Groundcovers for Shady Conditions: 25 Ideas


yellow archangel ground cover

By Jennifer Poindexter

Do you have a location around your home that receives little sunlight? Have you considered covering this space with groundcover?

There’s various types of groundcover that thrive in shady conditions. If you’re interested in learning about your options, you’ve come to the right place.

I’m going to walk you through various groundcover plants, their growing conditions, hardiness zones, and other general information you might find helpful when caring for these plants.

Here are some of the best ground cover plant options for shady conditions:

1. Mother of Thousands

Mother of thousands is a self-sowing succulent. It likes to grow in a temperate climate in temperatures ranging from 65 to 75-degrees Fahrenheit.

This plant can become as tall as three feet and remains hardy in planting zones nine through eleven. Mother of thousands prefers a growing location with six hours of dappled sunlight and well-draining soil. 

2. Yellow Archangel

Yellow archangel is a beautiful, lush green plant with small yellow blooms. This plant is known for growing quickly and thriving in areas with well-draining soil and full to partial shade.

These plants reach heights between one and two feet. Plus, they remain hardy in planting zones four through nine. Provide adequate growing conditions for this plant, and you could have a beautiful display of color in the shaded areas around your home.

3. Pachysandra

Pachysandra is a low-growing groundcover that produces rich green leaves and small white blooms. These plants typically grow no taller than one foot in height and spread through rhizomes. This equates to a thicker groundcover.

When growing pachysandra, it should remain hardy in planting zones four through nine. It also does best in areas with full to partial shade. Provide pachysandra with well-draining, evenly damp soil as well to see this plant thrive.

4. English Ivy

English ivy is a low-growing groundcover recognizable for its pointed and deep green foliage. This plant thrives in growing locations with temperatures between 70 and 90-degrees Fahrenheit and works well to suppress weeds and is fairly deer resistant.

Plus, it enjoys ample humidity. English ivy is hardy in planting zones four and higher, and it reaches heights around a half foot tall. English ivy can handle bright, indirect light or full to partial shade. Be sure to provide it with well-draining soil and an occasional pruning to keep the plant healthy. 

goldenstar ground cover

5. Golden Star

Golden star is a low-growing ground cover recognizable for its lush foliage and bright yellow flowers. This plant grows to be a foot or less in height.

When growing golden star, be sure to provide it with well-draining soil and dappled sunlight. This is a perennial plant that remains hardy in planting zones five through nine.

6. Sweet Woodruff

Sweet woodruff is a beautiful ground cover as it looks like a carpet of white blooms. This plant only reaches heights around a foot tall and is native to Europe and North Africa.

Plus, it’s a hardy plant in zones four through eight. When growing sweet woodruff, be sure to supply it with evenly damp soil that drains adequately. Also, select a growing location with full to partial shade.

7. Monkey Grass

Monkey grass is a wispy green plant that’s great for borders or when grown beneath trees. This plant is great for adding subtle color and life to otherwise barren locations and helps with erosion control.

If you’d like to grow this plant around your home, pick a location with well-draining soil. Be mindful of the variety of monkey grass you choose as some thrive in full shade and others require full direct sunlight. Monkey grass clusters can become as tall as two feet and remains hardy in planting zones five through ten.

shade groundcover ajuga

8. Ajuga

Ajuga is another great way to add a splash of color to your landscape. This plant consists of deep green foliage and vertical purple blooms. This is a forgiving plant that thrives in both sun and shade.

When growing ajuga, provide well-draining soil. It likes even moisture but can also thrive in short periods of drought. This is a hardy option in planting zones three through nine and becomes as tall as two to ten inches.

growing shade groundcover monkey grass

9. Lilyturf

Lilyturf has foliage similar to monkey grass but produces vertical purple blooms in the midst of it. If you’d like a plant that provides both texture and color, this could be a great option for you.

This plant remains hardy in planting zones four through ten. It also becomes as tall as two feet. Expect lilyturf to thrive in both sun and full shade. It also needs well-draining soil.

10. Vancouveria

Vancouveria is sometimes called the inside-out flower as the petals come off the stem first. Then it moves to a point where you see the bright yellow center.

These plants grow to become approximately one foot tall, and they spread through rhizomes which creates a thick blanket of groundcover. Vancouveria is hardy in planting zones five through seven and does best in areas with shade and dappled sunlight.

11. Periwinkle

Periwinkle are traditional, colorful flowers that spread more than two feet and reach heights of a half foot or less.

When growing periwinkles, provide a growing location with plenty of shade and well-draining soil. These flowers remain hardy in planting zones four through eight.

12. Viola

Violas are small plants with layered blooms. They come in an array of colors and are great for adding color to your landscape.

When growing violas, try to provide a shaded growing location as this is where they live longest. This protects them from extreme heat which they don’t handle well. You should also choose a location with well-draining soil. Expect violas to typically be treated as annuals. Though, they are hardy in planting zones nine through eleven.

