Florida Native Groundcovers for Shade

Do you have that difficult area under a tree where nothing can grow? Groundcovers are a great solution for this tough spots in the landscape. Here are some plant recommendations for Florida native plants that grow well in the shade.

Alternative Lawns for Shade
If you are looking for a very low ground cover that could be considered an alternative lawn that can be mowed and still look green consider using creeping sage (Salvia misella), frog fruit, twinflower, partridgeberry (Mitchella repens), elephant’s foot, and lyre-leaved sage.

Twinflower being used as a ground cover and alternative lawn. Photo: Dena Wild


Wildflowers for Shade
Most flowers prefer sun to bloom, but native plants such as tropical sage (Salvia coccinea), lyre-leaved sage, swamp milkweed (Asclepius perennis), cardinal flower, violets, spiderwort, and wild petunia. These are all relatively low growing but prefer not to be mowed.

Spiderwort is a native wildflower for shady areas. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS


Larger Groundcovers for Shade
There are other low growing plants with a spreading form or habit that make excellent choices for native groundcovers in the shade. This includes our native ferns, the coontie cycad, and wild coffee.

Wild coffee is a low growing native shrub that tolerates heavy shade and produces flowers to attract bees. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS


Learn more:
Shady Landscapes – Florida Wildflower Foundation
https://www.flawildflowers.org/shady-landscapes/

Groundcovers for Shade – Gardening Solutions
https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/design/landscaping-for-specific-sites/groundcovers-for-shade.html

Landscaping in Florida Shade – EDIS Publication
https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/publication/ep457

Learn more about Florida native plants: https://gardeningsolutions.ifas.ufl.edu/plants/ornamentals/native-plants.html 

Find a native plant nursery near you: https://www.plantrealflorida.org/ 

Florida Native Plant Society: https://www.fnps.org/ 

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Posted: May 21, 2024


Category: Conservation, Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Home Landscapes, Horticulture, Lawn, Natural Resources, Turf, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Florida, Florida-friendly Landscaping, Garden, Landscape, Native, Shade, Tsilvasy


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