10 Best Growing Grass Seeds for Shade

Even the best lawns can have thin or bare patches in the shadier spots.

While it may seem impossible at first, you can indeed grow grass in these stubborn spots, giving you a thick and full lawn. In fact, not only is it possible, but it can even be easy!

You see, grass is like any other plant. It can come in different varieties and types, each one with different needs to grow healthy and happy.

This means that purchasing grass that thrives in low-light conditions may just be the secret to filling out your lawn.

However, picking the right grass seeds can be hard, especially if you’re not familiar with plant and lawn care. That’s why we’ve made this complete buying guide to help you purchase the best grass seeds for shade.

The Top 10 Best Grass Seeds for Shade

1. Jonathan Green 10610 Dense Shade Grass Seed Mixture

Jonathan Green 10610 Dense Shade Grass Seed Mixture

The Jonathan Green Dense Shade mixture is designed to keep your yard looking full and green no matter how much shade it gets.

This bag uses a mixture of different seed types. These different mixtures will help your grass grow even with a variety of light or seasons.

This mixture in particular is designed to be especially resistant to shade.

It also contains naturally insect resistant endophytic turfgrass varieties. These work to help deter any insect pests.

However, that’s one thing that you may need to do further research on depending on your region. It’s important to make sure that this grass blend won’t harm any of the population of native pollinators in your area.

This is a 25-pound bag, so it’ll cover around 5000 sq. ft.

2. Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Dense Shade Mix

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Dense Shade Mix

Some areas are tougher to grow grass in than others. While shade may be causing you to have thin or bald spots in your yard, it may not be the only issue.

That’s why it’s important to pick grass seeds that can handle shade as well as anything else nature may throw your way.

The Scotts Turf Builder mix is designed to be resistant to several natural conditions. Whether it’s heat and drought, insects, or disease, this grass is designed to be as sturdy as possible to keep your lawn thriving.

Plus, if you’re worried about the amount of sunlight your yard gets, this is one of the best grass seeds for shade. It can survive in full or partial sun and grows with as little as three hours of light each day.

If you’re struggling to get your grass seeds to sprout, this shade grass seed mix has that covered too.

These seeds are designed with the exclusive 4 in 1 WaterSmart PLUS Coating. This works to absorb more water, provide essential nutrients, and protect seedlings from disastrous diseases.

This mix is ideal for low maintenance lawns around or under dense trees. It’s made up of Scotts’ best seeds for a healthy, thriving lawn.

3. Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Seed

Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade Grass Seed

If you’re looking to cover a smaller area without having a large amount of seeds leftover, then you might find this shade grass seed is right for you. Coming in a 7-lb pound bag, this dense shade grass seed can cover up to 1750 sq. ft.

The Pennington Smart Seed Defense bag is designed to use less water than regular grass seeds. In fact, it’s been optimized to use up to 30% less, reducing maintenance and helping prevent damage during droughts.

Pennington also uses exclusive Penkoted technology to protect your seeds from a deadly fungus. On top of being resistant to harmful fungi, the seeds are also resistant to disease.

This seed mix is formulated to thrive in the shade, making it a great choice if you have dense trees on or around where you plan to grow your grass.

4. F.M. Brown’s Platinum Elite Shady Grass Seed Mixture

F.M. Brown's Platinum Elite Shady Grass Seed Mixture

Think that just because you have a lot of shade in your yard that you can’t have a nice lawn? Think again.

F. M. Brown’s Platinum Elite shade grass mixture is ideal for providing a dense, dark green, highly attractive turf under hard to grow, shaded conditions. This means that even with less than ideal conditions you can still have your dream lush lawn.

This seed mixture is fast growing so that you can see results soon. These turf building grass seeds are designed to sprout within 10 days of sowing and mature over three weeks.

Once mature, the grass grows continuously and will require little maintenance from you.

This shade grass seed mixture is made to thrive where other plants struggle. Not only is it hardy enough to flourish in shaded areas, but it’s also designed to be one of the brand’s most drought-resistant options.

Once the grass is established it requires little effort, just upkeep. The grass can be mowed once it reaches 3 inches.

Just be sure to water 2 to 3 times a day until germination. Water regularly after germination.

5. Pennington One Step Complete for Dense Shade Areas

Pennington One Step Complete for Dense Shade Areas

The Pennington One Step Complete is designed to thrive in the shade while being as easy as possible for you. This seed mix is premixed with everything you’ll need to start growing a lush, thick lawn of healthy grass today.

It combines Premium Smart Seed grass seed, professional-grade fertilizer, and mulch. This means that it is ready to use upon purchasing, no mixing is needed.

This also means that it’s formulated with everything your grass will need to grow healthy and strong. As a result, you’ll get to enjoy better grass for longer.

Pennington also uses exclusive Penkoted technology to protect your seeds from a deadly fungus. On top of being resistant to harmful fungi, the seeds are also resistant to disease.

