-90 cm, Spread: 70-90 cm. Part or full shade. Average to moist soil. You can refresh the foliage after it flowers in early spring, but even so, it will go dormant by late summer. Hardy: USDA Zones 2-9.
There are many different Heuchera cultivars all with different light requirements so check to label before you make your purchase.

Heuchera 'Marmalade' has foliage ranging in color from umber to deep sienna. Red-brown flowers. Sun to part shade. Average to moist growing conditions. Height: 10-16". Spread: 12-18". USDA Zones: 4-9
Mixed varieties of Heuchera. See more cultivars of Heuchera:
The pink flower in the center is Astilbe.
Astilbe is a great choice for moist shade and has wonderful ferny foliage. Height: 20-24". Spread: 18-24". USDA Zones: 3-9

A blog post on Astilbe:
Japanese Ghost Fern, Athyrium 'Ghost': Part to full shade. Moist growing conditions. Normal, sandy or clay soils are fine. Height: 24-35". Spread: 12-18". USDA Zones: 4-9
Three Dogs in a Garden
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4 of 19 comments
  • Cindy Cindy on Apr 19, 2016
    thank you, your blog is very informed and I appreciate it :)

  • Constance Mac Constance Mac on Jun 06, 2017
    I planted Astilbe - deer ate the flower off in one night- not the foliage tho- but then whats the point. Lungwort/Pulmaria comes back every year beautifully

    • Three Dogs in a Garden Three Dogs in a Garden on Jun 07, 2017
      Good to know about the astilbe. The foliage is nice and ferny, but I agree, the flowers are the main feature.