When acquiring plants for a shade garden, remember that plants grow slowly in the shade, so get large plants. Plants often grow differently in the shade and some experimentation with size and blooming times are in order. The following plants grow well in deep shade.
While the common Bleeding Heart will take some shade, the Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) thrives in full shade. It is possible to buy the Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart with red or white blossoms, but the hardiest variety has pink blooms. This perennial usually grows between 8 and 15 in (23-38 cm) tall and blooms all summer.
The Fern Leaf Bleeding Heart should be propagated by root division as it grows very slowly from seed.
Snake Root (Cimicifuga ramosa) is an interesting plant for the back of the border. Its height is dependent on the amount of light it receives, but they usually grow between 3-5 ft (90-180 cm) with a similar spread. The white blooms are born above the foliage giving fuzzy, bottle brush effect.
The Black Snakeroot, with exotic darker purplish leaves, is harder to find but well worth the hunt. Snake Root is best propagated by division.
Cranesbill (Geranium) differ from the annual geranium. The plants range in height from 1 to 3 ft.(30-90 cm) depending on the variety. The newer varieties sold in garden centers, are smaller with purple-pink flowers. They spread by rhizomes while the older varieties are blue, white or combinations of both. They spread by seed. The hybrids bloom for about a month in July while the older varieties bloom, for about 2 weeks in August.
There are a multitude of Primroses that grow in Central Alberta. Most grow in partial shade to full shade and bloom early in the season. Primroses come in all shades, sizes andRead more on backyardgardener.com