Disporum longistylum

Plants for a shady border

Our pick of the best plants for a shady border is all you need to conceal and soften garden partitions. 

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For more plant picks for specific locations, take a look at our features on the best plants for dry soil, clay soil and acid soil, or have a peruse using our handy plant finder.

Learn more about some of the best plants for a shady border, below.

Japanese anemones are an ideal plants for shaded walls and fences, where conditions can be drier.

Hydrangea aspera (Villosa Group)

Hydrangea aspera ‘Villosa Group’ is tough and once mature, will bring a stately presence to your shaded wall or fence. It enjoys moist soil, so in especially dry weather, give it a good water right at the roots.

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Parthenocissus henryana

A deciduous and easy to grow climber, Chinese virginia creeper (Parthenocissus henryana) provides a wonderful backdrop. Rich green leaves in spring and summer turn a vivid shade of red in autumn. 

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Disporum longistylum

Don’t be fooled by their dainty name – Chinese fairy bells, Disporum longistylum, can reach a towering 1.8m in height, so they’re ideal for planting in the middle, or towards the back of your shady border scheme.

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Geranium ‘Johnson’s Blue’

This low-growing geranium has a sprawling habit and is best planted at the front of borders and beds. ‘Johnson’s Blue’ produces masses of blue-purple flowers from May to August. Here are 11 more hardy geraniums for shade you could grow.

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Polystichum setiferum

A British native, the soft shield fern (Polystichum setiferum) will provide lush evergreen colour and texture right through the year. Perfect for setting off blue geraniums and white Japanese anemones. 

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Japanese anemones

Japanese anemones are an ideal plants for shaded walls and fences, where conditions can be drier. They flower for months, providing colour from the later summer months. 

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Sturdy supports

Before planting climbers to grow up walls and fences, it’s wise to first inspect the boundaries that you’ll be tying them into. Avoid growing climbers up weak, or rotting wood, or crumbling bricks, as you’ll likely create more work for yourself. Instead, replace and repair where necessary, to ensure a solid foundation on which to grow.

More climbers for a shady boundary