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Good (and good looking) plants for extremely low-light spots in a yard/garden

Updated on October 4, 2008

The Cast Iron Plant, great for low light

Plants for low light

Although we think of gardens as light-loving environments, many plants require low light to look their best. The Cast Iron plant shown above is the hardiest, most easy care, that I can think of in this category.

Additionally, the huge range of hosta lilies also love heavy shade areas. With species that vary from lovely lime green leaves to dark blue-ish green leaves their color range is extraordinary. Plus, their long stems of delicate flowers and ability to multiply with each year make them great flowers for the deeply shady garden.

Two varieties of Hosta plants

A blue-ish and a varigated variety side by side
A blue-ish and a varigated variety side by side

The lovely leaves of the Hosta with delicate stalks of blooms

Returns year after year and multiplies easily
Returns year after year and multiplies easily

Beautiful Begonias for shade

Another gorgeous plant for shade is the huge variety of begonias. From common "free blooming" species available at practically every nursery, home improvement store and even groceries...to rare fuzzy leaved, exotic patterned begonias available through catalogues and plant sales and "good" nurseries in your area...these plants love the shade (and love heat too as long as they have adequate water). Easy to propogate, even to the novice gardener, these plants can be small or quite elaborate, if staking provided.

Lovely variety of Begonias for the shade

Easy to propogate, a large variety of beautiful shade lovers
Easy to propogate, a large variety of beautiful shade lovers

Rex Begonia, the king of the species

More shade loving plants

The Ajuga ground cover, often known as "bugle weed" is a great low ground cover for shady gardens. A darkish red-purple leaf that creeps and spreads, is easily pruned and easily propagated it makes a great addition to the edges of shade gardens. Typically, the shadier the spot, the larger and more attractive the rounded, scalloped leaf. the sunnier the spot, the smaller the leaf, but small stalks of blooms -- rarely taller than six inches -- will grow more readily in early spring.

Ajuga, great ground cover that blooms!

A naturally low growing creeper that blooms yearly, no fuss, no muss!
A naturally low growing creeper that blooms yearly, no fuss, no muss!

Just the beginning

This quick list is just the beginning of shade loving plants.

OH! Bacopa! Almost forgot this great creeper/ground cover. Also great for pots where you want a plant to fountain over the sides. It has lovely bright, almost lime green, foliage and white flowers. Grew this one with great success in San Fransciso's fog and in Alabama's heat...the common factor...shade. With the intense heat of full summer, it will bloom less, but in the spring and fall it can be covered with white sprinkling of flowers. Too much sun will crisp this one up for sure!

Good luck with your shade garden...take those spots where grass won't grown and turn them into beautiful plant/garden treasures.

And always remember...where there's shade...there's slugs...so keep a watch out for them or they'll eat up your gorgeous shade plants!

Bright color mix of impatiens for the shadiest spots

from tiny bedding plants to 30" high in about 6 weeks
from tiny bedding plants to 30" high in about 6 weeks

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    • cidly24 profile image

      cidly24 

      7 years ago from China

      beautiful flower

    • desert blondie profile imageAUTHOR

      desert blondie 

      10 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Both your ferns and hostas should be stunning in western Washington. And there are so many varieties of hostas, leaf sizes, leaf colors, minis to monstrous...they make for tons of variety even with just one type of plant. Good luck!

    • RyanRE profile image

      RyanRE 

      10 years ago from Bellingham, WA

      @Desert Blondie ~ I just planted a ton of Hosta and Ferns around my shaded walkway. Hosta are a great looking plant and a staple of shaded areas such as western Washington State.

    • desert blondie profile imageAUTHOR

      desert blondie 

      10 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      yeah, they like to hide under, nibble on, leaves.

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 

      10 years ago

      No problem LOL,,,fortunately I don't see them often.

      Trish

    • desert blondie profile imageAUTHOR

      desert blondie 

      10 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Sorry I grossed you out! I know it's rather disgusting, but it is chemical free! Yeah, a request on this might be the way...or outside of hubpages (heaven forbid) call your county Master Gardener's program.

