Tall shade loving plants

Written by t.m. samuels
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Tall shade loving plants
Foxglove is a tall shade loving plant. (foxglove image by david purday from Fotolia.com)

Shade gardening can be conducted under a tree or beside a house—anywhere there is more shade than full sun lighting. Knowing which shade loving plants grow tall can be help you plan a backdrop by the shade source to create a cascade of colour and foliage texture. Plants that grow over a foot high are generally good choices for tall shade plants.

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Purple Giant Hyssop

The purple giant hyssop, or Agastache scrophulariifolia, grows 2 to 5 feet high with oval toothed leaves and purple-red flowers that form spikes. It is a perennial in growth and hardy in USDA hardiness zones of 4 to 6. Blooms appear in late summer and early fall. Purple giant hyssop should be planted in moist rich soils and sun or shade conditions.


Strelitzia reginae, otherwise known as the crane flower or bird-of-paradise, is an evergreen perennial. It grows 3 feet tall with long leathery leaves and a flower that looks like an orange and blue bird’s head. It is hardy in USDA hardiness zones of 9 through 11. Bird-of-paradise prefers bright sun and rich acidic soils. Shade plants have better foliage but sun plants have better flowers.


The foxglove plant, also known as finger flower or Digitalis purpurea, is a short-lived perennial that is hardy in USDA zones 3 through 9. Leaves can be white or dark green and are basal, near the ground level. Flowers are tubular on a stalk and grow 3 to 5 feet high. Bloom colours can be purple, pink, white, cream, yellow or lavender. Flowers bloom at the end of spring and into early summer. Foxglove grows best in partial shade and in moist acidic soils. This plant has medicinal purposes and is used in making the heart drug Digitalis.

Black Bugbane

Actaea racemosa var. racemosa is more commonly known as black bugbane or black cohosh. It grows 3 to 6 feet high with toothed leaves. White flowers bloom in the spring and summer. It is shrublike in growth habits. Black bugbane prefers partial to full shade with moist acidic soil. It is attractive to butterflies and is generally bug-repellent. This is another medicinal plant and has many herbal remedy functions.

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