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Arizona Shade Loving Plants

fern image by Lytse from

Arizona gardeners realize that they need plants specific to their soil type and their hardiness zones (which for them is 5 through 10). Plants also need to be according to how much or how little sun they get during the day. Shade plants are those that do not get the majority of the direct sun during the day, those shade loving plants that are under trees and beside taller fences and buildings. If you have a predominately shady area in the landscape and are in Arizona, check out some of the favorites available to you.


Pteridium aquilinum from the bracken fern family, otherwise known as bracken or bracken fern, is an easy to grow drought tolerant perennial. Fronds 1 to 3 feet long come from a rhizome and can be mainly deciduous. Plant a bracken fern in almost full shade in dry acidic soil. It will tolerant full sun too. Propagate via rhizome pieces or spores in USDA hardiness zones 3 through 11.

Holly Fern

Cyrtomium falcatum from the polypody fern family, otherwise known as holly fern, is an easy to grow evergreen perennial. It can get 2 feet high and 3 feet wide with dark green, glossy fronds. It can be evergreen in areas that are free of frost. Plant a holly fern in acidic well-drained soil in partial to full shade. Propagate via division in USDA hardiness zones of 6 through 11 (Zone 5 in Arizona may have issues).


Ageratum houstonianum from the aster/daisy family, otherwise known as ageratum or flossflower, is an annual. It gets 2 feet tall with blue, purple, pink or lavender fuzzy flowers. Leaves are 4 inches long and oval. Plant an ageratum in part shade in hot locations with regular watering. Propagate via seed in USDA hardiness zones of 5 through 10.


Impatiens wallerana from the balsam family, otherwise known as impatiens or touch-me-not, is an easy to grow perennial grown as an annual. It will get 8 to 24 inches tall and 8 to 24 inches wide. Size and color of leaves and flowers are dependent on cultivar. Plant an impatiens in moist fertile soil in partial shade/sun. Propagate via cuttings or seed in USDA hardiness zones 4 through 10.

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