21 Shade Friendly Perennials For Zone 7 Shade Gardens

Creating a shade garden in USDA hardiness zone 7? It can be difficult to find the perfect perennial plants due to the climate variability in hardiness zone 7 which covers many different states in the US. In this article, we take a look at some of our favorite perennials for hardiness zone 7, whether you are creating a shade garden or just need some perennials to plant in a shady area.

zone 7 shade perennials


Finding the right shade perennials for USDA hardiness zone 7 can be a challenge, with so many different options available to choose! Not to mention, zone 7 covers a wide range of geographic areas, even if the general temperatures are in a similar range. So if you have a shaded area of your garden you need to fill, or you’ve decided to plant a shade garden and live in this zone, where do you start?

Perennials will come back each season after being planted once, provided they receive proper care. Shade perennials typically only require four hours of full sunlight. They thrive in partial sunlight or full shade the rest of the time. Some standard shade perennials that you might recognize include hostas, astilbe, and Japanese painted ferns.

But will each of these popular shade perennials grow well in hardiness zone 7? Or will other types of plants be a little bit easier to grow? Let’s take a deeper look at understanding zone 7, along with some of our favorite perennials you can plant in your shade garden this season!

Understanding Hardiness Zone 7

According to the USDA Plant Hardiness map, zone 7 stretches in a crescent across parts of the Pacific Norwest, through most of the mid-south, and into the Eastern Seaboard.

Starting in the middle of Washington, it runs down through Oregon, northeastern California, ad parts of the western corner of Nevada. Then it traces through northern Arizona and New Mexico, the panhandle of Texas, and much of Oklahoma.

It touches the northern parts of Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. It covers most of Tennessee and Kentucky, parts of the Carolinas, and a good portion of Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, and Delaware.

According to the USDA, parts of Massachusetts and Long Island are also included in zone 7, making it one of the most extensive hardiness zones. Obviously the amount of moisture you receive will also play a part, but Critical features of zone 7 include:

  • Average minimum temperature of zero to 10 degrees
  • Thriving vegetable plants
  • Nut trees do very well
  • Berries thrive in zone 7

Other key features include growing lovely shade perennial plants, like the ones we will discuss in this article. Let’s take a deeper look!


Corydalis solida
Bird-in-a-Bush is a genus of perennial herbaceous plants of the Dymyankovye subfamily.
Scientific Name: Corydalis solida
  • Plant Type: Perennial flowering plant
  • Geographic Origin: Northern Europe and Asia
  • Plant Size: 10 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 5-8

Commonly flowering in the spring, bird-in-a-bush is a colorful perennial that grows best in shady habitats. With heart-shaped green leaves and bell-like perennial purple buds, the flower was discovered sometime in the mid-1700s.

The plant usually has clusters of bell or tube-shaped flowers, and the green foliage tends to look like a fern. The plant needs a good amount of water. It tends to dry up and dormant in extreme heat and dry conditions.

When combined with other shade perennials, the bird-in-a-bush makes an excellent addition to rock gardens or shaded perimeters. While they can grow up to one foot, they typically only reach 10 inches.

Coral Bells

Heuchera sanguinea
Coral Bells require relatively little care, and have no special requirements for the soil.
Scientific Name: Heuchera sanguinea
  • Plant Type: Perennial flowering herb
  • Geographic Origin: Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico
  • Plant Size: 6-16 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

Coral bells are beautiful flowering plants with pale green leaves and flowers that are typically blood-red in color. The bell-shaped flowers give this plant its colloquial name, one of many plants in the genus Heuchera.

Coral bells are sometimes known as alumroot. Although some foliage colors exist, they typically have evergreen leaves, like purple, bronze, pink, and more.

The plants typically bloom in late spring and early summer. The flower colors range from white to deep red, with pink and even light coral. Like other plants on this list, they make an excellent border perennial.

