26 Shade Loving Perennials For Zone 8 Shade Gardens

Looking for some perennials that can survive in the shade despite zone 8's hotter temperatures? There are actually plenty of shade perennials that can do quite well, regardless of which section of hardiness zone 8 you reside in. In this article, we take a look at our favorite perennials for shadier areas of your garden.

shade perennials for zone 8


Do you have a shady area of your garden, or perhaps you are creating an entire shade garden, and live in USDA Hardiness zone 8? Adding plants to your yard is one of the best ways to enhance your home and even show off your personality. If you live in zone 8, you need to ensure that you’re planting plants that are able to survive in this specific climate and temperature range, especially if you are planting in the shade.

Whether you want to add shrubs, some flowers, or other shade-friendly plants, perennials are a great choice! Luckily, despite the zone 8 heat, there are dozens of shade friendly perennials that can grow well with minimal maintenance in hardiness zone 8 for you to choose from.

Knowing what options you have for perennials that love the shade is essential. Below you’ll find some of our favorite shade perennials for zone 8. Let’s jump in!


Acanthus montanus
Acanthus is an evergreen shrub that produces pinnate leaves, and white-lilac flowers.
Scientific Name: Acanthus montanus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Mediterranean
  • Plant Size: 18″
  • Sun Exposure: Partial sun to shade
  • Plant Zone: 6-8

If you’re looking for an excellent greenery plant to add to your yard, anything in the acanthus species is a great option. While they don’t bring a bright color, the vibrant greenery is something to admire. These small shade-friendly shrubs have extensive leaves with multiple flowers that appear white and purple and small spikes.

When placing this plant, you should plant it closer to shorter plants as a frame for your garden. If you live in an area prone to wildlife, you’ll be glad to know it’s relatively animal resistant. Once it flowers, it can attract butterflies and other nectar feeders.


Ajuga reptans
Ajuga is a herbaceous semi-evergreen, evergreen or deciduous plant that can be perennial or annual.
Scientific Name: Ajuga reptans
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe, Northern Africa, and Southeast Asia
  • Plant Size: 4-8″
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-9

Ajuga is an umbrella term for several types of plants that grow well in zone 8. It encompasses a genus of about 40 species of plants. Many of the species within this genus have a blue or purple flowering.

Any plant you choose to use in your yard from the Ajuga family is generally easy to maintain. Since it grows in zones 3-9, how much flowering and purple coloring you’ll see depends on the zone and sun exposure. They don’t grow very high, but they still get to about a foot or more in height.


Beautyberry grows well both in the sun and in partial shade.
Scientific Name: Callicarpa
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Central and Southeastern United States
  • Plant Size: 3-5″
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 5-10

Beautyberry is a shrub that loves full sun to partial shade. It can thrive well in partial shade, which is excellent if your yard is mostly shaded. The shrub is a beautiful green that produces little berries when fully flowered.

The berries are a purple hue and are essential food for many species of birds. So, if you want to attract birds to your yard, Beautyberry is the perfect addition. The plant loves moist, clay-like soil and will survive for years with proper care. There are also several other species of Beautyberry, but the one native to North America is ideal for zone 8.

Bleeding Hearts

Both sun and shade are suitable for the ever popular bleeding hearts.
Scientific Name: Lamprocapnos spectabilis
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: China and Japan
  • Plant Size: 36″
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-9

Bleeding hearts are a beautiful pink or fuchsia flowering shrub that will brighten up any front or back yard. As the plant grows, you’ll notice that the plant’s stem is arched, but this is entirely normal. With origins in Asia, the plant typically grows in full shade and over rocks, causing the natural curve in the stem.

These plants require little maintenance, making them a welcome addition to any garden. While they grow well in zone 8, they will start to wilt in extreme heat. So, when planting them, ensure they have plenty of shade for the pink and white flowers to bloom.


