Flowering Ground Cover Plants For Shade (10 Plants To Try)


Ground cover plants add beauty to your landscape and help to stop soil erosion in your yard.  Some ground cover plants produce flowers, and they can survive or even thrive in shaded gardens.

So, what are some flowering ground cover plants for shade?  Flowering ground cover plants for shade include: Alpine Strawberry, Bromeliad, Bugleweed, Cranesbill, Foamflower, Golden Ragwort, Hellebore, Oyster Plant, Periwinkle, Siberian Bugloss.  Some of these plants have attractive foliage or unique flowers to add style to your garden.

Of course, some of these plants prefer full shade, while others tolerate partial shade.

In this article, we’ll talk about flowering ground cover plants for shade.  We’ll also take a look at what they need for light, water, and other important growth factors.

Let’s get going.

10 Flowering Ground Cover Plants For Shade

There are plenty of ground cover plants for shade, but here are 10 to start with:

  • Alpine Strawberry
  • Bromeliad
  • Bugleweed
  • Cranesbill
  • Foamflower
  • Golden Ragwort
  • Hellebore
  • Oyster Plant
  • Periwinkle
  • Siberian Bugloss

Let’s start off with Alpine Strawberry.

Alpine Strawberry

Alpine Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) is a perennial ground cover herb that produces showy small (1 to 2 inch) white flowers (possibly year-round if grown in a greenhouse).

Alpine Strawberry
Alpine Strawberry is a perennial ground cover with white flowers that can tolerate shade – and it produces edible fruit!

Alpine Strawberry needs moderate moisture.  It needs good drainage in a container.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Alpine Strawberry can tolerate partial or full shade, although it can also survive in full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic soil (pH of 6.0 to 6.5).

Alpine Strawberry can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 4a (as cold as -30 degrees Fahrenheit or –34 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 4 to 6 inches, with a width of 8 inches.

You can propagate Alpine Strawberry by root cuttings or seeds.

You can learn more about Alpine Strawberry from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Alpine Strawberry from Raintree Nursery.

Bromeliad

Bromeliad (Billbergia) is a perennial ground cover herb that produces tiny (less than 1 inch) flowers of various colors.

Bromeliad
Bromeliad is a perennial ground cover plant with flowers that tolerates shade.

Bromeliad needs moderate moisture.  It needs good drainage in a container.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Bromeliad can tolerate partial or full shade, although it can also survive in full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.3).

Bromeliad cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9b (as cold as 25 degrees Fahrenheit or –4 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 14 to 20 inches, with a width of 6 inches.

You can propagate Bromeliad by offsets or seeds (although the plant will not grow true from seed).

You can learn more about Bromeliad from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Bromeliad from Bromeliad Paradise.

Bugleweed

Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) is a perennial ground cover herb that produces showy tiny (less than 1 inch) purple flowers in late spring or early summer.

Bugleweed
Bugleweed is a perennial ground cover plant that tolerates shade and has purple flowers.

Bugleweed can tolerate wet to dry moisture levels and can tolerate drought.

Bugleweed can tolerate partial or full shade, although it can also survive in full sun.  It prefers acidic soil (pH of 4.5 to 6.5).

Bugleweed can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3 (as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or –40 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 inches, with a width of 8 to 14 inches.

You can propagate Bugleweed by seeds (the plant is self-fertile).

You can learn more about Bugleweed from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Bugleweed from Wilson Bros Gardens.

Cranesbill

Cranesbill (Geranium) is a perennial ground cover herb that produces showy small (1 to 2 inch) flowers in late spring or summer (various colors are possible, including white, pink, purple, and blue).

Cranesbill
Cranesbill (Geranium) is a perennial ground cover plant that tolerates shade and has flowers.

Cranesbill needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  It needs good drainage in a container.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Cranesbill can tolerate partial or full shade, although it can also survive in full sun.  It prefers slightly acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 6.0 to 8.0).

Cranesbill can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 5a (as cold as -20 degrees Fahrenheit or –29 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 10 to 16 inches, with a width of 24 to 32 inches.

You can propagate Cranesbill by division, stem cuttings, or seeds.

You can learn more about Cranesbill from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Cranesbill from Bluestone Perennials.

Foamflower

Foamflower (Tiarella) is a perennial ground cover herb that produces pink flowers in spring.

Foamflower
Foamflower is a perennial flowering groundcover plant with pink flowers.

Foamflower needs moderate moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and eventually kill the plant.

Foamflower can tolerate partial or full shade.  It prefers acidic to neutral soil (pH of 4.5 to 7.0).