False Goat’s Beard

Astilbe biternata
False Goat’s Beard grows well in brightly lit areas, but without direct sunlight.
Scientific Name: Astilbe biternata
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Geographic Origin: mountain ravines and woodlands in North America
  • Plant Size: 1-4 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

One of the most beautiful shade perennials that you can find has large, fern-like leaves and tall flowers that are typically white with a feather texture. It is the only member of the Astilbe family native to North America.

The plant is sometimes known as the Appalachian false goatsbeard, growing in the mountains. It has a vibrant color for a shade plant and operates perfectly as a background option in your flower garden.

False goat’s beard grows best in at least partial shade. It ought to be well-drained for optimal plant health. You should have moist soil, but be careful not to flood the plant.

Fern-Leaf Bleeding Heart

Dicentra luxuriant
Fern-Leaf Bleeding Heart produces flowers of an unusual, flattened shape, resembling hearts or medallions hanging from tassels.
Scientific Name: Dicentra luxuriant
  • Plant Type: Perennial plant
  • Geographic Origin: moist woodlands of the United States
  • Plant Size: 15 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to Full Shade
  • Plant Zone: 5-9

Also known as a western bleeding heart, this particular perennial produces heart-shaped blooms that appear in a dark red or pink color. These plants tend to flower in the spring and live well into the summer and fall, depending on the temperature.

These plants make an excellent selection for borders or decoration for the edges of your garden. They’re resistant to deer and rabbits, which might help protect your other plants from the prowling creatures.

A thin layer of compost will help these plants thrive without the interruption of weeds. While they thrive in the shade, these plants are more heat resistant than other shade perennials.


For abundant flowering, the Foxglove requires regular watering.
Scientific Name: Digitalis
  • Plant Type: Perennial flowering plant
  • Geographic Origin: Europe, western Asia, and northwestern Africa
  • Plant Size: 2-5 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to Full Shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

The common foxglove is the most popular variation of this flowering shade perennial. The flowers of the foxglove plant grow in a tubular, bell shape. They grow up on the plant’s stem and may appear in pink, yellow, or white.

Foxglove is easy to grow and care for, and it makes an excellent background for your garden area. They can grow quite tall, so make sure they aren’t hiding any of your favorite plants.

Ground Orchid

Spathoglottis plicata
Ground Orchid is a perennial plant belonging to the Orchidaceae family, native to Asia and Australia.
Scientific Name: Spathoglottis plicata
  • Plant Type: Flowering terrestrial orchid
  • Geographic Origin: Pacifica, Indonesia, India, and northern Australia
  • Plant Size: 1 foot to 18 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full Shade
  • Plant Zone: 6-9

Known as the ground orchid, or the Philippine ground orchid, this plant is a beautiful orchid with pleated leaves that thrives in tropical locations. They can grow moderately tall and provide a nice pop of color to any garden arrangement.

The ground orchid typically flowers all year round in China and New Guinea. In zone 7 of the USDA plant hardiness map, they ought to begin blossoming about half a year after planting.

Ground orchids are an excellent addition to a garden in zone 7, and they’re straightforward to grow and cultivate. 


Helleborus niger
The Lenten Rose is a very popular shade perennial that has many different varieties..
Scientific Name: Helleborus
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Geographic Origin: The Balkans, Europe, and Asia
  • Plant Size: 18-24 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade
  • Plant Zone: 5-9

Thriving in partial shade or sunlight, hellebore is a shade gardener’s friend. It’s a member of the buttercup family, although it does bear a striking resemblance to the popular wild rose.

Hellebore tends to thrive in mountainous regions, particularly in Europe around the Balkans. The flower color can range from white to pink, and the foliage is always evergreen. Hellebore hybrids can flower in darker colors, and are quite popular.

You will find that hellebore thrives in moist but well-drained soil. It buds in the early spring, often earlier than other plants of a similar kind.


Hostas love moisture and shade, but at the same time, they easily tolerate drought.
Scientific Name: Hosta
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Geographic Origin: northeast Asia
  • Plant Size: 1-18 inches
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to Full Shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-9

If you want to incorporate one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden, you need to consider growing hostas. These popular shade darlings are big, green, and leafy.

