| To reveal the shade tolerance of ground cover plants in Shenzhen city, sixteen ground cover plants from the cultivated plant community in Shenzhen’s Fairy Lake botanical garden were observed on their photosynthetic light-response curves and photosynthetic characteristic parameters. The observed indexes were subject to analysis using the modified rectangular hyperbola model. The results showed that the plants of Bougainvillea glabra, Tabernaemontana divaricata, Catharanthus roseus, Allamanda cathartica var. hendersonii, Ficus microcarpa ‘Golden Leaves’ and Ixora chinensis had higher light compensation point (20-50 ?mol/(m2?s)) and higher light saturation point (900-1 600 ?mol/(m2?s)), the typical characteristics of sun plants, and could be configured in sunny slopes, forest edges and road greening isolation zones in landscape. The plants of Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’, Syngonium podophyllum, Excoecaria cochinchinensis, Diflugossa colorata, Eranthemum pulchellum, Cordyline fruticosa and Hymenocallis littoralis had lower light compensation point (7-15 ?mol/(m2?s)) and lower light saturation point (400-1 000 ?mol/(m2?s)), which indicated their shade-tolerances were much higher than that of other ground cover plants. These plants were suitable for growing in low light environment and could be configured courtyards, under trees and overpass with weak sunlight in landscape. The plants of Philodendron selloum, Sanchezia speciosa and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis exhibited lower light compensation point(7-15 ?mol/(m2?s)) and higher light saturation point(1 000-1 300 ?mol/(m2?s)), which indicated these plants had a wide adaptability to light environment. They could not only survive in weak light, but also had a relatively stronger tolerance to high-density light. These plants would be applied more flexibly according to their landscape effects when they were allocated in landscape. Another results showed that the apparent quantum yield and water use efficiency of these ground cover plants also reflected the significant differences between shade plants and sun plants under different photosynthetic active radiation.