3 Shade-Loving Perennials That Shine In Spring

Add sparkle to a shady spot with these easy-care plants.

February 10, 2017
Brunnera plant
hydrangea100/ Getty

Spring plants sparkle in the dappled light filtered by fresh green tree foliage. Bonus: Everything is at its peak before losing its radiance in the desiccating heat of summer! When planted together, these three easy-to-grow spring perennials create both harmony and contrast in their form and coloring. All enjoy moist but well-drained, humus-rich soil in partial shade. A natural-looking mulch will help conserve soil moisture, while in dry conditions extra irrigation is worthwhile.

(Whether you're starting your first garden or switching to organic, Rodale’s Basic Organic Gardening has all the answers and advice you need—get your copy today!)

Jack in the Pulpit flower
tacojim/ Getty
Jack In The Pulpit

Arisaema sikokianum (hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 5), aka Jack in the Pulpit, is one of the easiest to grow of the Asian cobra lilies. Its dramatic black-and-white flowers, with their striped hoods, are always intriguing. The foliage is split into around five broad leaflets that are sometimes speckled in silver. Given ideal growing conditions, it develops clusters of red berries in summer and may even self-sow.

Related: 10 Plants You Should Avoid Growing If You Have A Pet Or Baby

Jack frost plant
hydrangea100/ Getty
Jack Frost

The silver speckling of 'Jack in the Pulpit' is echoed dramatically in the broadly heart-shaped leaves of Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ (Zone 3), with the pattern of green veins only emphasizing that bright reflective look. You'll also get the bonus of dainty blue forget-me-not flowers in early spring. (It's also one of these 5 perennials that can withstand even the toughest winters.)

Related: 10 Best Shade Plants For Your Porch

Eared lady fern
Carnegie42/ Getty
Eared Lady Fern

For added delicacy, and at the same time a contrast in texture and shape, the twice-divided fronds of the 'Eared Lady Fern,' Athyrium otophorum (Zone 5), unfurl in a slightly creamy tone with reddish-pink highlights before maturing to pale green. For a more silvered look, choose one of new lady fern hybrids, such as ‘Ghost’ (Zone 5).

Related: How To Grow Ferns That Are The Envy Of The Neighborhood