They thrive in the shade and will grow nearly anywhere. They add a certain attractiveness to your garden that other big, leafy plants don’t provide.

Hostas come in all shapes and sizes, making them the perfect addition to your shade garden. They grow almost anywhere and in any kind of soil, so you don’t need to worry about taking extensive care of them.


Hydrangea macrophylla
Most large-leaved hydrangeas are pink and blue, but can also change color depending on the variety.
Scientific Name: Hydrangea macrophylla
  • Plant Type: Perennial flowering shrub
  • Geographic Origin: Asia and the Americas
  • Plant Size: 3-9 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-7

The hydrangea is one of the most popular flowering shrubs, and for a good reason. Not only do they produce beautiful bulbous flowers, but they’re easy to grow and care for no matter where you live.

Many different names know hydrangeas, but the most common is the bigleaf hydrangea. These large shrubs make excellent backgrounds for your garden, or they can exist on their own apart from your other flowers.

While hydrangeas can survive in some sunshine, they prefer a mostly shady environment. However, they grow well in varying climates all around the world.

Japanese Anemone

Eriocapitella hupehensis
Japanese Anemone is a summer and autumn flowering plant that grows well in a humid environment and in light shade.
Scientific Name: Eriocapitella hupehensis
  • Plant Type: Perennial herbaceous plant
  • Geographic Origin: Asia
  • Plant Size: 2-4 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-8

The Japanese anemone is a member of the buttercup family. Although it’s a Japanese anemone, it is native to China. However, the Japanese cultivated the plant and have done so for centuries.

If you have many woody areas around your house, you have the perfect spot to put some Japanese anemones plants. They thrive under the shade of trees and love dry soil. You can also start them in pots with great success.

One of the best things about the Japanese anemone is that it spreads rapidly. It’s not difficult to care for and prevent it from choking out other plants. But if you want lots of Japanese anemone, you only have to wait a year or two.

Japanese Painted Fern

Athyrium niponicum
Japanese Painted Fern is an evergreen fern whose height ranges from 18-24 inches tall.
Scientific Name: Athyrium niponicum
  • Plant Type: Perennial fern
  • Geographic Origin: Eastern Asia
  • Plant Size: 18-24 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 5-8

The Japanese painted fern is a creeping rhizome and winner of the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit. Many grow very long, with a deep reddish color to the midrib. The fronds are a gray-green shade, adding a unique variation of color to garden plots. If you prefer a brighter green, lacy look, try elegant and easy-to-grow lady ferns.

If you’re looking for a bushy fern to add to your habitat, the Japanese painted fern provides a unique option. It grows best in at least partial shade, although it does exceptionally well in full shade conditions.

As long as you have fertile soil, these ferns are easy to grow. They look great in rock gardens and flower beds alike. And when you need to prune them, you simply trim the fronds to your taste.

Leopard Plant

Ligularia sibirica
Leopard Plant is an ornamental and medicinal plant belonging to the large Asteraceae family that prefers well-fertilized soil.
Scientific Name: Ligularia sibirica
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial plant
  • Geographic Origin: central and eastern Asia
  • Plant Size: 3 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-8

Closely related to the sunflower, the leopard plant is a perennial that loves the full sun in the morning and full shade around the middle of the day. They thrive in damp habitats with fertile soil.

The leopard plant grows a tall stalk, with multiple flowering yellow petals springing from it. There are many different species of leopard plants, but almost all of them have yellow flowers and fairly large leaves.

The leopard plant is easy to grow in the shade and makes a beautiful backdrop to other colorful plants you might have in your garden.


