Image by pattynwalter
By Neal Christal
Whether it’s a spot under a tree that receives only dappled light or a place on the side of the house that never sees the sun, many homeowners are faced with the frustration of trying to grow plants in the shade. But instead of seeing your dimly lit, lifeless spot as a problem, it should be viewed as an opportunity to experiment with the wide range of plants that thrive under these conditions. No matter what your taste, there are plants that can turn a once barren patch of dirt into a cool oasis that will quickly become one of your favorite places to sit and relax.
Flowering Shade Loving Plants
If colorful blooms are what you desire, there are a variety of flowers that can brighten almost any shady locale.
Shade-loving annuals that pop and add seasonal color include:
For flowering plants with a little more permanence, perennials are some excellent choices. Try the following:
- Bleeding heart
- Virginia bluebell
- Calla lily
With the right combination of flowering plants, your shady spot can be alive with color from early spring through the fall.
Shade Loving Foliage
- Wild ginger
- English ivy
- Purple wintercreeper
In warmer climates, the foliage selection can take on a more tropical flare, encompassing plants that have evolved to grow under the dense rainforest canopy and which are usually seen as houseplants. Some of these tropical plants that will do well with little or no direct sunlight include:
Shade Loving Shrubs
Finally, there are several types of shrubs and trees that will breathe life into a shady spot for years to come and require little care other than the occasional pruning once they are established. Boxwood, hydrangea, Mountain laurel, Cherry laurel, privet, yew, and rhododendron are some of the most popular shrubs for shady locations. Trees such as the dogwood and Japanese maple also do very well under lower light conditions.
The plants listed here don’t constitute a comprehensive list, but they are a few of the most popular shade lovers. And since no plant is suited to every environment, it’s important to do some research or talk to a garden professional at your local nursery to see which plants are best suited for your area and your specific needs. With a little effort, that once barren spot of ground could become the pride of your yard.