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 

      10 years ago

      LOL Desert Blondie,

      There's only one problem with those suggestions, I get grossed out just looking at them, never mind being their judge, jury and executioner!   Dissolve?? EWWWWWWWWWW,,,,disgusting LOL

      I just might put out a request since I'm one who won't even step on an ant if I can help it LOL,,

      Thanks for the info though, if I have company when those creepy crawlies are out I'll let them do it :)

      Trish

    • desert blondie profile imageAUTHOR

      desert blondie 

      10 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      When I lived in Seattle and foggy areas of San Francisco, I always knew where north was...because of the GREEN ! North side of telephone poles, north side of houses, etc. I used to go out early in the mornings for a bit of quiet time with a cup of coffee for sipping in one hand and a shaker of salt in the other. When I'd see a slug on a leaf or crossing a sidewalk...a liberal sprinkling with salt would dissolve that oogy ol' thing quicker than a fancy weapon from the Men In Black movie! Some people sink small open containers of beer into the dirt so that slugs fall in, the beer kills them and voila! a little container of dead slugs...always seemed like a waste of good beer to me. There are chemicals as well, but I've always had kids, cats, or small dogs in my gardens, so that was never my preferred method. Maybe you could put out a "request" and see what info. you get!

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 

      10 years ago

      Hi Desert Blondie,

      I am NOT a gardener, but definitely a lover of green living things.  I always think about how nice my yard would look with plants and flowers in it, but the truth is, I am too uneducated in this area, and just plain lazy lol,,,I do know from friends/family that keeping and maintaining a garden is hard work, not just a matter of tossing seeds around and hoping for the best. 

      I do have flowers hanging out there, but nothing I've planted.  My idea for myself personally is to have a garden that is sort of 'old fashioned', meaning, having a lot of flowers that remind me of my grandparents' gardens.  Lilies of the valley, bleeding hearts, pansies, roses, hydrangeas, portulaca, morning glories, sunflowers and a host of others.

      Of course, the north side of my house is very shady, and I am forever getting the ugly green mold on the house, and have seen slugs.  Since I can't turn my house around, which wouldn't make a difference anyway, there would always be a north side,,,,my question becomes, how do you keep the slugs away from the plants??

      Nice hub, thanks for sharing,

      Trish

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 

      10 years ago from USA

      probly me... I do have a couple of hubs up about attitude....course I never have an "attitude" myself. LOL

    • desert blondie profile imageAUTHOR

      desert blondie 

      10 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Oh, sorry to confuse...I was trying to be humorous and refering to your 'attitude' hub of a while back. Was that you? Do I have you confused with another "attitude" hubber? Green one of my fav colors too. Yellows my first favorite color.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 

      10 years ago from USA

      HM? what attitude....I love green. You have me confuzed....=)

    • desert blondie profile imageAUTHOR

      desert blondie 

      10 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Marisue, don't take your attitude out on your plants...they're innocent little things that can give you hours of pleasure! :)

      HubSub, glad you stopped by...yes, Hostas great for many parts of the San Francisco 'world' since fog often clouds out the sun. But, yes, keep them shady.

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 

      10 years ago from USA

      great info, I'm saving all the garden info I can accumulate. thanks!!

    • HubSub Urban Mom profile image

      HubSub Urban Mom 

      10 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area

      A co-worker once gave me some of her garden seeds, one of which was for Hostas. Thanks for the article as I would've planted it in the direct sun portion of my backyard (and wondered why they weren't doing so well.) I am great at growing tomatoes and orange scented geraniums, not so good at the shade portion of my garden. :) Nice article Desert Blondie!

    • desert blondie profile imageAUTHOR

      desert blondie 

      10 years ago from Palm trees, swimming pools, lots of sand, lots of sunscreen

      Of course! Don't know how I could have forgotten Impatiens...they're truly my favorite for color in the shade. My favorite "plan" is a mix of white, pink, magenta and coral. There's no crisper, brighter white than Impatiens. Thanks for the reminders of these plants!

    • Rees Cowden profile image

      Rees Cowden 

      10 years ago

      Here are a couple of more to consider adding to your list.

      Dogwood- small sized flowering tree in white or pink

      Camellia- large shrub or nice espallier in pinks, white and reds

      Bleeding Heart- low growing perennial in pinks and white

      And you can't beat good old impatiens for lots of color in heavy shaded areas.

      Rees Cowden

      www.greensideupblog.com

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