Dry shade is the bane of many tree loving gardeners but it doesn’t have to be. Although tree roots often steal all the moisture and nutrients from the growing area, the key is careful plant selection.

Most coastal plants which can cope with shade do not require much water once established as they obtain moisture from dew from the tree which gathers overnight. Ground covers are probably the most useful group as they cover the most area which means less plants and easier planting.

Here are some useful plants to consider using in this tricky area:


Natives:  Hibbertia scandens (yellow snake vine); Hardenbergia violacae or H. comptoniana (more vigorous), H. Meema, (all native wisterias); Atriplex cineraria, Atriplex nummarilfolia, Grevillea Gingin Gem, Hemiandra pungens, Adenanthos Coral Carpet, Acacia saligna prostrate, Grevillea crithmifolia (pic left), Billardiera fusiformis Blue Carpet, Cissus rhombifolia Ellen Danica.

Exotics: Vinca major, Vinca major variegata (sometimes weedy), Trachelospermum jasminoides tricolour.

SUCCULENTS – nearly all but particularly Echeveria glauca, E. imbricata, Cotyledon orbicularis, Sansevieria trifasciata, Tradescantia pallida purpurea, T. zebrinus, gasterias and Agave attenuata.

EXOTICSPlectranthus argenteum, Ballotta pseudodictamnus (tough silver velvety plant), Zamioculcus zamiifolia ZZ plant, Acanthus mollis, Cyrtomium falcatum (holly fern), Aspidistra sp. (cast iron plant), philodendrons, bromeliads – particularly Bilbergias and Aechmeas.

GRASSY PLANTS –agapanthus, arthropodium rocklily (pic right), clivias, Dianella and lomandra (most cultivars), Lepidosperma gladiatum and L. calcicola, Liriope muscari.

BULBS – bluebells, snowflakes, freesias  


Happy Gardening


Cherise Haslam


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