Ground Cover Plants for Shade

Ground Cover Plants for Shade and Partial Shade

Ground Cover Plants for Shade 5There are ground cover plants for shade and ground cover plants for partial shade. The first group applies to areas receiving no direct sunlight, only indirect light, light bouncing off buildings, walkways, or other reflective objects. Some shade-loving ground covers will tolerate a small amount of sunlight, but thrive in total shade.


Ground cover for partial shade receives direct sunlight during part of the day, usually less than six hours, and direct light that flickers through the canopy of deciduous trees. Some partial shade ground covers tolerate full daylight in some growing zones, however, prefer and grow best in partial shade.


Ground Cover Plants for Shade

Usually, areas of total shade are awkward spaces, which when planted with a shade-loving ground cover, become part of a beautiful garden design. A dull corner, side of a building, or wall hidden by a flowering ground cover solves these unsightly problems. One common detriment that often accompanies this type of area is little to no drainage creating standing water and soggy soil. In this case, choose from the following options. First, find a plant whose growing requirements fit this description. The second choice involves creating adequate drainage and amending the soil, specifically dirt abundant in clay. This preparation encourages healthy plant growth and prevents problems with disease and pest.


Pachysandra, commonly known as Spurge  

This staple of the landscape draws its fame from its no-hassle, little to no maintenance attribute. Once established there is little if any care required. This dense perennial evergreen spreads rapidly through rhizomes in the moist soil of temperate climates. It excels at choking out weeds and with ample moisture it thrives in shallow soil. These characteristics make it ideal for planting around trees that have a dense canopy of leaves. If possible, amend ground high in clay content, as this plant requires well-drained soil. For planting under existing trees in clay soils, best use another ground cover. Spurge produces small spikes of white, fragrant flowers.  Species vary for zones 5 through 9.


Tricyrtis, commonly known as Toad Lily 

Ground Cover Plants for ShadeToad Lily is a shade-loving perennial with broad, parallel-veined leaves that grow well and looks beautiful planted with Hosta or ferns. Grow in well-drained, moist soil mixed with plenty of organic matter or compost. Exotic looking flowers that resemble orchids vary in colors from white with violet spots with yellow, to pale lavender with purple spots. Some cultivars display some uniquely different color combinations. Like a grand finale to fireworks, these plants bloom at the end of summer and early fall, bringing a dazzling end to the summer season. Toad Lily grows in zones 4 through 9. See cultivar information for specific zones within this range.


Ground Cover Plants for Shade and Partial Shade


Hosta, commonly known as Hosta and Plantain Lily  

Ground Cover Plants for Shade 2Known more for their foliage instead of their flowers, the beauty Hosta brings to a flower garden is sublime. It’s foliage of broad, paralleled veined leaves displays colors that rival its modest white, violet, and lavender flowers. Leaf color varies in green, mixed with gold, blue, or other colors.  With its smooth, shiny leaves, it adds support to other flowering plants as well as stands out on its own when other blossoms have faded. Though listed as a shade-loving plant, it does need some partial sun, at least two hours for some cultivars. Hosta needs well-drained soil with plenty of moisture-holding organic matter. Start with healthy plants and be watchful of fungal diseases and pests. There are many choices within this genus to choose from, and all mix well with many other perennials, annuals, and bulbs in the garden. Hosta grows in zones 3 through 9.



Epimedium, commonly known as Bishop’s Hat and Barrenwort

Ground Cover Plants for Shade 3This hardy perennial is used extensively as a ground over. Bishop’s Hat gets its name from the flower’s shape. Species range from deciduous to evergreen, and additional new species extends the color range of both flower and foliage. They propagate by rhizomes but do not become a problematic, fast spreading plant. They will thrive in well-drained, moist soil and tolerate dry soils, both high in organic matter. Not prone to disease and pest, or pestered by deer or rabbit, they are a hardy growing, low-maintenance ground cover.




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