Gardening

Best Ground Cover Plants For Shade Under Trees

Source : pimiso

Ground cover plants, as nature's own carpet, not only endure the dappled light but also transform the shaded spaces into enchanting, lush retreats.

Finding the right ground cover plants for shade under trees can be tricky, as different trees cast varying degrees of shade and have different moisture levels under their canopies.

However, there are many beautiful and functional options available. Here are 20 of the best ground cover plants for shade under trees, suitable for a variety of conditions:

Coral Bells (Heuchera)

Source : amazon

Ground cover plants for shade, the coral bells come in a delightful range of colors and textures, from lime green to deep burgundy, and even variegated options. They tolerate dry soil well and add pops of vibrancy throughout the season, with delicate bell-shaped flowers blooming in spring and summer. They are also one of the easy-to-grow small flowers for a beautiful garden.

Growing Conditions:

  • Shade or partial shade
  • Well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Hostas (Hosta plantaginea)

Source : facebook

No shaded garden is complete without these classic beauties. Hostas boast large, heart-shaped leaves in various shades of green, blue, and even variegated patterns. While relatively low-maintenance, keep an eye out for pesky slugs and snails that might fancy them as a snack.

Growing Conditions

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Regular watering

Ferns (Tracheophyta)

Source : facebook

Bring a touch of timeless elegance to your shady haven with ferns. These versatile plants come in a diverse range of sizes and textures, from delicate maidenhair ferns to bold ostrich ferns. They thrive in dappled shade and require minimal upkeep, making them a hassle-free choice. Also, check out how to care for boston ferns and grow them.

Growing Conditions:

  • Shade or partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Regular watering

Epimedium (Bishop's Hat)

Source : facebook

Plants for ground cover, the bishop's hat, stuns with heart-shaped foliage, and delicate flowers in spring. Deer tend to steer clear of it, and it's overall easy to care for, making it a delightful addition to your shady oasis.

Growing Conditions:

  • Shade or partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Vinca Minor

Source : facebook

Good ground cover plants, vinca minor, a fast-growing evergreen native to Europe, is a champion at suppressing weeds. Vinca minor boasts tiny purple flowers in spring and thrives in dry shade conditions, making it a versatile choice for shady areas. It reaches a mature height of 3-6 inches and spreads up to 6 feet, readily carpeting the ground with its lush foliage. This low-maintenance wonder is drought-tolerant once established.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Well-drained soil
  • Drought tolerant

Ajuga Reptans (Bugleweed

Source : wikimedia

This low-growing evergreen charmer, native to Europe, adds pops of color with its purple or blue flowers in spring. It tolerates dry shade like a champ and readily fills in small spaces, making it a versatile choice for shady nooks. Reaching a mature height of 3-6 inches and spreading 12–24 inches, it forms a dense, weed-suppressing carpet. Ajuga is drought-tolerant once established and requires minimal watering.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Dry to moderately moist soil
  • Drought tolerant

Lamium (Deadnettle)

Source : facebook

This fast-growing ground cover, native to Europe and Asia, lives up to its name, readily suppressing weeds with its stunning silver or variegated foliage. Lamium thrives in dry shade to partial shade, reaching a mature height of 6–12 inches and spreading 18–36 inches. Its cascading foliage adds a touch of textural interest to your shady haven. Moderate watering is sufficient for this low-maintenance gem.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Dry to moderately moist soil
  • Drought tolerant

Pachysandra Terminalis

Source : facebook

Native to East Asia, Pachysandra terminalis boasts deep green foliage and requires minimal fuss. Pachysandra terminalis is slow-growing but incredibly low-maintenance, making it ideal for those seeking a carefree ground cover solution. Reaching a mature height of 6–12 inches and spreading 18–36 inches, it forms a dense, evergreen carpet. Moderate watering is key to this beauty.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Waldsteinia Ternata (Barren Strawberry)

Source : wordpress

Ground cover flowering plants, waldsteinia ternata native to Europe and Asia, feature trifoliate leaves and cheerful yellow flowers in spring. Deer tends to give it a wide berth, and it's overall easy to care for, adding a touch of sunshine to your shady sanctuary. Reaching a mature height of 6–12 inches and spreading 12-24 inches, it forms a low-growing carpet of attractive foliage.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Tiarella Cordifolia (Foamflower)

