Southern gardening has always been a challenge. For those looking for the perfect native plants for a shade garden, whether under a tree, around a tall fence, or whatever the reason; below are 8 southern native plants designed to thrive in shade in zones 7 and 8.
Astilbe biternata (Appalachian false goat’s beard)
This fine border plant reaches a height of 3-5 feet tall. It prefers partial shade and moist soil. The flowers are small and white with 10 stamens. Its blooms are on a branched spray. There is large bold foliage and you will need to keep it fertilized as it usually needs nutrients. You should divide this every 4 years for maximum growth.
Campanula divaricata (Small Bonny Bellflower)
This bellflower has clusters of bluish violet flowers growing from 1-3 feet. These airy light flowers prefer dry woody areas and partial shade, and will bloom in the early fall.
Caulophyllum thalictroides (Blue Cohosh)
This perennial grows up to 3 feet tall and has small yellow (turning to brown) flowers in clusters. Usually found in streams, it prefers shade and moist soil. Expect lovely blue-green foliage and dark blue berries. You may divide in spring or fall to propagate.
Chelone glabra (White Turtlehead)
An unusual flower that is great for containers. Growing up to 3 feet with a 20 inch spread this plant has serrated leaves and white hooded flowers shaped like a turtle. Blooms are white or sometimes pink or green. It prefers shade and moist soil and you may divide in fall or spring. “Chelone” was a nymph in Greek mythology; she insulted the gods by not attending the wedding of Zeus and Hera and was turned into a turtle.
Chrysogonum virginianum (Green and Gold)
This perennial makes a wonderful ground cover as it only grows 6-9 inches tall. It prefers full to partial shade and moist soil. Its blooms are 5-petal and daisy like appearing both spring and fall. It has dark green foliage.
Clematis crispa (Swamp Leather Flower)
This rapid growing vine will grow to 6-10 feet. It has blue, pink, lavender, or white flowers and they are bell shaped. It prefers partial to full shade. Its seed heads look like hedgehogs. It dies off every year.
Clematis ochroleuca (Curly-heads)
This plant prefers sandy grasslands. It will grow 1 to 2 ½ feet. It has fuzzy cream bells or purple red. It is good for rock gardens. Its fruits are brownish white fuzz with curly hairs. It grows better in full to partial shade, blooming from May to June. You may propagate this from seed.
Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus)
This evergreen perennial has 3-5 clusters of white/pink/red blooms. You’ll find the best display around early to mid spring and is fragrant. It has late summer berrylike fruits. It is low creeping and makes a great ground cover, but is not drought tolerant. This plant prefers partial shade.