The Best Ground Cover For Shaded Areas That Stay Green Through The Year

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Last Updated on January 10, 2022 by

The best ground cover for shaded areas earns this reputation for their extreme tenacious ability to thrive without much sunlight.

Most yards have at least one difficult spot that is challenging to get any vegetation to grow. It is either dry or shaded all year round. Such areas need good ground covering to ensure the soil is protected throughout the year.

What Exactly is a Ground Cover?

Ground covers are low growing plants that cover the soil and serve many good purposes. Some of these purposes include:

  • Covers soil from either too hot or cold weather
  • Limit weed growth
  • Stabilizes slope areas
  • Adds texture and interest in your garden
What Exactly is a Ground Cover

Ground covers are not supposed to be mowed unless you want to turn the area into a garden. If you would like to provide an all year round cover for your garden, get the best ground cover that is not affected by any type of weather.

Why is it important to Have the Soil Covered All Year Long?

In colder climates, many ground covers tend to die leaving the soil open and exposed. This exposes the soil to the danger of soil erosion and the growth of weeds. It is important to have the soil covered all day long due to these reasons:

  • They act as living mulch shading the soil from weed growth
  • The cover provides visual beauty when most plants have died
  • They give shelter and food to winter beneficial insects and pollinators
  • The ground covers roots hold the soil together preventing soil erosion
  • They diffuse heavy rainfall before it hits the soil hard.

Best Ground Cover for Shaded Areas that Are Easy to Manage

Shaded areas are usually too dim for many plants to do well. That’s why not every vegetation will thrive here.

Lamium Plants. They have silvery golden foliage that brightens up a shaded corner. It grows up to 8 inches tall and spreads twice on width. Plant this cover where there is no foot traffic because it’s fragile.

Sweet Woodruff Plants. This is one of the rare plants that thrive in deeply shaded areas. You may plant it under trees and shrubs. Its tiny white spring flowers bloom at the same time as crabapples. This cover forms excellent clumps of deciduous green foliage on upright stems.

Sweet Woodruff Seeds (Galium odoratum) 

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Ajuga Plants. This cover is pretty and comes in shades of maroon, green, bronze, white, pink, or purple. It spreads easily but it’s easy to keep it under control. It produces flowers in lavender, pink, white, and blue with its scallop-shaped leaves in spring. This cover can grow up to 9 inches tall.

Bunchberry Plants. This is a native plant from northern America. It is classified as a form of dogwood growing to about 9 inches. It is a deciduous shrub that makes an excellent ground cover plant for shaded areas.

Hosta Plants. These are well-behaved plants that spread slowly. They come in different types of green and blue leaves. These two colored plants are an ideal choice for dense shade. The gold leaf hostas need more light thus cannot do well in shade.

Patriot Hosta

patriot hosta 2 placed close together

Garden Ferns. These plants reproduce from spores rather than from flowers and seeds. These plants are great foliage but they do not produce flowers. This is a deal-breaker for some gardeners who adore flowers. Japanese painted fern stays shorter about 18 inches long. Its gray-green leaves are painted with a silvery overcoat with maroon veining. This colored fern is more popular with most gardeners.

Best Ground Cover for Shaded Areas but Tough to Manage

Bugleweed Plants. This is a common cover which is very aggressive. It’s best to avoid it altogether as it is a fast spreader. It is loved by gardeners because of its attractive shiny bronze or dark green leaves. But it has left many farmers regretting their decision to grow it.

Common Periwinkle Plants. This fast-spreading vine comes with beautiful lavender/purple flowers. It is a good ground cover but tough to control. It adapts to almost any soil condition and many experts warn against growing it.

Variegated Periwinkle

variegated periwinkle foliage

Yellow Archangel Plant. It is highly invasive! It has bright yellow flowers that brighten a shaded spot in the landscape. The plant has spotted deadnettle which grows up to 2 feet with larger leaves. Its good looks deceive many people; this invasive plant gets out of hand very fast. It is quite a severe problem in the North West.

Liriope Spicata Plants. This is an invasive ground cover for shade. It is commonly known as monkey grass. It has a very bad reputation in the South East. But it’s less troublesome in the Northern part due to its hardiness range. It grows up to 18 inches quickly spreading by forming grass-like clumps.

Spicata Liriope

liriope spicata close up

Spotted Deadnettle.  It is a ground cover that is evergreen and offers variegated leaves. Its beauty is enhanced by pretty purple, white, or pink flowered. This plant is considered invasive in portions of the USA. Most gardeners have proved to have no major problems with it. It may grow up to 9 inches tall forming dense mats of foliage.

Best Ground Cover For Dry Shaded Areas

Barrenroot plants. This plant comes in different species. The two most common ones are Bishop’s hat and rose Queen. Rose Queen has one of the prettiest flowers among the barren roots family. It can grow up to 18 inches with rose-colored flowers. Bishops’ heart bears white flowers with yellow centers and grows up to 24 inches. This plant has nice leaves more than its blooms. They are the best ground covers for dry shade.


With the above clear information, it is critical to choose the best ground cover for shaded areas with care. Go for plants that are easy to grow and contain because they will make your life easy as well. All the best in your choice and growth!


What is the fastest growing ground cover for shade?

The fastest growing ground cover for shade is the Bamboo. It provides shade in a way that resembles trees, with huge canopies of leaves and stalks.

The Bamboo is now one of the most popular plants in North America. In China, the Bamboo has been around for thousands of years. The plant was once used to build homes, canoes and bridges as well as being an important food source for humans and animals.

Today, people are using it to make their homes more sustainable and environmentally friendly.

What plants stay green through the winter?

Plants need the sun to survive. When the sun is not available, plants can go into a dormant state and go through a process called vernalization. This allows plants to remain green during winter months when the sunlight is scarce.

The following are some plants that do not require sunlight for vernalization:

Aloe vera, Amaryllis bulbs, Banana trees, Cacti, Croton plants, Daffodils, Jasmine flowers and Penstemon species.

What is the hardiest ground cover?

The most hardy ground cover plant is undoubtedly "Vinca minor", which is a perennial climbing vine that can grow up to six feet high. It will not only cover areas where it has been planted, but it will also spread outwards without any problems. It is also resistant to mold and disease and has bright green leaves with purple speckles that provide optimal light for photosynthesis. This plant can also grow up to 45 feet long or more, making it perfect for covering large areas quickly.

What is the best low maintenance ground cover?

There are a variety of types of low-maintenance ground covers that can be found in stores or at your local garden store. There are ornamental plants and flowers that will require minimal care and attention. There are also some types of plants that are durable and will require less maintenance than others over time. This will all depend on your personal preference when considering which type is best for your home or garden.

Some ground cover options include cedar, pine needles, and straw. However, some plants require a lot of work to keep in place.

Cactus - easy to maintain, requires little water and sun

Lily Pads - needs regular watering and care

Straw - needs regular watering.

What is a good ground cover that blooms all summer?

A good substrate should provide support for plants during their growth and also be aesthetically pleasing.

Substrate is the ground cover that provides stable support for plants during their growth. Choosing a good ground cover, however, is not easy. The best way to choose a ground cover is by considering its aesthetic value and how it will complement your garden design. Some of the most popular ground covers are cordgrass and sedges.

What can I use instead of mulch for ground cover?

It’s important to have mulch on the ground because it helps retain moisture in the soil and prevents your plants from drying out. It also prevents weeds from growing underneath it.

So, what can you use instead of mulch for ground cover? Some options are dry leaves, hay, shredded bark, straw or pine needles.

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