13 Best Plants for Dry Shade

Regarding your garden layout, it is critical to determine the conditions your plants prefer before planting anything. Not all of your garden will get full sun, and some areas will inevitably be in the shade. This guide will go through the best plants for dry shade and how they will add beauty and color to your garden.

With the proper plant selection, you’ll be able to create a beautiful and thriving garden, even in the shadiest areas. In addition, many plants can thrive in dry shade, making it an excellent option for areas of your garden that doesn’t get much sunlight.

If you think you will have difficulty finding plants locally that will thrive in dry shade, don’t worry! Many nurseries and garden stores stock these types of plants for these purposes.

So let’s look at the plants that are suited for dry shade.

1. Liriope Muscari

Commonly referred to as ‘Lily Turf,’ this East Asian plant is drought-tolerant and can develop quickly in the dry shade. It has grass-like leaves and spikes of purple flowers.

Space the plants approximately 12 inches apart to give them ample room to grow. Partial to full sun is excellent, but dry shade won’t harm it. When established, it will spread by underground runners. 

Liriope muscari is deer resistant, making it an excellent choice for gardens frequented by wildlife. It is also a good choice for low-maintenance gardens.

Liriope Muscari with purple flowers
Liriope Muscari is drought tolerant.

2. Euphorbia robbiae

Euphorbia robbiae has dark green leaves, and small, purple flowers bloom in the spring. This plant can tolerate dry soil well in full or partial shade. It is an excellent option for a garden that needs some color. In addition, the Euphorbia Robbiae requires very little maintenance, making it a good choice for busy gardeners.

Euphorbia Robbiae bush with purple flowesr
Euphorbia robbiae

3. Hardy Geraniums

The combination of attractive flowers and foliage makes geraniums very popular. Partial to full sun is excellent for this popular species that brings vibrant colors to your garden, but they can also get by in dry shade.

The good thing about geraniums is they come in varieties that prefer different conditions. Some can tolerate a dry environment, while others prefer a moist one. These differences in behaviors mean they are suitable for different areas of your garden. Be sure to read up on the types before planting them.

Geraniums. Photo by Kaboompics .com on Pexels.com

4. Sempervivum

Also known as the “Houseleek,” Sempervivum has distinctive rosettes of green leaves that form a dense clump. The flowers are typically pink but can also be red, yellow, or white. This plant does well in full sun or partial shade, and it is extremely drought tolerant. In addition, it is resistant to pests and diseases.

It has a fine texture and is a good option for a rock garden or as a groundcover. It is fancy enough to use in a flower arrangement, too.

Sempervivum has short green leaves and shaped like a rosette
Sempervivums have a Rosette shape.

5. Ajuga Reptans

Commonly known as a Bugleherb, Ajuga Reptans is an excellent option for dry shade, as it is tolerant of drought and poor soil.

They feature dark green leaves with purple flowers, providing an attractive addition to any garden. This plant spreads rapidly, making a superb groundcover, but be sure to give it plenty of room to grow and adequate drainage. It also does well in containers, so it can be used to brighten up a shady spot on the porch or patio.

cluster of a purple flower in tilt shift lens
Ajuga Reptans. Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV on Pexels.com

6. Ferns

This pretty, low-maintenance plant is perfect for gardens with dry shade. Ferns can thrive in various soil conditions and do well when planted in clusters. A remarkably resilient species, ferns can grow in almost any environment.

You will always find new fronds (the leafy part) emerging in the spring, adding interest to your garden. Have plenty of space available, though, because they can spread quickly. In addition, there are various varieties of ferns to choose from, so you can find one that suits your garden’s needs.

green ferns
Ferns can spread quickly in dry shade Photo by PraiseToby Praise on Pexels.com

7. Vinca minor

This evergreen plant has small, dark green leaves and blueish-purple flowers. It creates a mat of foliage and does well in partial to full shade.

In addition, it is drought tolerant and grows well in moist soil. Vinca minor is a good choice for a shady garden border or as a groundcover.

Vinca minor with purple flowers
Vinca minor provides good ground cover.

8. Foxgloves 

If you are looking for a plant that is both attractive and easy to care for, Foxgloves might be a perfect choice. These plants have tall spires of flowers in shades of pink, purple, or white.

They do well in full sun or partial shade and can tolerate dry soil. Foxgloves are also deer and pest resistant, making them an excellent choice for gardens frequented by wildlife. However, foxgloves are poisonous so try to keep them clear of children and animals.

a close up shot of foxgloves
Foxgloves have a vibrant color. Photo by Biju Abraham on Pexels.com

9. Astilbe

Also known as False Goat’s Beard, Astilbe is another excellent plant for dry shade, as it thrives in moist but well-drained soil. This perennial re-sprouts every spring and sports attractive feathery white flowers in the summer, adding a touch of color to any garden. Astilbe does well in shady areas and can tolerate some drought.

astilbe have pink feather type flowers
False Goat’s Beard is another name for Astilbe.

10. Brunnera Macrophylla

Brunnera macrophylla is a beautiful perennial well suited to dry shade conditions. This plant features large, heart-shaped leaves with blue flowers in the spring. Brunnera macrophylla does best in moist, well-drained soil, making it a perfect choice for shady areas or borders.

blue flowers of Brunnera Macrophylla do great in dry shade
Brunnera Macrophylla.

11. Lamium Maculatum

Native in Europe and Asia, the Lamium Maculatum (also known as Devil’s clover) provides ground cover well suited to dry shade conditions. This plant has silver leaves with purple flowers, adding interest to any garden. Lamium Maculatum does well in moist but well-drained soil and can tolerate some drought. They are admired by birds and butterflies and make an excellent choice for wildlife-friendly gardens.

Lamium Maculatum has beautiful purple flowers
Lamium Maculatum has beautiful purple flowers.

12. Cyclamen

Cyclamen is a hugely popular plant that produces colorful flowers in shades of pink, red, or white, making it a beautiful addition to any garden. This plant does well in shady areas and is tolerant of dry and wet soil.

While they are a tolerant species, they need protection from hot temperatures in the afternoon, making them an ideal plant for dry shade.

pink and white flowers with green leaves
Cyclamens. Photo by BiZay Sunuwar on Pexels.com

13. Hosta

Hostas are a popular garden plant and for a good reason! These plants have large, heart-shaped leaves in shades of green, blue, or white.

They do well in shady areas and can tolerate wet or dry soil. They bloom in late summer, providing a beautiful addition to your garden. These perennials will come back bigger (and thicker) every year, making them good ground cover.

lush leaves of hosta plants
Hosta. Photo by Matteo Badini on Pexels.com

Final Thoughts On Plants For Dry Shade

With so many great plants to choose from, you will indeed find one perfect for your garden’s needs.

Be sure to choose plants suited to the sunlight your garden receives, and don’t forget to water them regularly.

With a little TLC, your garden will bloom with beautiful plants in no time. However, it is not good to put all your eggs in one basket; therefore, have several plants to make up for any failures.

What do you think of this article about plants for dry shade? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below and if you have any other recommendations.

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