The Q&A Archives: Shade

Question: I need to know what plants will grow in almost total shade

Answer: Even shade tolerant plants usually need a bit of direct sun or bright reflected light to grow and bloom well. Aucuba is one of the most shade tolerant plants I know, so that could be a good choice for a deeply shaded location. Hostas (many cultivars in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and textures), ferns, and English ivy (Hedera helix) are also very shade tolerant as are Pachysandra, Asarum, Pulmonaria, Solomon's Seal, Ophiopogon, Liriope, and Lily of the Valley. Keep in mind that these will naturally grow very slowly due to the lack of light and may not bloom as well as they would in a brighter location. Your local county extension and/or professional nursery staff may also have some suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the growing conditions at the planting site and your overall design goals. Best wishes with your landscape!

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