Shade Plants For Acidic Soil – Growing Plants In Acidic Shade Gardens

Shade Plants Growing At The Base Of A Large Tree
shade acidic
(Image credit: littleny)

Gardeners might feel hopeless when confronted with both shade and acidic soil conditions, but don’t despair. There are, indeed, acid-loving shade plants that exist. The list of suitable shade plants for low pH isn’t as dull as one might think. Plants for shade and acid soil conditions range from shrubs and trees to ferns and other perennials.

So just what plants thrive in acidic shade conditions? Read on to learn about shade plants for acidic soil.

About Shade Plants for Low pH Gardens

Shade gardening is often a challenge, especially when combined with acidic soil, frequently the result of trees producing the shade. If your soil’s pH is below 7.0, your soil is acidic; but don’t worry, there are plenty of plants for shade and acid conditions to choose from.

When searching for acid-loving shade plants, be sure to read the labels. Take note of such comments as “partial shade,” “filtered shade,” and “shade-loving,” as well as those that denote shade plants for a low pH, such as “acid-loving” or “prefers pH of 6.0 or below.”

Shrub Options for Plants in Acidic Shade

Some of the most stunning blooming shrubs thrive in not only acidic soil but in filtered light as well. Examples of shrubby shade plants for acidic soil include:

Azaleas and rhododendrons enjoy most any type of shade, although their blooms may be minimal in full shade. Both enjoy acidic soil though. Both deciduous and evergreen varieties are available and types that bloom in either spring or fall.

Hydrangeas are quite amazing in their response to soil acidity. They are deciduous shrubs that prefer partial to light shade and are available with blooms of the mophead or lacecap type. Neutral pH or alkaline soils result in pink to purple blooms, but acidic conditions result in blue blossoms.

Both camellias and gardenias are evergreen shrubs that are perfect shade plants for acidic soil. Camellias bloom late in the fall to early winter while gardenias scent is at its peak in the summer. Other shrubs that are suitable plants for shade and acid soils are mountain laurel and holly.

Additional Acid-Loving Shade Plants

A shade garden almost isn’t complete without the inclusion of hostas and ferns. Hostas come in a wide array of shapes and sizes with foliage from blue and yellow to green and striated. Ferns are commonly found along the forest floor and yet not all ferns enjoy the same types of conditions. Some prefer tropical conditions while still others such as Christmas fern, sword fern, lady fern, and shield fern thrive as shade plants for low pH.

Blooming plants to incorporate into a shaded, acidic area include:

Ground covers do double duty as plants in acidic shade gardens. They fill in difficult areas of shade and acidic soil where grass fails. Some groundcover, acid-loving, shade plants include wintergreen with its brilliant red fall berries and heath, resplendent with red or white spring blooms.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.