Question: What will grow in shade, where lawn grasses don’t thrive?
Answer: Shade groundcovers
Grass is a plant adapted to grow in sun. While there are selections that will tolerate some shade, areas of relatively deep shade are simply not suited to growing a lawn. There are options for gardeners who like a clean, smooth palette in their landscape and are looking for alternatives to grass in a shaded area.
There are several low growing shade groundcovers which can be used to produce a green covering to the earth under trees. Most will not tolerate foot traffic, as turf will, so it is a good idea to place steppingstones or create pathways if the area is going to encounter frequent foot traffic.
Planting Shade Groundcovers
Groundcovers are usually sold as individual small plants or in flats. The spacing for planting will be determined by how fast you want to create dense cover. Spacing the plants further apart will still result in full coverage but it will take longer to achieve. The recommended spacing for most of the listed groundcovers in 6”-12” apart at planting. While most of these groundcovers are robust enough to compete with weeds once fully established, the gardener should still be prepared to weed and mulch the bed through the first two or three growing seasons.
If you can accommodate a bit more height, there are also several fantastic taller growing groundcovers for shady sites.