Plants That Tolerate Shade

Yards that are prone to a lot of shade can be extremely frustrating to gardeners, especially those who seek flowers. While shade can prohibit growth in many plants, it can also inspire growth in others. There are many plants that tolerate, and often flourish, in light or heavy shade.

Lenten Rose

A member of the Buttercup family, Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) is a shade-loving, woodland plant native to Eurasia. The plant is notable for its early blooming tendencies, as the Lenten Rose sometimes produces its signature waxy white blooms in mid winter--despite the presence of snow. Lenten Rose is a perennial that has attractive, tough green foliage. The plant grows best in light to full shade, in soil that is loose and rich.

Needle Palm

A native of the Southeastern United States, Needle Palm (Rhapidophyllum hystrix) is a low-growing, shrub-like palm that produces rich green fronds. Cold hardy and low maintenance, Needle Palm grows in partial to full shade, requiring little attention other than the occasional dose of fertilizer if increased growth is desire. The plant does best in rich, moist soil that is well drained. Established plants are quite drought tolerant.


A native to Eastern Asia, Liriope (Liriope muscari) is a fleshy, grass-like member of the lily family that boasts rich green foliage and spikes of delicate flowers in shades of purple, lilac and white. Also called Border Grass, Liriope is often used as a border in gardens to accent flashier plants. Liriope grows in both sun and shade, and though the plant prefers fertile, moist soil, it will often grow in many other less-than-ideal conditions.

Keywords: shade plants, shade tolerating, plant types

About this Author

Michelle Wishhart is a writer based out of Astoria, Ore. She has been writing professionally for five years, starting with her position as a staff arts writer for an alternative weekly paper in Santa Cruz. She has a B.A. in fine arts from the University of California in Santa Cruz and a minor in English literature.