12 Best Plants for Shade in Your Garden

The Tropical Climate of Sri Lanka is very helpful for Plantlife in the country and it is very common to see beautiful Home gardens all around the island with a great variety of Plants and Trees. Most of Sri Lankan Home gardens have many flowering plants as well as fascinating varieties of foliage and numerous types of Trees. When it comes to your home & keeping it attractive, you must pay lots of attention to its garden.

The Tropical Climate of Sri Lanka is very helpful for plant-life in the country and it is very common to see beautiful Home gardens all around the island with a great variety of Plants and Trees. Most of Sri Lankan Home gardens have many flowering plants as well as fascinating varieties of foliage and numerous types of Trees. When it comes to your home & keeping it attractive, you must pay lots of attention to its garden. Because if the home is the heart, the garden is its heartbeat.

Trees can be used for different purposes. Mostly trees can create an attractive & relaxing garden with lots of shade. When you sit in the shady spot in your garden on a stressful day & look upon is the most perfect refreshment that you can ever have.  These Shade gardens can have advantages over the more traditional open sun gardens. Shaded areas are typically wetter because of decreased evaporation rates, cooler, greener, and more covered from wind, frost, and rain than open spaces. So here we introduce you some 12 plants for shade & as well as add a unique beauty to your garden.

1. Mee – Mousey Mi Tree

Scientific name: Madhuca longifolia

Mee tree is a native & tropical tree that largely distributes in India & Sri Lanka. It grows approximately 15-20 meters in height with evergreen, linear-lanceolate leaves & dark yellowish-grey trunk. Also, it’s a fast-growing tree with a dense crown, which can provide lots of shades for your home garden. Mee tree comes with yellowish-white, fleshy flowers that dropping near the end of branches. This tree grows successfully in montane & intermediate zones & also can be adaptable to arid environments. There are none edible parts in this tree but have lots of ayurvedic usages. You can easily propagate this plant by using its seeds.

Mee- Mousey mi Tree - bset plant to grow in your garden for shade
Madhuca longifolia | Source: https://herbleplantsrilanka.blogspot.com/

2. Murutha – Queen of Flowers

Scientific name: Lagerstroemia speciosa

Murutha tree is commonly known as Queen of flowers & it is native to our country. Also, this plant can be found largely in other south Asian countries too. It grows approximately up to 10-20 meters with brownish red trunk & evergreen, large- rounded base leaves. This tree grows successfully in most parts of the country other than the montane zone, but especially well-grown near river banks. Nowadays this tree is cultivated in home gardens for shade & ornamentation. Flowers of Murutha appears in light mauve to bright rose-pink while adding a unique beauty to tree. Flowering season and color of the flower can depend on soil’s pH value.

Murutha- Queen of flowers
Lagerstroemia speciosa | Source: https://www.pinterest.com/
Followers of Murutha tree- Queen of flowers and suitable as a shade tree
Flowers of Murutha | Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/

3. Bulu – Baheda

Scientific name: Terminalia belerica

Bulu is a native, large deciduous tree that grows approximately up to 30 meters tall. It has a horizontally branching trunk that appears in grayish yellow. Because of this characteristic trunk, this tree can provides lots of shades for your home garden. The leaves of this tree are about 15cm long and alternately arranged & spiraled. Flowers appear in pale greenish-yellow & fruits can be found in around 2-3cm diameter with minute pale pubescence cover. Bulu tree successfully grows in Wet & Intermediate zones. Nowadays people most commonly use this tree as a shade tree.

