What to Grow in a North Facing Garden

North facing cottage garden

Planting in north facing garden can be a real struggle. Since these gardens usually in shade for most of the day, it’s important to learn about which plants will be able to thrive in a north facing garden.

Keep reading to discover our selection of plants that will prosper in any environment with little sunshine.

Is my garden north facing?

To find out if you have a north facing garden, you need to find out the aspect of your garden – the direction that it faces. You can find this out one of two ways:

  • Go to your front door and open the compass app on your phone. With your phone facing forward, read the direction that the compass is measuring. If the reading is between 270° and 90°, your house is northfacing.
  • Simply by standing in the garden and looking where the sun is.

1. Hostas

Hostas

Hostas are versatile and well-loved foliage plants. This family of plants thrive in shade, so they are perfect for gardens that don’t receive much sunlight. Ideal plants for pots or borders.

Our top picks:

Hosta So Sweet
Hosta Collection

2. Snowdrops

Woodland plants are perfect for north facing gardens. Since woodland native plants are adapted to surviving in dark, damp areas, plants such as beautiful Snowdrops are a perfect shade-loving plant for spring.

Our top picks:

Double flowering Snowdrops
Russian Snowdrops

3. Ivy

The fast growing and reliable nature of Ivy, make them the perfect climbing plants for any north facing walls or fences. Available in a range of green, red and yellow tones, they are the perfect leafy climbers to brighten up dark spaces.

Our top picks:

Boston ivy
Boston Ivy
Virginia Creeper ivy
Virginia Creeper

4. Euonymus

One of the best things about these ultra-reliable shrubs is that they’re so easy to grow. Perfect for creating hedging or for growing in pots for a modern look. Euonymus tolerate most soils and almost any amount of sun.

Our top picks:

Euonymus Goldy
Euonymus Alatus

Check out some of our other blogs:

Spring bulbs for Shade

It can be a tricky task finding plants to fill those dark, unloved spots in the garden that do not get much sun. With so many flowers needing a bright sunny spot to flourish in, there are a wide range of plants that can withstand a shady spot.

With Autumn bulb planting season on the horizon, we have done all the hard work for you and narrowed down an assortment of shade-loving flowers that are perfect for those hard to grow spots in the garden.

Narcissi:

You wouldn’t think these cheery flowers could flourish in shade, but these tough Narcissi varieties are perfect for shaded borders, underneath trees and shrubs, and planting in pots.

Daffodil ‘Actaea’
Narcissi ‘Jack Snipe’

Snowdrops:

Native to woodlands, Snowdrops are well accustomed to growing under the shade of trees and other plants. These bright little spring blooms are perfect for naturalising in grass or planted around trees and shrubs.

Galanthus nivalis (Single flowering Snowdrop)
Galanthus elwesii (Giant flowering Snowdrops)

Anemones:

With many Anemones native to woodland areas, these are one of the best plants to grow in shade. Low-growing with colourful, daisy-like blooms, these pretty little plants are perfect for ground cover and rock gardens.

Anemone Nemerosa
Anemone blanda ‘White Splendour’

Cyclamen:

One of the first blooms to appear in Spring; Cyclamen are one of the few plants that can tackle almost any challenging areas in the garden. They even thrive in dry shade. These easy to grow, colourful plants are perfect for covering shaded banks, borders or plant them under trees for a natural look.

Cyclamen Hederifolium ‘Alba’
Cyclamen Collection

Scilla:

These attractive perennials bloom with star-shaped flowers in a dazzling assortment of colours. Although Scilla are not suitable for deep shade, these pretty spring blooms are perfect for areas in partial or dappled shade (e.g. around trees or shrubs).

Scilla Siberica
Scilla Mischtshenkoana

Check out some of our other blogs:

5 Great Summer Plants for Shade

Finding plants that can thrive in shade can be tricky, but there are plenty of beautiful options available. Instead of you searching the internet for shaded plants, we’ve done the hard work for you and compiled a selection of our favourite shade-loving plants.

From colourful bloomers to fresh foliage, discover our top five plants to brighten up those difficult shaded corners of the summer garden.

1. Viburnum

Many Viburnums are perfect for shady spots. They’re great for wildlife, produce gorgeous flowers and fruit and make a fantastic focal point in beds and borders.

We recommend:

Snowball Tree
Viburnum Kilimanjaro

2. Hardy Fuchsias

Hardy Fuchsias are a hanging basket staple in the summertime. Their elegant drooping blooms brighten up baskets and window boxes, and thankfully, they can be planted in shade! Since they don’t like too much heat, these tender perennials can be placed in partial/full shade.

We recommend:

Fuchsia ‘Heidi Anne’
Hardy Fuchsia Mixed

3. Heucheras

These fabulous shade-tolerant beauties are some of the best-kept secrets in the garden. You can easily set a shady spot alight with colour by planting bright and beautiful Heucheras. What’s more, these foliage plants perform all year round too, making them a magnificent choice for so many spots in the garden. 

We recommend:

Heuchera sanguinea ‘Firefly’
Heuchera ‘Fire Chief’

4. Hydrangeas

Can Hydrangeas grow in shade? Absolutely. In fact, many of the most common varieties of these bright and beautiful shrubs, like mophead and lacecap, are perfect for shaded environments.

We recommend:

Hydrangea ‘Runaway Bride’
Hydrangea Magical ‘Revolution Blue’

5. Ferns

Ornamental foliage plants have become a big trend in modern gardens. Low maintenance and high performing, they add bring a fresh and natural look to the summer garden. Ferns thrive in the shade, so they’re the perfect plants for growing fantastic displays in pots and borders.

We recommend:

Japanese Painted Lady Fern
Hardy Fern Collection