7 Purple Flowering Plants That Can Be Grown in Full Shade

Purple flowers add a vibrant, royal color to your garden. Which ones can be grown in the shade?

To live, all plants need water and sunlight, but not all of them require the same amount—or even much at all. When it comes to light exposure, some perennials believe that less is more. That means they can survive in the shade and tolerate other low-light conditions. Nevertheless, beautiful foliage hues and lovely purple blooms characterize these plants.

Find 7 of the finest purple-blooming plants for the shady areas of your garden on the list below.

1. Hydrangea

Hydrangeas are popular ornamental garden plants. Their blooms come in many shades of purple, but you can also find them in white, blue, pink, maroon, red, and even pale green. Some hydrangeas have large, round flower heads while others have smaller, flatter, and more delicate flowers. The different varieties have differing foliage shapes as well. 

Hydrangeas enjoy the morning sun, but they don’t like bright summer sunshine in the afternoons. Although there are some types of hydrangeas that can be grown in full sun or partial shade, the best place to plant them is in an area where they get a little sun each morning but are in the shade for the rest of the day.

Hydrangeas are excellent for a range of garden sites, from group plantings to shrub borders to containers.

beautiful varieties of hydrangea flowers

2. Creeping Myrtle

The creeping myrtle is an evergreen groundcover with bright green leaves that grow in pairs on long, arching stems that spreads quickly. In the spring, one-inch-wide purple blooms that look like stars grow for one month. Their vines have a low, spreading nature, reaching 3 to 6 inches in height and 18 inches in length on average.

Partially shaded and fully shaded environments are both suitable for this plant. It can withstand deep shadow but will burn if exposed to bright sunlight. Plant it in partial shade for the greatest results. It is a particularly great choice if you are looking for a groundcover for a dry shaded environment.

Creeping myrtle vines are often planted under older trees, where the lawn often suffers from a lack of sunlight. They are a suitable option for slopes, hillsides, and other regions where the creeping, expansive root system prevents rainfall and water from eroding the ground.

purple flowers of creeping myrtle

3. Chinese Ground Orchid

The Chinese ground orchid is a perennial blooming bulb in the orchid family that grows 1 to 1.5 feet tall and spreads approximately 1 foot wide. It has lovely, fan-like pleated leaves that are spectacular from spring through summer. This plant also produces orchid-like purple blooms that face downward.

The Chinese ground orchid loves a protected location in light to full shade and needs wet, well-drained, frequently enriched soil. In late fall, apply a thick organic mulch, or remove the bulbs and store them dry in a frost-free location for planting in the spring, no more than 4 inches deep in the soil.

This plant looks well in beds, borders, rock gardens, and pots.

purple flowers of a chinese orchid

4. Meadow Rue

Meadow rue is a tall, slender plant with lacy, delicate bluish-green leaves and airy open clusters of lavender flowers with obvious soft-yellow centers and lovely robust purple stalks. It thrives in semi- to full-shade locations. It also prefers colder climates and damp or wet soil. Meadow rue plants may be grown outside in USDA Zones 3 through 9, depending on the cultivar. 

Meadow rue looks great in flower beds, wildflower gardens, meadows, forest margins, and naturalized settings and as architectural accent or backdrop plants. When planted in groupings, they are spectacular. 

pinkish purple meadow rue flower

5. Lungwort

Lungwort plants are most often grown for their interesting leaves. Their leaves are green with random white spots as if someone splash white paint onto them. The leaves also have a rough, fuzz covering them. The lungwort flowers in early spring; its blossoms are bell- or funnel-shaped with five petals, usually starting out pinkish in color, and then maturing to a violet blue. 

This plant is not only attractive, but also surprisingly resilient. It does best in shady, moist (but not swampy) locations. Once established, lungworts need little extra care. You only need to water them in times of drought, and they only need light fertilizer once a year.

Because lungwort is so hardy, consider growing it under trees where other plants may have a hard time competing with the tree roots for nutrients. In fact, lungwort is one of the few plants that is immune to the effects of black walnut trees and makes a lovely underplanting for these trees.

pretty little blue lungwort flowers

6. Virginia Bluebells

If you are looking to add some spring color to your shade garden, consider the Virginia bluebell. Purple buds open to magnificent blue, trumpet-shaped flowers that often attract the first bees and butterflies of the year. The leaves are rounded and smooth, with a gray-green to blue-green coloration. 

This herbaceous plant flourishes in partly shaded forests and may be utilized to provide naturalization to gardens, beds, wooded areas, and borders. It likes wet soil that has been treated with organic fertilizer and can tolerate full shade. You can transplant bare-root rhizomes in early spring to spread color to your yard.

7. Spotted Dead-Nettle

The look of the spotted dead-nettle differs from that of other perennial ground coverings. Most nettle cultivars have a lengthy bloom period and vivid leaves, making them year-round eye-catching plants. Their drooping, heart-shaped leaves are evergreen in moderate winter climes. From spring to summer, their tiny, hooded purple blooms unfold in elegant whorls, providing a long flowery show.

The spotted dead-nettle prefers average, medium-moist, humus-rich, well-drained soils in places with part or full shade. It is drought-tolerant and dislikes high temperatures and humidity

The plant is a lovely addition to shaded gardens, as well as beds and borders. It is ideal for use as a groundcover or edging plant beneath perennials or shrubs.

purple dead nettle flowers
Alaine Connolly
Alaine has been working way too hard in horticulture since 1992, beautifying golf courses, resorts, and hotels. She is a part time landscape designer who works full time caring for a 28,000 square foot public garden. At home, she maintains her own 400 square feet plot. Alaine lives in northern Illinois - zone 5b.
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