Flowering natives for shade

If you have a shady spot in your garden you can still fill it with colourful Australian native flowers!

Here are a few of my favourites growing in the shaded positions in my garden. Most are on the south side of high fences or buildings, planted under large shrubs and trees and receive very little direct sunlight. Click any photo to see it full size.

Plectranthus parviflorus ‘Blue Spires’

First up is the compact and low growing Blue Spires. It flowers prolifically in spring and sporadically throughout the rest of the year, even without any direct sunlight.

The variegated leaves provide added benefits in a shaded spot – with the bright leaf edges providing welcome contrast and pops of light in dark areas.

This beautiful plant keeps a lovely shape and is unbothered by pests in my garden. It also tolerates both wet and dry conditions. And as a bonus, it is widely available from many nurseries in spring, including Flower Power in Sydney, from your local Bunnings and online from Garden Express.

Melastoma affine

This beautiful shrub is very easy to confuse with an exotic, and it’s a great native substitute for an exotic Tibouchina.

It has a lovely rounded ridged leaf, forming a densely leaved medium shrub with pretty large petal flowers. The variety that I have in my garden has bright magenta flowers – so bright that they glow like neon in the shade. But I have also seen much paler pink versions, pastel pink and also white varieties.

It will prefer your moist shade position. You’ll likely need to visit a specialist native nursery to source this plant.

Indigofera australis

One of my favourite Australian native plants, the Austral Indigo is a slender upright shrub. I have seen it described as straggly, but in a garden setting with regular pruning when young you can encourage a more branched plant that I think would be better described as graceful with an upright weeping habit.


It naturally grows as a mid storey shrub in open forests, so I find it works well in shady positions with dappled light. But it can also grow in sunnier locations if you prefer.

The flowers in spring are showy in various shades of pink mostly. The beautiful pink pea flowers and graceful sprays of pretty rounded leaves make this one of my favourite native plants. Perhaps even in the top 10!

Ajuga australis

This is such a useful plant in the garden, it should be more widely stocked in nurseries. The Australian native varieties are very variable in leaf shape and colour with flowers ranging from pink to bright purple and blues. I have written more about it in my recent blog post about my top 10 small native plants for Australian cottage style gardens.

In a light to heavy shade position it provides low growing ground cover under other trees and shrubs or can be used to create a border in a shaded spot. The purple flowers in spring and sporadically at other times in the warmer months will attract native bees. They are particularly favoured by Blue Banded Bees in my garden.

1 Comment

  1. Victoria

    Thank you for these tips! I’ve had trouble trying to find native plants that thrive in the shade 🙂


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