What are Some Good Shade Bulbs?

N. Phipps

Shade is often viewed by many people as a problem in the home landscape. However, this need not be the case at all. In fact, there are numerous plant species that actually do quite well in shady conditions. One of the best plant choices includes shade bulbs. Some of the most beautiful flowering bulbs actually originate from or thrive in shade locations. It’s easy to incorporate shade bulbs into the landscape, especially around trees.

Bluebells and lily of the valley are shade-loving bulbs.
Bluebells and lily of the valley are shade-loving bulbs.

Most people can plant shade-loving bulbs within a woodland garden. Woodland gardens can be an appealing way to highlight shady areas. These types of gardens mimic the natural habitats of many shade bulbs. The most difficult part of creating this kind of shade garden is deciding on which bulb to plant, as there are so many to choose from. Whatever type of bulb is chosen, however, its growing needs should always match that in which it is being planted.

Snowdrops are an effective plant for repelling deer.
Snowdrops are an effective plant for repelling deer.

Once of the most common shade bulbs includes lily of the valley. These bulbs are extremely fragrant, and the aroma is only enhanced within shady conditions. The small clusters of bell-shaped flowers are often found in white or pink varieties. The Grecian windflower, or anemone, makes another spectacular choice for shade gardening. Grecian windflowers add instant color to dull, dark areas. These daisy-like flowers come in a variety of colors, ranging from blue to pink, mauve, and fuchsia.

English bluebells make excellent shade bulbs too, producing violet-blue, bell-shaped blooms with a honey scent. Bluebells are great for naturalizing shady areas and adding color. In addition, these shade-loving bulbs tolerate wet soil. Another good choice for shade is Siberian squill. Squill is extremely hardy and another great bulb for naturalizing. Siberian squill can instantly light up the shade garden with its intense blue flowers.

For those looking for early color in the shade garden, snowdrops make fine choices. These shade bulbs bloom long before early crocus bulbs and are ideal for shady areas. In fact, their stunning white blooms can brighten up the darkest corner of the landscape. Snowdrops are also effective plants for repelling deer and rodents. Other good shade bulbs include caladiums, lilies, grape hyacinths, trilliums, tuberous begonias, cyclamens, and many of the arum species.

For a more dramatic effect in shady woodland gardens, combine the shade bulbs with various woodland plants like hostas, ferns, and other shade-loving perennials. Shade doesn’t have to be a problem in the landscape. There are many plants, especially bulbs, which can easily brighten up these dull, lifeless areas.

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