Plants & Shrubs That Will Survive In Low Light Gardens

Cultivating a beautiful outdoor space is beneficial for a number of reasons. Green life is scientifically proven to boost your mood, improve air quality, and increase your home’s property value. The plants you choose for your outdoor garden or bed will depend on a number of factors, but one of the most important influences will be the amount of sunlight the space gets. If your outdoor garden sees less light during the day, you might not think you can get the look you want – but that’s not true! There are plenty of plants and shrubs that thrive in low light gardens.


These evergreen, drought-tolerant shrubs need shady or partly shady areas to thrive. Plant them in an area with good drainage and give them deep waterings regularly. Because rhododendrons have shallow root systems, avoid planting them near shallow-rooted trees that will compete for soil nutrients. Rhododendrons prefer filtered sunlight or part shade; they are characterized by vibrant white, pink, red, or lavender blooms in the spring. 


Though they do need some morning sun, hydrangeas deliver plenty of gorgeous blooms in the spring and summer. Hydrangeas prefer well-drained, slightly alkaline soil. Be sure to keep them well-watered and provide lots of organic matter for the first year after planting; after that, they will be a hardy addition to your low light garden! 


Begonias are typically recommended for zones 9-11, so you don’t often see them in outdoor beds in New York; however, these shade-loving blooms are ideal in containers or as houseplants. They prefer partial shade or filtered sunlight and produce absolutely glorious blooms through the hot summer months. 


Impatiens are some of the most recognizable flowers in the United States; they are also some of the most shade tolerant. With over one thousand species available, you can customize the look of your garden with a variety of colors and styles. Impatiens prefer moist but well-drained soil and are partial to complete shade, so they work wonderfully in any dark bed or unlit corner of your garden. 


Fern foliage is great in an otherwise colorful flower bed; they can work as ground cover and do best in full to partial shade. When planting ferns, be sure to keep the area carefully watered and protected from extreme winds until the plant becomes established; once they become established, ferns are low-maintenance and can even return year after year. 


Characterized by their dual-toned green leaves, boxwood bushes are tough, deer-resistant, and beautiful. They work great as hedges, foundation plants, and shrub borders, but also work well in formal gardens or containers. Use these low-maintenance shrubs as accents or fillers in a colorful garden. 

Work With a Landscape Designer

If you are designing an outdoor garden or bed and could use some expert help, consult a professional landscape designer. Breath of Spring is a landscape contractor serving the greater Greenwich, CT area, including Rye, Scarsdale, and Harrison, NY. We provide drainage solutions and even offer masonry services. Contact our professionals today to learn more about how we can help you plan your low light garden! 

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