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What Plants Grow Well in Shade in Texas

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Not all plant enthusiasts or aspiring plant owners have enough sun in their house or backyard for all plants to grow, but there are plants that live and thrive in shady areas. With this in mind, what are some plants that grow well in shade in Texas?

Some shade-loving plants in Texas are camellias, azaleas, ferns, hydrangeas, begonias, caladiums, aucubas, aspidistras, and nandinas.

This article will explain the characteristics of each of these plants and why they do well in the shade, along with how to properly care for them.

9 Shade Loving Plants Perfect for the Texas Climate 

There are lots of plants that thrive in the Texas shade. Keep reading to find some of the best options to help you create a better home and garden. 


Camelias are one of the few flowers that can grow in the Texas winters, and the two specific varieties that grow there are Camellia japonica and Camellia sasanqua. They prefer to live in shady and partially shady areas with acidic soil that drains well, such as under tall pine trees. They come in white, red, pink, and a variety of other colors. 

One of the difficult parts of caring for Camellias is that they need regular pruning and plenty of acidic fertilizer along with the soil. However, they do not need more water than the average plant and are low maintenance, making them ideal for the hustling plant owner.


pink azaleas

Azaleas are some of the most popular shade-loving plants because of their bright spring blooms. Although they enjoy the shade, you can also:

  • place them in bright sunlight 
  • provide plenty of sun exposure to make the blooms even better. 

They like acidic and sandy soil that is well-drained and thrive with composted leaves as fertilizer. They come in as pink, orange, red, white, and purple.

Unlike camellias, azaleas need a lot of water and fertilizer, so they are considered high-maintenance, but their pretty blooms make up for it. It is better to choose another plant that does not to be watered as often if you are busy.


lady fern

Ferns are the perfect shade plants because they need moist, wet soil that is rich in organic matter and acidic. They also make great accent plants since their delicate nature plays off dark and broad plants well. Ferns come in many varieties including the Autumn Fern, Japanese Painted Fern, and Wood Fern.

One of the downsides to ferns is that they do not fare well in extreme winters. Despite this, they are low-maintenance and have average water needs, making them easy to take care of, and their showy appearance means they will look great anywhere you want to place them.


pink and blue hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are flowering shrubs whose favorite places to live are in areas with filtered or very little light. An interesting fact about these plants is that acidic soil makes the flowers turn bluer, whereas alkaline soil gives more pink flowers. Hydrangeas themselves prefer soil that is acidic or neutral and that is well-drained and moist.

They do not seem to have any downsides because they are low-maintenance and have normal water needs, along with being beautiful to look at and a mainstay in gardens everywhere. Hydrangeas are a worthwhile choice for any level of a gardener to add to their spread.



Begonias are flowers that grow best in the shade and favor soils that are acidic, rich in organic matter, and moist to live in, There are many types of begonias that grow in small groups and they have a myriad of color options such as pink, red, and white and bloom in the spring and summer.

They are low-maintenance plants that do not require more water than most plants


multicolor caladium

Caladiums are plants that grow from the ground like potatoes that thrive best in soil that is moist and well-drained like most shade-loving plants. They need to be heavily mulched in the winter because the cold and wet soil will make them rot.

Caladiums come in red, pink, white, and green. They can grow in either alkaline, neutral or acidic soil making them versatile.

Caladiums are easy to care for, low-maintenance plants that need an average amount of water. They are beautiful to look at and can bring a touch of color to any garden space.


Aucubas or Japanese laurel can live in any level of shade, but are the best fit for the deepest shade in your planting area. They come in many sizes and color varieties to fit any garden aesthetic including a yellow tinted variety. Like the other shade plants in this list, they thrive best in well-drained and moist soil.

These plants are low-maintenance because they can tolerate poor soil and still live. They only need the average amount of water for plants as well. One of the downsides of planting aucubas is that they can suffer from many diseases and that the leaves are prone to windburn.


Aspidistras or cast-iron plants is a tough-leafed plant that is commonly used for ground cover and that thrives in low-light areas. They:

  • cannot tolerate direct sun 
  • require rich and well-drained soil and need regular watering throughout the spring to autumn and less so in the winter.

They are low maintenance because as long as they have the proper living conditions, they do not experience any serious problems and are damage resistant. They do not have any negative traits and can be used to freshen up or add an accent to any garden,


Nandinas or Dwarf Heavenly Bamboo are evergreen plants that turn red and orange during the winter months to offer a striking color accent for gardens. They can also grow in any conditions from bright sun to shady, meaning that you can place them anywhere with no trouble. Moist and well-drained is the soil of choice, but they can thrive in a variety of soil types.

Nandinas are low-maintance because they can adapt to many environments and are draught tolerant, although they still require water on a regular basis. They are also relatively resistant to pests and diseases. The only negative thing about these plants is that they can spread their seeds quickly and become invasive.

Whether you choose one of these plants or another shade loving plant for your Texas garden, there are plenty of varieties that love the shade just as much, if not more, than the sunlight. Whatever you decide, you are sure to find something that fits your needs.


There are several plants that grow well in the Texas. These include camellias, azaleas, ferns, hydrangeas, begonias, caladiums, aucubas, aspidistras, and nandinas. They all grow in moist, well-drained soil and require an average amount of watering, making them easy to care for and the perfect plants to brighten up any garden space.

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Jena Slocum Co-Founder

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