Camellia sasanqua
Camellia is a small tree with simple pink flowers, blooming from autumn to late winter.
Scientific Name: Camellia sasanqua
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: East Asia
  • Plant Size: 8′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 7-9

An excellent shrub for zone 8 is the Camellia. The shrub boasts vibrant red and pink flowers when they’re in full bloom, which most people desire when planting these shrubs. They love a warmer climate which is why they do well in zone 8. Although they love warmer weather, they do need partial shade to ensure they don’t die.

While most Camellia plants have the beautiful pink and red flowers you’re used to seeing, many varieties have smaller white flowers too. They can sometimes be picky plants, but the maintenance should be lower if you plant them correctly.


Cephalotaxus harringtonii
Cephalotaxus is an evergreen shrub, prefers well-drained and moist soil.
Scientific Name: Cephalotaxus harringtonii
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 4′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to shade
  • Plant Zone: 6-9

Cephalotaxus is a great shrub to incorporate into your garden since it works well with many other flowers and shrubs in zone 8. While these plants prefer a sunny area to grow, with the temperatures in zone 8, partial shade is exactly what these slow-growing shrubs need. Flowers will appear on the shrub briefly, but they’ll fade to brown at some point.

The shrub features needle-like leaves that have a dark green color. When planting these shrubs, you’ll need to make sure you use well-drained and moist soil to allow them to grow well. If the soil is too wet, it can cause root rot which no one wants to deal with.

Chinese Mahonia

Mahonia fortunei
Chinese Mahonia produces small, bright yellow flowers, that bloom in spring and have a pleasant, tart, honey smell.
Scientific Name: Mahonia fortunei
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Western North America
  • Plant Size: 6′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 8-9

Chinese Mahonia is compact, bushy, and dense shrubs that grow several feet tall. They’re ideal for adding greenery to your yard, and they can make excellent natural fencing. The shrub’s leaves look like ferns with narrow green leaflets. Some may even have yellow flower spikes when in full bloom.

Chinese Mahonia needs soil that ranges from some sand and some clay. As long as you place it in the shade within zone 8 and follow the proper soil requirements, you can have this shrub for a long time in your yard. The soil needs to be at an average dry/moist level or moist.


Daphne pontica
Daphne is an evergreen shrub that prefers fresh fertile soils and open spaces in the garden.
Scientific Name: Daphne pontica
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe and Asia
  • Plant Size: 3′
  • Sun Exposure: Shade or partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 6-9

Daphne is a shrub that is slightly different from other perennial shrubs. Unlike others with vibrant flowers that are very apparent when you see them, Daphne has flowers that blend into the green leaves of the shrub. You may not be able to see them well, but you’ll be able to smell their beautiful scent right away.

The shrub is slow-growing and often doesn’t flower until late winter and early spring. They’re easy to grow and relatively low maintenance. Something to remember is that these plants can be toxic when ingested, so it’s essential to keep any pets and kids away from them.


In nature, there are more than 30 thousand varieties of Daylily.
Scientific Name: Hemerocallis
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: East Asia
  • Plant Size: 2-8″
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

Daylilies are one of the prettiest and low-maintenance plants you can add to your yard. They’re not the same as the lilies you’re probably thinking of, despite the name. These plants produce stunning, large shade-friendly perennial flowers that will return to your yard every year with minimal maintenance.

The best thing about Daylilies is that there are several to choose from. You can select the color of flowers you prefer and when you want them to bloom. If you want them to bloom in spring, you can get ones that do that or others that bloom earlier or later in the year. They do their best when you plant them in early fall and in the shade in zone 8.


Edgeworthia chrysantha
Edgeworthia is an exotic shrub that prefers semi-shady places in the garden.
Scientific Name: Edgeworthia chrysantha
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: East Asia
  • Plant Size: 10′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 7-10

Edgeworthia, also commonly called paperbush, is a thin flowering shrub with relatively large leaves. The leaves fall in a flower pattern. The flower pattern of the leaves combined with the flower clusters of bright yellow and tiny white flowers make this an attractive shrub to add to your yard.

The shrub has an unusual appearance in most yards, but it thrives in warmer climates like those in zone 8. When planting Edgeworthia, there are several soil options, making it versatile. You can plant it in clay, loamy, or sandy soil. No matter what type of soil you plant this shrub in, it needs to remain moist.

