Zone 9 Evergreen Shade Plants: Growing Evergreen Shade Plants In Zone 9

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Evergreens are versatile plants that retain their leaves and add color to the landscape all year round. Choosing evergreen plants is a piece of cake, but finding suitable shade plants for zone 9’s warm climate is a bit trickier. Keep in mind that ferns are always dependable choices for shade gardens but there are so many more. With a number of zone 9 evergreen shade plants from which to choose, it can be overwhelming. Let’s learn more about evergreen shade plants for zone 9 gardens.

Shade Plants in Zone 9

Growing evergreen shade plants is easy enough but choosing which ones are most suitable for your landscape is the difficult part. It helps to consider the various types of shade and then going from there.

Light Shade

Light shade defines an area in which plants receive two to three hours of morning sunlight, or even filtered sunlight such as a spot under an open canopy tree. The plants in light shade are not exposed to direct afternoon sunlight in hot climates. Suitable zone 9 evergreen plants for this type of shade include:

Moderate Shade

Plants in partial shade, often referred to as moderate shade, semi shade or half shade, generally receive four to five hours of morning or dappled sunlight per day, but are not exposed to direct sunlight in hot climates. There are a number of zone 9 plants that fill the bill. Here are a few common ones:

  • Rhododendron and azalea (Rhododendron spp.) – Blooming shrub (Check tag; some are deciduous.)
  • Periwinkle (Vinca minor) – Blooming ground cover (also deep shade)
  • Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens) – Blooming plant
  • Japanese sedge (Carex spp.) – Ornamental grass

Deep Shade

Selecting evergreen plants for deep or full shade is a difficult task, as plants receive less than two hours of sunlight per day. However, there are a surprising number of plants that tolerate semi-darkness. Try these favorites:

  • Leucothoe (Leucothe spp.) – Shrub
  • English ivy (Hedera helix) – Ground cover (Considered an invasive species in some areas)
  • Lilyturf (Liriope muscari) – Ground cover/ornamental grass
  • Mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus) – Ground cover/ornamental grass
  • Aucuba (Aucuba japonica) – Shrub (also partial shade or full sun)

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