Plants That Don't Need a Lot of Sunlight or Water

Shady spots that don't get much water can be a one-two punch for some plants, yet others can thrive in these difficult situations. Shade plants that are drought tolerant can be beautiful, fragrant, and come in different shapes and sizes.

Grand Crinum Lily

Grand crinum lily (Crinum asiaticum) is from the Amaryllidaceae, or amaryllis, family. It is a fragrant evergreen and drought-resistant perennial. Its dark-green, straplike leaves are 3 feet long with clumps up to 5 feet tall by 7 feet wide. Its white flowers grow in clusters. Plant a grand crinum lily in any well-drained soil in partial to full shade. Propagate via offsets.

Bracken Fern

Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum) is a member of the Dennstaedtiaceae, or bracken fern, family. It is an easy-to-grow perennial that is drought resistant. Bracken ferns have 1- to 3-foot fronds. Plant a bracken fern in partial to full shade in dry acidic soil. Propagate by rhizome division or by spores.

Lenten Rose

Lenten Rose (Helleborus orientalis) belongs to the Ranunculaceae, or buttercup, family. It is an evergreen perennial with leaves up to 18 inches long. Flowers are 2 to 3 inches wide and form in loose clusters. Plant a Lenten rose in rich, well-drained soil in heavy to light shade. Propagate via summer or fall division or by seed.


Parrotlily (Alstroemeria psittacina) is from the Amaryllidaceae, or amaryllis, family. It is a drought-tolerant perennial that attracts hummingbirds. Stalks grow to 8 to 12 inches with pale green leaves before lengthening to a final 18 to 30 inches. Flowers are red and in clusters, 1- to 2-inches long. Plant a parrotlily with rich slightly acidic soils in partial shade in a hot climate. Propagate via seed.

Iron Plant

Iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is from the Liliaceae, or lily, family. It is an evergreen, easy-to-grow perennial that is drought resistant. Its wide leaves are dark green and 12 to 20 inches long. Plant an iron plant in deep to moderate shade in well-drained fertile soil. Propagate via clump division.

Metallic Palm

Metallic palm (Chamaedorea metallica) belongs to the Arecacea/Palmae, or palm, family. It is an evergreen with leaves that are 30 inches long with 12 to 18 inch stems. Flowers are red, orange or purple with black fruits. Plant a metallic palm in rich soil in partial to deep shade. Propagate via seed.


Coralberry (Ardisia crenata) is a member of the Myrsinaceae, or myrsine, family. It is an evergreen that attracts birds with its berries. Coralberry will grow 2 to 6 feet tall with dark green foliage and white or pink flowers. Its berries start out coral and turn to scarlet. Plant a coralberry shrub in deep soil rich in nutrients in deep shade. Propagate via seed.

Keywords: shade plants, shady spot, drought tolerant

About this Author

Tina Samuels has been a full-time freelance writer for more than 10 years, concentrating on health and gardening topics, and a writer for 20 years. She has written for "Arthritis Today," "Alabama Living," and "Mature Years," as well as online content. She has one book, “A Georgia Native Plant Guide,” offered through Mercer University; others are in development.