Flower Bulbs for Shade

Updated March 23, 2017

Some gardeners like to incorporate flowerbeds in all areas of their yards, including shaded areas. Shade gardens can feature a wide variety of colourful, flowering plants that are resilient in hot summer days. Some common types of these thriving shade plants are bulb flowers. Choose from wide variety of these flowers to create a shade garden with blooms in the spring, summer and fall.


Daffodils are found throughout many growing regions, and are actually considered to be in the Narcissus family. These trumpet-shaped, golden bulb flowers grow well in both winter and early spring light, which make them ideal for a shade garden. They typically bloom between November and early April. There are many daffodil varieties to choose from, including Golden Dawn, Thalia and Grand Primo.

Grape Hyacinths

These shade bulbs are actually members of the Lily family. The small flowering plants feature fused blue or purple petals with white tips, which give them the appearance of grapes. Grape hyacinths grow in several planting zones, from zones 3 to 9, which makes them viable shade garden options for many gardeners. They bloom in the spring and grow well under shrubs and trees.


Many gardeners have several types of shade-blooming tulip bulb flowers to choose from. Tulips typically bloom in the springtime. The Tulipa clusiana family offers several tulip varieties, including Lady Jane and crysantha. There are both complex hybrid and species tulips available, and species tulips do not require the gardener to dig them up and refrigerate them in the summertime. They also are known to be less finicky than their hybrid cousins, and they can tolerate shade environments much better. The only type of maintenance required for most shade tulips is well-drained soil, as they can be at risk of rotting if they experience too-frequent watering or irrigation.

Spider Lilies

Spider lilies, or Lycoris raidata, are shade-loving bulb flowers that will give your garden an exotic feel, scent and look. There are both heirloom and imported versions available. Most heirloom species are found as native flowers in the southern states region, and they typically feature red, thin sepals. The imported shade bulbs are often ordered from Asian countries, including Japan. They can also be imported from some South American countries. For example, Colombian spider lilies usually feature white sepals. Some spider lilies can give your shade garden a touch of colour in the cooler season, as they bloom in the fall. Others bloom in the partial shade during the summer months.

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About the Author

Denise Brandenberg has more than 15 years professional experience as a marketing copywriter, with a focus in public relations. She also worked as a recruiter for many years and is a certified resume writer. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.