South Carolina has two USDA hardiness zones: 7 and 8 where the average winter temperatures do not go below zero. The temperate climate allows for a wide range of plants that not only like different types of shade, but need it. The state features different types of soil from sandy to a red soil that has clay on the surface. Amend the soil with organic matter and fertilizer to make it the kind of soil plants need.
Bear's breech (Acanthus mollis) is also known as Grecian pattern plant and artist's acanthus and is hardy in all of South Carolina. The plant grows to about 5 feet tall and about the same in width. Bear's breech produces leaves that grow up to 3 feet long and white, pink or purple flowers growing on stalks taller than the leaves. Plant bear’s breech in full sun or partial shade and in a soil that is loose, moist and well drained.
Holly fern (Cyrtomium falcatum) grows up to 2 feet high and 3 feet wide. The plant produces dark green fronds that resemble a holly leaf. Holly fern reproduces by spreading light green spores that grow on the back of the fronds. The plant will only shed its leaves if caught in a frost. Plant holly fern in partial or full shade and in a soil that is moist and well drained. The plant is hardy in all of South Carolina.
Ashe magnolia (Magnolia macrophylla ) is also known as Ashe's magnolia and big leaf magnolia and is hardy in all of South Carolina. The plant is a shrub or small tree that grows up to 20 feet tall and produces deciduous leaves that grow from 12 to 24 inches long and 6 to 12 inches wide. The white saucer-shaped flowers grow from 10 to 12 inches across and are followed by pink-purple fruit that resembles a pine cone. Plant Ashe magnolia in full sun or in the shade of larger trees and in rich, moist, well-drained soil.
Dancing Ladies Ginger
Dancing ladies ginger (Globba winitii) is also known as dancing girls ginger and is hardy in USDA zone 8 in South Carolina. The plant grows up to 2 feet tall and produces long, lance-shaped leaves and tiny white flowers that hang in clusters from July to Autumn. Plant dancing ladies ginger in full shade in a moist, well-drained soil.
Partridge berry (Mitchella repens) is also known as twinberry, twinflower and running box and is hardy in all of South Carolina. The plant is an evergreen ground cover that grows up to 2 inches tall and produces stems that grow 12 inches or more in length. The funnel-shaped flowers grow in pairs and are followed by bright red berries. Plant partridge berry in the dappled shade under trees and large shrubs and in soil that is moist to dry.