Water-Wise Shade Areas

Competition for light, water, and nutrients makes planting in shade areas difficult to plan and design.

Most shade tolerant plants commonly used in gardens are adapted to moist soils under the shade of trees where evapotranspiration is reduced.

Large planter bed with spring flowers
Spring blooming bulbs are a good choice in deciduous shade areas, blooming before tree leaves emerge. Photo credit: Percita  Flickr CC BY-SA-2.0
Plants with light pink flowers and purple leaves
Perennial coral bells (Heuchera sp.) come in a variety of leaf and flower colors for the shade garden.  Photo credit: KingsbraeGarden Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Trees with a green shrub underneath them
Oregon grape holly (Mahonia aquefolium), growing in part shade, were watered two times during the summer in Utah. Photo credit: Susan Buffler

Additional Resources for Shade Areas:


California: Creating Microclimates in the Garden