The best plants for dry shade also include many drought tolerant perennials. It takes a special plant to compete with larger plants for the available soil moisture, not to mention the lack of light. Helleborus (Lenten Rose) is a prime example. This drought tolerant perennial is an an early bloomer (late winter) and does not need much light. As most plants, Helleborus needs to be kept slightly moist while getting established but will become relatively drought-tolerant with age. It is also a deer resistant, evergreen perennial. You have to love a plant that braves what nature throws at it and still shows off this time of year.
Two of the best plants for shade are Verbascum (Mullein) and Rhodophiala (Oxblood Lily). Verbascum grows well in dry soil and the leaves contain a chemical that makes it deer resistant. Rhodophiala is an amaryllis relative which goes dormant in late spring and awakens in late summer or early fall.
Just remember that gardeners can enhance drought performance by improving moisture control. If you prepare your soil with plenty of composted organic material then follow up with a thick (at least 3-4 inches) layer of mulch, you will have much more success at growing drought tolerant perennials. Even the best plants for shade will reap the rewards. Installing a rain barrel is a huge plus. For best results, study the individual plant and plant accordingly. Maybe it will need to go in a raised bed or get planted on a slope for better drainage. Check us out online for useful plant information and to see what great plants we offer. We will sell you some of the best drought tolerant shade perennials that are found anywhere!