Summer Hours

9:00am to 7:00pm Daily

5050 SE Stark, 503-231-5050

9000 SE Division, 503-788-9000

Portland, OR

  • facebook48
  • twitter48
  • news48
Portland Nursery

10 Favorite Shade Perennials

There are so many perennials we love it was hard to choose just ten.

To learn about our hundreds of favorite perennials, please come in and visit us at the nursery.


Astilbe 'Fanal'

Astilbe-arendsii-fanal640

The feathery foliage of this Astilbe emerges red in the spring and fades to green. Plumes of red flowers in June and July and are great in bouquets. Astilbe love moist soils which make them great along ponds or in the deep parts of raingardens.

  • Part sun to full shade
  • 18-24" tall and wide
  • Zones 3-9
  • Combine with Acorus 'Ogon', Persicaria 'Red Dragon' or red twig dogwood


Beesia deltophylla

beesia640

Besides "BEEE ZEE UH" being fun to say it is also fun to grow. Beautiful, shiny bronze leaves are evergreen! Tiny clusters of white fringe flowers are a darling contrast to the large leaves. It is a slow and low growing perennial which makes it ideal for small gardens and under-planting shrubs.

  • Full to partial shade
  • Well-drained, moist soil
  • 18-24" tall and wide
  • Zones 6-8
  • Combine with Kirengeshoma, Tricyrtis, Hakonechloa


Brunnera 'Emerald Mist' - Bulgloss

brunnera-emerald-mist640

This stunning Brunnera is an improved form of the Langtrees variety. Its large heart-shaped leaves are pattered with white spots. The foliage is complimented by baby blue forget-me-not flowers March through May. Emerald Mist is stunning in the front of a garden bed and it is deer resistant!


Cimicifuga racemosa 'Brunette' (Actea) – Bugbane

c.racemosa-brunette640

Sultry, dark foliage with feathery, pink buds that explode into white fragrant flower spikes stalks in fall. Brunette is a stately, upright, and narrow plant, that adds striking texture and architecture to the garden. The leaves will be darker if it gets at least four hours of direct sun.


Hardy Cyclamen
Cyclamen coum >and Cyclamen hederifloium

c.hederifolium640

These two Cyclamen have small flowers in shades of pink and white which look as if someone turned them inside out. C. coum blooms late winter into spring while its rounded heart shaped leaves are up. C. hederifolium blooms fall into winter often before the stunning jagged heart shaped leaves emerge.

Both species have unique silver patterning on the leaves and will slowly create a carpeting groundcover. To experience a breath taking display visit the Rhodendron gardens in Portland.


Disporum cantoniese 'Night Heron'

disporum640

This plant emerges in March with rich black stems reminiscent of bamboo. Shiny ebony foliage unfurls and then droplets of creamy bell-shaped flowers rain from the branches in June. Night Heron has a stately, upright structure and adds a unique vertical accent to the shade garden.

  • Morning sun to shade
  • Well drained soil
  • 5-6' tall 3'wide
  • Zones 6-9
  • Combine with Autumn Fern, Dwarf Hinoki Cypress, Hosta, or Sarcococca


Epimedium: Barrenwort

epimedium-rubrum640

All the Epimediums are fabulous with their airy sprays of early spring flowers that come in shades of yellow, orange, white, pink or lavender. Many varieties are evergreen such as, E. warleyenese and 'Rainbow Shades'. Other varieties such as E. 'Rubrum' and 'Frohnleiten' have stunning bronze new growth. Epimediums will slowly spread to create a low maintenance ground cover. They even grow in difficult conditions like dry shade.

  • Morning sun, dappled shade
  • Drought tolerant
  • Height ranges from 6-20" tall all spread
  • Zones 5-9
  • Combine with Japanese Maples, Pulmonaria, Narcissus and Heuchera.
  • Read more about on our Epimedium Feature Page


Helleborus orientalis hybrids - Lenten Rose

apricot640

The orientalis hybrids offer a huge range of flower diversity such picotee edge, double bloom, exquisite spotting in the flowers and upward facing flowers. The oreintalis hybrids are quite easy to grow and often reseed in your garden. Their large, evergreen leaves can be cut off at bloom time to accentuate the flowers, or left for foliar enjoyment.

  • Morning sun to shade
  • Slightly drought tolerant but prefers moist well-drained soils
  • 18-24" tall 30"wide
  • Zones 4-9
  • Combine with ferns, Corydalis, Dicentra, or under trees and shrubs.
  • Read more about on our Hellebore Feature Page


Heuchera 'Peach Flambe'

amberwaves640

Heuchera are so useful in the garden for edging beds and tucking into pots. Their leaves come in a rainbow of colors and are practically evergreen. Peach Flambe is one of the many Heuchera that perform well in full sun and partial shade. It has rich ruffled orange leaves with red undersides that glow in the sun. Red spikes open to white flowers in spring.

  • Full to part sun
  • Tolerates a wide range of soil types and water
  • 8-14" tall 16" wide
  • Zone 4-9
  • Combine with Manzanita, frosy blue and gold Sedum and Delospermum nubigenium
  • Read more about on our Heuchera Feature Page


Saxifraga 'London Pride'

urbium_varigatua640

This Saxifraga sports large rosettes of spoon shaped scalloped leaves that are flecked with yellow spots. It adds great texture to the garden year round. In spring, surprisingly cute pink flowers float above the foliage. London Pride is great in the front of the border or in pots. It tolerates dry shade as well as quite a bit of sun.