Can Cut Flowers Grow In Part Shade? (Yes! Try These 9 Types)

purple columbine flower

If you’ve ever stopped yourself from planting a cut flower garden because you thought your yard didn’t get enough sun, this is the year to change that. While many cut flowers thrive in full sun, there are a ton that will perform beautifully in part shade, gifting you with beauty in the garden and flowers in the vase.

This is the year of homegrown flowers. Even if you don’t get full sun in your garden, you can still grow cut flowers with part shade in your garden.

Cut flowers can be grown in part shade where they get 4-6 hours of sunlight per day. The plants may be shorter and smaller in part shade, but they will still produce useable stems and blooms. Flowers such as foxgloves, salvia, columbine, and lupine are excellent cut flowers to grow in part shade. 

Browse this list to find a flower that appeals to you, and get your cut flower garden planted, even if you can only offer the plants part shade. 

Can you grow cut flowers in part shade? 

You can grow cut flowers in partial shade as long as they get somewhere around 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day. That amount of sunlight will ensure that the plant has enough energy to mature and produce flowers that you can use in bouquets.

There are even some flowers that grow happily in part shade and attract pollinators, hummingbirds, and beneficial insects. Flowers with bell-shaped blooms such as foxglove not only attract bees but they make charming, woodland-inspired cut flowers for small vases. 

Double duty from a shade-grown flower is a treat, indeed. 

There are even a couple of benefits to growing flowers in part shade. 

  • Fewer weeds: Once the flower plants get established and leaf out, the foliage will easily shade the soil and prevent weed seeds from germinating. This happens in full sun, too, but in part shade, it will be easier to manage the weeding until the leaf canopy can take care of it for you. 
  • Less staking necessary: Since the plants will probably not grow as tall as those grown in full sun, you might have to worry less about keeping your plants staked or corraled. 
  • Weather protection: If your flowers are in part shade because you are growing them against the house or a garden shed, they might be protected from wind and rain by being under the eaves. This reduces the risk of the stems being broken or the rain damaging open blooms. 

On the other hand, here are a few things to look out for:

  • Overwatering: Since the soil will stay cooler than if it were exposed to the sun for more time each day, the soil will retain moisture for longer. The plants may also take up water more slowly, meaning they don’t need as much water. If you water your garden on a schedule, be sure to check the soil now and again to make sure it’s not staying saturated between waterings. Get the full scoop on watering in this article, Watering Your Home Garden Through The Season: A Complete Guide.
  • Shorter, weaker stems: Since these flowers are being grown for cutting, long, strong stems are a priority. It’s possible that your flowers will be a bit shorter than those grown in full sun. It doesn’t mean the blooms will be any less perfect for the vase, but it’s something to keep in mind as you harvest fresh flowers. 

All of the following flowers can be grown in well-drained soil high in organic matter. All will produce beautiful flowers through the summer months without any special care. 

If you need help to get started, use this article, How To Plan A Cut Flower Garden: Beginner’s Guide, as your resource once you’ve decided what to grow.

Annual cut flowers that grow in part shade

Annual flowers last for only one year, so they need to be replanted each spring. They produce abundant flowers each summer, so it’s worth getting seeds into your flower bed each year anew. 

Foxgloves

These tall, spire-shaped flowers are the very definition of a woodland garden. They come in many colors, from purple to peach to white, and the bumblebees adore them. Foxgloves are a cut and come again flower, meaning they will produce new stalks of flowers after you harvest the main stem.

All parts of this plant are toxic, so be cautious if you have pets or kids who like to rummage in your flower garden. 

Pansies

Although pansies have traditionally been a bedding plant, not a cut flower, there are some newer varieties available that have been bred to have longer stems. Brush Strokes from Johnny’s is one example, with blooms in yellow, purple, and orange shades. Pansies are also cold tolerant, so they’re great for extending the season. 

Salvia

Another spiky flower, salvia has many small blossoms that run the length of the tall stem. Hummingbirds especially love red salvia, and bees are drawn to purple varieties. No matter the color you grow, salvia can tolerate some shade and it makes a beautiful addition to any bouquet. 

Honeywort (Cerinthe)

This flower is less commonly grown but is gaining popularity for its beautiful coloring and versatility. The foliage has round leaves similar to eucalyptus, and each stem is topped with a purple flower that sometimes has a fuchsia center. The branches are tall and slightly curved, making them a great visual interest to the garden and vase. 

To see an example of how to combine these and a few other shade-tolerant cut flowers in a garden, check out this article, 3 Cut Flower Garden Layout Ideas (Plus Tips For Your Own).

Perennial cut flowers that grow in part shade

Many perennials are happy to grow in part shade. Since they come back year after year, it’s easy to create a permanent cutting garden in the shady areas of your yard with a handful of perennial flowers. 

Astilbe 

Astilbe produces tall plumes of tiny flowers that add up to make a big statement. If you like growing celosia but need an option for a shady patch, then astilbe is an excellent alternative. 

Bleeding Heart

Another woodland-inspired flower, bleeding heart thrives in partial sun. Long, draping stems are covered in a chain of pink or white blooms in the shape of a heart, hence the name. Not only will the plant live for years, but it will also drop seeds after blooming, giving you new plants the following year. 

Columbine

Large, tubular flowers top thin stems, making columbine a wonderful, airy addition to your flower garden and bouquets. The flowers are available in many shades of pink, white, yellow, and more, and the plants will bloom from spring through summer. Columbine loves moist soil and afternoon shade, so if you have a garden bed near large trees, give this flower a try. 

Hellebores

Hellebores don’t let any weather or lack of sunlight get in their way. If a late winter freeze hits, hellebores just keep on trucking, so for those of you in colder climates, hellebores will be an excellent choice for your shady garden. The large, saucer-shaped blooms should be cut when the flowers are fully mature to get the best vase life from them. 

Lupine

Last but not least, lupines are meadow flowers that will self-sow for an abundance of flowers as the years go on. Available in various bright colors from blue to white to yellow, lupines can complement any style of cut flower garden. 

There is no shortage of flowers to try out, and this list is just a jumping-off point. Try some of the ones on this list, but don’t be afraid to try others and see what works best in your garden. 

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