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Can Plants Grow In Shade? [Growing Guide]

Low-light or shade-loving plants might be the answer if you are thinking of a plant that complements and grow well in the shade of a patio or backyard.

Perennials like Hostas and Lungwort, annuals like Begonias and Coleus and shrubs like Yew, Inkberry and Japanese Holly plants can grow even in the full shade. Meanwhile, vegetables like Tomatoes, Peppers and Corn do not grow in full shade.

There is a difference between plants that can tolerate and grow well in full shade, so careful plant selection is essential for shade gardening.

Thus, read till the end to find out which plants actually thrive in full shade and which do not.

Do Plants Grow Better in Shade or Sunlight?

All plants require different levels of sunlight to grow, produce flowers, develop seeds and pass on their legacy.

Also, photosynthesis is impracticable without sunlight, so one can not imagine plant life without it.

Having that said, plants’ light requirement varies from one plant species to another. Thus, some plants grow better in full sunlight, while others proliferate in subtle shade.

Especially plants with fragile, sensitive foliage grow better in partial shade as they can not tolerate direct sun exposure.

Likewise, plants that prefer and grow better in the shade are known as Sciophytes or photophobic plants.

sweet potato vining plant
Vining Sweet Potatoes can be grown in full shade with edible green leaves.

For instance, the ZZ plant, Peace Lily, can grow fine in partial to full shade, but Tomatoes, Sunflowers require full sun to thrive.

Nevertheless, a little bit of sunlight is pivotal regardless of how low-light tolerant the plant is, and it grows better if provided with at least 2 hours of sunlight.

According to a study on the effect of shading, the plants in full sunlight produced more foliage with greater biomass than the ones in the shade.

Moreover, plants in the shade flowered almost a month late, and regrowth after clipping was significantly slow.

What Plants Can Be in The Shade?

Not all plants grow well in the shade, so carefully choose plants that favor shade for your shade gardening.

Remember, the plants listed below tolerate full shade and proliferate and thrive flawlessly in it.

  • Perennials: Solomon’s Seal, Hostas, Lungwort, Ligularia, Bleeding Heart, Hellebore
  • Annuals: Browallia, Fuchsia, Begonias, Impatiens, Coleus
  • Ground Covers: Brunnera, Creeping myrtle, Bunchberry, Spotted deadnettle
  • Vines: Sweet Potato, Boston ivy, Climbing Hydrangea
  • Shrubs: Yew, Inkberry, Japenese Holly, Hemlock

Some flowering plants like Azaleas, Camellia, Hydrangeas, Daphne, etc., also love the shade.

But they will not put out their best flowers when kept in full shade and demand a few hours of daily sunlight.

Furthermore, vegetables like Lettuce, Kale, Beans, Beetroot, etc., can also grow in partial but not full shade.

Likewise, Spider plants, Snake plants, English Ivies, Pothos and Boston Ferns are the pot plants you can place in the shade.

Editor’s Note

Even Full Shade Loving Plants Need Some Sunshine!

A little bit of sunshine always works like a charm, even when it comes to full shade-loving plants.

However, they must not be exposed to full direct sunlight for too long as it risks foliage sunburn.

All The Best!