Golden Japanese Forest Grass

Hakonechloa macra
Golden Japanese Forest Grass is demanding on soil moisture. In dry weather, watering is necessary, but it tolerates short periods of drought well.
Scientific Name: Hakonechloa macra
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 24″
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 5-9

Golden Japanese Forest Grass is one of the wonderful shade perennials in zone 8, and it is an excellent choice for ground cover and shade borders. It provides your borders with a pop of color through the bright yellow leaves and thin green stems. Those with this plant in their yards love it when the leaves develop a pink hue during the cooler months.

Even in shaded areas, the plant brightens up a yard. When you plant Golden Japanese Forest Grass, you need to water it often. It requires very moist soil, so watering it once a week is standard, but you’ll need to water it more often than during the dry season.


Helleborus orientalis
Lenten Rose is a miniature evergreen perennial that grows up to only 24 inches in height.
Scientific Name: Helleborus
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Greece and Turkey
  • Plant Size: 18-24″
  • Sun Exposure: Full to partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

While most perennials bloom in early to late spring, hellebore is one that will bring a pop of color to your yard in the winter months. The varying shades of the flowers are mesmerizing. These perennials can also survive in colder hardiness zones, and are a favorite of shade gardeners in hardiness zone 7 as well.

You’ll see pure white flowers, others that are mostly purple with hints of white and pink, and other combinations of the three colors. You’ll need rich and well-drained soil for hellebore. If you live in an area where deer are prevalent, you don’t need to worry about these flowers as they’re highly resistant to deer.

Heartleaf Brunnera

Brunnera macrophylla
Heartleaf Brunnera won’t require a lot of water if it is planted in a shaded, damp place.
Scientific Name: Brunnera macrophylla
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: The Caucasus
  • Plant Size: 1-3′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial sun to shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

Most gardeners and plant enthusiasts love Heartleaf Brunnera because of how well it tolerates the shade. They provide excellent ground cover with their large deep green leaves with tinges of white. You’ll see the light blue flowers throughout the plant when they begin to flower.

Heartleaf Brunnera thrives in the shade, which means it loves moist soil. Luckily, being in the shade, the soil shouldn’t dry out as quickly as it would when in direct sunlight. When planted in moist soil and full shade, they grow relatively quickly. Maintenance is minimal, but you’ll want to cut the old foliage in the spring rather than the fall.


Plantain Lilies is a long-lived plant that can grow without a transplant in one place for 10-30 years.
Scientific Name: Hosta
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin:
  • Plant Size: 3′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial sun to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-9

Hostas are shade-loving perennials that are easy to grow. They are easy to grow, but they’re an attractive plan to add to any yard or garden. Depending on the hosta variety, the colors of the foliage range from light greens to emerald and even yellow and golden hues.

You’ll need well-drained and moist soil for hostas to thrive. If you have to plant them in an area where they receive sunlight, you’ll need to ensure that the soil stays damp.


Illicium parviflorum
Illicium is cultivated as a fragrant and attractive, though not very showy, ornamental plant, this plant can be cut and shaped to form a hedge and windbreak.
Scientific Name: Illicium parviflorum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Southeast United States
  • Plant Size: 15′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 6-9

Illicium is a rare shrub that some might consider a small tree. This perennial can grow very tall, but most people trim the shrub down to avoid it growing too high. Illicium will provide a beautiful fragrance for most of the year, which is another draw for planting this shrub in your yard.

For the most part, the shrub is entirely green. Some small yellow flowers will eventually bloom and turn into a fruit that has a star shape. Even though it grows fruit, you don’t want to let people or pets eat them as they’re toxic. It prefers moist and well-drained soil.

Japanese Fatsia

Fatsia japonica
Japanese Fatsia is an ornamental deciduous plant with large palmate foliage.
Scientific Name: Fatsia japonica
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Southern Japan
  • Plant Size: 16′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 8-10

Japanese Fatsia or Japanese Aralia is a tropical plant that works well in zone 8. You can plant it outside, but it also makes a beautiful house plant. The plant has broad leaves and is evergreen in color. The leaves can grow to a foot in width when you take care of them well.

