29 Best Shade Loving Ground Covers | Ground Covers for Shade

Shade Loving Ground Covers are an excellent option for sun-deprived areas. Pick one out for your garden from the list below.

If your garden is devoid of ample sunlight, then don’t worry. Grow these Shade Loving Ground Covers to beautify your landscape!

Have a look at the best flowering Ground Covers here


Best Shade Loving Ground Covers

1. Hosta

Shade Loving Ground Covers
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Botanical Name: Hosta spp.

USDA Zones: 3-8

Green to blue leaf varieties like Halcyon hosta suits well for dense shade. At the same time, gold-leaf cultivars with variegated foliage like ‘Patriot,’ and ‘Minuteman’ need some amount of direct sunlight.

Check out our article on growing Hosta here

2. Barrenwort

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Botanical Name: Epimedium × rubrum

USDA Zone: 5-9

Also known as Bishop’s hat, it is a tall variety and offers white blooms with yellow centers. ‘Rose Queen’ features rose-colored blooms, and Epimedium x rubrum produces blooms in three shades. These two are good choices for dry, shaded areas.

3. Bunchberry

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Botanical Name: Cornus canadensis

USDA Zone: 2-6

Native to northern territories of North America, this deciduous, low-growing shrub is categorized as a form of dogwood. It grows up to 3-9 inches tall and makes for an excellent ground cover in shaded areas. At the flowering stage, it looks extremely ornamental.

4. Spotted Dead-nettle

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Botanical Name: Lamium maculatum

USDA Zone: 3-8

This evergreen ground cover works well for shade and features variegated leaves and lovely pink, white, or purple flowers. It’s considered invasive in the parts of the northeast and the northwest U.S. The plant grows up to 6-9 inches tall, creating a thick mat of leaves.

5. Creeping Liriope

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Botanical Name: Liriope spicata

USDA Zone: 4-10

This invasive ground cover for shade is considered annoying in the southeast U.S, though it is less irksome in the northern part. It grows fast up to 10-20 inches and spreads rapidly, forming grass-like clumps.

6. Sweet Woodruff

Botanical Name: Galium odoratum

USDA Zone: 4-8

This mat-forming perennial grows 8-12 inches tall and spreads nicely in favorable growing conditions. It is considered invasive in some regions, mainly in the northeast and northwest. Though, it can be controlled by pruning.

7. Common Periwinkle

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Botanical Name: Vinca Minor

USDA Zone:4-11

This attractive spreading flowering ground cover is admired for purple/lavender blooms. It adapts well to a variety of soil types. Vinca Minor is the best choice for avid gardeners that can keep it under control.

8. Bugleweed

Botanical Name: Ajuga reptans

USDA Zone: 3-10b

Also known as carpet bugleweed, this creeping evergreen spreads fast with distinct copper-purple foliage and purple-blue blooms, making it a perfect addition for year-round interest. The plant does well in bright, shaded areas.

9. Carpet Box

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Botanical Name: Pachysandra terminalis

USDA Zone: 5-9

Pachysandra is an evergreen perennial that includes five species, of which Japanese Pachysandra, also popular as the Japanese spurge is the most common variety. It grows up to 6-12 inches high, forming a dense mat.

10. Creeping Saxifrage

Botanical Name: Saxifraga stolonifera

USDA Zone: 6-11

This excellent ground cover has immense ability to produce offsprings. It makes a carpet of round-shaped, silver-veined leaves with red edges. The plant also produces asymmetrical white flowers, which makes it stand out.

11. Wild Geranium

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mijntuin

Botanical Name: Geranium maculatum

USDA Zone: 4-9

This bushy ground cover produces long-lasting beautiful purple blooms. It grows up to 18-24 inches tall with grey-green deciduous deeply lobed foliage. The plant also produces large lilac-pink flowers.

12. White Inside-Out Flower

Botanical Name: Vancouveria hexandra

USDA Zone: 5-9

This posh ground cover is perfect for moist shade and forms masses of 12-16 inches high pale green leaflets with tiny white blooms in early summer. It does really well in part sun to full shade and prefers slightly acidic soil.

13. Yellow Archangel

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weha/Shutterstock

Botanical Name: Lamium galeobdolon

USDA Zone: 4-8

This fast-growing ornamental ground cover forms an 8-12 inches high, thick mat of silver-green leaves. It flowers during early spring and produces yellow flowers. The plant contrasts really well with other colorful flowers.

14. Golden Star Grass

wilsonbrosgardens

Botanical Name: Chrysogonum virginianum

USDA Zone: 5-9

This elegant, long-lived ground cover features yellow flowers atop a rich, green carpet of foliage. It forms a tight, low-growing 4-6 inches high ground cover. If you are a fan of yellow color, this must be your pick.

