Compact shade plants that can be planted under taller plants add interesting layers to your garden and help to keep the weeds down. Although there are some plants that bloom brilliantly in the shade, most rely more on foliage and color variations rather than flowers to create interest. I find that dense planting of shade tolerant perennials requires very little maintenance and minimal weeding, as long as they are adequately watered. I also amend the soil with compost and triple mix prior to planting and use a thick layer of mulch to retain moisture and restore nutrients.
Here are some of my favorite compact shade plants that grow to be less than 18” high, and are excellent ground covers.