Plants that prosper in shade are some of the most beautiful plants that we work with. A challenge for our customers is to determine what degree of shade does a particular area receive and being aware of the change in the amount of light between winter and summer. A simple way to gauge your shade is light, partial, medium, full and dense.
How much shade:
Dense shade is under the deck or stairs on the north side of the house. Never sees the sun – a cave, for instance.
Full shade lasts all day and no sun shines there either but it is a little brighter.
Medium shade is an area where the sun’s rays are blocked for much of the day but receives sun in the morning and/or evening. This shade is under mature trees or a bright northern exposure.
Light shade is characterized by a short period of mid-day shade with sun the rest of the day, or filtered or dappled sunlight most of the day.
Sometimes dense shade can be improved by lifting or thinning the tree canopy or large shrubs so more sun or indirect light can penetrate.
A great solution for dense shade is to convert it to an outdoor garden room enhanced by seating, garden art, mulch, hardscape, colorful containers, a water feature, a birdbath, or other focal points. Leave the leaf litter that falls and allow these areas to be “self-mulching.”
This is a list of some of our favorite shade plants. Tour our shade gardens to see wonderful examples of shade plants that thrive in our area.
Palms/Cycads: Bamboo Palm, Blue-stem Palmetto (Saw Palmetto), Cat Palm, Cardboard, Chinese fan, Licuala, Kentia, Metallic, Coontie, Dioon Edule (Virgin Palm), Fishtail, Lady Palm, Needle, Pygmy Date
Trees: Australian Tree Fern, Powderpuff, Dahoon Holly, Podocarpus Maki, Mulbery, Pond Apple, Simpson’s Stopper, Wax Myrtle
Shrubs: Anise, Alocasia (many), Aralia, Aribocola Trinette, Azalea, Bahama Coffee, Beautyberry, Banana Shrub, Bromeliad (many), Coontie, Coral Bean, Cordyline (Ti Plant), Crape Jasmine, Croton, Devil’s Backbone, Dieffenbachia, Dracaena (Colorama, Marginata, Song of India, various), False Aralia, Firebush, Firespike, Flax Lily, Gallberry, Green Isle, Iris (African, Louisana, Giant Regina, various), Lily (Peace, various), Marlberry, Myrsine, Nun’s Orchid, Persian Shield, Philodendrun (Congo Rojo, Selloum, Xanadu), Pond Apple, Sanchezia, Sansavieria, Shell Ginger, Shrimp (many), Simpson’s Stopper, Snailseed, Spicebush, Spineless Yucca, Viburnum Suspensum, Walter’s Viburnum (Densa, Ms. Shiller’s, Select), Yaupon Ilex Schilling’s, Wax Myrtle, ZZ Plant
Vines: Blue Sky, Coral Honeysuckle, Cross Vine, Hawaiian Sunset, Pothos, Tropical Bleeding Heart, Yellow Jessamine
Ferns: Ferns are generally shade loving: Autumn, Boston, Cinnamon, Fishtail, Holly, Kimberly Queen, Leather, Leatherleaf, Royal, Sword, Wart
Groundcovers: Aglaonema, Anthurium, Asiatic Jasmine, Artillery Fern, Aztec Grass, Blue Daze, Blue Sage, Bat Flower, Begonia, Bromeliad (many), Caladium, Calathea, Carpet Bugleweed (Ajuga), Cast Iron Plant, Crossandra, Impatiens, Farfugium, Foxtail Fern, Ground Orchid (Spathoglottis), Liriope, Mondo grass, Leather Fern, Oyster, Penta, Peperomia, Periwinkle, Purple Queen, Rain Lily, Scorpion Tail, Spiderwort, Stoplight Pilea, Sweet Potato Vine (ornamental), Wandering Jew