Convallaria majalis
Lily-of-the-Valley is moisture-loving and does not tolerate overly dry soil.
Scientific Name: Convallaria majalis
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial flowering plant
  • Geographic Origin: Northern Hemisphere
  • Plant Size: 6-12 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-9

Everyone knows the popular lily-of-the-valley plant. This deer resistant perennial is famous for it’s delicate white bell shaped flowers, and large green leaves. The white flower typically blooms in the spring, and they’re commonly found all across the Northern Hemisphere.

While the plant is technically invasive in North America, it thrives in zone 7. It grows exceptionally well in the shade and has a delightfully pleasant aroma. This makes it one of the best plants to have around.

You might hear these flowers referred to as May bells, Our Lady’s tears, or Mary’s tears. They all refer to the same charming little plant.


Pulmonaria officinalis
The soil should always be kept slightly moist by watering the Lungwort planting frequently.
Scientific Name: Pulmonaria officinalis
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennials
  • Geographic Origin: Europe and western Asia
  • Plant Size: 6-12 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial Shade to Full Shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Lungwort doesn’t sound like an attractive plant, but these herbaceous, rhizomatous perennials are a beautiful addition to your garden or fenceline. They also work remarkably well if you don’t have lots of space.

The plant typically grows fairly low to the ground and flowers in early spring. At one time, herb specialists thought the plant’s flower looked like a lung. So they named it lungwort and didn’t think twice about it.

The flower color varies between blue, pink, and white. They grow best in partial or full shade in fertile, moist soil. But make sure it’s well-drained soil; these plants are easy to over-water.


Rhododendron ferrugineum
Rhododendron is a branchy evergreen shrub growing in the Alps at an altitude of up to 9000 feet above sea level!
Scientific Name: Rhododendron ferrugineum
  • Plant Type: Perennial flowering shrubs
  • Geographic Origin: Pacific Northwest, Northeastern United States, and Asia
  • Plant Size: 5-20 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-8

The rhododendron is a fascinating plant. It describes numerous species within the same family and might apply to a large flowering shrub or a small tree.

Depending on what part of the world you live in, you could have a tree in your yard with the same name as someone else’s favorite shrubbery.

Regardless of the kind of rhododendron you have, they all like the same thing: partial shade and plenty of water. They typically bloom in late winter through early summer, making them a great lively option for your shade garden.

Siberian Bugloss

Brunnera macrophylla
Siberian Bugloss blooms in May-June, with plenty of tiny pale blue flowers.
Scientific Name: Brunnera macrophylla
  • Plant Type: Perennial groundcover plant
  • Geographic Origin: the Caucasus
  • Plant Size: 12-18 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Otherwise known as heartleaf or great forget-me-not, the Siberian bugloss is an adorable little perennial flower that’s almost cornflower-blue. It looks remarkably similar to the forget-me-not, and it blooms in the middle of spring for about ten weeks.

The plants grow in clumps, with large heart-shaped leaves with light-colored markings. Siberian bugloss is an excellent groundcover for your shade garden. It will help add a pop of blue that will accentuate the other flowers in the garden.

This particular shade perennial is a great option because it’s not too stingy, and it’s fairly easy to grow. It can also be easily divided in the fall, so any of your buddies who want to add it to their gardens can benefit from your supply.


Tradescantia ohiensis
Spiderwort is considered rare flowering and deciduous plant in the garden, that has a long flowering period.
Scientific Name: Tradescantia ohiensis
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennials
  • Geographic Origin: the Americas
  • Plant Size: 1-2 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Full shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

The spiderwort plant is another shade perennial that has an unattractive name for such a charming little flower. It’s sometimes known as the bluejacket or Ohio spiderwort. It tends to grow all over ports of eastern and central North America.

The plant is so prominent that it grows along roadsides like wildflowers. It’s also prominent in fields and shaded glens, with many variations in different habitats.

The spiderwort plant is easy to grow and take care of, making it a great addition to your shade garden.

Toad Lily

Tricyrtis hirta
Despite the good drought resistance of Toad Lily plants, the soil should always be moist for proper growth.
Scientific Name: Tricyrtis hirta
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: the Himalayas through eastern Asia
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

The toad lily is an interesting shade perennial that exists primarily in fully shaded areas. They bloom with various spotted colors and are typically somewhat bell-shaped.

