17 Stunning Floor Covers for Shade

Many of the crops I write about want full solar. However what about these of us with shady areas? There have to be one thing on the market for us, proper? 

Exterior the brand new house I’m constructing with my companion, we have now some stunning rock retaining partitions which can be within the shade a lot of the day. I’ve goals of lush trailing greens and flowering vines hanging over the rocks. I’ve been looking for the proper floor cowl for the rocky soil in our local weather. 

In that mild, please take pleasure in this record of 17 stunning floor covers for shady areas I’ve researched so that you don’t must. Take pleasure in!

Why Ought to You Cowl the Floor In Your Backyard? 

I wager you’ve heard that mulching can assist the soil retain moisture, suppress weeds, maintain soil in place, and forestall erosion. Properly, overlaying the bottom round a shade backyard isn’t any totally different! Grass creeps in quick and is difficult to do away with, so when beginning a shade backyard, we advocate killing again any grass within the space and beginning with a clean slate. 

Some crops don’t thoughts being stepped on, creating a stunning inexperienced path, whereas others do effectively underneath patios and alongside rock partitions. Listed below are 17 of our favourite floor covers that work effectively in shady areas

Golden Japanese Stonecrop

Close-up of Sedum makinoi 'Ogon' in a rock garden. Its small, succulent leaves are fleshy and spoon-shaped, showing a brilliant golden-yellow color. The foliage forms are dense, cascading mats, creating a visually appealing carpet.
‘Ogon’ sedum thrives in full shade, boasts low upkeep, and adapts to varied environments.

Whereas most sedums require full solar to partial shade, ‘Ogon’ can tolerate full shade. Grown principally for its brilliant gold greenery, it additionally blooms in the summertime with a yellow flower. Within the fall, the foliage transitions to a deep reddish-purple.

This distinctive sedum grows low to the bottom, nearly three inches tall, forming a dense mat-like cowl. It’s good for a shady rock backyard, round raised beds, or underneath a patio. 

So far as upkeep, Golden Japanese Stonecrop received’t ask a lot from you. It prefers the soil to stay reasonably moist however can be warmth and drought-tolerant as soon as well-established. 


Close-up of a flowering Bunchberry plant (Cornus canadensis) in a garden. Bunchberry is a charming and diminutive woodland plant, admired for its distinctive appearance. Its low, creeping stems give rise to whorls of four to six broadly oval leaves, forming a lush carpet on the ground. The leaves display deep green coloration and a prominent, parallel venation. The delicate white bracts resembling petals surround a cluster of tiny greenish-yellow flowers in the center.
This white-flowered floor cowl is ideal for chilly, moist soils.

If you happen to develop in a colder area, it’s possible you’ll typically really feel restricted by your decisions for chilly, persistently moist soils. Enter bunchberry, which may be discovered rising even in Alaska. Recognized generally as creeping dogwood, dwarf dogwood, bunchberry dogwood, and Canadian bunchberry, this plant makes a pretty, medium-green flowering carpet. 

In late spring or early summer season, it blooms a cartoon-like white flower that includes 4 pointed petals with a salt and pepper heart, however don’t anticipate flowers till at the least the third 12 months. In late summer season, the blossoms type tiny fruits that function meals for birds. 

Bunchberry spreads by underground rhizomes so it expands pretty simply, however shouldn’t be planted in a excessive foot site visitors space. 

Creeping thyme

Close-up of a flowering ground cover plant, Creeping thyme (Thymus serpyllum), in a garden. Creeping thyme is a delightful, low-growing herb. The tiny, oval-shaped leaves are densely packed along trailing stems, creating a carpet of vibrant green. The plant produces tiny, tubular flowers in a lavender hue.
This fragrant plant with edible properties attracts pollinators and suppresses weeds.

A floor cowl that doubles as an edible herb and smells superb? Sure, please! Creeping thyme is a beautiful darkish inexperienced and, when it blooms in the summertime, is roofed with small white, pink, or purple flowers. 

