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Top 10 Native Perennials for Shade

Finding plants that will grow in shade can be challenging, but there are more options than you think. This Shades of Green Shopping Guide provides our Top 10 picks of best Native Perennials for Shade, listed by size, shortest to tallest.

Native plants evolved to survive and thrive in the harsh, hot summers and unpredictable winters we have in Texas. Perennials are plants that go dormant in winter, but return year after year.

All of these plants, along with other great native and adapted perennials, may be found at Shades of Green Nursery + Landscape! (Availability varies by season and demand. Plants may not be  in-stock at the time of your visit.)

Click here for a downloadable PDF.

Our Top 10 Native Perennials for Shade:

SG-Dwarf Mex Petunia

Dwarf Mexican Petunia - Ruellia simplex 'Katie'
Ruellia brittoniana 'Dwarf'
• Native Texas herbaceous perennial – Zone 8-10
• 6-8 inches tall x 10-12 inches wide
• Plant in full sun to part shade
• Drought tolerant & low maintenance
• Blooms pink, blue, or white from spring through fall
• A great blooming groundcover or border plant


Spiderwort ‘Concord Grape’ - Tradescantia x 'Concord Grape'
• Herbaceous perennial – Zone 4-9
• 12-18 inches tall x 18 inches wide
• Plant in part sun to part shade in average to moist soil
• 3-petaled purple blooms all summer
• Grass-like foliage
• Cut back to promote re-bloom
• A hybrid made from two Native Texas varieties

SG-Golden Groundsel

Golden Groundsel - Packera obovata
• Native Texas semi-evergreen perennial
• 12-18 inches tall & wide
• Plant in full to part shade
• Yellow blooms in early spring
• Naturalizes into large colonies once established
• Hardy in Zones 3-8

SG-Prairie Phlox

Prairie Phlox - Phlox pilosa
• Native Texas semi-evergreen perennial
• Hardy in Zone 4-9
• 12-18 inches tall & wide
• Plant in full sun or part shade
• Clusters of pink flowers in spring & summer
• Attracts bees & butterflies
• Also called Fragrant Phlox & Downy Phlox


Pigeonberry - Rivina humilis
• Native Texas herbaceous perennial
• 12 inches tall x 24 inches wide
• Plant in part shade
• Pink flowers bloom in summer followed by bright red berries in fall
• Drought tolerant
• Hardy in Zone 7-10

SG-TX Betony

Texas Betony - Stachys coccinea
• Native Texas herbaceous perennial
• 1-3 feet tall x 2-4 feet wide
• Plant in full sun or part shade
• Drought tolerant
• Red blooms March to October
• Attracts hummingbirds
• Hardy in Zone 6-9


Zexmenia - Wedelia texana / Wedelia acapulcensis var. hispida
• Native Texas herbaceous perennial
• Grows 2-3 feet tall & wide
• Plant in full sun, part sun, or part shade
• Prefers hot & dry conditions
• Yellow-orange flowers late spring to fall
• Great for pollinators
• Hardy in Zone 7-10

SG-Inland Sea Oats

Inland Sea Oats - Chasmanthium latifolium
• Native Texas herbaceous perennial
• 2-4 feet tall x 2 feet wide
• Plant in partial shade
• Clump-forming grass with large, oat-like flower spikelets. Blue-green, bamboo-like leaves can turn bright yellow-gold in sunnier sites in fall.
• Also called Northern Sea Oats
• Hardy in Zone 4-9


Columbine - Aquilegia canadensis
• Native Texas herbaceous perennial
• 12-24 inches tall x 16-20 inches wide
• Plant in partial sun
• Water weekly during dry spells
• Red flowers with yellow centers bloom late spring to early summer
• Attracts hummingbirds
• Looks great planted with ferns and hosta
• Hardy in Zone 3-9

SG-TX Gold Columbine

Texas Gold Columbine - Aquilegia chrysantha hinckleyana ‘Texas Gold’
• Native Texas herbaceous perennial
• 18-24 inches tall & wide
• Plant in shade to part/dappled shade
• Bright, butter-yellow flowers with large, graceful cups and dramatic spurs bloom mid-March through early May
• Needs well-drained soil. Does not tolerate wet feet.
• Hardy in Zones 4-8

Click here for a downloadable PDF.


The Shades of Green Show: Top 10 Native Perennials for Shade (video coming soon!)