Lily of the valley
People have a misconception about California. They believe that the summer sun shines down 365 days of the year, leading to a carefree lifestyle and attitude. While this might be the case in southern California some of the time, it certainly isn’t consistently true for the mountains and bays of Northern California. So how do you handle a garden when you need to plant in shady areas? Here are the 7 best shade plants for Northern California.

  1. Lily of the valley: These tiny bell-shaped flowers are hardy as well as beautiful. Your yard doesn’t need a lot of direct sun for these beauties to thrive. They prefer warm summers, but only needs partial sun making these lilies a great choice for a shady garden in northern California.
  2. Fuchsia: There are a few species of the plant, but specifically the thymifolia is the best for shady areas in Northern California. In laypersons terms they’re often called Thyme Leafed Fuchsia. They have little purplish-pink flowers and are very attractive to hummingbirds.
  3. Evergreen currant: This member of the gooseberry family is another great option for gardens in the shade. They are a very popular plant for gardens in areas affected by droughts as they don’t require as much water to thrive. They grow low to the ground and have shiny leaves and deep red flowers that bloom in the late winter and early spring.
  4. Mat rush: Also known as the Breeze Dwarf Mat Rush, this plant is a great choice for California gardens without full sun. Tall and grass like, they can really fill in a garden and they’re tough and easy to care for. They are also drought tolerant and don’t mind a little salt air from time to time. They’re good in partial sun and bloom in the spring.
  5. Bush lily: This hearty plant is actually native to South Africa, so it makes sense that it would also work in a Californian climate. It blooms with very attractive yellow-orange flowers, but be careful if you do decide to plant this thick leafed plant. It contains a slightly poisonous compound, so keep it away from children and pets.
  6. Chinese anemone: Also called the Japanese anemone or Windflower, this delicate white plant is great for gardens without a ton of sunlight. In fact, they do really well under the protection of larger plants providing the shade, like tall trees. They’re gorgeous, but watch out. They can be invasive if they take hold without cultivation.
  7. Giant chain fern: If ferns are your jam, you can’t really go wrong with this large plant. They have very long fronds and can grow quite large. They are often used as an ornamental plant, but they are also planted in conservation efforts as well. They’re great around conifer trees and shaded areas.