Extensive shade can be a challenge; the desire for shade can offset the gardener’s ability to showcase bright blooms. Azaleas and camellias, species native to Southeast Asia, were introduced into Houston gardens as early as the 1920’s, and have become enormously popular as well as successful transplants into this semi-tropical environment. These showy species prefer acidic, woodland soils and dappled light conditions. The Woodland Garden features broad sweeps of azaleas and camellias as well as native understory trees, shade-loving ferns, and naturalizing bulbs. 


List of Plants 

1. Blue Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)

This herbaceous perennial is native to Missouri and blooms blue flowers from late summer to fall. Blue Mistflower attracts bees and butterflies and can become invasive in gardens.

Light: Full sun – Part sun

Size: 1.5 - 3’ tall; 1.5 - 3’ wide

Water: Moderate

Special Cultural Requirements: Feed frequently during growing season with a general purpose fertilizer.

2. Sweet Gum (Liquidambar styraciflua)


Native to North America, this deciduous tree has leaves that change from yellow to purple to red as the seasons change.

Light: Full sun

Size: 60 - 75’ tall; 20 - 25’ wide

Water: Wet

Special Cultural Requirements: Requires general fertilizer in spring.

3. Blue Ginger (Dichorisundra thyrslflora

This evergreen perennial is native to Hawaii. In midsummer, its blue-violet flowers attract bees.

Light: Light shade

Size: 6’ tall; 3’ wide

Water: Moist soil

Special Cultural Requirements: Stems may be cut back after flowers fade.

4. Summer Snowflake (Leucojum aestivum 'Gravetye Giant')

This deciduous bulb comes from Europe and Southwest Asia and blooms in late spring to early summer, bearing pale white flowers with green tips. Summer Snowflake attracts bees and butterflies.

Light: Full sun- partial shade

Size: 3 - 5’ tall; 3 - 5’ wide

Water: Moderate