It’s hardy in zones 4-10, making it an amazing alternative for a lot of growers. Pollinators find it irresistible, so watch out the place you step within the backyard. Creeping thyme grows very densely, and due to this fact, it’s nice for weed suppression. It’ll additionally creep by way of rocks, retaining partitions, fences, or pathways, making the title ‘creeping thyme’ very correct. 

Wild Ginger

Close-up of a Wild Ginger plant in a garden with mulched soil. Its heart-shaped leaves, rich green and glossy, emerge directly from the ground on short stems, creating a dense carpet of foliage. The leaves are characterized by prominent veining and a smooth texture.
This groundcover is a hardy, spreading plant that pulls Pipevine Swallowtail butterflies.

An underrated, dependable, and enticing floor cowl, wild ginger serves as a meals supply for the Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly. Hardier and bigger than its cousin, European ginger, it survives winters all the way down to zone 3. Its shiny leaves are giant, darkish inexperienced, and heart-shaped. You might by no means see the pendulous flowers that grasp beneath the foliage. These are pollinated by crawling bugs. 

As a result of it’s a woodland plant, it requires moist, well-draining soil that’s wealthy in natural matter. It thrives in full shade. Though it has a gingery taste and aroma, wild ginger shouldn’t be for consumption and is of a plant household fully totally different from the culinary model (Zingiber officinale).

Give wild ginger 1-2 ft of house when planting. The plant spreads by way of rhizome, making a dense carpet of foliage. Use it to fill in house close by and between early spring bloomers. Divide crops within the spring for the most effective success in transplanting and getting them established. You ought to be in a position to take action by way of the rhizomes, which develop just under the soil floor. 

Noticed Useless Nettle

Close-up of Spotted Dead Nettle (Lamium maculatum) flowering plants in a garden. This low-growing perennial forms spreading mats of heart-shaped leaves with variegated patterns, featuring silver-white markings along the edges. Clusters of tubular flowers emerge in the shade of pink, rising above the foliage on short stems.
This nettle prospers in shade with minimal care.

Though this member of the mint household appears much like stinging nettle, it received’t harm you, therefore the ‘useless’ half in its title. However the hair on its oppositely organized leaves could make you do a double take. It blooms in spring and summer season with small white, pink, or purple flowers, and with the flowers come the bumblebees. Whereas the blooms are enticing, it’s usually grown for its lush foliage. 

When planted in full shade, noticed nettle, because it’s typically known as, received’t require a lot for watering. Though some growers are scared off by its skill to unfold, noticed nettle is an incredible possibility for big, shady areas that want protection, resembling newly constructed beds. 

Professional tip: Develop this alongside Candy Woodruff, one other groundcover on this record, for a novel underplanting. 

Creeping Phlox

Close-up of a flowering ground cover plant, Creeping Phlox (Phlox stolonifera), in a garden. The plant features clusters of small, five-petaled flowers that form dense mats along creeping stems. These flowers come in a lavender shade. The evergreen foliage is lance-shaped, forming a dense carpet.
Low-growing creeping phlox, often known as moss phlox, kinds a surprising floor cowl.

You might be conversant in upright flowering phlox, however have you ever heard of low-growing creeping phlox? Its beautiful pale-hued flowers make it fairly the sight when rising in mass alongside border partitions, retaining partitions, and rolling sloped land. 

Creeping phlox can be known as moss phlox and will get its botanical title for its development by means of stolon, or horizontal runners. These enable it to unfold, giving it a creeping nature. The darkish inexperienced oval leaves look superior even after the flowers have handed. Pruning is elective, however it can hold the world trying cleaner if spent flowers are eliminated. 

Scale back weed strain when establishing creeping phlox as a floor cowl and make sure the soil stays moist. Feed with a well-balanced and natural fertilizer within the spring. 

Creeping Jenny

Close-up of a flowering plant, Creeping Jenny, twining over a stone border in a sunny garden. The plant forms dense mats of rounded, bright green leaves that are tinged with yellow or gold. The foliage is characterized by its opposite arrangement along the creeping stems and its slightly cupped shape. The foliage is adorned with small, cup-shaped yellow flowers.
Generally known as moneywort, this plant boasts charming foliage however spreads quickly in well-draining soil.

