Mediterranean Shade Plants

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A Mediterranean garden includes plants found in gardens along the Mediterranean coast, where winters are damp and summers are dry and warm. However, it can also include compatible low-maintenance plants that compliment the Mediterranean garden.

Although Mediterranean gardens include ample sun-loving herbs and blooming perennials, there are suitable plants that thrive in dense shade.

Cast Iron Plant

Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) is a clumping evergreen perennial suitable for growing in dense, dry shade in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7 through 10. It has broad green leaves and is known for its durability in well-drained, dry locations. Although the cast iron plant blooms, the flower is not conspicuous and is produced near the soil line. Cast iron plants can be grown in containers located in shady locations. The leaves lose their rich green colour when exposed to harsh sunlight.


The camellia (Camellia japonica) is a suitable shrub for shade in Mediterranean gardens. It grows best in acidic soil improved with plenty of organic matter, with supplemental moisture during the summer. The outstanding feature of the camellia is its ability to produce roselike blooms during the cooler months of November through March. It has dark green leaves and is rarely bothered by pests or disease if planted where there is good air circulation. It grows to 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide and is suitable for growing in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 7 through 9.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a slow-growing deciduous shrub suitable for U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 5 though 9. It has broad, maple-shaped leaves and produces 8-inch white flower panicles during the summer months. It grows in deep soil enriched with organic matter and requires supplemental moisture in the driest locations. The oakleaf hydrangea thrives in dense shade, growing to 10 feet tall and 8 feet wide.

Bush Lily

The bush lily, or fire lily (Clivia miniata), is suitable for planting in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 and warmer, but can be used in containers in cooler locations. It grows from a large bulb and produces bright orange and yellow flowers and broad, straplike leaves. The bloom period is in early spring from February to April. The bush lily is often used as a house plant, so it can be moved indoors when winter arrives where it is not winter hardy.