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Leadplant - Tough groundcover that thrives in sun or shade. (in sun it has a tendency to spread pretty fast.) It puts on a fall show twice -- first come the electric-blue flowers, then the leaves turn beautiful shades of red. Name: Ceratostigma plumbaginoides Growing Conditions: Sun or shade and well-drained soil Size: To 18 inches tall Zones: 5-9

Creeping Buttercup Here's a buttercup that no gardener should be without. 'Buttered Popcorn' offers bright, chartreuse-splattered foliage that's truly electric in the shade garden. While the foliage is the main attraction, creeping buttercup also offers golden flowers in late spring and early summer. Name: Ranunculus repens Growing Conditions: Part to full shade and well-drained soil Size: 3 inches tall Zones: 4-9

Bishop's Weed Fast spreading bishop's weed will thrive where most other shade plants fail. Because it is so vigorous, it's best suited for shaded slopes or other areas where it has plenty of room to roam. Test Garden Tip: For extra interest, look for 'Variegata', which sports cream and white splashes on green foliage. Name: Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum' Growing Conditions: Part to full shade and well-drained soil Size: To 12 inches tall Zones: 4-9

Helleborus x lividus ‘Pink Marble’ shade

Epimedium Dry shade can be a tough landscaping problem. Thankfully, epimedium thrives in these conditions. There are many to choose from, but varieties to look for include 'Pierre's Purple', 'Sulphureum', and 'Lilafee'. Name: Epimedium grandiflorum Growing Conditions: Part to full shade and well-drained soil Size: 8 inches tall Zones: 3-9

Deschampsia caespitosa "Tufted Hair Grass" meadow or under oaks

Carex divulsa “Berkeley Sedge”

Japanese forestgrass (Hakonechloa macra) is a wonderful grass for shady areas. It offers a lovely waterfall-like habit and variegated varieties have bight gold, yellow, or white in the foliage. In fall, the leaves usually pick up beautiful reddish tones. It grows best in Zones 5-9 and grows a foot tall

Sisyrinchium bellum ‘North Coast’ “Blue-Eyed-Grass”

Light, Shade, and Nature's Neutrals Sunny areas make colors appear bolder and more concentrated, while shaded areas reflect more muted hues. Combine a variety of soothing grays, blues and greens with light-catching whites and yellows to brighten up a shaded area.