15. Wild Ginger

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Gabriela Beres/Shutterstock

Botanical Name: Asarum

USDA Zone: 6-9

Wild Ginger is a low-care ground cover for shade and features variegated evergreen foliage that creates a close-knit screen. It spreads slowly, creating 2-4 inch high mats of foliage. The 2-3 inch wide leaves in rich gray-green color with silver patterns are show-stealer.

16. Lenten Rose

thinkingoutsidetheboxwood

Botanical Name: Helleborus orientalis

USDA Zone: 4-9

This shade-loving ground cover displays glossy, deep green foliage. It requires a moderate amount of watering for optimum growth. Ivory Prince is one of the best choices with blooms that stay up.

17. Christmas Ferns

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coldstreamfarm

Botanical Name: Polystichum acrostichoides

USDA Zone: 3-9

When planted in thick masses, this beautiful plant makes for an excellent ground cover. Growing up to 1-2 feet tall, the evergreen leaves look adorable sprinkled in winter snow. Grow it with other colorful groundcovers from this list for the best display.

18. Purple Heart

themanfromearth

Botanical Name: Tradescantia pallida

USDA Zone: 7-12

This attractive ground cover grows well in both sun and light shade. The plant can grow up to 8-12 inches tall and looks beautiful in gardens and borders.

19. Leatherwood Fern

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leeanntorrans

Botanical Name: Dryopteris marginalis

USDA Zone: 3-8

Also known as marginal shield fern, it grows up to 18-24 inches tall with the same spread. The dark blue-green leathery fronds grow up to 5-8 inches wide.

20. Impatiens

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Botanical Name: Impatiens walleriana

USDA Zone: 7-11

Impatiens create a beautiful ground cover with striking, vibrant, colorful flowers and dark to light green bi-colored foliage. For ground cover, plant 8-12 inches apart so it will remain low to the ground.

21. Mint

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plants

Botanical Name: Mentha

USDA Zone: 3-11

Mint is the best option for ground cover as it grows aggressively in the shade to partial shade. Corsican mint is a low-growing variety that grows upto 1-3 inches tall.

22. Ornamental Sweet Potato

freshpetals

Botanical Name: Ipomoea batatas

USDA Zone: 9-11

This fast-growing and drought-tolerant ornamental vine looks nice for covering grounds. It can be grown in both sun and shade.

23. Variegated Ground Ivy

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Botanical Name: Glechoma hederacea ‘Variegata’

USDA Zone: 4-9

This beautiful ground cover features round green leaves, variegated in a creamy white hue. The plant blooms in violet-blue spikes during spring.

24. Cuban Oregano

dirtdoctor

Botanical Name: Plectranthus amboinicus

USDA Zone: 9-11

This evergreen perennial grows well as a ground cover; the edible, round-shaped, fragrant leaves have toothed edges and trumpet-shaped pink, lavender, or white blooms.

25. Creeping Jenny

anniesannuals

Botanical Name: Lysimachia nummularia ‘Moneywort’

USDA Zone: 4-9

This evergreen perennial creates a beautiful carpet of stems coated in pairs of vivacious, lime green oval foliage. It flowers in cup-shaped yellow blooms.

26. Blue Star Creeper

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Botanical Name: Isotoma fluviatilis

USDA Zone: 6-9

Blue Star Creeper is a herbaceous perennial and forms a dense mat of short, dark green leaves up to 3 inches tall with 18 inches of spread.

Note: For flowers, this ground cover needs direct sunlight. It can adapt to partial sun, but growth will not be as dense as in the direct sun.

27. Golden Sweet Flag

Botanical Name: Acros gramineus ‘Ogon’

USDA Zone: 6-9

This perennial aquatic plant forms a tufted mound of dense grassy sword-like narrow fronds. It prefers full sun, but you can grow it under partial shade as well.

Note: Being an aquatic plant, it needs constant watering. Keep the soil moist or grow around water bodies.

28. Blue Lily Turf

fast-growing-trees

Botanical Name: Liriope muscari

USDA Zone: 5-10

If you are looking for a ground cover that can flank your garden path, then this is it! The plant grows up to 12-16 inches tall and produces small purple flowers.

29. Wandering Jew

urbanorganicyield

Botanical Name: Tradescantia zebrina

USDA Zone: 7-11

Yes! Wandering Jew can be an excellent ground cover, provided that you control its spread with regular pruning. It is also one of the easiest plants you can grow.

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