Grown principally for its beautiful foliage, Creeping Jenny is a low-growing cowl whose leaves resemble little cash, incomes it the nickname moneywort. The small yellow, lantern-shaped flowers don’t final lengthy however are fairly cute.  

Because of its unbelievable development price and talent to unfold, planting Creeping Jenny close to annual gardens isn’t suggested. Nevertheless, it covers unpleasant floor areas resembling a again deck or round a storage or backyard shed very effectively. Be careful for slugs, caterpillars, and aphids.

Jenny’s not specific in regards to the soil pH degree however does want it to be well-draining. Whilst you can develop Creeping Jenny in full solar, the leaves are usually extra yellow and typically change into blanched. When grown with restricted solar, they continue to be a waxy, medium inexperienced. 


Close-up of a flowering Viola × wittrockiana plant with water drops. These cool-season annuals or biennials boast rounded, velvety-textured petals of a delicate blue color with blue markings closer to the center of the flower. The flowers have a distinctive "face," marked with dark lines radiating from the center, adding to their visual allure. Pansies have a compact growth habit with dark green, slightly serrated leaves.
Chilly-tolerant violas thrive within the shade, providing low floor cowl with colourful blooms.

This one would possibly shock you, however pansies do effectively in shady areas and are tremendous cold-tolerant, making them an outstanding groundcover possibility. Their foliage additionally stays low to the bottom and appears good after they bloom within the spring and early summer season. These members of the viola household readily reseed, making them simple to take care of. 

Pansies have been bred from violas, and there are many totally different flower varieties and coloration choices to select from. Maybe probably the most well-liked is ‘Johnny jump-ups’, which seem like a pleasant purple, yellow, and white “face”.

Attempt winter sowing them for the earliest spring blooms. Pinch again dried-up flowers to encourage new development. As a bonus, the flowers are edible. 


Close-up of a blooming ground cover plant Arctostaphylos uva-ursi in a garden with water drops. This hardy plant features small, leathery, elliptical leaves that are glossy green in color. The plant produces delicate pink-white bell-shaped flowers.
Also referred to as kinnikinnick, this plant kinds a hardy floor cowl with shiny foliage and pink lantern-like flowers.

This distinctive sub-shrub kinds a dense floor cowl or trailing cowl for a wall. Its foliage is rounded, darkish inexperienced, and shiny, which transitions to a bronzed purple within the low season. The plant consists of branching twigs and lengthy, versatile stems and options alternating leaves. Small pink flowers bloom from Could to June, akin to small lanterns, simply ¼  – ½ inch. 

This beautiful and hardy groundcover thrives in sandy soils, rock partitions, and dry and rocky spots. It spreads pretty slowly by shallow rhizomes and doesn’t do effectively when moved as soon as established. Choose a spot you’re certain of, the place it might probably unfold over the subsequent few years. Use a balanced fertilizer every spring to encourage new development. Management weeds for finest outcomes. 

Bearberries will play an necessary function in any yard ecosystem. Whereas the plant itself is pretty deer-resistant, the small crimson berries are an necessary meals supply for native birds and small critters, too. A number of butterflies make Bearberry shrubs their house. Good for chilly area growers, Bearberry is a really cold-tolerant possibility. 

Wild Strawberry

Wild strawberries, adorned with delicate white flowers boasting sunny yellow centers, emerge gracefully from a slender stem. The lush green leaves cradle this exquisite arrangement, forming a picturesque scene that encapsulates the beauty of nature's intricate design.
Wild Strawberry is a pretty and edible floor cowl possibility.

Maybe you’d like a reasonably floor cowl that’s edible, too? Wild Strawberry spreads simply in shady beds, overlaying the bottom with bright-green rosettes. In late spring to early summer season, it produces lovely white flowers adopted by candy, scarlet berries.