Foamflower can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 4a (as cold as -30 degrees Fahrenheit or –34 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 10 inches, with a width of 10 inches.

You can propagate Foamflower by division.

You can learn more about Foamflower from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Foamflower from Prairie Nursery.

Golden Ragwort

Golden Ragwort (Packera aurea) is a perennial ground cover herb that produces tiny (less than1 inch) yellow flowers in spring.

Golden Ragwort
Golden Ragwort is a perennial flowering ground cover plant that produces tiny yellow flowers.

Golden Ragwort needs moderate to wet moisture levels.

Golden Ragwort can tolerate partial or full shade, although it can survive in full sun as well.  It prefers acidic to neutral soil (pH of 5.6 to 7.3).

Golden Ragwort can tolerate extreme cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3a (as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or –40 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet, with a width of 1 to 2 feet or taller.

You can propagate Golden Ragwort by division.

You can learn more about Golden Ragwort from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Golden Ragwort from Wild Ridge Plants.

Hellebore

Hellebore is a perennial ground cover herb that produces small (1 to 2 inch) pink or purple flowers in late winter or early spring.

Hellebore
Hellebore is a perennial flowering ground cover plant with small pink or purple flowers.

Hellebore needs moderate moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and damage the plant.

Hellebore can tolerate partial or full shade, although it can survive in full sun as well.  It prefers acidic soil (pH of 5.5 to 6.5).

Hellebore can tolerate some cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 6a (as cold as -10 degrees Fahrenheit or –23 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 1 foot, with a width of 2 feet.

You can propagate Hellebore by division.

You can learn more about Hellebore from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Hellebore from Wayside Gardens.

Oyster Plant

Oyster Plant (Tradescantia spathacea) is a perennial ground cover herb that produces showy tiny (less than 1 inch) white flowers.

Oyster Plant
Oyster plant is a perennial flowering ground cover that can survive in sun or shade.

Oyster Plant needs moderate moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and damage the plant.

Oyster Plant can tolerate partial or full shade, although it can survive in full sun as well.  It prefers slightly acidic soil (pH of 6.1 to 7.3).

Oyster Plant cannot tolerate much cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 9a (as cold as 20 degrees Fahrenheit or –7 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 to 12 inches, with a width of 12 to 24 inches.

You can propagate Oyster Plant by division or stem cuttings.

You can learn more about Oyster Plant from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Oyster Plant from Gardener Direct.

Periwinkle

Periwinkle (Vinca minor) is a perennial ground cover herb that produces showy tiny (less than 1 inch) white, blue, or lavender flowers in spring, summer, or fall.

Periwinkle
Periwinkle is a flowering perennial ground cover that tolerates shade and dry soil.

Periwinkle needs moderate to dry moisture levels.  Too much water will cause root rot and damage the plant.

Periwinkle can tolerate partial or full shade, although it can survive in full sun as well.  It prefers acidic to slightly alkaline soil (pH of 5.0 to 8.0).

Periwinkle can tolerate severe cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 4a (as cold as -30 degrees Fahrenheit or –34 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 6 to 12 inches, with a width of 15 to 18 inches.

You can propagate Periwinkle by layering, division or seeds.

You can learn more about Periwinkle from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Periwinkle from Direct Gardening.

Siberian Bugloss

Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla) is a perennial ground cover herb that produces showy blue flowers in spring.

Siberian Bugloss
Siberian Bugloss is a flowering perennial ground cover that tolerates shade.

Siberian Bugloss needs moderate moisture levels (they tolerate drier soil as they mature).  Too much water will cause root rot and damage the plant.

Siberian Bugloss can tolerate partial or full shade.  It prefers acidic to neutral soil (pH of 5.5 to 7.0).

Siberian Bugloss can tolerate severe cold.  As an outdoor plant, it is hardy to Zone 3a (as cold as -40 degrees Fahrenheit or –40 degrees Celsius).

This plant grows to a height of 12 to 15 inches, with a width of 18 to 24 inches.

You can propagate Siberian Bugloss by root cuttings or seeds.

You can learn more about Siberian Bugloss from the National Gardening Association’s Plant Database.

You can find Siberian Bugloss from Bluestone Perennials.

Conclusion

Now you know about 10 ground cover plants for shade and how to take care of them.  They might provide inspiration to help you to improve your landscape while also preventing soil erosion.

If you live in an area with water restrictions, check out my article on drought tolerant ground cover plants.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

If you want to read some of my most popular posts, check out the “Best of GreenUpSide” page here.  Enjoy!

~Jonathon

jonathon.david.madore

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

Recent Posts