Foliage plants for damp shade

Foliage plants for damp shade

We pick some of the best plants with gorgeous foliage, to grow in damp, shady spots.

If you’re gardening in damp shade, the value of lush, dramatic foliage can’t be overstated. 


While many of the plants we’ve picked will also produce stunning flowers, it’s for their gorgeous foliage that they’ve been chosen. Dealing with dry shade? Take a look at our pick of stunning plants for dry shade.

Discover beautiful lush foliage plants for damp shade to grow, below.

Synonymous with shade, ferns adore life in the cool moist soil under trees or in areas shielded from direct sunshine.

Hart’s tongue fern

This beautiful fern is right at home in the cool, moist and shady conditions that woodlands provide. An evergreen UK native, it’s often found growing in lime-rich soils. 


Asarum europaeum

A great little groundcover plant with glossy leaves, Asarum europaeum has distinctly rounded foliage and hairy, purple flowers in midsummer. Grow it in moist but well-drained soil. 


Royal fern

Synonymous with shade, ferns adore life in the cool moist soil under trees or in areas shielded from direct sunshine. Deciduous Osmunda regalis loves a damp and free-draining soil.  



Hostas are indispensable in a shady garden. Many are variegated, their lush bright green leaves glinting from dark borders. Add mulch to keep the soil moist. Slugs adore them, so give them some protection.



Known for its large, attractive leaves, Rodgersia also has cream flower plumes that turn a bronzy colour in autumn. Constantly moist conditions are ideal.


Colocasia esculenta

Also known as elephant’s ears, Colocasia esculenta is a stunning exotic perennial, with huge, expansive leaves. Moist, partial shade is ideal. It grows from tubers and is frost tender, so will need the same winter treatment as dahlias.



This dense grass produces generous swathes of foliage. Grow hakonechloa in cool shade, in moist, rich soil. Here’s how you can use it as part of an exotic container display.



There are many Carex species that will happily in damp shade, including Carex dipsacea (pictured), as well as Carex comans and Carex oshimensis



Deschampsia, or the tufted hair grass, grow to produce elegant mounds, which are topped by a speckled mass of flower spikes in mid-summer. Grow it in partial shade and moist soil.


Looking for flowers for shade? Why not take a look at our feature on flowering plants for damp shade.