Plants that Grow Well in Shade

succulent garden

Many are taught that if they want a thriving garden, there must be plentiful sunlight available – but what if you live in an area that is full of shade? Never fear, we have a solution.

There are multiple plants that thrive in the shade that you can fill your garden with, so that you can still have a lush landscape without all of the sunlight. We have listed some of the best shade-loving shrubs and perennials below, so that you can get to planting.

The Different Types of Shade

Before you plant a shade garden, it’s important to recognize the three different parts of shade: partial shade, dappled shade, and blocked shade.

When an area only receives a half day to 3-4 hours of sunlight per day, that is partial shade.

When the only sunlight that the ground sees is the sunlight that trickles through the branches or leaves of trees, that is dappled shade.

When an area is completely deprived of shade (usually because of a building or structure), that is blocked shade.

Because shrubs and perennials are the two types of plants that thrive the most in the shade, the plants listed below can be planted in all three types.

Popular Shrubs That Thrive In Shade


Boxwood requires well-drained soil to grow well, and must be watered regularly – especially if your area has hot, dry summers. Boxwood likes to grow in about two to three inches of mulch, without covering the trunks.

Overall, growing boxwood is low-maintenance. Keeping the mulch maintained and keeping them watered frequently will ensure that your plant stays alive for a long time.


These plants not only thrive in shade, but they are also deer resistant, so they are great for areas where deer frequent. Soil drainage is important to these plants, as the plants roots do not prefer to sit in water.


While there are many types of holly, they all share similar characteristics. Hollies need to be purchased from a nursery full-sized, as they do not transfer locations well. While propagation is difficult with hollies, it can be done with clippings from year-old growth.

Hollies need patience, as many do not produce berries for up to two to three years at times. Hollies require well-drained soil and moderate watering.


Hydrangeas grow in rich, moist soils and are to be planted in the spring or in the fall. They must be planted about three to ten feet apart, and watered thoroughly. If your soil is not rich enough, they must be fertilized at least once a year.


This drought-tolerant plant thrives in shade, but they do not fully become drought-tolerant until they are fully established. Until they are fully established in your soil, they must be watered often.

Yews must be fertilized with a layer of compost and with evergreen shrub fertilizer.

Popular Perennials that thrive in shade

Sweet Woodruff

Sweet woodruff thrives in the shade, but needs well-draining, rich soil to grow. However, be aware that sweet woodruff is known to spread, so plant it in an area that you would not mind seeing naturalized by the plant.

Sweet woodruff is very simple to grow, as it does not need to be fertilized. Additionally, it only needs to be watered in times of drought.

Bleeding Heart

This deer-resistant plant grows best in moist, well-draining soil. They require little maintenance – only needing a layer of compost as fertilizer in the spring.


Good soil drainage is a must for these shade-loving plants. While they only need light maintenance, winter mulching after a freeze can save your plant and will keep the soil from pushing the plant up.

If the time comes where you need to cut your coralbells back – no worries, new growth comes quickly.

Contact Us Today

At Havenscapes, we can help you create your dream landscape no matter what circumstance. For more information about what plants will thrive on your landscape, contact us today.