How to Choose the Right Plants for Your Home’s Shade


We all want to grow plants in our yards, but there are some spots that are just plain shady. If you have an area of your yard that gets no direct sunlight, you may not think it’s possible to grow any plants at all. But with a little research and some expert advice, you’ll be surprised what can grow in this type of environment.

Identify the type of shade.

You probably know that your home’s shade can be caused by a tree, a building or a fence. But what about the type of shade? Is it dappled? Is it deep? What does that mean for the plants you choose? To figure out which plants will flourish in your shady spot, first identify the type of shade cast by those structures.

When light is filtered through leaves above (that’s what makes it “dappled”), you have some options for decorating with houseplants. However, if you’re dealing with dense tree cover or heavy shade from tall buildings and fences, steer clear of any plant with delicate leaves and flowers. These will just fade away into nothingness under heavy shade conditions.

How much care are you able to provide?

Of course, even if you have a small budget and little time to spend on your plants, you can still find plants that will thrive in shade. There are many low-maintenance options out there, including some of the hardier succulents and cacti (which are both drought-tolerant). If you’re really looking for something easy to care for, try an air plant!

It’s also important to consider the type of soil that your plant requires. For example: if you want a fern but its natural habitat doesn’t lend itself well to shady conditions or low-light settings, then it may survive but not thrive. If this is the case with any potential plants in your home’s shade area, make sure they have similar needs before purchasing them!

What is the soil like?

The next step to choosing the right plants for your home is to assess what type of soil you have. The best way to do this is by getting a soil test from your local cooperative extension service. You can also take samples yourself and send them in for testing, or hire someone who specializes in this sort of thing.

Most people don’t know how much information you can gather from simply looking at your yard and lawn! Many times, we tend to overlook some important details about our yards that could impact our landscaping decisions in the future. So now let’s look at some factors related directly on how well suited certain plants might be when placed within different types of soils:

  • Sandy soils tend not to hold moisture well because they’re typically made up mostly sand particles (along with other types such as silt). As such, these types of soils may require watering more often than other types if you plan on growing grasses–even during dry spells where there’s little rainfall expected over time periods longer than just one day or weeklong stretch without rain falling outside normally scheduled precipitation times during winter months here where I live (Idaho). The best thing you can do if possible? Use mulch! This helps retain moisture levels so less frequent watering will be needed overall…and it looks pretty too 🙂
  • Clay soils contain large amounts of clay particles which are small enough in size that they stick together tightly when wet but break apart easily when dried out again; this causes them not only become compacted underfoot after being walked across repeatedly over time but also become harden due to lack air circulation beneath each single layer being laid down upon another layer upon another layer continuously creating chunky layers underneath each one above it until eventually breaking free from underneath

What do other people in your area grow?

There’s a good chance that you can find out what other people in your area are growing by asking them. The internet is also a good resource for this type of information. Look up pictures of your local area, and see if you can identify any plants that might work well in the shade there.

You may also want to ask someone who lives nearby, like your neighbor or local nursery owner, what they grow in their own gardens and what they recommend for others living near them. If you don’t know anyone nearby personally, consider asking an expert or joining a local gardening club—these are great ways to learn more about gardening!

What look are you going for?

When choosing the right plants for your home, you may want to consider how they will look in your space. Here are some tips on what to look for:

  • Look at the leaves of a plant. Do they look healthy? Are there signs of insects or disease? If so, consider something else!
  • Consider the flowers and fruit (if applicable). Are they vibrant and colorful? Do they smell nice? How big are they? These are all things you’ll be able to see when looking at a plant in person, but can help give you an idea as to whether it’s something that will work with your decorating style.
  • Consider the texture of a plant’s bark or trunk; this includes any unique features like bumps, holes or ridges that add interest while also adding character!

A shady part of your yard doesn’t have to be dull. The right plants can bring some life to a shady spot.

A shady part of your yard doesn’t have to be dull. The right plants can bring some life to a shady spot.

There are plenty of great trees that grow well in the shade, including birch, magnolia and poplar. You can also find shrubs that thrive in shade and flowers that do well there as well. Keep an eye out for perennials like honesty and hosta (which are two different plants!) because these will come back year after year without much work from you at all!


I hope that this post has helped you get started on your quest to find the perfect plants for your shady yard. There are so many options out there, but with a little research and some careful consideration, you can easily find the right ones. Just remember: when choosing plants, think about what they need in terms of sunlight and soil type, as well as how much care they will require from you!

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