Xeriscape Shade Plant
(Image credit: Leonora Enking)

When creating a garden, sometimes you don't have as much sunny space as you would like, especially if you have large trees on your property. You want to keep them for the cooling shade in the summer, but you still want a garden. What options do you have? Many would be surprised to discover the variety of xeriscape shade plants that are available. Dry shade plants come in a wide variety and can combine to make a wonderful garden.

Plants for Dry Shade

When selecting plants for dry shade, decide how much space you have, both on the ground and vertically. There are groundcover plants, as well as taller flowering and non-flowering plants. Using a variety of these xeriscape shade plants can lead to a beautiful garden. Some groundcover plants include:

Other dry shade plants that add color with either wonderful flowers or interesting colored leaves are:

Some of these plants, like the daffodil, actually bloom before the trees are in full leaf, which can extend the time frame in which your garden can be enjoyed.

Shrubs for Dry Shade

There are quite a few shrubs for dry shade that make an a great addition to your xeriscape shade plants. Shrubs for dry shade garden areas make wonderful border plants. Some good choices for shade shrubs include the following:

Perennials for Dry Shade

Perennials for dry shade are also a good choice in xeriscape shade plants. Perennials are nice as many of them require little maintenance.

  • Ferns are a wonderful dry shade plant in and come in a wide variety. A Christmas fern also gives a nice green touch to a garden year-round.
  • English ivy is a lovely plant, however, it can take over any tree it is planted near.
  • Japanese pachysandra is also a good choice.

After you have decided on your plants for dry shade, it is only a matter of time before you have a beautiful xeriscape. Dry shade plants make for a fairly low maintenance garden which can be enjoyed almost year-round if you plan properly.

Heather Rhoades
Founder of Gardening Know How

Heather Rhoades founded Gardening Know How in 2007. She holds degrees from Cleveland State University and Northern Kentucky University. She is an avid gardener with a passion for community, and is a recipient of the Master Gardeners of Ohio Lifetime Achievement Award.