Unlike other plants with “lily” in the name, the toad lily is a member of the lily family, making it a true lily.

The toad lily requires minimal care and attention if properly placed in the shade with the right amount of moisture.

Virginia Sweetspire

 Itea virginica
With the onset of autumn, the vegetation of the Virginia Sweetspire shrub turns into a brighter purple color, which makes it stand out from other plants in the garden.
Scientific Name: Itea virginica
  • Plant Type: Perennial flowering shrub
  • Geographic Origin: North America
  • Plant Size: up to 8 feet tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 6-9

Otherwise known as the Virginia willow, the Virginia sweetspire is a shrub that produces low-growing flowers.

These plants typically bloom in the late spring or early summer months. They thrive in soils rich in moisture, but they are fairly durable plants.

The one downside of the Virginia sweetspire is how difficult it is to get rid of if you decide you don’t want it around anymore.

Winter Begonia

Winter Begonia
Winter begonias are beautiful plants with wide green leaves, and pink to white flowers.
Scientific Name: Bergenia ciliata
  • Plant Type: Herbaceous perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Central Asia
  • Plant Size: 1 foot to 18 inches tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 5-8

Also known as the winter begonia, the bergenia ciliata is a herbaceous perennial that has broad green leaves and blooms in shades of pink, or white. It can live in full shade, and will actually need more shade in hotter areas of zone 7.

The plant thrives in rich and moist soil. While they can be grown in full sun, they prefer having at least partial shade. They are easy to grow as long as you don’t over-water them.

Woodland Stonecrop

Sedum ternatum
Woodland Stonecrop grows well in shady places and prefers plenty of moisture.
Scientific Name: Sedum ternatum
  • Plant Type: Succulent perennial herb
  • Geographic Origin: Eastern and Midwest United States
  • Plant Size: up to 1 foot tall
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

The woodland stonecrop from the sedum family grows beautifully in shady areas with plenty of moisture. It has dainty white flowers that bloom in the early spring and can thrive on rocks and boulders.

Thanks to its succulent leaves, the woodland stonecrop can help retain moisture in shallow soil. This helps make your shade garden even more productive.

The woodland stonecrop makes an excellent addition as groundcover for gardens, though it tends to survive best in the shade.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right shade perennials for zone 7 shade gardens can be a bit of a challenge. But, luckily you have plenty of options to create a beautifully blooming garden space in the shade! Any of the plant options we’ve mentioned should do just fine in your hardiness zone, and allow you to create a diverse garden area with plenty of different perennial plants, and colors. Happy gardening!

october perennials


15 Perennials You Can Plant This October

Thinking of putting some perennials in the ground this October? There are plenty of perennials you can plant, depending on your hardiness zone. In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago looks at her favorite perennial plants to settle into your garden in the month of October.

A cluster of coral and orange strawflowers bloom in a vibrant fall garden.


37 Fall Flowers for A Beautiful Autumn Garden

Did you know that autumn can be one of the most colorful seasons in your garden? Beautiful flowers aren’t just for spring and summer. Plenty of fall-blooming annuals and perennials will liven up your landscape. In this article, gardening expert Liessa Bowen introduces 37 fabulous flowers you can grow in your autumn garden.

A cluster of pale lavender pincushion flowers grow in a lush garden.

Ornamental Gardens

37 Hardy Perennials For Difficult Climates

Are you searching for plants that can handle drought, heat, or cold? Depending on your climate, you can choose from quite a few plants. In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago gives insight and ideas on 37 hardy perennials that thrive in challenging climates.

flowers for sandy soil


35 Flowers That Will Thrive in Sandy Soil

Is your garden full of sandy soil? It can be tricky to find plants that will grow well in looser, sandy soil. In this article, gardening expert Jill Drago lists 35 flowers that will beautify your sandy gardens this season!