Native Plants For Shade


Plants that grow well in shady areas


Celandine poppy | Stylophorum diphyllum

Celandine poppy is found on wooded slopes and moist, wooded valleys of central and southeast Missouri.

  • Flowers: March–May
  • Mature height, 16 inches; spread, 18 inches
  • Grows well in gardens if provided with humus-rich soil
  • Goes dormant in the summer if soil dries out or if plants receive afternoon sun

Cardinal flower | Lobelia cardinalis

Cardinal flowers inhabit wet sites throughout much of Missouri and are often seen along Ozark streams in late summer.

  • Flowers: July–October
  • Mature height, 24–48 inches; spread, 12–18 inches
  • Provides nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies
  • Needs moderate shade
  • Tolerates sun in rich, organic soil.
  • Requires watering through dry periods, if not planted in a moist area

Columbine | Aquilegia canadensis

Found on limestone or dolomite ledges in the Ozarks, Columbine inhabits moist woodlands and other habitats elsewhere in the state.

  • Flowers: April–July
  • Mature height, 24 inches; spread, 12 inches
  • Grows in most parts of Missouri
  • Has red, tubular flowers
  • Spreads readily from seed in flower beds
  • Tolerates shade or sun in average to moist soils
  • Is a great nectar source for hummingbirds

Purple coneflower | Echinacea purpurea

The large, showy flower heads of purple coneflower can appear in open woodlands throughout most of Missouri.

  • Flowers: May–October
  • Mature height, 24–36 inches; spread, 18–24 inches
  • Can have many stems of flowers on a single older plant
  • Good nectar source for butterflies
  • Grows well in light shade
  • Can tolerate full sun in average to moist soil
  • Often used for cut flowers

Crested iris | Iris cristata

Also called dwarf crested iris, this small iris is found along streams in lowland woods.

  • Flowers: April–May
  • Mature height, 5–10 inches; spread, 12–16 inches
  • Makes a delightful ground cover in partially shaded areas
  • Can also be used as a border in home landscapes
  • Prefers well-drained soil
  • Attracts hummingbirds