Ginger is a great ground cover for full shade in Chesapeake gardens. Heart shaped leaves create a green carpet preserving soil moisture and blocking weeds. Asian and European gingers (Asarum europaeum) have glossy leaves like those above on the left. Our native ginger (Asarum canadense), on the right, has larger leaves with a matte finish. There are several other gingers native to other parts of the US. In the Chesapeake Bay watershed, it’s Canadian wild ginger!
It takes a year or two to get established, and regular watering is key, but once it does, it will fill in the shadiest of spots. This perennial will not thrive in dry soils. Growing native wild ginger will green your shade garden.
Native ginger from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.
Native ginger as a wildflower from the Virginia Native Plant Society.