You’ll need to plant the Japanese Fatsia in slightly acidic and compost-rich soil. The soil needs to stay moist and, therefore, needs regular watering.

There is more maintenance with these shade perennials in zone 8 than some of the others on this list. It requires regular pruning to ensure that the leaves grow well and are glossy.


Kerria japonica
Kerria is a lush upright shrub with double yellow flowers.
Scientific Name: Kerria japonica
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: East Asia
  • Plant Size: 10 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

While many plants have dozens of species within their genus, Kerria is the only one in its genus. The shrub is pretty unusual and has flowers with five petals. The petals are flat and spread out into a pattern. It thrives in partial shade and does well on average to medium moist soil.

Unlike other perennials that prefer clay soil, you want to avoid that type of soil with Kerria. Alternatively, you’ll need to use loamy soil and make sure that you water the soil regularly. This plant requires regular pruning to ensure it maintains good health. You’ll want to do this before the new growth happens in the spring.


Lungwort is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Borage family, preferring a shaded or semi-shady, cool place.
Scientific Name: Pulmonaria
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe and Western Asia
  • Plant Size: 6-12″
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-9

Lungwort makes a great garden plant, but you can also find anywhere from 10 to 18 species of the plant growing in the world in its native areas. This perennial is a beautiful plant with vibrant purple and pink flowers despite its somewhat ugly name.

Their leaves are attractive, too, with traditional green coloring but white spots. When planting Lungwort, you will need well-drained and moist soil. The plant can tolerate partial shade, but it’s better to have a fully shaded area.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Hydrangea quercifolia
Oakleaf Hydrangea requires regular and constant watering, especially during the rooting period.
Scientific Name: Hydrangea quercifolia
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Southeastern United States
  • Plant Size: 4-6′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 5-9

People can recognize an Oakleaf Hydrangea by its looks. This perennial has lobed leaves that somewhat look like oak trees. They feature beautiful white flowers that bloom in the spring, although there are some that feature pink, blue, and other colorful flowers.

They can grow tall, but pruning is best to keep them at whatever height you prefer. Oakleaf Hydrangeas are drought-resistant, which can be beneficial for anyone looking for a lower-maintenance plant.

You’ll love that they rarely develop diseases, and pests tend to stay away from them. They need well-drained soil and can still bloom beautiful flowers while staying in partial shade.

Pineapple Lily

Pineapple Lily is a perennial bulbous plant from the tropics and subtropics of South Africa.
Scientific Name: Eucomis
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Southern Africa
  • Plant Size: 12-15″
  • Sun Exposure: Sun to partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 8-11

Pineapple Lilies are unique perennials that are perfect in zone 8. They closely resemble the tropical fruit that their name comes from but in smaller sizes. While they resemble pineapples, they’re not related to them at all.

They’re actually related to asparagus! The plant will grow from bulbs, but don’t be surprised if they don’t bloom for at least a year.

When considering adding Pineapple Lilies to your yard, you should put them in a pot first before transferring them to your yard. Once in the yard, these shade perennials for zone 8 need well-prepared, well-drained soil.

Shasta Daisy

Shasta Daisy
The shasta daisy is a hardy, unpretentious, beautiful flower, that will delight the “eye” with its flowering from late June to mid-September.
Scientific Name: Leucanthemum × superbum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: California
  • Plant Size: 3-4′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

Shasta Daisies provide some of the prettiest summer blooms of shade perennials in zone 8. They feature a bright yellow center with long, thin, and white petals stemming from the center. Depending on the plant, these flowers can grow to over three feet, while some remain only inches tall.

The best soil for Shasta Daisies is fertile and well-drained. While other types of daisies can tolerate wet soil, these don’t. You’ll need to make sure that there’s never soggy soil where you plant them.

