Shade Survivors

Shade Survivors

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We all like to hide in shady places here in the desert.  But what to plant in them when we find them is challenging to say the least.  The number of plant types that will work in shady spots is limited, and it is next to impossible to find anything that will grow in deep shade.  Most plants need some light to survive.  Blooming plants will need a little direct sun.  Below is a list of plants that tolerate the shade.

Flowering Annuals(seasonal)

  • Begonia (summer)
  • Cyclamen (winter)
  • Impatiens (summer)
  • Primrose (winter)

Foliage Annuals(seasonal)

  • Caladium (winter)
  • Coleus (summer)
  • Splash (summer)


  • Campanula
  • Crossandra
  • Cyperus
  • Fern
  • Heuchera
  • Liriope
  • Most Succulents
  • Plectranthus
  • Purple Heart
  • Torenia
  • True Geraniums
  • Torenia


  • Acanthus
  • Aspidistra
  • Azalea
  • Boxwood
  • Brunfelsia
  • Camellia
  • Euonymus
  • Gardenia
  • Indian Hawthorne
  • Jasmine
  • Moraea
  • Philodendron
  • Pittosporum
  • Podocarpus
  • Sago
  • Viburnum


  • Creeping Fig
  • Ivy
  • Pink Jasmine
  • Star Jasmine


  • Aptenia
  • Ivy
  • Star Jasmine
  • Vinca major and minor

Irrigating plants in shady areas should be done infrequently, even in summer.  The plants want to dry in between waterings, so check them before you water.

Keep in mind variegated plants really help to brighten a dark spot.  You can also use brightly-colored containers or a piece of colorful artwork.

Harlow Gardens
5620 E. Pima Street
Tucson, AZ 85712