Wild Strawberry can go dormant within the midsummer warmth, so keep away from it in arid, desert climates and hold it in full shade in areas with scorching summers to stop leaf scorch.

Whereas disease-resistant, powdery mildew can change into an occasional downside. Wild Strawberry kinds colonies by way of runners, and is straightforward to transplant wherever your backyard wants some coloration.

White Clover

Close-up of a flowering ground cover plant, Trifolium repens, in a garden. Trifolium repens, commonly known as white clover, is a low-growing perennial plant with distinctive trifoliate leaves. The leaves consist of three oval leaflets, each with a characteristic white V-shaped mark. The leaflets are smooth and have serrated edges. White clover produces globular flower heads, or inflorescences, consisting of numerous small, tubular, white to pale pink flowers.
That is an adaptable and eco-friendly plant that thrives in shade and attracts pollinators.

This spreading clover is straightforward to ascertain, thrives in shade, and might tolerate heavy foot site visitors, making it an amazing possibility for a shady rock backyard or alongside a north-facing patio. It additionally attracts useful bugs, making it an environmentally pleasant garden various that stops erosion. And sure, it’s the identical white clover that pops up sometimes in your garden! 

White clover serves effectively as a dwelling mulch that suppresses weeds in perennial fruit bushes and vegetable gardens. Michigan blueberry growers discover rising white clover between rows of crops will increase pollination. It may be mowed, making it simple to take care of, and produces extra nitrogen than most different legumes. Seeding may be simply adjusted to no matter scale backyard you’ve. 

This floor cowl can tolerate moist circumstances, dry spells, and pretty acidic soils. We planted this alongside a sloped retaining rock wall space behind our home. It’ll deal with canine foot site visitors effectively, too. 

Woodland Stonecrop

Close-up of Woodland Stonecrop ground cover plant growing in a large wooden planter in the garden. This low-growing succulent features fleshy, rounded leaves arranged in whorls of three along trailing stems, creating a lush, moss-like effect. The leaves are typically blue-green in color and take on reddish hues in response to environmental conditions. The plant produces star-shaped white flowers with five petals appear in clusters.
This moisture-tolerant sedum blooms with small white flowers.

Additionally known as wild stonecrop, this sedum blooms from March to June, relying in your area. Its flower is a small white one with pointy petals. What makes wild stonecrop totally different from different sedums is that it might probably tolerate moisture and shade higher than others. 

The North American native kinds a dense, trailing mat with its succulent foliage. It’ll fortunately creep alongside rocks and in between cracks and crevices. 

Propagate by ranging from seed, dividing, or taking cuttings from wholesome crops. Cuttings may be taken at any level within the season and supply a simple option to create new sedum crops. 

Candy Woodruff

Close-up of a flowering plant Galium odoratum. This perennial ground cover plant forms a dense carpet of whorled, lance-shaped leaves arranged in groups of six to eight along delicate stems. The leaves are bright green and have a distinct pleated or corrugated texture. The plant produces tiny, star-shaped white flowers that bloom in clusters.
It is a low-maintenance floor cowl with star-shaped flowers that thrives in dry or moist shade.

This herbaceous perennial blooms cute little white, 4-petaled star-shaped flowers with medium-dark inexperienced leaves. It’s a particularly simple groundcover to develop, and it’s deer and rabbit-resistant in addition. 

Frequent names for candy woodruff embody wild child’s breath and sweet-scented bedstraw. If you happen to just like the odor of freshly minimize grass however don’t wish to take care of the upkeep, candy woodruff is for you. It will get simply broken when the solar is simply too scorching, so plant it the place the solar don’t shine. Whereas moist soil is most well-liked, it performs effectively in dry shade as effectively. 

This perennial can unfold aggressively, so remember to hold it underneath management if there are areas close by you don’t need it to take over. Give every plant at the least one foot of house, and divide giant crops by digging up clumps and transferring them to a brand new space or sharing them with a pal, much like hostas.  

Partridge Berry

Fairly Partridge Berry has candy pinkish-white flowers adopted by brilliant crimson berries.

