Total Shade Plants

For as long as there have been canopies of trees and valleys, there have been alpine crevasses and forest floors with total shade, and many plants have evolved that survive or even thrive in such low-light conditions. You may not be able to grow your favorite bright, fast-growing blooms, but there are surprising number of interesting low light plants perfectly adapted for full shade.

White and Lavender Columbine

The Aquilegia caerulea, known as the white and lavender or Rocky Mountain columbine is a low light plant and the official state flower of Colorado. It's rugged flower adapted to the mountains and valleys of the rocky mountains and it grows well in cool, full shade spots with moist, rich soil. This flower produces large, blue, purple or lavender and white flowers, making it a favorite among floral gardeners. Look for this total shade columbine by its scientific name, since another flower is also sometimes called the Rocky mountain columbine.


For a full-shade groundcover, look no further than Ajuga reptens. Commonly known as bungleweed, this plant will grow in full shade, full sun and anywhere in between. It is also quite tolerant of differing soil conditions, providing that the soil is well-drained. The plant is usually a dark burgundy color, with bright blue spring flowers.

Lucky Bamboo

One of the most versatile ornamental low light plants is lucky bamboo. This popular decorative plant can live in severe conditions, often thriving in near darkness in a pot containing nothing but water, marbles and a bit of liquid fertilizer fertilizer. Lucky bamboo that lives in total shade will grow very slowly, but in some situations this can be desirable . Grow your lucky bamboo in indirect light until it reaches the desired height, then move it to full shade to keep it the perfect height.

Keywords: full shade, total shade, low light plant