Due to many trees (not on our property) and the orientation of our house, one of our side yards is very heavily shaded. It never gets direct sunlight, and maybe 1 or 2 hours of dappled sunlight. Nothing grows there except weeds. I need to plant some kind of ground cover to stop erosion.

What should I plant? (No English Ivy suggestions, please. I don't want to use anything that rodents like to get in.)

btw, I live in Birmingham, Alabama.

edit: Thanks for the ideas, but I'm really looking for a ground cover that will prevent erosion. Like things that spread out and grab the dirt (as much like a carpet of grass does as possible).

  • 1
    Kudzu! It'll grow anywhere. Commented Mar 29, 2011 at 14:55
  • @chris It's actually illegal to knowingly cultivate kudzu in some southern counties and states, including Oregon.
    – allindal
    Commented Apr 7, 2011 at 19:56

5 Answers 5


Check out


  • If only this worked better. Still, it best answered my question. Thanks.
    – ChrisC70
    Commented Apr 3, 2011 at 3:42

Perhaps a stone retaining wall and moss. Moss will spread and hold the soil, just make sure the soil ph is right (I believe you want it acidic). And on the plus side, you don't have to mow it.


You have a fair amount of options of different shade loving plants. If you don't want something like ivy or pachysandra, I'm particularly fond of hostas for these kinds of areas. They enjoy the shade and should be able to be grown in your area. They are also very easy to maintain, pretty much take care of themselves, and don't grow out of control.

A lot of pictures online have them clumped together thickly. I prefer spacing them. If you're worried about cover for rodents, spacing them would definitely be best. Don't worry they're self contained and won't start colonizing outward.

If you're not fond of these, you may want to just talk to someone at a local garden center since they will know more about the constraints of your specific area.


I have a mix of variegated ginger and shrimp plants in a shaded area, along with purple heart (a.k.a. wandering Jew).


Liriope, aka Monkey Grass, would be kind of grass like and should handle shade.

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