This ground-hugging decorative has eye-catching crimson berries beloved by birds and small mammals. It’s an amazing alternative when you’d like a wildlife-friendly floor cowl to your shade backyard.

Partridge Berry is native to Japanese North America. It likes acidic soil and is a good underplanting for acid-loving crops like blueberries and rhododendrons.

Cute and dainty, this hard-working floor cowl blooms with aromatic, trumpet-shaped blush to white blossoms from spring by way of fall. It’s typically unbothered by pests and ailments.

Brass Buttons

Top view, close-up of Brass Buttons in a rock garden. Brass Buttons (Leptinella squalida) is a charming and diminutive perennial ground cover appreciated for its unique appearance. Forming tight, moss-like cushions, this plant features intricately dissected, fern-like foliage that is bright green and has a lacy or feathery texture.
This low-maintenance perennial spreads shortly and thrives in shade.

This funky, fern-like perennial is ideal for gardeners with a lot of new house to fill with various soil conditions. When grown within the shade, fewer of its yellow flowers will bloom, however the purplish inexperienced foliage is completely beautiful with out them. ‘Platt’s Black’ is a cool possibility with distinctive darkish purple leaves with inexperienced suggestions. 

Brass buttons unfold shortly and can be utilized as a garden various as they’ll deal with some foot site visitors and require little upkeep. There aren’t many pests or illness issues, however be careful for aphids within the spring. 

Hold the soil pretty moist, however don’t overwater to keep away from root rot. Brass buttons like pretty acidic soil. An excessive amount of solar scorches the leaves, making it an amazing possibility for shady areas. Attempt lining pathways with it or permitting it to unfold between stepping stones and rock partitions. 

Inexperienced and Gold

Inexperienced and Gold is a vigorously-growing, cheerful floor cowl possibility.

This beautiful floor cowl, additionally known as “the golden star plant” is native to the japanese United States. It’s an amazing various to invasive Pachysandra.  

Inexperienced and Gold is low upkeep. It kinds a low-growing mat of deep inexperienced leaves. In early spring, it blooms with brilliant yellow, daisy-like flowers. A vigorous grower, it can unfold quickly to fill in your shady backyard areas.

This floor cowl prefers persistently moist (however not soggy) soil. Inexperienced and Gold is straightforward to transplant and likewise appears nice in pots and containers. It’s not often bothered by pests or illness, however watch for infrequent slug and snail harm.

Heartleaf Brunnera 

Close-up of a flowering Brunnera macrophylla plant in a sunny garden. The Heartleaf Brunnera also known as Siberian Bugloss, is an enchanting perennial valued for its heart-shaped leaves and delicate, early-spring blooms. The large, basal leaves have a distinctive silver-green hue with prominent veining. The foliage forms a dense, ground-hugging clump. Airy sprays of tiny, bright blue flowers rise above the foliage
Heartleaf Brunnera, or false forget-me-not, options heart-shaped leaves and blue flowers.

Generally known as false forget-me-nots as a result of their flower resemblance, Heartleaf Brunnera options tiny blueish-purple flowers within the spring alongside broad, heart-shaped, virtually iridescent leaves. The hairs on the leaves of this woodland plant make them unattractive to deer and rabbits. 

This magnificence thrives within the shade, spreads slowly underground, and is straightforward to look after, making heartleaf brunnera a fan favourite. Some cultivars’ colours will likely be barely subdued when grown within the shade however stunning nonetheless. This flower received’t carry out finest in extended scorching, humid circumstances, though some silver-leafed varieties like “Sterling Silver’ tolerate it simply wonderful when afternoon shade is supplied. 

Deadhead this magnificence all through the season to maintain development wholesome, eradicating any yellowing leaves or passed-by flowers. Brunnera could self-seed, however undesirable seedlings are simple to drag up. 

Remaining Ideas 

I hope you found a shade-loving plant that fits your wants. Or maybe you rediscovered a plant you haven’t grown shortly. Completely satisfied floor overlaying! 

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