I Need a Subtropical Groundcover for Partial Sun


“What would be a good ground cover for a small area in the garden with partial sun for Zone 11a?” Question from Susan of Pembroke Pines, Florida.

Answer: There are many lovely subtropical groundcover plants for partial sun that are easily grown in smaller areas. I’ll supply both native and non-native options.

Non-Native Subtropical Groundcovers

Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior): This tough evergreen groundcover is hardy in USDA Hardiness Zones 7b-11a.

Mondo Grass (Ophiopogon japonicus):  Grassy, evergreen mondo grass is very tidy, low-growing, and thrives in partial sun.

Fan Flower (Scaevola aemula): Fan-like blue flowers and semi-succulent green leaves make this a perfect perennial groundcover for those living zones 10-11.

Moses-in-the-Cradle (Tradescantia spathacea): Semi-succulent purple and green leaves and a spreading habit make this an excellent groundcover for tough growing areas. It is also easily pruned back.

Native Subtropical Groundcovers

Baby Rubber Plant (Peperomia obtusifolia): The glossy evergreen leaves of this southern Florida native are always pretty. Look for variegated varieties. This groundcover is hardy to zones 10-12.

Frogfruit (Phylnodiflora nodiflora): This low, succulent verbena relative tolerates partial sun, has lovely clusters of lavender flowers, and feeds butterflies (see image above). I highly recommend it!

I hope these tips help!

Happy Gardening,

Jessie Keith

Black Gold horticulturist