Shade loving rockery plants

Rockery Plants That Thrive in the Shade

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Rockeries are typically made up of sun-loving alpine plants after all they developed on mountainsides where lack of sunlight isn’t really a problem at all. If you have a shady spot that you are thinking of converting into a rockery though do not despair, here are some shade loving rockery plants to try!

Shade loving rockery plants
Shade loving rockery plants

Let’s start with the gorgeous blue, bell-shaped flowers you saw in the featured image, Campanula, commonly known as Bell Flowers and it is easy to see why.

There are a few different Campanula’s that do better in the shade than other varieties. Look for Campanula Lactiflora, Campanula Portenschlagiana or Campanula Persicifolia.

Below you will see Campanula Lactiflora Snow Pillar but there are Campanula Lactiflora which are the more traditional blue/purple also available.

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03/01/2024 09:58 pm GMT

This semi-evergreen perennial is often grown as much for its interesting leaves as it is for its flowers. Despite its unfortunate common name, this is a really beautiful plant.

The white spots on the leaves add plenty of interest even when the plant isn’t flowering and when it does you will find that the flowers can be multiple colours on the same plant.

Pulmonaria officinalis Lungwort
Pulmonaria (Lungwort)

These spring flowering plants can add a little colour early in the season and are especially beloved by bees. They thrive in the shade and like well-draining soil, making them ideal for shaded rockeries. Just make sure the roots are not allowed to fully dry out and remove old leaves and flowers regularly.

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These popular houseplants can also make excellent additions to shady rockeries. So that they don’t completely take over your rockery and hide all of the rocks I recommend growing a miniature hosta.

Hostas can be tricky to find so keep an eye out for the following varieties:

  • Little Caesar
  • Pandoras Box
  • Whirlwind

As a natural woodland plant violas are shade tolerant but do like a little direct sunlight each day. They will also grow in full shade but you won’t get as many flowers on your plant.

Mr. Fothergill's Viola Comedy Mixed F2 Seeds
  • A hardy perennial, best grown as biennial or annual
  • Plants produce jolly little flowers, almost year round
  • Dwarf habit, ideal for beds, borders, edging and containers
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03/01/2024 02:25 pm GMT

This cottage garden favourite has tonnes of different varieties, many of which excel in woodland areas. because of this they can make the perfect plant to grow in a shaded rockery and can add a real dollop of vibrant colour.


These small delicate plants make a clump only up to 10cm tall and have gorgeous little flowers which you can expect to arrive in spring and early summer.

They grow well in the shade and don’t like overly wet soil so make the perfect plant for a shaded rockery.

These plants are native to Asian mountain regions so you know straight away that they will do well in a rockery. What they also like though is partial shade, making them perfect for our list.

As you might have guessed from the similar Latin names they are a close relative of the Aquilegia and also sometimes go by the common name Granny’s Bonnet.

They are a perennial but a very short-lived one but they will self-seed and come back time and time again.

Can you make a rockery in the shade?

As I have shown you above there are plenty of rockery plants that can do well in the shade. Partial shade is always better than full shade but even in a fully shaded spot some of the rockery plants above will still do well!

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