Shade Plants for Zone 7 Gardens

Many gardeners consider the space under trees, next to solid fences, and close to buildings difficult to use because they lack of full sun. There are, however, many beautiful perennial plants and shrubs that can succeed in part-shade..

To increase the amount of sunlight available under trees, remove the lowest limbs and prune out some branches, allowing light to shine through to the ground.

Tree roots and building foundations absorb a lot of available moisture and can also stress plants. Improve the soil moisture retention by adding organic materials and top dressing the area with mulch to reduce evaporation. A drip irrigation system can also be a big help.

Five Star Hibiscus
Shade-loving plants usually have roots, rhizomes, tubers or stems that store water plus they tend to lose less moisture through their leaves than other plants.

The leaves of low-light varieties usually emerge early in the season before the trees leaf out above them.

Garden centers plants have tags indicating whether they can thrive in half or full-shade. Also, you will notice that shade plants are placed under protection and sun-loving plants are displayed in sunny parts of the store.

Two popular shade plants:
  1. Hostas thrive in shade and are available in green, blue-green, green with gold, cream or white leaves, and vary in size.
  2. Hydrangeas are mid-size woody shrubs that have become one of America’s favorite plants. The north side of a building usually provides the right amount of light for them.

Other shade plants include Ajuga, Ginger, Five-star Hibiscus, Bottlebrush Buckeye, Dragon Arum, Viburnum shrubs, many fern varieties, Beautyberry shrub, Azaleas, Oxalis, perennial succulents, Strawberry Begonia, Brunnera, Clematis vine, Abutilon, Solomon’s Seal, Pachysandra, Summersweet and Knotweed.

Visit your local plant suppliers and ask what has worked for other gardeners. They can usually direct you to an entire section of possibilities.


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