With so many types of groundcover plants for shade, it can be difficult to decide which species is best.
As an experienced landscaper, I have hours of experience with the different groundcover plants for shade. After careful consideration, I have compiled a list of seven groundcovers best suited for shady areas.
The overall best type of groundcover for shade is sweet woodruff. You can also consider bunchberry, lilyturf, and wild ginger. Each plant has unique characteristics that make them ideal for shaded areas.
This article will explore seven groundcover plants for shade, including their benefits and drawbacks. Whether you’re looking for a low-maintenance option or something more colorful, this article will help you find the perfect groundcover for your shady areas.
Let’s get started!
Table of Contents
7 Types of Groundcovers for Shade
|Sweet Woodruff||4 to 8||Low-maintenance, resistant to most pests and diseases, and can suppress weeds. It is also drought tolerant.||Produces star-shaped white flowers in the spring||6 to 8 inches||Slow to medium growth rate via underground rhizomes, up to 12 inches|
|Bunchberry||2 to 6||Easy to maintain. Relatively tolerant to infestations, diseases, and drought.||White four-petaled flowers||4 to 9 inches||Fast-growing by creeping rhizomes — 6 to 12 inches|
|Lilyturf||6 to 10||Minimal maintenance required||Small, purple flowers in the summer||8 to 12 inches||Slow rate to a height of 12 to 18 inches|
|Wild Ginger||4 to 9||Easy to maintain||Small purplish-brown flowers in the spring||6 to 10 inches||Fast-rate by rhizomes between 12 to 24 inches|
|Bugleweed||4 to 9||Easy to maintain||Lavender blue flower spikes in the spring||4 to 14 inches||Fast-rate by runners between 5 to 8 inches|
|Goldenstar||5 to 9||Easy to maintain||Bright yellow star-shaped flowers in the spring||6 to 8 inches||Medium by rhizomes up to 12 to 18 inches|
|Pachysandra||3 to 9||Easy to maintain as it requires little pruning and fertilizing. It is relatively drought-tolerant, and its dense foliage helps to suppress weeds.||3 to 4 inches||Small, white flowers that cluster during the spring and early summer months||Fast-growing to a height of 8 to 12 inches|
1. Sweet Woodruff (Galium odoratum)
Sweet woodruff is an evergreen ground cover that grows in shady areas.
Sweet woodruff is an excellent choice for adding color and texture to a shady landscape.
Sweet woodruff is also a great addition to any garden, as it has a pleasant scent and is easy to maintain. This low-growing plant is highly fragrant and produces star-shaped white flowers in the spring.
You can use this shade plant to cover large areas or as an edging plant. Its foliage remains dark green throughout the year.
2. Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
This perennial wildflower produces white, four-petaled flowers in the spring. Clusters of bright red berries follow these flowers in the summer.
Bunchberry’s glossy, evergreen foliage provides year-round coverage. It is an excellent choice if you want to create a lush, low-maintenance landscape in shaded areas.
Bunchberry is a hardy plant that can tolerate a wide range of soil pH levels. It is also drought-tolerant once established.
Its clumping growth habit makes it ideal for controlling erosion in sloped areas.
3. Lilyturf (Liriope muscari)
Lilyturf is a versatile ground cover that thrives in the shade. It is a low-growing plant with clumps of grass-like foliage that can reach heights of 8–12 inches.
Lilyturf produces columns of small, purple flowers in the summer. Its leaves turn golden brown in the winter. Lilyturf is a low-maintenance and durable groundcover that grows well in any soil type.
You can use lilyturf in various applications, from edging walkways and garden beds to filling large, shady areas.
Lilyturf is also an excellent choice for erosion control, as it can withstand heavy rainfall and is not easily uprooted.
4. Wild ginger (Asarum canadense)
Wild ginger is a low-growing, shade-tolerant ground cover that provides a lush carpet of foliage. Its heart-shaped leaves are dark green and glossy, producing small, purplish-brown flowers in the spring.
This perennial grows best in moist, well-drained soils in partial to full shade. It is a great choice for creating a low-maintenance ground cover in woodland gardens or areas with dense shade.
Wild ginger is a hardy plant: it tolerates a wide range of soils and is deer resistant.
Wild ginger spreads by rhizomes, so it may require some maintenance to keep it from taking over.
5. Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)
Bugleweed is an attractive ground cover that is ideal for shady areas. It is a perennial plant with dark green or bronze leaves and blue flower spikes that bloom in the spring.
This plant is very hardy and can tolerate various soil types and conditions.
Bugleweed is also relatively low maintenance, requiring only occasional trimming to keep it looking neat. It is a great choice for shady areas, providing a lush, colorful ground cover that will brighten any garden.
6. Goldenstar (Chrysogonum virginianum)
Goldenstar is a perennial native to the eastern United States, ideal for areas with partial shade. This ground cover grows in a spreading, mounding way and produces bright yellow star-shaped flowers in the spring.
Goldenstar is a hardy plant that will spread quickly. As a result, the ground cover forms a dense mat of foliage that weeds struggle to penetrate.
This hardy ground cover grows in clumps up to 8 inches tall and spreads up to 18 inches wide.
This plant is an excellent choice for adding color and texture to a shaded area. You can use goldenstar to create a unique and beautiful landscape.
Plant goldenstar in woodland gardens, under trees, and along shaded pathways.
This perennial is also deer-resistant and drought-tolerant, making it an ideal choice for low-maintenance landscaping.
7. Pachysandra (Pachysandra terminalis)
Pachysandra is another low-maintenance evergreen shrub ideal for ground cover in shady areas. It is a fast-growing groundcover that is easy to establish and gives a neat, clean appearance.
Pachysandra is an excellent choice for creating a lush green carpet of foliage in areas with limited sunlight.
Shade-loving groundcovers provide unique and beautiful ways to add texture and color to your garden.
With so many different groundcover plants to choose from, you can find the perfect plant for your yard. Whether you prefer a low-maintenance option like lilyturf or a flowering ground cover like ajuga, you can find the perfect plant to inhabit a shady spot in your yard.
With careful consideration and planning, you can create a lush and inviting area for you and your family to enjoy. What type of groundcover will you choose for your yard?