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Ground cover and low growing plants for Shade

Low growing ground cover plants are ideal for providing a low maintenance ground suppressing layer, covering the soil and providing all year interest. It can be problematic finding plants for shade conditions. The shade loving ground cover plants shown here can be planted in large numbers to provide swathes of attractive foliage and blossom, or grow beneath taller plants, or as a low edge of bed planting.

There are a wide range of ground cover plants that will be happy in shade conditions, with plants such as Vinca and Ivy making an ideal covering over soil in woodland conditions. These tough ground cover plants can be planted in large numbers to provide a low carpet under the shade of trees, shrubs, hedge bottoms, or buildings.

All of these plants will be happy growing through as surface mulch on the soil of compost or bark, both of which will lock in moisture. Bark has the added advantage of reducing weed competition but has the disadvantage of being nutrient poor and possibly reducing the ability of ground cover plants to spread and root into the soil.


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Latin &
Common Name
EarmarkType & FormFlowers & Foliage
Euphorbia amygdaloides - Robbiae - Wood SpurgeEuphorbia amygdaloides

'Robbiae'

Wood Spurge
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingGreen flowers (Spring)
Lonicera piliataLonicera piliata Shrub, Ground cover, Rounded - BushNon-flowering
Bergenia Sunningdale - BergeniaBergenia 'Sunningdale'

Bergenia
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingDark pink flowers (Spring)
Cyclamen hederifolium - CyclamenCyclamen hederifolium

Cyclamen
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading ground huggingDark pink flowers (Winter, scented)
Pachysandra procumbens - PachysandraPachysandra procumbens

Pachysandra
Herbs, Ground cover, Culinary, Container-friendly, SpreadingWhite flowers (Summer early)
Rubus - Betty AshburnerRubus

Betty Ashburner
Shrub, Ground cover, Rounded - BushNon-flowering
Ajuga reptans - Bugle, AjugaAjuga reptans

Bugle, Ajuga
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Spreading ground huggingDark blue flowers (Spring)
Lamium galeobdelumLamium galeobdelum Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingNon-flowering
Epimedium X versicolor  - SulphureumEpimedium X versicolor

'Sulphureum'
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, Rounded - ClumpYellow flowers (Spring)
Vinca minor - Bowles Variety - PeriwinkleVinca minor

'Bowles Variety'

Periwinkle
Herbaceous Flowers, Ground cover, Container-friendly, SpreadingDark blue flowers (Summer early)


You can use our plant-finder to find plants that match your garden conditions exactly, for example Ground cover and low growing plants for Shade - click to give it a try!

Have you seen our other plant top ten recommendations?