There are varying degrees of low sun conditions--full shade, partial shade and filtered shade. Gardeners encounter all of them for gardens are created in the shade of buildings, fences and trees. Texas gardeners choose from both flowering and non-flowering plants that grow with little sun. The plants with flowers will need a bit more sun than those that only produce leaves, but they all do well with more than average shade.
Liriope (Liriope muscari) is also known as border grass and lily-turf and is a member of the lily family. The plant produces dark-green leaves from 10 to 18 inches long. Purple, violet or white flowers bloom in the summer on spikes in the center of the plant. The flowers are followed by small black or white berries in the fall. Plant Liriope in sun or shade and a moist soil. The plant is hardy in USDA Zones 7 to 9 in Texas.
Pentas (Pentas lanceolata) is a member of the madder family. The plant is a favorite food source for hummingbirds. Furry, dark-green, lance-shaped leaves and clusters of red, white, lavender, purple, or pink flowers grow up to 3 feet tall. Pentas, also known as star flower or star cluster, grows well in sun or shade and an average soil. The plant is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 8 to 9 in Texas.
Japanese Painted Fern
Japanese painted fern (Athyrium niponicum 'Pictum' ) grows up to 18 inches tall and more than 2 feet wide. It prefers full or partial shade, a well-drained, fertilized soil and humidity. The plant produces silver-gray fronds with accents of red and blue. Japanese painted fern is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 6 to 8 in Texas.
Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) is found growing in the wetland areas. The plant produces shiny-green, arrowhead-shaped leaves measuring 4 to 8 inches across growing on stems up to 3 feet tall. Violet-blue grow 1 inch in diameter in clusters 6 to 8 inches long on stalks that grow to 2 to 3 feet tall. Pickerelweed is hardy in all of Texas, likes full or filtered sun as is found under the shade of tall trees, and grows in water or in very wet soil.
English ivy (Hedera helix) is a member of the ginseng family. The plant is an evergreen shrub that grows more like a vine. Leaves are green or green with yellow or white markings and small flowers give way to black, poisonous, berries. Plant English ivy in full or partial shade and in soil that is rich and moist. The plant is hardy in all areas of Texas.