Acid Loving Shade Plants

For areas of the landscape where there is shade and acidic soil, there are only certain plants that can handle those factors. Shade plants won't need direct sun to thrive. Acidic soils need plants that are made to live in those conditions, as planting a non-acidic plant in acidic soil can lead to yellowing and leaf curl.

Brazilian Vaseplant

Aechmea distichantha, the Brazilian vaseplant, is a perennial evergreen from the bromeliad family. Dull green leaves are strap-like and 3 feet tall. Flowers are 1 inch long in white, blue or purple. The plant is shaped like a funnel and grows in bright light and well-drained and slightly acidic soil. Propagate the vaseplant via offsets or seed in USDA hardiness zones of 9 to 11.

Plumleaf Azalea

Rhododendron prunifolium, the plumleaf azalea, is a shrub from the heath family. It grows 10 to 15 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Flowers are funnel-like, in clusters, and 2 inches wide. Leaves are 2 to 4 inches long. It grows in morning sun and afternoon shade with moist, acidic soil. Propagate the plumleaf azalea via seed or cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 5 to 9.

Carolina Silverbells

Halesia spp., or Carolina silverbells, is a shrub in the storax family. It grows 30 feet tall with deciduous leaves that are 3 to 5 inches long. The fall color of the leaves will be yellow. Flowers are bell-like and white, under an inch long. Grow in shade in moist well drained soil (tolerant of full sun). Propagate via seed, layering or cuttings in USDA hardiness zones of 4 to 9.

Star Magnolia

Magnolia stellata, or star magnolia, is a fragrant tree in the magnolia family that grows 15 to 20 feet tall and 10 to 15 feet wide. Its leaves are 1-½ inches wide and oblong, turning to bronze before dropping from the tree. The Star magnolia's flowers are white and star-like. Star Magnolia grows in acidic soil in filtered shade. Propagate it via cuttings and seeds in USDA hardiness zones of 4 to 9.

Florida Yew

Taxus floridana, the Florida yew, is an evergreen tree from the yew family. It typically gets 15 feet tall but can grow up to 25 feet, although it grows slowly. The yew's leaves are 1 inch long and look like needles. Plant this yew in lightly acidic soils in partial to full shade and propagate via seed or cuttings in USDA hardiness zone of 8.

Nun Orchid

Phaius tankervilliae, the nun orchid, is a perennial that grows 3 to 4 feet tall. Its leaves are 3 feet long and glossy with red-brown flowers that are 3 inches wide. It can grow in light or filtered shade in well-drained acidic soil. Propagate via division or offsets in USDA hardiness zones of 9 to 11.

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Keywords: acidic soil, shade plants, shade plants for acidic soil

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.