This ensures better plant growth.

This shade grass seed mix is fast-growing and can repair bald spots in two weeks or less.

6. BONIDE Grass Seed 60211 Dense Shade Grass Seed

BONIDE Grass Seed 60211 Dense Shade Grass Seed

When it comes to patching bald and thin spots in your lawn, you’ll want a grass seed that’s designed to grow thick and fast. The Bonide shade grass seed is formulated for dense shade conditions but spreads quickly.

In fact, it’s designed to be ideal for seeding under trees. This means that it can work even in extreme low-light conditions.

7. Jonathan Green & Sons 10600

Jonathan Green & Sons 10600

When you’re working with shady areas, it can be hard to find seeds that take and grow healthily. As a result, it’s important to find bags that specifically say something along the lines of “dense shade grass seed”.

And this 3-pound bag by Jonathan Green & Sons does just that.

This grass seed is formulated to grow in shady areas where other mixtures have failed. It’s designed to take to poor soil and low light conditions in order to give you a healthy, vibrant lawn.

The bag comes ready to spread along your yard. However, if you want to add fertilizer or any other grow boosting additives, you’ll need to do that on your own.

8. X-Seed Moisture Boost Plus Deep Shade Lawn Seed Mixture

X-Seed Moisture Boost Plus Deep Shade Lawn Seed Mixture

One of the best ways to ensure a healthy, full lawn is to protect your seeds before planting them. The X-Seed Moisture Boost Plus shade grass seeds do the work for you.

Each seed in this 3-pound bag is coated in polymer. This helps improve water retention to enhance germination and boost your seeds’ performance in poor soils.

This bag is also designed for smaller yards, which is great if you’re looking just to cover a few bald spots. One 3-pound bag of seeds can cover 1800 sq. ft. of existing yards during overseeding and 900 sq. ft. of new yard for establishing a lawn.

9. Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Sun and Shade

Scotts EZ Seed Patch and Repair Sun and Shade

With proper care, this revolutionary seeding mix will grow almost anywhere, shade or shine. It’s paired with a mulch and a fertilizer, to help boost germination to patch and repair your sparse or balding yard.

The seed is Scott’s best high-performance shade grass seed, and the mulch absorbs 6x its weight in water and expands for safe, moist growing. The fertilizer has exclusive controlled-release technology to help keep your seeds well-fed without giving them too many nutrients at once.

The tackifier helps keep seeds from washing away. This allows you to plant it on slopes or in high traffic areas with no worries about your seeds or new grass getting damaged.

On top of that, it has a protectant to fight off any diseases.

Overall, this is one of the best grass seeds for shade because it puts in so much work to protect your seeds and give them what they need to grow no matter the conditions.

10. GreenView 2829348

GreenView 2829348

Just because you have shade in some areas of your lawn doesn’t mean you’ll have shade all over. While buying sun grass seeds will lead to bald spots in shady areas, buying only shade grass seeds will lead to dead and dying grass in the sun.

As a result, it’s best to get a mix of seeds to ensure even growing no matter what.

The GreenView Fairway Grass Seed mix ensures that your grass will thrive, shade or shine. It utilizes a blend of fescue grass for cool-season growing that looks good all year long.

These seeds are designed to germinate in 7-14 days. This means you’ll reap the benefits of an established lawn sooner.

The GreenView shade grass seeds are also durable. They’re designed to provide top-rated resistance from heat, drought, insects, diseases, and even heavy traffic.

This means you’ll have more time to spend enjoying your lawn and your life and less on maintaining your lawn. 

Uncoated seeds ensure maximum seed coverage; 2, 500 sq ft coverage if seeding new lawn; 5, 000 sq ft coverage if overseeding existing lawn.

For the best results, GreenView recommends using a fertilizer. They recommend their GreenView Fairway Formula Seeding Success, which is a biodegradable mulch with fertilizer that keeps your seeds moist.

However, each lawn is unique, so it’s up to you to decide if you think you need fertilizer and which fertilizer is right for you. 

Everything You Need to Know About Buying Grass Seeds for Shade

We’ve given you our top 10 favorite picks for low-light grass seeds, but we also want to give you the tools to pick the best seeds for you and your lawns.

As a result, we’ve compiled this list of everything you’ll need to know about buying grass seeds for shade.

We’ve even gone one step further and included a brief introduction to some grass lawn alternatives in case you’ve decided to get creative with the shady parts of your lawn.

Shade areas on grass

What to Consider Before Choosing a Seed

Foot Traffic

Not all grass is designed to be planted on a sports field. Certain grasses can support more foot traffic than others, which means picking the right type of your is important.

If you plan on walking on your grass a lot, you’ll want to go with a more durable grass type. This also means you’ll want to stay away from grass alternatives like clover, as these are more fragile.


Even with cool-season grass that’s more adapted to shade, you’ll find that there are differences in acceptable climates. Take a look at fescue and Kentucky bluegrass for example.

