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5 Kid-Safe Plants for Your Shade Garden


Article by Cate Marian

Photography by Stock Images + Provided

Finding outdoor plants that aren't toxic for young kiddos is a feat on its own, which becomes even more difficult if you're limited by a shady yard. But it is possible to enjoy a bright and colorful mix of flowers and greenery while lounging beneath that old oak tree — while not having to worry about curious little hands and mouths.

Here are five lovely options to help you plan your kid-safe shade garden.

1. Astilbe

Interesting foliage and large flowers make these plants a joy to have in the garden. They do best in shady areas with moist soil that's slightly acidic with good drainage.

These perennials can grow to be anywhere from one to six feet, and spreads underground. They're great plants to dig up and divide every two to four years in either the spring or fall, and benefit from fertilizing in the spring.

READ MORE: How to Grow Astilbe Flowers: A Shade Gardener's Best Friend

2. Fuchsia

The two-tone colors and unusual shapes of these flowers make them a striking option. Delicate but hardy, they will do well in a garden but are particularly beautiful for hanging baskets. They'll bloom all summer long, but like cooler temperatures and don't like a lot of sun, making them a great option for shady areas, especially when it gets over 80 degrees.

Be careful not to overwater them or their roots will rot, and fertilize about every two weeks during late summer to prepare them for the colder months. You can even enjoy them indoors during the winter with the proper care and conditions.

READ MORE: Growing Fuchsia Flower – Care Of Fuchsias

3. Hostas

Ideal for woodland gardens, hostas are lovely, easy-to-care-for perennials that come in a range of different leaf shapes, colors and sizes. They do well in the shade, and as a general rule of thumb, the darker the leaves the more shade tolerant they are. Plant yellow and gold varieties in areas with dappled sunlight, while blue and green-leaved hostas are perfect for under trees.

Avoid dry conditions by watering about once a week. It can take four to five years for hostas to mature, and then they can be divided in the spring or fall.

READ MORE: Shade-Loving Hostas Offer Form & Foliage

4. Impatiens

These bright annuals come in many different varieties and colors, including white, red, violet, pink, purple, coral and yellow. They thrive in full shade, and don't grow more than a foot high, making them perfect for window boxes, hanging baskets and lining garden paths.

They enjoy a well-draining soil and are sensitive to heat. The hotter it gets, the more water they need — think twice a day when temperatures rise about 85 degrees. If they start to look wilted, a quick sprinkle should perk them back up. They don't tolerate frost, so be sure to plant them later in the spring once the weather warms up for good.

READ MORE: Impatiens Plant Profile

5. Phlox

Considered a garden classic, these showy, fragrant flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies and birds. They range in heights and can make an excellent ground cover or a colorful choice for borders. A hardy plant that grows in clumps and does well in a wide range of light conditions, they can bloom year after year for decades.

Plant in rich, well-draining soil and water regularly throughout the summer. They do well with a layer of mulch and compost in the spring, and remove the dead flowers so they rebloom

READ MORE: How to Plant, Grow and Care for Phlox