Shrubs that grow in shade are a diverse lot. These bushes can provide color and interest to a drab nook in your yard. They range from short bushes to tall hedges and those that are evergreen to those that drop their leaves. Some of them provide blossoms while others mostly contribute foliage.
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Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) is a native plant in eastern North America. Its natural habitat is in woodland areas, where it is shaded by trees. They sport glossy evergreen leaves and produce showy clusters of flowers in late spring. Cultivars have been developed just for use in the landscape, including the dwarf Minuet laurel. The color of the flowers on this cultivar is more vibrant than that on wild mountain laurels.
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Among deciduous shrubs, Japanese rose (Kerria japonica) is among the most shade-tolerant. There are many shrubs that grow in shade, in the sense that they will not die for lack of sunlight there. But you want more than for a bush to survive, you want it to thrive. If you are planting the shrub for flowers, you want a full display of blooms, not a sparse sprinkling here and there. Japanese rose furnishes a good display of flowers in partial shade.
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As their name suggests, climbing hydrangeas (Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris) are shade-tolerant vines, but they can be trimmed so as to maintain them as if they were shrubs. While they tolerate shaded areas, they tend to yield better flowering displays when exposed to a reasonable amount of sunlight. Peeling bark provides winter interest.
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As with climbing hydrangeas, the blooming of Carol Mackie daphne shrubs may be enhanced if the plants receive sufficient sunlight. But this fact is hardly problematic, as these plants are worth growing for their variegated leaves, alone. Their flowers are also noteworthy, especially because they are wonderfully aromatic.Continue to 5 of 30 below.
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Emerald and Gold euonymus is another bush with bi-colored leaves; in this case, the name tells you exactly what those two colors are. The gold part of that tandem will be brighter the more sun the bush gets, but it nevertheless is worthy of consideration as a shrub that grows in shade.
There are many kinds of euonymus. One is quite notorious as an invasive plant and is called, in common parlance, "burning bush." While this is a shrub that grows in shade, lack of sufficient sunlight may... rob it of its one selling point: its fall color.
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This entry and the next are both Japanese hollies (Ilex crenata). Compared to American and English hollies, Ilex crenata has small leaves, reminiscent of boxwood. The latter is another shrub that grows in shade and is a legendary hedge plant. Unlike the hollies with which you may be more familiar, the berries on this type are black, not red.
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It is not flowering displays, fall-foliage color, and two-toned leaves alone that catch your attention when you peruse people's landscaping. Another component sure to stand out is any of the so-called "architectural" plants. 'Sky Pencil' holly is one such plant. You can't miss this column-shaped bush. And once you have identified it, you will never forget it.
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All of the evergreen shrubs presented so far are classified as broadleaf types. But these next two entries are examples of needled evergreens. Hemlocks can be trimmed so as to promote the development of dense foliage, making them great for privacy screens. The shrub cultivars make terrific hedges.Continue to 9 of 30 below.
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Yews are somewhat notorious for being poisonous plants, but unless you have children or pets that will be grazing outside, this shouldn't be a major drawback. On a lighter note, yews are one of the plants in Christmas traditions.
These needled evergreens are valued for their showy red berries and as shrubs that grow in shade. Some people find them boring or overused, but the versatility of these tough bushes makes their case for them. Common plants are common for a reason: do not hold their... popularity against them.
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This shade-tolerant bush that offers the best of both worlds, in terms of being not only a flowering shrub but also an evergreen. Andromeda shrubs (Pieris japonica) may offer something else, too: fragrant flowers. Some people find their smell offensive, while others find it pleasing. If you dislike strong flower aromas, you may land in the former group.
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African Scurf Pea
This medium shrub, (Psoralea pinnata) produces lilac blue flowers that may remind you of sweet pea. Their nickname is Kool-Aid bush because the fragrance reminds some people of that beverage. The leaves look something like rosemary and you can train it into a small tree. It will grow in full sun to part shade in USDA Zones 9–11.
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Alder-Leaved Serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia) has clusters of white flowers in spring. It grows in full sun to part shade in USDA Zones 2–9. It also produces edible purple-blue fruit.Continue to 13 of 30 below.
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Alpine currant (Ribes alpinum) will grow in full sun to full shade in USDA Zones 2–7. You will need both male and female plants for it to produce fruit.
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Aucuba japonica is also called spotted laurel and is valued for its colorful leaves. If you have both male and female plants it will produce red berries in the fall. However, it is poisonous so it's not the best choice for everyone.
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Azaleas and Rhododendrons
Beautiful spring blooms in many brilliant shades can be produced by different species of Rhododendron. They include both evergreen and deciduous varieties and can grow in many different USDA Zones. They like acidic soil and do best in partial shade, although some varieties can handle full shade.
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Calycanthus occidentalis has a deep red flower and you may think it produces the fragrance of red wine. It will grow in full sun to full shade but needs moist soil and won't tolerate drought.Continue to 17 of 30 below.
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Camellia or Tea Plant
Camellia sinensis is also known as tea plant. It can grow in USDA Zones 7–9 in full sun to part shade. Yes, the leaves and twigs can be used for tea.
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Cornus canadensis is a subshrub that you can use as a groundcover. It will grow in USDA Zone 2–7 and produces blossoms that give it nicknames including creeping dogwood and bunchberry dogwood.
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Gaultheria procumbens is also known as American wintergreen as its leaves can produce a minty scent. It can grow in USDA Zones 3–8 as a groundcover in acidic soil.
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Loropetalum chinense is an evergreen shrub also known as Chines ewitch hazel. It will grow in USDA Zones 7–10 in partial shade. Different varieties produce white, yellow, or red flowers.Continue to 21 of 30 below.
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Leucothoe axillaris needs acidic soil to grow well. It grows in USDA Zones 5–9 in partial to full shade. It produces urn-shaped bunches of small white flowers.
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You'll recognize Buxus sempervirens as the evergreen shrub often used for hedges and topiaries. It does well in full sun to partial shade and USDA Zones 5–8.
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Dwarf fothergilla, Fothergilla gardenia, grows happily in full sun to full shade in USDA Zones 5–8. It's known for its fluffy white flowers in spring and its fall leaf colors.Continue to 25 of 30 below.
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You can attract hummingbirds with buckeye, Aesculus pavia, also known as firecracker plant. It will grow in full sun or part shade in USDA Zones 5–9. It will grow as a shrub or a tree.
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Red Tip Photinia
The red tip photinia Photinia x fraseri is an evergreen shrub that produces young red leaves while the older leaves are green. It also produces white flowers in spring. It can grow into a tall hedge in USDA Zones 7–9.
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Japanese skimmia, or Skimmia japonica, will produce red or white fruit if you have both a male and a female. It grows in USDA Zones 6–8.
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This is the shrub that gave Hollywood its name. Heteromeles arbutifolia is native to California and grows in USDA Zones 7–11. It has small white flowers that produce red berries.Continue to 29 of 30 below.
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The Paeonia suffruticosa shrub can produce very large flowers in different shades from white to pink, red, or purple. It can grow in USDA Zones 4–8 and needs regular watering.
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Different species of Viburnums can give your garden color in different seasons, not only with flowers but also with their leaves and fruit.