Shrubs for Shade


Make the most of shaded corners, borders and nooks in your garden when you define the space with shade-loving shrubs. Shady landscapes–whether large gardens, small patios or even your terrace- offer the potential to create wonderful contrasts of foliage and blooms that seemingly add add light to shadows.


Things to Consider


Whether you choose deciduous or evergreen shrubs for your shady spots, you’ll need to know the type of shade you have in your space. Study patterns of sunlight and shadow at different times of day through the seasons to better understand your property’s shade patterns. Smaller spaces might be in shade throughout the day; other backyards might only be in shade for part of the day, so the shrubs might have to be sun-tolerant, too. Decide whether areas are in light, semi, dappled or deep shade.


Assess the soil in the area where you’d like to plant. Does the area have dry soil or wet soil? Read the tag on the shade-loving plant you’re considering, and compare this to the soil you’re working with.


Even though your plant likes cool, shade, it still need water. Different plants need different levels of irrigation, so it’s important to think about not only how you will water your garden, but also how. much water each type of shrub needs. For example, you don’t want to plant shrubs that don’t need much water next to those who prefer conditions such as a bog or waterside.


Shrubs that make a statement

Shrubs are gorgeous planted in mass groupings, but sometimes you want a plant to truly be a show-off in your space. Characteristics that may appeal to your sense of style are scent, blooms, or foliage. We love Scentlandia Sweetspire for its sweet, delicate scent. Azaleas and rhododendrons are some of the first and most stunning blooms of the season. In particular, we like the Proven Winners Color Choice Perfect Mundo series. Winterberry has striking foliage (check out Proven Winners Berry Heavy® Gold) and stunning berries that bring life to a winter garden, vase or holiday wreath.
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Shrubs with stunning blooms

We love hydrangeas for blooms that last from late Spring to late Summer and even into Fall. Learn more about hydrangeas here. We carry several varieties of Proven Winners hydrangeas, so you can find the plant that will grow best in your landscape. Some hydrangeas need sun, so be sure to check the plant tag and really do some research before you invest.
Camellia have a classically elegant and sophisticated bloom. This plant, which can grow quite tall in the correct setting, sends blooms into the world in late winter, right when we need it most. We carry several varieties of Camellia in our nurseries.
Crape Myrtles have blooms that electrify humid summer days and hot summer nights. Colors range from white to purple and red. Ubiquitous to the southern United States, Crape Myrtle is a low maintenance shrub that can reach the height of trees.
Other shade-loving shrubs that have beautiful flowers include Sweetspire, Spirea, Azalea, and Aronia.
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Shrubs with changing leaf color

Oakleaf hydrangea is characterized by large leaves that start the spring with deep green color, but by fall are transformed into glorious shades of gold, red and maroon. Oakleaf hydrangeas can be enjoyed through all four seasons with fuzzy spring buds, giant flowers in summer, vibrant fall foliage, and peeling winter bark. Native to many growing areas on the East Coast of North America, Oakleaf hydrangeas are a low maintenance plant that thrives in a mix of sun and shade, where average soil and average watering prevail.
Other shrubs that change color: photinia, aronia, and crape myrtle.
It may be hard to know what will grow best in your eco-region or in a particular spot of your yard. We’re here to help. Email us at [email protected], or visit our stores.