Dry Shade Plants

Plants for shade are able to bloom and grow without the need for direct sunlight. However, dry shade plants take that a step further, combine the aforementioned ability with not needing much water. So those landscape spaces in the yard where it is dried out and not receiving good watering can still have plants as a cover-up. Shade plants that are good for dry areas can be hardy and lovely at the same time.

Iron Plant

The iron plant, from the lily family and botanically known as Aspidistra elatior, is an evergreen, drought-tolerant perennial that is easy to grow. Leaves are dark green and 12 to 20 inches long, and flowers are not common. Grow an iron plant in fertile or poor soil, just not waterlogged. Light should be mid to full shade. Propagate via division and in USDA hardiness zones of 7 to 10.

Sago Palm

The sago palm, from the cycad family and botanically known as Cycas revoluta, is an evergreen perennial that is drought tolerant. It gets 10 to 12 feet tall and is slow growing. Leaves are 4 to 5 feet long. Grow a sago palm in sandy good draining soil in any light conditions. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones of 8 to 10.

Japanese Aucuba

The Japanese aucuba, from the dogwood family and botanically known as Aucuba japonica, is an evergreen drought tolerant shrub. It gets 8 to 10 feet high and is a slow grower. Leaves are leathery and 8 inches long. Flowers are small and purple and berries are red. Grow a Japanese aucuba in light shade to deep shade. Propagate via cuttings or seed in USDA hardiness zones of 6 to 10.


The sweetshrub, from the calycanthus family and botanically known as Calycanthus floridus, is a fragrant drought tolerant shrub that is easy to grow. It gets 8 feet tall with fragrant leaves 2 inches wide and rust colored flowers in spring and summer. Grow a sweetshrub in medium shade to sun conditions. Propagate via division, seed, or layering in USDA hardiness zones of 5 to 9.


The parrotlily, from the amaryllis family and botanically known as Alstroemeria psittacina, is a drought tolerant perennial. Stalks are 8 to 12 inches tall with pale green leaves. Red flowers arrive in summer, are tubular, and 1 to 2 inches long. Grow a parrotlily in rich slightly acidic soil in shade. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones of 7 to 10.

Keywords: shade plants, plants for shade, dry shade plants

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.