Trailing Plants for Full Shade

Updated February 21, 2017

Shaded areas offer some challenges when choosing landscape plants. Most plants need plenty of light for photosynthesis and healthy growth, and trailing varieties often need the sun to create new plant cells for suckers. Several varieties, however, lend themselves to planting in partial shade or full shade. Gardeners should rely on these types for reliable growing in areas under foliage that do not get a lot of sun during the day.

Algerian Ivy

Algerian ivy (Hedera canariensis) is a trailing vine that prefers shade and can grow to 30 feet long. It bears lobed 3- to 8-inch green leaves with red stems and greenish flowers in the spring. Pruning will keep the growth from invading other areas and choking off other plants. Algerian ivy is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 6 to 10.

English Ivy

English ivy (Hedera helix) is another shade-loving plant that will trail over walls and attach to structures. It has evergreen, lobed leaves and bears yellowish-greenish flowers in late summer. Fruits are fleshy and black in colour. Plant English ivy in an area where it has at least partial shade because of its limited heat tolerance. English ivy is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 through 8.

Creeping Fig

Creeping fig (ficus pumila) is a relative of the edible fig. It will climb and trail up to 50 feet. The small, 1-inch-long, heart-shaped flowers grow on dense stems. Fruits are pale green and about 3 inches long. It is drought-tolerant when fully mature. It grows aggressively and needs regular pruning to stay in check. Creeping fig is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 8 to 11.

Trumpet Vine

Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) is an aggressive, woody vine that can grow to 35 feet long. Leaflets are dark green on the upper surface and lighter green on the underside. Clusters of trumpet-shaped, reddish-orange flowers bloom throughout the summer months. The fruit is a 6-inch-long pod that contains the seeds. It spreads by suckers and aerial rootlets that can damage masonry and wood structures. Trumpet vine is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 4 to 10.

Carolina Jessamine

Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens) is a semi-evergreen, trailing vine that bears oval leaves and fragrant, yellow flowers that bloom in sun or shade. It can grow to 20 feet long and does not become invasive. Carolina Jessamine is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 6.

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