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Native Plant Guide

Information and Services for King County, Washington

Native plants for deep shade

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Related plants:

vine mapleTreeadd plant
salalShrubadd plant
low Oregon grapeShrubadd plant
vanilla leafGroundcoveradd plant
wild gingerGroundcoveradd plant
bleeding heartGroundcoveradd plant
sword fernGroundcoveradd plant
false Solomon's-sealGroundcoveradd plant
fringecupGroundcoveradd plant
foam flowerGroundcoveradd plant
piggyback plant; youth-on-ageGroundcoveradd plant
trilliumGroundcoveradd plant

It is easy to design for full or partial sun/partial shade, but for shade and especially deep shade, it gets increasingly difficult to find many plants to do the job. Besides having little sun to help plants survive, shady areas are often very dry to boot! So a designer should be looking for drought tolerant shade plants. We have many of them are native to the northwest.

One obvious stalwart is sword fern which looks good planted in masses. Salal will also grow under such conditions.

Vine maple can also grow in deep shade as well and its light leaf color will add some color. The mosses too, do better in deep shade with a bit of moisture. Ground covers of low Oregon grape, vanilla leaf, bleeding heart, fringecup and foam flower can tolerate dry shade but with a little more moisture you can also try piggyback plant, wild ginger, false Solomons seal, and false lily of the valley. With good forest duff, you can be successful with trillium.

Planting plans related to this article: Dry, shady