Green Plants That Will Grow in Shady Positions

Create an inviting garden area in even the heaviest shaded areas of your yard with the right combination of plants that thrive in little to no sun. Choosing the plants is the most difficult part of creating a shade garden. Consider mixing textures in leaves as well as heights when you shop for green plants that grow in shade.


The most popular shade plant loved for its green foliage is the hosta. There are currently more than 2,000 cultivars of hostas on the market today. Herbaceous hardy perennials, hostas are simple to grow and thrive in neglectful situations, making them perfect candidates for gardeners of every skill level. Available in solid colors or variegated in shades of green, blue, yellow and white, hostas offer the flexibility of being used as focal plants or as fillers in the garden bed. Hostas grow in a mounding shape and are found in various sizes and leaf textures. Since hostas grow so quickly and benefit from being divided every three to five years, this perennial is a favorite for gardeners to share, trade and add to new locations.


Any naturalized green garden must have a fern or three in its midst. This ancient woodland plant is available in mostly deciduous varieties with a few evergreen varieties that will live year-long. Their distinct leaf pattern creates a visually-pleasing addition to both green and flowering garden spaces. Most fern cultivars thrive in deep shade while some can grow in part-shade. Ferns exposed to sun should only get the cooler morning sun and shade during the latter part of the day.

Ground Covers

A number of groundcovers are well-suited for shade gardening. Consider any of the many varieties of ivy in both shades of green and variegated to travel up walls or tree trunks for added texture to your shade garden. An interesting trellis with ivy climbing on could make for an architectural focal point. Another evergreen groundcover possibility is pachysandra, also known as Japanese splurge, grows well in deep shade. Exposure to the sun can actually "burn" the plant and turn leaves brown, so plant in areas where no sun will hit.

Keywords: hosta, fern, shade garden

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University, studying education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills, re-using, recycling, and re-inventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.