I have slowly learned that a shady garden is really a leafy garden. I often give in to blossom envy; purchasing plants that, fresh from the nursery, bloom that first year, but only feebly thereafter. Thus my garden has shown me that I'd better pay attention to plants that are grown predominately for their foliage.
Here are a few that were selected with that specifically in mind:
Red Dragon Knotweed
Frozen to the ground this past winter, it is coming back strong. Initial growth from the ground was burgundy, but with warmer temperatures it has developed into its typical red/green pattern. Forms a mound about 3 foot tall & wide. Late in the season last year, it even produced scattered clusters of tiny white blossoms. It seems pretty easy to grow from cuttings.
Originally planted in the ground, the winter freezes kept seriously setting the plant back. So I eventually moved it into a pot so that I could protect it from the low temperatures. I've heard that it can bloom, but mine never has.
Gold Dust Plant
This evergreen shrub has a very nice impact in the shade garden. Seems to like filtered light, but will even grow in those shadier portions of the yard. Can be grown from cuttings, but grows so slowly I'm not sure if it is worth it.
This plant was my very first Hosta, and I've never been disappointed in it. Though it has never bloomed for me, each year it has come back thicker and larger. I enjoy the ribbed leaves with their darker green edges. It tends to lift the leaves up high which reduces slug & pillbug damage.
Always nice to introduce leaves to the shade garden that break through the green barrier. Though dark leaves tend to disappear into the shade, these tend to look nice when planted near light green vegetation. And it's pale pink blossoms show up well against the purple.
Recommended for shade by a guest on Central Texas Gardener, my single plant has produced pups that have led to my now having four good sized Manfredas. They are also rumored to do well in the sun (though I have no personal experience with that!). Unprotected, it shrugged off this winter's 18 degree lows with no damage at all. Early in the spring, as the sunshine reaches it through the barren red oaks, it's leaves get dark freckles that merge to form darker patches. As the oak leaves return and shade becomes more of the norm, the leaves lose their freckles and turn light green.
Though some of these plants produce blooms, it is their vegetation that steals the shady show.