Best Shade Plants For Sydney Gardens

Does your garden have a shady corner or dark patch that gets little or no sun? Or perhaps your whole garden is enveloped in shade for most of the day? Whether the shade is coming from a large tree, or perhaps the shadows from the house, a shed or neighbouring building, you are not alone. Dealing with shaded areas in your garden or balcony is an issue most gardeners face.

As many plants don’t tolerate long periods or shade or full shade, these areas of the garden can be the most problematic to grow plants. The result for many gardeners are patches where the turf is bare and the plants either die or don’t flourish. Luckily, these issues can be solved if you select plants that actually thrive in varying levels of shade. By carefully planting the right plants, you can ensure the shaded areas of your garden are filled with contrasting textures, beautiful foliage, colour and flowers.

Keep reading to discover our top lists of shade plants for turf, screening, ground cover or pots:

Best turf for shade

Sir Walter Soft Leaf Buffalo is more shade tolerant than other varieties because of its broad leaves which photosynthesise well. Among the Buffalo varieties, Sir Walter Soft Leaf Buffalo is among the very best performers in shady areas and can thrive with as little as three hours of sunlight per day.

  • Shade tolerant
  • Need full sun shade or partial shade
  • Requires less water
  • Low lawn maintenance
  • Held consistently good colour throughout the year

[img attachment=”4427″ size=”large” alt=”Best-Shade-Plants-For-Sydney-Gardens-Sir-Walter-Soft-Leaf-Buffalo-Website-Featured-Image” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Tall screening plants for shade

Alocasia (Elephant Ears) and other varieties, can survive in filtered sunlight or shade. It’s important to avoid direct sunlight on their leaves in the Sydney summer, as this can cause foliage burn.

  • Grows up to 20-90 cm tall
  • Avoid both direct sunlight and very dark and Gloomy spots
  • Like moist but well drained in partial shade
  • Moderate speed growth in summer
  • Colorful flowers

[img attachment=”4475″ size=”large” alt=”est Shade Plants For Sydney Gardens -” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Tiger Grass is a striking plant from Thailand that looks like bamboo but it’s actually a perennial grass that blooms beautiful purple flowers. It’s great to use as an attractive feature or screening plant and does well in pots as well.

  • Grows up to 3-4 metres in height
  • Quick growing and can be fully grown within 18 – 24 months
  • Low maintenance
  • Drought tolerant

[img attachment=”4429″ size=”large” alt=”Tiger Grass” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Ginger, particularly Thai Ginger, has lovely flowers. When it reaches maturity, it has the potential of reaching from one to two metres tall. You will want to provide enough space between plants to accommodate their height and bushy nature.

  • Likes full sun or partial shade
  • Blooms in summertime
  • Produces cluster of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers
  • Takes 10 months to mature

[img attachment=”4432″ size=”large” alt=”Thai-Ginger” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Heliconia will form a great backdrop or screen with the large upright leaves and a flower spike similar to Bird of Paradise.

  • Grows on average 1-2 metres in a garden
  • Should be planted in draining soil
  • Blooming season once to several times a year
  • Flowers come in a variety of lengths and shapes

[img attachment=”4433″ size=”large” alt=”Heliconia-latispatha” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Lower growing shade plants

Bromeliad Guzmanias and Bromeliad Alcantarea can be grown in pots, in the garden, on balconies or mounted on a tree or piece of wood. These bromeliads don’t need full sunlight and in fact, grow better in shady spots – that’s why they’re so successful under big trees.

  • Grows up to 1.5 metres tall
  • Keep out of direct sunlight
  • Beautiful foliage
  • Blooms only once

[img attachment=”4434″ size=”large” alt=”Guzmanis ” caption=”Guzmanis ” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]

[img attachment=”4435″ size=”large” caption=”Alcantarea ” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Rhoeos, particularly the dwarf and mid-sized versions, are an excellent and fast growing ground cover in the shaded parts of the garden. It is used as an effective edging plant, or even as underplantings and is popular due to their texture and colour.

  • Grows up to 30-50 cm tall
  • Enjoys partial shade to full shade
  • Drought tolerant
  • Leaves can die from excessive watering

[img attachment=”4436″ size=”large” alt=”Rhoeos” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Liriopes particularly Monroe White and Green Dichondra are a great ground cover and is a good alternative to lawn. It produces spikes of violet or white blooms in summer, followed by white or black berries in autumn.