Siberian Bugloss

Siberian Bugloss
It is better to mulch the soil on the site with a Siberian Bugloss on the eve of winter with compost.
Scientific Name: Brunnera macrophylla
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: The Caucasus
  • Plant Size: 12-18″
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

The best way to describe Siberian Bugloss is that it looks very similar to Forget-me-nots. They’re a great option when you’re interested in a plant with blue flowers and plenty of charm for your yard. The thing that sets Siberian Bugloss apart from forget-me-nots is the large foliage and small blue flowers.

The flowers will generally bloom in April and May, which gives you a decent amount of time to admire them. These plants thrive in partial shade, but they may need full shade in warmer climates, like zone 8. Siberian Bugloss needs rich and moist soil to grow well and develop beautiful blue flowers.

Spotted Deadnettle

Lamium maculatum
Spotted Deadnettle produces beautiful pink flowers that are quite attractive to many types of pollinators such as butterflies and bees.
Scientific Name: Lamium maculatum
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Europe and North America
  • Plant Size: 6-12″
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 3-8

An excellent plant for ground cover is the Spotted Deadnettle. It’s a popular perennial choice because it can grow in various soil options, unlike many other perennials. The plant features pretty purple blooms that pair well with any garden.

If you want a fuller plant, you’ll need to pinch them back. One thing to note about Spotted Deadnettles is that they can become invasive to other plants in your garden.

Tall Garden Phlox

Phlox paniculata
Tall Garden Phlox grows lower in full sun, but even two hours of midday shading increases their height.
Scientific Name: Phlox paniculata
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Eastern United States
  • Plant Size: 2-3′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-8

Tall Garden Phlox is a great way to add pops of color to your yard without adding extra work for yourself. This plant is very low-maintenance and only requires you to keep the soil moist and make sure the plant doesn’t get exposed to extreme heat and direct sunlight in zone 8. When they get planted in cooler climates, they can tolerate direct sunlight.

People love these plants because the flowers can be of different colors, and you can combine them to have a sea of color in your yard. Many are light purple, but there are white, pink, and other combinations of colors. Once the flowers bloom, you’ll often see butterflies and hummingbirds visiting.

Toad Lily

Tricyrtis hirta
Toad Lily prefers to grow in the shaded areas under the large trees, in loose forest soil rich in peat and leaf humus.
Scientific Name: Tricyrtis hirta
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Japan
  • Plant Size: 2-3′
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

Toad Lilies typically grow in shaded areas near streams or cliffs. Their tolerance for the shade makes them a great perennial to plant in zone 8, where they can get protection from the extreme summer heat. Once you plant the Toad Lily, you’ll need to keep the soil moist and make sure it never dries out.

One of this plant’s main characteristics is the large and broad leaves that clasp around the stem. The colors are vibrant and have a unique pattern that you won’t find on many other plants. They’re commonly grown in residential gardens, making them a reasonably low-maintenance plant to have in your yard.

Wine Common Periwinkle

Vinca minor 'Atropurpurea'
Wine Common Periwinkle grows best in fertile, organic, and lime-rich, well-drained soils.
Scientific Name: Vinca minor ‘Atropurpurea’
  • Plant Type: Perennial
  • Geographic Origin: Northeastern United States
  • Plant Size: 6″
  • Sun Exposure: Partial to full shade
  • Plant Zone: 4-9

Wine Common Periwinkles are some of the most beautiful shade perennials in zone 8 you can add to your garden. These plants boast a unique, rich purple and magenta color when in full bloom. The deep purple flowers and green foliage contrast make this an attractive option for your home.

You’ll need rich and slightly moist soil when planting Wine Common Periwinkles. Most people recommend planting the flowers underneath a tree with plenty of lush foliage to ensure it gets enough shade. Another option for planting this perennial is to plant it so it can flow over a low wall. Just make sure it has enough shade wherever you decide to let it grow.

Final Thoughts

The options for shade perennials in zone 8 are abundant. Even though zone 8 has somehigher temperatures, there are still plenty of perennials that can grow quite well with minimal maintenance, especially in the shade. Whether you’re looking for flowers, floral shrubs, or something else, you can’t go wrong with any of the zone 8 friendly shade perennials on this list!

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