More Information About Dry Shade Plants
(Aspidistra, Danae, Ruscus, Ophiopogon, Liriope, Sarcococca, Pyrrosia, Cyclamen, etc)
One of the most difficult conditions in the garden for plants is dry shade. Not only are dry shade plants already stressed from not having much light, but they also have to compete with other large plants for soil moisture. It takes a special plant to be a dry shade plant. We have assembled a list of plants for dry shade below that tolerate dry shade well in our climate. For those in cooler climates, your list would be quite a bit longer, since the hot daytime temperatures aren't as severe.
Keep in mind that just because a perennial plant is tolerant of dry shade doesn't mean that it will grow forever without adequate moisture. A good rule of thumb is that plants with smaller, thicker foliage can survive the longest in dry shade conditions. Also, the more established the plants are, the better they can tolerate drought. In our trials, plants like cyclamen, danae, ruscus, arum and dracunculus top the list of dry shade plants. Right behind are ophiopogon, liriope, sarcococca, hedera, aspidistra, sabal palms, tetrapanax, clumping bamboos, and aucuba. Hellebores, rohdea, and pachysandra are also drought-tolerant, but less so than the first two lists. When you're ready to buy drought tolerant shade plants for your garden, we hope the list of plants for dry shade will help.
Check out our article entitled 'Gardening in the Shade' that describes many cool plants for dry shade.