Tall Shade-Loving Plants

Filling a shady corner of the garden can be a challenging task, as it can be hard to find plants that truly thrive in shade. Though there is less of a selection when it comes to shade-loving plants, there is enough of a selection that gardeners who are seeking tall shade-growing plants should be able to find a few that fit the bill.


Dumbcane (Dieffenbachia amoena) is a tall perennial that reaches an average height of about 5 or 6 feet. The tropical plant is frequently cultivated as an interior plant, or as a border or specimen plant out in the garden. Dumbcane sports a thin stem, or cane, topped with a cluster of glossy green and yellow tropical leaves. The plant is frost-tender and can only be grown successfully indoors or in USDA zones 10A to 11A. Dumbcane is adaptable to different soil types and is fine in most pH levels as long as the soil is kept consistently moist to the touch. Dumbcane will grow in complete shade or partial shade with little trouble.


A member of the daisy family, yacón (Polymnia sonchifolia) is an herbaceous perennial native to South America, specifically the Andes. Though flowering, the plant is often grown for its foliage, which is lush and green. The yacón plant can reach heights of up to 6 feet, and its width is similar. In addition to its lovely foliage, the yacón boasts edible tubers, which are exceptionally sweet and low-calorie. The plant is best suited for cultivation in USDA zones 7 to 10. Grow the plant in a well-drained, organic soil that's acidic to alkaline. The plant will thrive in partial or full shade; just be sure to water it on a regular basis.

Giant Taro

A member of the arum family, giant taro (Alocasia macrorrhiza), also called upright elephant's ear, is a huge herbaceous perennial native to the tropics of Sri Lanka, India and Malaysia. The plant is notable for its enormous, elephant ear-shaped green leaves. The entire plant may reach staggering heights of up to 15 feet. Giant taro is ideal for those with plenty of space and plenty of shade. Grow the plant in USDA zones 9 to 11, in dappled shade or almost complete shade. Giant taro loves an organic, humus-rich soil that is loaded with fertilizer. Keep this plant well fed and well watered for the best results.

Keywords: shade plants, tall plants, 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.