Source : wikimedia

Plants ground cover, the tiarella cordifolia which is native to North America, stuns with heart-shaped leaves and delicate white flowers in spring. Deer tend to avoid it, and it's overall easy to care for, making it a delightful addition to your shady oasis. Reaching a mature height of 6–12 inches and spreading 12–24 inches, it forms a low-growing mound of delicate foliage. Moderate watering is sufficient for this shade-loving gem.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Asarum Europaeum (Ginger Root)

Source : pinterest

This European native surprises with heart-shaped leaves and unique brownish-purple flowers in spring. Deer usually steer clear, and it thrives with minimal fuss. Reaching a mature height of 6–12 inches and spreading 12–24 inches, it forms a low-growing carpet of interesting foliage. Moderate watering is key for this shade-dweller.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Bergenia (Rockfoil)

Source : facebook

This shade-loving charmer, hailing from Asia, stuns with large, leathery leaves and vibrant pink or purple flowers in spring. It is overall easy to care for, adding a touch of elegance to your shady retreat. Reaching a mature height of 12–18 inches and spreading 18–36 inches, it forms a clump of attractive foliage. Moderate watering is sufficient for this low-maintenance beauty. Bergenia being a perennial plant, learn more about annuals vs. perennial plants.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Helleborus (Lenten Rose)

Source : facebook

This winter wonder, known as the Lenten rose, brings cheer to the coldest months with its evergreen foliage and cup-shaped flowers that bloom in late winter or early spring. Deer tend to give it a wide berth, and it's incredibly low-maintenance, making it a perfect choice for shady winter interest.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Pulmonaria (Lungwort)

Source : facebook

This shade-loving charmer, native to Europe and Asia, adds a touch of whimsy with its spotted leaves and blue or purple flowers in spring. Reaching a mature height of 6–12 inches and spreading 12–24 inches, it forms a clump of interestingly spotted foliage. Moderate watering is sufficient for this unfussy gem. 

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Symphytum (Comfrey)

Source : facebook

This fast-growing wonder, native to Europe and Asia, suppresses weeds with ease with its large, hairy leaves and purple or blue flowers in summer. However, note that it can be invasive in some areas, so research local regulations before planting. Reaching a mature height of 2-4 feet and spreading 3-6 feet, it forms a large, fast-growing clump.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Regular watering

Brunnera Macrophylla (Siberian Bugloss)

Source : facebook

This shade-loving charmer, native to Europe, stuns with heart-shaped leaves and vibrant blue flowers in spring. Deer tend to avoid it, and it's overall easy to care for, making it a perfect choice for adding pops of color to your shady haven. Reaching a mature height of 12–18 inches and spreading 18–36 inches, it forms a clump of attractive foliage with bursts of spring blooms.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Hakonechloa macra (Japanese Forest Grass)

Source : facebook

This Japanese native forms soft, cascading mounds of delicate green foliage, adding a touch of movement and texture to your shady corners. It's a low-key charmer, tolerating dry soil and needing minimal fuss. Think of it as a gentle whisper in the shade, reaching about 1-2 feet tall and spreading 2-3 feet.

Growing Conditions:

  • Shade or partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering

Polygonatum odoratum (Solomon's Seal)

Source : midwestgroundcovers

This elegant fellow, hailing from East Asia, is like a storyteller weaving tales with its arching stems adorned with delicate white bell-shaped flowers in spring. Later, it adds pops of drama with glossy black berries. Deer tend to give it a miss, and it's easy to care for. Imagine it as a graceful archway in your shade, reaching 1-3 feet tall and spreading 1-2 feet.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Regular watering

Carex pennsylvanica

Source : waysidegardens

It forms low clumps of fine-textured green foliage, providing a natural, understated look to shady borders or woodland gardens. It's versatile, tolerating moist soil and even some sun exposure. Think of it as a gentle carpet underfoot, reaching about 1 foot tall and spreading 1-2 feet.

Growing Conditions:

  • Shade or partial shade
  • Moist soil
  • Moderate watering

Gaultheria procumbens (Wintergreen)

Source : facebook

This evergreen charmer is like a festive elf, bringing pops of color and cheer throughout the year. It features glossy green leaves and small red berries that persist through winter, adding a touch of seasonal interest to your shady corners. It's slow-growing but very low-maintenance, perfect for underplanting shrubs or trees. Imagine it as a tiny jewel box in the shade, reaching about 6 inches tall and spreading 1-2 feet.

Growing Conditions:

  • Full shade to partial shade
  • Moist, well-drained soil
  • Moderate watering