The Best Ground Cover for Shade
Ground covers thrive where other plants do not. Grass is a ground cover that thrives in sunny spots but doesn't tolerate shade. Choose varieties of ground cover adapted to shade to add color, texture and mood to the garden. Landscape professionals suggest a number of plants that are suited for shady spots.
Landscape designer Susan Redmond of Stonegate Gardens in Lincoln, Massachusetts, cites silver dragon (Liriope) as a best bet for shade. This low-maintenance plant has variegated leaves and blooms dainty lavender flowers in late spring and summer. Referred to as monkey grass, this ground cover is a sure bet for hard-to-grow areas in the garden.
The University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service recommends lanten rose (Helleborus orientalis) for shady spots. This tall ground cover is 12 to 18 inches tall and provides late winter color in the garden. Hardy in zones 4 to 9, this shade-loving perennial blooms white or pink and has large, dark green leaves.
The University of Illinois Extension Department cites Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis) as a full shade-loving plant. Mature plants reach 6 to 8 inches tall, and foliage is glossy green with white, scented flowers appearing in the spring. This evergreen plant is well suited for use under shallow-rooted trees and thrives in wet soil.