Planting in Shade

Redwood Understory

(Photo: Redwood understory) Shade gardening is one of the more challenging situations for the home gardener. What causes the shade is the first thing to notice, this often dictates the density of the light. Trees allow a fair amount of light to filter through (depending on the type of tree of course), houses allow less, and overhanging porches on the north sides of buildings are the darkest.

When choosing shade plants it is important to consider form, foliage, and texture. Many of the plants that like shade don't have showy flowers but make up for it with unusual structure or foliage color. A variegated leaf can catch the eye as quickly as a blossom. And the contrast of different shades of green, a mixture of spiky leaves and soft ferns can be quite soothing.


wild ginger
black snakeroot
umbrella plant
woodland strawberry
creeping fuchsia
sweet woodruff
California sweet grass
leopard lily
Alpine lily
black mondo grass
redwood sorrel
redwood sorrel
California polypody
leathery polypody
western sword fern
yerba buena
coastal redwood
Solomon's plume
starry Solomon's plume