Best Bets: Plants for Particular Uses
These plants are recommended by Extension Master Gardeners for use in gardens that have shade for part to most of the day.
- Partial Shade: The site receives 3 to 6 hours of direct sun. Morning sun and afternoon shade allow for a different range of plants than morning shade and afternoon sun (which is more intense).
- Dappled Light/Shade: Sun is filtered through leaves and branches.
- Shade: The site either receives less than 3 hours of direct sunlight or dappled light through the day.
Annuals, Bulbs, and Corms
Grasses, Sedges & Rushes
What kind of light does your garden have?
Before choosing plants for your property, be sure to know the amount of direct sun light each location will receive over the course of a day and over the course of the growing season – May through September – because the sun’s position in the sky changes and nearby tall objects – manmade structures, trees, shrubs – can obscure the sun at certain times.
Over time, the character of a garden can change as plants grow taller and tall plants die. This knowledge will help you to choose the right plant for the right place, which may not be the same plant for the same place as time goes by.
- A south facing location (assuming no obstructions) receives direct sunlight for most of the day, making it hotter and drier. Radiated heat from pavement and buildings can increase temperatures even more.
- A north facing location near a building will receive less direct sunlight because the building casts a midday shadow. Here it will be cooler and the soil will retain more moisture, perhaps even becoming waterlogged in winter.
The purpose of the garden is to educate Northern Virginians about gardening in shade. Plants, many native to this region, were donated by local nurseries, individuals, and organizations. Master Gardeners provided the labor. The Shade Garden features many plants native to our area and to the eastern U.S., along with well-adapted, non-invasive exotics. The use of native plants provides nourishment and habitat to local wildlife and has the added benefit of being low-maintenance for gardeners.
Recorded Public Education Class
Native Ground Covers for Sun and Shade September 26, 2020
Spring Ephemerals in the Shade, Part 1 – March, 2012
Spring Ephemerals in the Shade, Part 2 – April, 2012
Hellebores – A Gardener’s Comfort – May 23, 2017
Native Sedges for the Home Garden – March 8, 2018