Some perennials that grow well in the shade are goatsbeard, masterwort, astilbe and bleeding heart. Perennials are plants that live for more than two years.
Goatsbeard is grown for its dramatic plumes of cream-colored flowers that are carried on tall stalks. Because it appears in early summer, it's also called bride's feathers.
Masterwort produces interesting flowers. They are actually a collar of bracts that surround and support petals, and can be used fresh or dried in arrangements. Masterwort tolerates wet but well-drained soil.
Astilbe is grown for its spectacular feathery spikes that come in a variety of colors. Though often used as a ground cover in a shady spot, it can grow to 8 feet tall. Bleeding heart has unusual, puffy, heart-shaped flowers borne on arched stems.