Perennials for the Shade

You may have trouble finding plants of assorted types to grow in those bare parts of your property that receive full or partial shade. Look into species that offer a variety of features and can survive the lack of direct sunshine for these scenarios that exist on your land. Among them are ground cover, vines and trees.

Partridge Berry

Look into partridge berry if you desire a low-growing perennial ground cover of an evergreen nature. Partridge berry is a trailing vine that has stems as long as 1 foot that take root where they contact the ground. Put partridge berry in the shade beneath some of your trees or in a shady part of your garden. Watch as it colonizes a small area with its dark green leaves and small white flowers that bloom in late spring. Enjoy the red berries the flowers produce, which can stay on the plant through the winter if the birds in your yard fail to eat them. Search for partridge berry in the woods of the eastern United States, but do so only on private land where you have permission to take some of the roots of the plant. Separate the rooted stems, and plant them in the shade. An acidic type of soil is the best for this perennial. Partridge berry is tolerant of drought after it becomes established.


Opt for wintercreeper if you want an evergreen vine that can withstand the shade. Wintercreeper is a sprawling plant that the Floridata website states can grow as long as 50 feet. Wintercreeper works as a ground cover when there is nothing for it to climb, but this plant will take advantage of any support and grow over brick walls, stone walls, trellises and even up the side of a building. In Southern climates in the United States, the wintercreeper prefers the shade, while in the northern states it can tolerate shade but will do even better if it gets full sun. Examine wintercreeper closely, and you will see oval leaves growing opposite each other on the stem, often variegated, with flowers that turn into orange fruit that persists into the winter months. Choose cultivars such as Coloratus, with its purple leaves, or Vegatus, a hybrid that features plentiful fruit. Grow wintercreeper from the cuttings, with the best time to start new plants being the summer months. Note: the fruit is potentially poisonous to humans.

European Beech

The European beech is not native to America, as you can tell by its name, but you will not find a better shade tree for your property. The fact that the species can grow in the shade when young allows you to plant it in places in which other trees would not thrive. Use it as a specimen tree to highlight a piece of your property. Consider your climate before planting this species, as it prefers cool summers with plenty of rain mixed in and will do poorly in constant heat. European beech has the potential to grow to 40 to 60 feet high in even the cultivars and up to 100 feet in some cases. Eventually it will break free of the shade as it gets taller. Use those cultivars with yellow leaves, such as Dawyck Gold, as they do best in shady spots and avoid the purple-leaved cultivars such as Dawyck Purple. This tree produces nuts, which will attract wildlife but also litter the ground under the tree.

Keywords: perennials grow shade, shade perennial, shade loving plants

About this Author

John has written thousands of articles for Demand Studios, Associated Content and The Greyhound Review. A Connecticut native, John has written extensively about sports, fishing, and nature.