Bulu-Baheda tree
Terminalia belerica| Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/
Bulu-Baheda tree fruits
Fruits- Terminalia belerica | Source: http://www.trees.lk/

4. Nelli – Indian Gooseberry / Amla

Scientific name: Phyllanthus emblica

This tree is a medium-sized, native, deciduous tree that grows up to 10 to 15m in height. Nelli is easy to grow & it is known as a fast-growing tree. Nelli tree can be largely found in tropical Asian countries. In Sri Lanka, it is very common in both wet & dry zones. It has a thin, grey & leaf-bearing trunk with closely placed, overlapping, linear to strap-shaped leaves. Flowers of Nelli appear in greenish-yellow & the fruits are nearly pale green-yellow. Nelli is a popular backyard crop in Sri Lanka & also it is suitable to be cultivated in fire-prone arid areas of the country. Most commonly, Nelli trees are used as a shade plant in home gardens. Also, it comes with an edible fruity part & it can add a unique look to your garden.

Nelli tree. suitable plant for shade
Phyllanthus emblica | Source: http://tropical.theferns.info/
fruits of Nelli tree
Fruits- Phyllanthus emblica
Source: https://www.theplantattraction.com/

5. Wal Ehala – Andaman Redwood

Scientific name: Pterocarpus indica

Pterocarpus India is a large, evergreen, deciduous tree which approximately grows up to 20 meters in height. It has a very high growth rate & can be propagated by seeds and stem cuttings. The trunk of this tree is light brown with a wide base & leaves are 15-20cm long, pinnate, with 5-11 leaflets. Flowers of these trees are slightly fragrant and have yellow or orange-yellow petals. Flowers can be seen from April to August. Because of the branching pattern of this tree, this can be planted to make a shady spot in your home garden & also in the flowering season this tree will change the overall look of your garden.

Wal ehela tree- Andaman redwood
Pterocarpus indica | Source: https://faroe.desertcart.com/
flowers of wal ehela tree
Flowers – Pterocarpus indica | Source: https://www.flickr.com/

6. Copper Pod Tree – Yellow Flame Tree

Scientific name: Peltophorum inermi

Copper pod tree, which is native to Sri Lanka, also known as the Yellow flame tree in Sri Lanka. This deciduous tree grows approximately 10 meters up to height. This tree is very successful in the dry zone & flowers can be seen during the dry periods of the year. The copper pod is commonly grown as a roadside tree, but in present its comes to the home garden as a shading tree, because of its unique branching pattern with its spreading crown & abundance of bright yellow blooms. Leaves come in lush green & the flowers are bright yellow, 2.5–4cm in diameter. Copper pod plants can be easily propagated by seeds & stumps can also be grown. This is a very suitable plant for shade.

copper pod tree
Peltophorum inermi | Source: https://www.amazon.in/
flowers of copper pod tree- best plant for shade
Bright yellow blooms- Peltophorum inermi
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/

Related article: 15 Best Indoor Plants for Your House

7. Domba – Alexandrian Loural

Scientific name:  Calophyllum inophyllum

Domba is a large, native tree with a compact crown, which best for use as a shading tree in your home garden. This tree grows up to 20 meters in height. Branching pattern of this tree is nearly whorled & Leaves are about 9-20 cm long & broadly elliptic with a rounded base and apex. It comes with fragrant white color flowers & yellowish fruits. Domba trees can be grown in both wet & dry zones, but especially in coastal areas. This can be used for the people who love to have a dark & shady spot in home gardens.

Domba tree - Suitable plant for shade
Calophyllum inophyllum | Source: https://alchetron.com/
flowers of Domba tree
Flowers- Calophyllum inophyllum
Source: https://herbalplantslanka.blogspot.com/

8. Kukul Kakul – Queen of Flowering Trees

Scientific name: Amherstia nobilis

Kukul Kakul tree commonly known as Queen of Flowering trees or Pride of Burma. It grows approximately up to 10-20 meters in height. This tree grows well in the intermediate and wet zones on rich soils & wet conditions. In Sri Lanka, it is commonly introduced as a fine front garden tree. You can propagate this plant by using seeds. Flowers of this tree appear in red, and flowers are seasonal from March to August. The flowers of this tree are seen hanging from a flower stalk. This tree has a spreading canopy, which provides lots of shade to the ground.

