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Best Grass Seed for Shade

To find the best grass seed for shade, we reviewed:
  • 1. Brand
  • 2. Usage
  • 2. Coverage
As a piece on the best grass seed for shade, mounds of green grass and large shade trees

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Best Grass Seed for Shade

Some grasses flourish in the sun while others prefer only shaded areas. If you’re planning on buying grass seed, then you need to consider the shady areas in your yard as well. Failure to do so will leave you with bare spots in your lawn.

There’s a variety of seeds on the market today, so we built this guide to help you choose the best one. This guide covers the best grass seed for shade, and is accompanied by a comprehensive buying guide.

Our Top 5 Picks:

1. Best Overall: Scotts GrassSeed Dense Shade Mix for Tall Fescue Lawns
2. Second-Place: Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade
3. Third-Place: Jonathan Green Dense Shade Grass Seed Mixture
4. Runner-Up: Pennington One Step Complete for Dense Shade Areas
5. Runner-Up: Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed

Best Overall

Scotts Turf Builder Grass Seed Dense Shade Mix for Tall Fescue Lawns

Scotts GrassSeed Dense Shade Mix for Tall Fescue Lawns

Great performance in nearly any shade from a well-known and trusted brand.

Brand: Scotts
Usage: Shade
Coverage: 1,750 sq ft

Scotts GrassSeed Dense Shade Mix is an American brand that’s been around since 1868. They produce the best seed grass for shady regions you can find on the market today. This mix was developed for lawns in the northern and southern parts of the US and grows with as little as 3 hours of sunlight.

It’s ideal for growing around dense trees, but will take about a month for the shady pieces of your lawn to grow. One of the best features about this product is the exclusive 4 in 1 WaterSmart PLUS coating.

It allows the grass seed to absorb more water and provides the seed with essential nutrients. It also protects seedlings from disease and keeps it moist 2X longer than most seed products on the market.


Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade​

Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade

A grass seed designed to save up to 30% more water, even in the shade.

Brand: Scotts
Usage: Shade
Coverage: 1,750 sq ft

Pennington Smart Seed Dense Shade produces grass in shady areas or areas with minimal sun. This product is a mixture of perennial rye and oat grasses and, unlike other grasses, won’t grow too tall.

This makes it low-maintenance, requiring very little water and fertilizer. Pennington’s Penkoted technology protects the grass seed from deadly fungus to give it a better chance to grow while using up to 30% less water.


jonathan Green 10610

Jonathan Green Dense Shade Grass Seed Mixture

One of the best grass seeds for shade that grows where other seeds have failed.

Jonathan Green
Coverage: 1,750 sq. ft

Jonathan Green Dense Shade Seed is a great product that grows very well in shady areas where other seed mixtures struggle. The most significant difference between this mix and others is that it contains turf grasses that help fight insects.

The distinctive fescue and ryegrass are tough, durable, and require little to no maintenance. On average, it takes two weeks to germinate and easily withstands both the sun and the shade.


Pennington One Step Complete for Dense Shade Areas​

Pennington One Step Complete for Dense Shade Areas

This grass seed takes Pennington's dense shade mix a step further.

Brand: Jonathan Green
Usage: Shade
Coverage: 1,250 sq. ft

Pennington One Step Complete grass Seed is another excellent solution for dense shade areas. This is an all-in-one blend, and in the package, you’ll find everything you need to grow a thick lawn in shady regions. The fescue grass seed is pre-mixed with fertilizer, so it’s ready to use straight out of the bag.

If you’re looking for cool-season grass, fescue seed is a perfect choice. Expect sprouting in as little as two weeks and very little maintenance. This seed also contains Pennington’s Penkoted technology to ensure better plant growth.


Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed​

Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed

Promotes grass growth in heavily shaded or damp areas.

Brand: Scotts
Usage: Shade
Coverage: 1,750 sq. ft

Last on the list is Jonathan Green Shady Nooks Grass Seed. This seed mix is specially formulated to stimulate grass growth in dry, wet, and shady locations. The grass contains Pilgrim POA, a shade-tolerant grass that requires very little water and sunshine to grow.

This is another ready-to-use mixture that grows well in moist shady areas and provides quick and long-lasting results.

How to Choosing the Best Grass Seed for Shade

Choosing the right kind of grass seed for shady locations is a piece of cake if you know what to look out for. In this buying guide, We’ll go over how to pick the right grass seed, grow your grass lawn in cool climate conditions, and several other factors to consider before purchasing.

Types of Seeds for Planting in Shady Places

The first and most important thing to pay attention to when buying grass seeds is to check the seasonality. Cool-season grasses are generally shadow-resistant and work well in shady locations. Warm-season lawn grasses thrive in more southern and western zones, whereas cold season grasses are suitable in northern areas.

Also, cold season grasses are better used in the fall, whereas warm-season grasses should be planted in late spring or early summer. These two types of grass seeds are usually separated in stores, so finding them shouldn’t be difficult at all. 

Types of Grasses and Their Features

Knowing the types of grass seeds available and their ideal environments allows you to choose the best grass seed for your lawn. 

Kentucky Bluegrass

Kentucky bluegrass is the best choice for the cooler northern areas. Sunlight and a regular water supply are needed for a beautiful and consistent bluegrass lawn.  

Perennial Ryegrass

Perennial ryegrass is a cool-season grass that germinates quickly and holds up to moderate to high foot traffic. Ryegrass is a common addition to this cool-season grass for overseeding.

Consider the Soil Type for Planting

Many factors influence the germination of grass, and in the shadow, soil conditions quickly become unbalanced. Some of these factors include acidic or clay soil type, temperature conditions, and others.

All these things must be considered when buying grass seed. What’s the perfect way to learn your soil’s condition? A simple soil test. Those kits are sold in most stores, and they’re designed to recognize any issues in your ground.

To test your soil, you will need to obtain a soil test kit from your local extension office. To take the soil test, gather some soil samples from several places around your lawn and put them in the soil test bag.

It should take about a week or two to get your results back, depending on your region. Also, expect to pay about $10-$20 for the test. It’s also important you plan for the test ahead of time before you plan to seed.

Sunlight Exposure

Even though all the grass seeds are suited for shaded areas, not all shade is the same—there are areas with full shade, partial shade, and dappled shade. The difference between them is the amount of sunlight they receive.

Grass usually doesn’t grow in full shade, so consider plants that are very shade tolerant. Partial shade is in areas that receive sunlight for a few hours a day, and most types of grass need at least four hours of sun every day. The best grass types for shade include ryegrass fescues.


How big an area the bag or box of grass seed covers is usually given in the instructions. You need more seeds to grow a brand new lawn than you will if you’re filling in gaps in patchy grass or covering bare spots, therefore its best to buy 10% more seed than what you plan for.

Be aware that the given weight of a bag or a grass seed box doesn’t mean that the mix contains that amount of grass seeds. Some brands include fillers such as chaff, dust, low-quality seeds, and other materials.

So, What’s the Best Grass Seed for Shade?

If you’re looking for the best grass seed for shade, look no further than this list. We hope we’ve helped you learn something, and be sure to check out our many other product reviews and home improvement guides.

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