Shade Plants or Groundcover For a Shady Yard Area

by Becky Martinez
(Victoria, Texas)

I have too much shade in my back yard, so grass doesn't grow on one side of the yard. I would like to fill it with shade plants and mulch or ground cover. Any suggestions ?


ANSWER

Hi Becky,
Here are three that you can try that I believe will grow in your area, Zone 8B.

1. Ajuga - This is a ground cover that will tolerate shade. There are different varieties with interesting leaf colors. It can be aggressive...sometimes this is a good thing!

2. Wintercreeper Eunonymus - Again, there are different cultivars. A particularly nice one is 'Emerald Gaiety' which has variegated foliage...green and white. If it is near an upright surface (a rock, wall, etc.), it will climb up it.

3. Liriope - This plant look like a small ornamental grass. It gets blue flower spikes and like the others mentioned above, there are different ones. Some have larger leaves, others are variegated, etc. They are all nice. I have this in my yard and it does very nice in an area with shade and very little sun.

You might choose all of the above and plant them in groups for a variety. The different plant textures will provide a nice display.

Please also visit my page on shade perennials and groundcover perennials

For evergreen groundcovers, consider the following.

1. Pachysandra - Pachysandra is an evergreen groundcover. I just planted some myself in a very shady area and in the near future it will provide complete coverage, although it is not aggressive. It has white flowers in the spring, which is an added bonus. It is sold in flats. I believe 'Alleghany' is hardy in Zone 8B.

2. Ivy - This common groundcover is evergreen. It is on the aggressive side and the further south you go, the more aggressive it appears to be. But it will cover your area.

3. Vinca - This groundcover is also know as Myrtle. It's one of the prettiest, but it also is a slower grower. Small, delicate leaves are part of the plant's charm along with small blue flowers in the spring. It doesn't bloom that long, but when it does, it's lovely. Vinca is also evergreen.

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