Kukul kakul tree.
Amherstia nobilis
Source: https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/
Flowers of Kukul kakul tree
Flower stalk- Amherstia nobilis
Source: https://slflora.blogspot.com/

9. Roborosia – The Tropical Cherry Blossom Tree

Scientific name: Tabebuia rosea

This tree can be identified as a very unique tree because of its beauty in the flowering season. Also, Roborosia is quite common in roadsides & large gardens. It is a fast-growing tree, which grows up to 15-20 meters in height, with a wide crown with irregular branches. The tree trunk can be grayish brown, and leaves are compound with pointed ends. Profuse flowering in May-July. Flowers are large, & appears in pink to purple. The view of this tree is spectacular when flowers appear while the tree has very few leaves. Roborosia is quite a good home garden flowering tree that can be used as a shade tree, while adding a unique look to your home garden.

Roborosia tree full of flowers
Tabebuia Rosea
Source: https://www.pacifichorticulture.org/
flowers of Roborosia tree
Flowers- Tabebuia rosea
Source: https://www.alibaba.com/p

10. Mudilla – Sea Poison Tree

Scientific name: Barringtonia asiatica

It is a deciduous & native tree, which grows mostly along coastal regions in the country. Mudilla tree grows approximately 20-25 meters in height. It has a grey color, thin trunk & leaves appear in dark green & terminally clustered. Flowers are pink to red, long terminal racemes. There is no any edible part in this tree. You can easily propagate this tree by seeds. In the coastal areas, this tree is used for protection against salt spray and mostly for shade. This tree can be used to create dark & shady spots in any coastal home garden.

Mudilla tree
Barringtonia asiatica
Source: http://www.trees.lk/
Flowers of mudilla tree
Flower- Barringtonia asiatica

11. Magul Karanda – Indian Beach

Scientific name: Pongamia pinnata

Magul karanda is a native, large tree that grows approximately 15-20 meters in height. It can successfully grow in monsoon & intermediate zones in the country with rich soil conditions.  It has a large canopy that spreads equally in wide, which can produce lots of shade to the ground. This tree has a straight, grey-brown trunk & the leaves of the tree are pinnate and shiny. Flowers blossoming throughout the year & flowers appears in greenish pink-white. Magul Karanda tree is mostly used as a shade tree or a hedge in home gardens.

big magul karanda tree. suitable plants for shade
Pongamia pinnata
Source: https://www.amazon.in/
beautiful flowers of magul karanda tree
Flowers- Pongamia pinnata
Source: https://ayurwiki.org/

Related article: Low-cost and Easy Ways to Instantly Make Your Garden Attractive

12. Watha Bhanga – Birdlime tree

Scientific name: Pisonia alba

Watha bhanga is a native, flowering plant that grows 20-30 meters up to height. It is a common small tree that can be planted virtually from the coastal areas to the sub-montane zones in the country. In present Watha bhanga plant cultivates occasionally in the home garden as a shade plant. Its growth rate is high and easy to cultivate. Leaves of the Watha bhanga tree are edible. While you can use this tree as a shade plant, you can plant this as a screening plant as well.

Watha bhanga tree. very good tree for shade
Pisonia alba | Source: https://www.flickr.com/
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S. Piumika
Landscape Architect Department, University of Moratuwa
Articles: 7

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  1. Im looking to buy a Roborosia- The Tropical Cherry Blossom Tree , please help to advise where to buy this plant.

  2. very interesting article. Just what I was looking for


  3. Anyone can help us to buy these plants. Roborosia and wal dhal.

  4. Good artice.. Thanks to the team. 👍

  5. Useful Article, Thanks

  6. Sasika Amarasinghe
    Sasika Amarasinghe

    Very informative. Thank you!

  7. Hemantha Kularatna
    Hemantha Kularatna

    Very useful article. thank you!

  8. Maru !! 👌

  9. Do the Araliya trees good for the home gardens? I have seen it in many hotels. But some people are teling that Araliya is not good for home gardens

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