Full Shade Plants to Use Around a Pond

If the best spot for a pond in your yard happens to be in the shade, don't fret. Shade ponds are an attractive addition to the yard and open up interesting landscape opportunities. Shade will keep the fish cool and reduce the growth of algae. Although some gardeners find shade challenging, many species of plants thrive in the shade, especially in extremely hot climates. Turning your pond into a woodland oasis is easy with the help of a few shade-loving beauties.

Spotted Dead Nettle

Spotted dead nettle (Lamium maculatum) is an easy to care for plant from the mint family. Small nettlelike leaves with white splashes sprout from runners. This delicate little flower native to Europe, Turkey, Caucasus and northern Iran grows well in partial to complete shade. Vibrant pink- or white-lipped flowers make this spring-blooming perennial a classy addition to a shady pond.


Astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii) has bushy growth and feathery leaves. This perennial plant blooms from early June through late August, but leaves behind attractive foliage for the remainder of the growing season. Partial to full shade and damp soil, astilbe blooms in a variety of colours, including red, pink, purple and white. Especially attractive around a rock pond, astilbe can reach 3 feet at maturity. Divide every few years for best results.


Hosta species (Hostaceae) include a wide variety of plants, some that prefer full shade and moist soil, making them an ideal landscape option for shady ponds. Fragrant white or purple bellflowers shoot up amid large, rounded, blue-green leaves in late June through early September. Hostas are partner plants for showy astilbe, and their leaves and flowers make a splendid addition to fresh bouquets.

Hairy Toad Lily

The hairy toad lily (Tricyrtis hirta) is native to Japan and a member of the lily of the valley family of plants. Pond landscaping will pop with the addition of this unique orchidlike flower. Mottled flowers in red, white and purple appear in August and persist into the fall. Give the hairy toad lily plenty of room to breathe as it prefers no close neighbours.

Grecian Windflower

Grecian windflower (Anemone blanda) is a shade-loving member of the buttercup or crowfoot family. Single pink, red, white or blue fanlike flowers appear above soft foliage in early spring. Maturing at only 8 inches high, this pretty little flower will self-sow in ideal conditions.

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About the Author

Susan Patterson is a health and gardening advocate. She is a Master Gardener, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor and a Certified Health Coach with vast experience working with organic gardening and nutrition. Her passions include sustainable living, organic foods and functional fitness. Patterson has been writing and presenting on health and gardening topics for 10 years.