6 Shade Plants to Grow in Wisconsin

Shade plants can fill the areas of your garden that don’t have full sun. Which plants should you consider growing in Wisconsin?

Shade does not have to be a gardener’s arch-enemy; shade can slow plants’ growth rates and may even require less care and maintenance. 

Many native Wisconsin plants thrive in shadier gardens. Let’s explore some shade-loving plants that you can add to your garden today!

1. Red Columbine 

The red columbine plant, or wild honeysuckle, has bright yellow, red-tipped flowers that bloom in the spring after it’s initially planted. 

This plant prefers partial shade and moist, warm soil. However, it can tolerate full sun to full shade. It grows in a variety of habitats, including moist coniferous woodlands and alongside streams.

double layered petals of red columbine flower

2. Goat’s Beard 

Goat’s beard is a perennial plant that produces plumes of fluffy, cream-colored flowers that bloom in late spring or summer. It actively blooms for 10 days before its plumes turn tan or pale brown.

This plant grows best in partial shade but can tolerate full sun with regular watering.

Plant goat’s beard as a background plant, a centerpiece plant, or as a screen. 

goats beard plant in the backyard

3. Jack-in-the-Pulpit 

Jack-in-the-pulpits are uniquely-shaped plants that grow a large, hood-like petal that covers their central spadix. After its flowers disappear, the plant produces a cluster of bright red berries that remain throughout the summer.

In its natural habitat, this plant thrives on lush, moist forest floors. That makes moist, shady places like wildflower and shade gardens ideal places for Jack-in-the-pulpit to thrive.

unique shaped of jack in pulpit plant

4. Yellow Trout Lily 

Trout lilies thrive in many different lighting, including partial and moderate shade. This plant produces drooping yellow flowers in the spring, and its leaves, which resemble brook trout, make it a fascinating seasonal groundcover. 

Yellow trout lilies prefer moist soil during their active growing season, but they go dormant from spring through winter.

This shade-lover makes a great addition to gardens since it attracts pollinating insects like mining bees.

big leaves with growing yellow trout lily

5. Calico Aster 

Calico asters bloom profusely from late summer to fall; their flowers have white petals with reddish-purple centers and can revitalize fall landscapes. 

These plants grow well in partial to full shade and in well-drained soil. Ensure that they receive adequate water because they can become wiry if their bottom leaves wither.

Calico aster plants grow naturally along roadsides, in low-lying places, and near wooded areas.

beautiful small flower of calico aster

6. Great White Trillium 

Great white trillium is a perennial woodland plant that grows at higher elevations near bogs. Their flowers, which bloom in white or pink in the spring, have yellow stamens and they have 3 large, petal-like leaves.

This plant thrives in humus-rich, well-drained soil. Although it loves full shade, great white trillium can also tolerate some sun.

three petaled of great white trillium flower
Jeffrey Douglas
Jeffrey Douglas own a landscaping company and has been in the business for over 20 years. He loves all things related to lawns or gardens and believes that proper maintenance is the key to preventing problems in the first place.
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