The Best Perennials to Grow in the Shade: Tall & Shady

The first two parts of this three-part series named some of the best short and mid-sized perennials for use under trees, where the dry shade and root competition make growing difficult.

Let’s look at three more good under-tree perennials – ones that grow taller than two feet.

Variegated Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum odoratum).

This upright native perennial with the white-edged green leaves and skinny, bell-shaped, late-spring white flowers lights up the shade while growing into a weed-eliminating colony. Plants reach two to nearly three feet tall and are hardy in Zones 3-9.

Variegated Solomon's Seal

George Weigel


One of the top-selling shade perennials, hostas are leafy plants that come in assorted leaf shades and variegations – usually in green, gold, chartreuse, and soft blue. They also come in a range of sizes – from miniatures to three-footers – and bloom in white or lavender in summer.


Hostas tolerate lots of abuse, but be aware that deer love them, and slugs sometimes find them, too. Most are hardy in Zones 3-9.


George Weigel

White wood aster (Eurybia divaricata).

This late-summer bloomer is a versatile eastern-U.S. native that grows two feet tall and produces daisy-like flowers with little yellow centers. White wood asters colonize both by spreading rhizomes and seeds, they aren’t deer favorites, and they grow in Zones 3-8.

White wood Asters

George Weigel

Related Articles