13. Bleeding Heart

Bleeding heart is a unique shrub as it produces small blooms which resemble a bleeding heart. These blooms are vibrant and beautiful.

Should you grow this plant around your home, expect it to reach heights around three feet tall and become up to four feet wide. These plants prefer shaded growing locations to protect them from high temperatures. Plus, they desire well-draining soil. Bleeding hearts are hardy in planting zones three through nine.

14. Wild Ginger

Wild ginger produces large, green foliage. It’s a low-growing groundcover that grows to become less than a foot tall.

When growing wild ginger, select a location with full to partial shade and well-draining, evenly damp soil. These plants should remain hardy in planting zones four through eight.

15. Dwarf Solomon’s Seal

Dwarf Solomon’s seal is a green plant with lush foliage and produces dangling white blooms. These plants reach heights around a foot tall and become equally as wide.

They do best in full to partial shade and require well-draining soil. Expect dwarf Solomon’s seal to remain hardy in planting zones four through eight.

16. Wild Cranesbill

Wild cranesbill produces bright green mounding foliage. From there, small purple blooms form which make it stand out in a shaded growing location.

If this is the right plant for you, be sure to provide a growing location with partial shade and dappled sunlight. Wild cranesbill also thrives in areas with nutrient-dense, well-draining soil. This plant grows to be as tall as two feet and remains hardy in planting zones five through eight.

17. Wild Violets

Wild violets are small purple flowers which contrast nicely against their dark green leaves. This is a hardy plant in zones three through nine.

However, when growing these plants, be sure to provide a location with well-draining soil that’s rich in nutrients. They also enjoy partial shade. Expect wild violets to reach heights ranging from two to twelve inches.

18. Epimedium

Epimedium is a mounding plant with rich leaves. From this foliage sprouts vertical blooms in a variety of colors.

Expect these plants to be perennials in zones three through nine. You should also expect them to become no taller than a foot in height. Finally, ensure you provide a growing location with rich, well-draining soil in dappled sunlight.

shade groundcover bunchberry

19. Bunchberry

Bunchberry is a low-growing plant that produces white flowers and red berries against deep green leaves. These plants thrive in various conditions including anything from full sun to full shade.

However, be sure to provide soil that’s evenly damp and well-draining. Bunchberry loves to grow in a cool growing location as well. Expect bunchberry to remain hardy in planting zones two through seven and to become approximately one foot tall.

20. Lamium

Lamium is also frequently known by the names red dead-nettle, purple dead-nettle, or purple archangel. These plants thrive in full to partial shade and prefer nutrient-dense, well-draining soil.

When growing this plant, expect it to remain hardy in planting zones four through eight. This is a low-growing plant that only reaches heights around a half-foot tall.

21. Lungwort

Lungwort is a bushy green plant filled with vibrant, bell-shaped foliage. If you’re in search of a way to brighten up your landscape, this plant could be for you.

When growing lungwort, it’s important to provide a growing location with partial shade and well-draining soil. This plant doesn’t perform well in overly wet or dry conditions. Lungwort grows to be as tall as a foot in height and remains hardy in planting zones five through eight.

22. Astilbe

Astilbe is a mounding green plant which produces triangular blooms in various colors. This is a wonderful plant for adding both color and texture to your landscape.

This plant requires a little more room than some others mentioned on this list as it reaches heights between one and four feet. Astilbe is hardy in planting zones three through nine and likes to grow in shaded spaces with damp, well-draining soil.

23. Heuchera

Heuchera is also frequently known by the name coral bells. This is a mounding plant with different colored foliage.

Should you wish to grow heuchera, select a location with any lighting from full sunlight to full shade. This plant also needs nutrient-dense, well-draining soil. Heuchera typically grows to be about a foot tall and remains hardy in planting zones four through nine.

24. Foamflower

The foamflower is another mounding option for groundcover. These plants produce bright green foliage with long stems. The stems then produce vertical white flowers.

Foamflowers need a growing location with full to partial shade and nutrient-dense, well-draining soil. These plants grow to be approximately one foot tall and remain hardy in planting zones four through nine.

hosta shade groundcover

25. Hosta

Our last groundcover for shady conditions to discuss is the hosta. Hostas are beautiful green plants which do best in areas of full to partial shade.

Expect hostas to thrive when provided nutrient-dense, well-draining soil and to remain hardy in planting zones three through nine. Hostas generally grow to be as tall as two feet and up to six feet wide.

You now have twenty-five different ground cover options for growing in shady conditions. If you have a dark area around your home, pick one of these options to brighten the space up.

Ensure you’re in the right planting zone and can provide adequate growing conditions. By supplying proper care, these plants should produce vibrant beauty in the shaded areas of your landscape.

More About Growing Groundcover

https://hgic.clemson.edu/factsheet/groundcovers/

https://extension.umn.edu/yard-and-garden-news/ground-covers-gardens

https://extension.illinois.edu/blogs/good-growing/2022-05-06-designing-ground-ground-covers-your-landscape

The post Groundcovers for Shady Conditions: 25 Ideas appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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