Best Flowers For a Woodland Garden

We have 12 acres of woodlands. Owning a wooded piece of property does not mean that you cannot also play a part in what plants and flowers are able to grow. A woodland garden is unique because it is filled with flowers that are able to tolerate low to dappled light, has a lot of hidden and little known plants tucked around trees, shrubs and decaying logs. The best part about creating and filling a woodland garden is that they require the least maintenance and planning of any garden you can design, you really only need to mimic nature and plant randomly.

Best Flowers for a Woodland Garden

Look For Natives

The first step in choosing plants to create a woodland garden is to look around first and see what plants are native to your are. Native plants will thrive and spread faster in the area that they are planted in, creating nearly full ground overage for you within a few years. It will also be easier to find native plants and cost you less to fill in a garden space.


Don’t underestimate these tiny little flowering dynamos! They’re a wonderful native to most wooded areas! Violets can add some fabulous pops of color to your woodland garden, and they grow close to the ground so they make a wonderful ground cover. You can find violets in their original purple color, variegated, yellow and lighter shades of violet to almost pink.

Violets~ Plants for a woodland garden


Phlox is a wonderful taller addition to a woodland garden. They’re carefree and fine with shade or a sunny spot in your woodland garden. They’re found in wooded areas and side ditches in many areas of the United States. We have  purple phlox that blooms every spring in our woods. It looks fabulous mixed in with the violets.

Japanese Anemone

Anemones are beautiful trailing plants that are commonly found along the edges of forested areas. The Japanese anemone is able to tolerate even lower light conditions that other varieties and blooms under full canopy. Plant these where you want to see some upwards growth and a single plant can cover the entire trunk of a tree over a couple years.


Sprouting in early spring, cyclamen gets a jump on the leafy canopy that is about to fill the forest and blooms well before the sunlight is entirely cut off. These plants thrive in the soil that is found on forest floors and grow in clusters so make sure you plant them that way to keep up a natural appearance.


Astilbe comes in many forms, and is often used in annual flower gardens where a lot of light is necessary. Dwarf varieties and weeping astilbes can tolerate low light conditions and add an interesting fan of leaves to the forest floor. Place these plants around the clear sections of soil in a woodland garden to create a random look of flowers that just happened to grow there.

Virgin’s Bower

Added because of its late blooming trait, Virgin’s Bower is a woody vine that will save up it’s energy creeping over the forest floor all summer only to put on a show at the beginning of fall. Tiny white flowers fill its stems and then waste away to leave behind the feathered remains of seeds. It’s an all around interesting plant to add to any woodland garden.

2 thoughts on “Best Flowers For a Woodland Garden”

  1. Wonderful list for creating your own woodland garden. My family tends to embrace the local beauty rather than a manicured lawn and formal garden.

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