Groundcovers for Shade

Got a shady spot? Here are some groundcovers that will dress up the shade.

Wild ginger



Trout lily

Dwarf dogwood

Choices for under pines

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6 thoughts on “Groundcovers for Shade

  1. I know this is a tall order, but I need a shade-tolerant groundcover for a creekbank close to my house that can stand occasional flooding yet isn’t so thick it could hide snakes. Most people around here leave everything in grass that is cut very very short to reduce the snake problem, but as I get older the weedeating is getting tiresome. I live in (yep, you guessed it) central West Virginia, zone 5.

    • At the risk of advertising for a grower, there is a very knowledgeable guy based in your area who specializes in native plants. I would contact Barry Glick at Sunshine Farm & Gardens ( I’ve found his input helpful, whether I’ve bought from him or not afterward. Plant quality and prices very good, too. Then there is also the Cooperative Extension for your state.

  2. I noticed that all these plants are native (or primarily found) to the midwest and East. Are there any shade plant recommendations for the West and Northwest?

    • For shade for Northwest we have pachysandra, which does good in shade, There is many Saxifraga that will do shade and make a nice cover, Bleeding heart is Northwest native that does ground cover well, but it is nicest in the spring then kind of fades out with the heat of summer. We have several varities of Ajuga that will over and bloom in light shade. We have a great many choices in the NW for shade ground covers.

    • If you’re specifically interested in native groundcovers, western wild ginger (Asarum caudatum) has similar attributes and cultural needs as its eastern cousin. Other options include bunchberry (Cornus unalaskensis) and western foamflower (Tiarella trifoliata). For gardeners on the west side of the mountains, salal (Gaultheria shallon)- though common – shouldn’t be overlooked.

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