  • Grows up to 25-45 cms tall
  • Low maintenance
  • Drought and frost tolerant
  • Tolerant of full sun to heavy shade
  • Requires pruning or cutting back once a year if leaves become untidy

[img attachment=”4437″ size=”large” alt=”Liriope-Monroe-White” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Hostas come in many shapes and sizes and add colour with its beautiful foliage, with some being fragrant. This low maintenance plant should be positioned in semi to full shade.

  • Grows up to 2.5 metres tall
  • Blooms in summer
  • Drought tolerant
  • Keep soil moist but not wet

[img attachment=”4438″ size=”large” alt=”Hostas ” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Lamium Beacon Silver a low maintenance shade-loving ground cover with white or pink flowers and silver, heart-shaped leaves bordered in mid to deep green. If there is too much sun, the foliage will burn.

  • Grows up to 15-20 cm tall
  • Partial shade or full shade
  • Low maintenance plant
  • Flowers from spring to summer

[img attachment=”4447″ size=”large” alt=”Lamium-Beacon-Silver” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Ajugas – If you are looking for a low maintenance ground cover that offers more than just a bland green mat, consider ajugas. They offer a wide variety of foliage colours, usually rich deep burgundy and sometimes cream and pink edges.

  • Grows up to 15-20 cm
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Blooms in spring to summer
  • Prefers medium-moisture and well-drained soils

[img attachment=”4448″ size=”large” alt=”Ajuga -Website-Featured-Image.” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Potted plants for shade

Large leaf Jades are an easy to care for succulent, and can be grown indoors and outdoors, and even as bonsai plants. Fast growing, inexpensive and incredibly resilient, you cannot go wrong with this plant.

  • Grows up to 1.5 metres
  • Full sun or part shade
  • Low maintenance
  • Need to be watered more frequently in summer and spring

[img attachment=”4451″ size=”large” alt=”Large-leaf-Jade ” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


New Guinea Impatiens are perfect for planters and hanging baskets in the shade. Their colourful blooms come in bright shades from lavender to orange. They’re easy to care for, as long as you keep them well-watered throughout the hottest parts of the year.

  • Grows up to 38cm
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Low maintenance
  • Blooms continuously
  • Needs a well-draining soil that holds moisture long enough

[img attachment=”4452″ size=”large” alt=”New-Guinea-Impatiens” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Camellias thrive in pots in the shade but require repotting every two or three years. Being evergreen plants, they provide an element of lushness with their foliage and flowers to any courtyard or balcony.

  • Grows up to 1.5-3 metres tall
  • Dappled light/Part shade or full shade
  • Long blooming flowers
  • Needs well-drained soil

[img attachment=”4453″ size=”large” alt=”Camellia – Website – Featured -Image” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Philodendron Xanadu is the perfect low maintenance plant with luscious evergreen foliage and decoratively shaped leaves. It will tolerate full sun but is also happy in partial shade. Ideal for use in a larger pot for the perfect feature plant.

  • Grows up to 50-80 cm
  • Needs to be watered regularly
  • Likes moist but not constantly drenched soil
  • Poisonous plant – should not be consumed by animals or humans

[img attachment=”4454″ size=”large” alt=”Philodendron-Xanadu ” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]


Monstera deliciosa (also known as a split leaf philodendron) is an easy-to-grow plant that does well in a pot. It is not recommended in the garden as it can get huge. It’s known for its stunning, split leaves which are dark green and glossy.

  • Grows up to 3 metres tall
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Prefer warm climate
  • Rarely blooms

[img attachment=”4455″ size=”large” alt=”Monstera-deliciosa” align=”alignnone” linkto=”file” /]

Do you need expert advice to select shade plants?

Selecting the best plants for the shaded areas of your garden, courtyard or balcony can be challenging. However, expert advice can prevent making choices which result in your plants don’t thrive.
If you need professional assistance, feel free to get in touch with us to get your questions answered. You can also schedule a free consultation or access our soft landscaping services right away.

[img attachment=”4081″ size=”large” alt=”free-advice-and-landscaping-consultation” align=”alignnone” linkto=”custom” url=”” /]