One of the best parts about gardening is you can tailor your plant selection to fit any space available. Even if your garden consists of dry shade, there are a plethora of plant varieties that will thrive with proper care. If you’re looking for some inspiration to get started, here are some of the best southern California plants for shade!
Best Southern California Plants for Shade
A go-to for most gardeners, geraniums come in hundreds of varieties. Most prefer the sun, but they can thrive in the shade in hotter climates. They come in all shapes and sizes, meaning they can complement just about any garden. Some of the more scented varieties can even make great mosquito repellants! Geraniums will grow well either planted directly into the ground or in planters, but they do require well-draining soil no matter where you plant them.
Also known as the mirror plant, coprosma is a lovely evergreen shrub that thrives in hot climates. There are quite a few varieties, with foliage that comes in a range of glossy hues. Coprosma grows flowers in summer, which turn into small non-toxic berries once they are spent. It prefers the sun but will do well in partial shade. While it may need regular watering, it dislikes soggy soil, so it’s best to let the soil dry out before watering again.
Known for their bright, colorful blooms, impatiens are an excellent bedding plant. They come in a range of colors and thrive in the shade. When planted in warm climates, impatiens make a wonderful perennial; however, they are not drought tolerant. They will need well-draining soil and plenty of water on sweltering days, but their beautiful blossoms more than make up for the extra effort.
Camellias are a fantastic choice for gardeners looking to add a bit of height to their gardens. They can be grown as either trees or shrubs and will provide you with an abundance of flowers in the winter. Although they are most recognizable by their blooms, camellias originally grew in popularity due to their leaves, which can be used to make tea! They cannot tolerate a full day of sunlight and prefer shadier spots that protect them from the hot sun.
Spurge is a drought-tolerant groundcover that flourishes in the shade. It will grow well in most soil types and is resistant to most pests and animals, making it an easy choice for gardeners looking for something low maintenance and beautiful. It is an evergreen as well, so you can look forward to seeing a lovely bed of deep green foliage all year round!
String of Pearls
Perhaps most well known as a houseplant, string of pearls is a distinct succulent. They consist of vines with small pearl-like balls that produce little white flowers in the summer. They look especially charming hanging from a pot, and their tendrils can even reach up to three feet in length! String of pearls can also work as a groundcover, although they will do poorly in direct sunlight, so be sure they get at least partial shade.
Great for both ground cover and trellises, star jasmine is a fragrant climber with delicate white flowers. While it doesn’t produce as many flowers as other jasmine varieties, it does have a long flowering season and is low maintenance. This vine does well in shady spots and can even tolerate heavy shade. Unlike some plants, star jasmine is not particularly picky about its soil and will do well just about anywhere, as long as it gets enough water.
Frequently used as an edging plant, lilyturf has attractive grass-like leaves and small spikes of purple or white flowers. It’s an exceptionally hardy flower, making it a popular choice for many gardeners. They are drought resistant but prefer not to be in soil that is too dry for long. The lovely spires of blooms make wonderful cut flowers!
Famous for their thick, green foliage, hostas are a shade-loving plant that comes in a range of varieties. Though they are most well known for their broad leaves, hostas do produce dainty flowers for a few weeks a year. These flowers only last a day each, so enjoy them while they’re there. Make sure this perennial has plenty of shade and well-draining soil, and it will thrive in your garden.
Also known as bugleweed, these perennial flowers offer beautifully contrasting flowers and foliage. They are a speedy grower, which is not surprising considering they come from the mint family. Ajuga is a great choice for keeping weeds in check. Their foliage is incredibly thick, making it difficult for unwanted plants to sprout and saving you hours of labor in the garden. They don’t like too much moisture for long, making them a safe choice for dry climates.
What kind of plants do well in full shade?
If you’re looking for something that will thrive in full shade, there are still plenty of options to choose from. Foxglove is a popular choice for many gardeners and is famous for its distinct spires of bell-shaped flowers. This plant is also self-seeding, so you can expect blooms without having to replant every year!
What outdoor potted plants do well in the shade?
Not every plant will thrive in a container, but having potted plants to spice up the scenery is essential in landscaping. One popular option is caladium, which has large, flashy foliage in all sorts of colors. If you prefer hanging pots, creeping jenny, with its delicate leaves and flowers, is an excellent choice.
Design Scapes – We Can Aid You in Choosing the Best Southern California Plants for Shade
Our expert landscape designers are here to provide you with a comprehensive list of shade-loving plant recommendations to suit your unique garden. Whether you want to add new plants to complement your existing landscaping or start over from scratch, our team can guide you through the process of creating your own Garden of Eden.