Perennials requiring only partial sun include hostas and ferns along with many ground covers and blooming plants. These plants require three to four hours of direct sunlight but less than six hours. Some also do well in locations receiving filtered sunlight all day long.
Hostas are available in a wide variety of colors, and gardeners value them for the foliage they provide. Hostas have heart-shaped, rounded or swordlike leaves. While they produce a tall, spiked flower, many gardeners choose to remove the spike, so the focus is on the leaves that range from several inches in size to over 5 feet.
Ferns are native to forested areas and grow in filtered sunlight. They add variety and texture to the low-light garden and provide a good contrast to blooming plants.
Ground covers are a good choice where the dense shade does not permit the growth of grass and as a border for flowerbeds. Often they have small blooms that make a showy appearance due to their large numbers.
Some blooming perennials also do well in shaded areas. Hellebore, columbine and wood sorrel are good examples of these long-living plants. Because they are perennials, they do not bloom the first season after planting; however, gardeners may choose to buy transplants from nurseries for plants that bloom the first season in the garden.