Both of these are common cool-season grasses. However, fescue is more drought-resistant than bluegrass, and bluegrass can handle warmer temperatures.

As a result, when you’re looking for the best shade grass seed, you’ll want to consider where you live. Average temperatures and the typical climate can help give you an idea of what types you need to look for.

Amount of Shade

Not all shade is created equal, and that will impact the type of grass seed you need to buy.

Unless you live in a highly forested area or have a lot of coverage over your yard, your lawn won’t be in the shade all day. As the sun moves across the sky, there is a good chance that even shady portions of grass will have sunlight at some point.

As a result, it’s important to track just how much sunlight the area gets each day. Whether it gets three hours or six, these tiny differences can have a big impact on the type of grass you get.

Different grass in shade area

Grass Types

There are three main types of grass for shady areas: fescue, Kentucky bluegrass, and perennial ryegrass.

Fescue is a cool-season grass. This means that while it’s only suited for cooler temperatures as it’ll die in warm temperatures, it’ll stay green all year round.

Tall fescue grass grows best in a moist environment, like the Pacific Northwest in the United States. However, it can also survive dry periods in a dormant state.

As a result, fescue grass can be found on every continent but Antartica.

The best time to play fescue grass is during the fall, and it germinates within 10 to 14 days.

Kentucky bluegrass is cool season grass better suited to more humid areas. It spreads by rhizomes, which means it’ll grow and fill in any bald areas quickly.

If the weather gets too hot or too dry, you may find it will turn yellow.

If your Kentucky bluegrass lawn starts to look sparse, you can also overseed it. This involves placing down a layer of fresh seed over your lawn during either the fall or spring.

When it grows, it’ll help repair your lawn and thicken it so it can thrive again.

Perennial ryegrass is another cool-season grass, one that’s designed to come back year after year for thick, healthy lawns. It will go dormant in the summer and prolong what waves can even kill it.

Perennial ryegrass is a thick, bunching grass that works well with other types. As a result, it’s often found in mixtures.

Seed Blends

The resources in your yard will vary based on area. The soil by your front porch may be different from that by your driveway, and so on. Some areas will have more shade than others.

As a result, sometimes a single type of seed won’t be enough to cover all these different areas. This means that looking for a blend of seeds rather than one type may be beneficial.

Grass seed blends are also beneficial if you live in an area with a range of temperatures and seasons throughout the year. This will help keep your grass green and full year-round since certain grass types will thrive when others aren’t.

Banned Grass

Believe it or not, there are rules on what type of grass you can grow in your yard.

Some grasses are banned due to the fact that, in certain areas, they tend to take on an aggressive nature because the climate is too ideal for them. As a result, they’ll tend to damage the environment.

It’s important to do your research on what grass, if any, is banned in your region.

Shade under tree


Who says a lawn has to be only grass? If you’re still struggling to get grass to grow in the dark parts of your lawn, or if you just want to get creative, we’ve included three alternatives to help keep your lawn looking just the way you want it.

Native Biodiversity Lawn

Turning your lawn into a garden bloom with plants native to the area is a great way to fill in bald patches while also helping the environment. Planting native species of grass and plants can turn your yard into an ecological oasis and support native pollinators. 

The first step to planting a lawn abundant in native biodiversity is to do your research to find what plants are native to your area. While searching you may find that you’re in a region that offers rebates for planting native gardens.

After choosing your plants, the process is just like maintaining a lawn. Since the plants will be native to the area and climate, they’ll be naturally inclined to thrive – giving you a full, blooming lawn even in the shade.

Clover Lawn

Clover lawns have grown into popularity recently, and with all the benefits, it’s no surprise. Compared to grass, clover lawns require less maintenance and are easier to keep flourishing and green.

Clover lawns require less fertilizer and water than monoculture lawns. Plus, they always help the soil by returning helpful nutrients.

The biggest downside of a clover lawn, however, is that they’re not designed for high-traffic. You can sow a mixed-clover lawn which will be more durable.

Clover is also a short-lived perennial, which means you may need to resow it every two to three years. 

Moss Lawn

When it comes to shady lawns, moss is one of the best things you can plant. Not only is moss durable even during droughts, but it actually prefers shade over the sun.

Some varieties can grow even in complete shade. This means that no matter how much shade you have in your yard, planting moss can help cover up those bald and thinning spots.

Final Thoughts

If you look at your lawn and find it riddled with bald or thinning spots due to shade, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Growing grass in areas with excessive shade can be difficult, especially if you’re not using the right type of seeds. Like crops and other plants, certain types of grass need certain amounts of sunlight each day to grow and be healthy.

As a result, without the right grass seeds, it can seem impossible to fill in those bare areas. That’s why we created this list of the top 10 best grass seeds for shade to help you navigate the buying practice so you can focus on supporting and maintaining your lawn.