Shade Loving Shrubs


Guidelines on Shade Loving Shrubs


Every yard has that one spot where nothing seems to grow because it receives little sunlight – the perfect location for shade loving shrubs.  Without knowing which bushes and shrubs can survive and thrive in less light, many gardeners face the frustrating task of continually replanting and losing plants.


Many bushes and shrubs as well as other plants require either part sun to full sun in order for the plant to achieve its full potential in growth and flowering.  Few of these can do well in areas that offer anything less, which makes it truly difficult to landscape areas of shade.  These are the spots in the yard where interest and splashes of color are direly needed, but many landowners are unfamiliar with the plants that can take the lack of sun.  A little bit of information on perennial shrubs will help the gardener to fill those dark and mysterious niches with vibrant and beautiful plants.


Two of the most popular shrubs that love the shade are azaleas and rhododendrons.  Evergreen like foliage give these plants significant visual appeal at all times of year and, to increase their shade value even more, their blooms will be bright tidings in an otherwise dismal area.  Both enjoy a slight acidic soil, which can be organically obtained by mulching the soil with pine needles.  As the plants grow, they can form hedges which can be particularly lovely bordering a home.  Azaleas are especially well loved by gardeners with shady areas because of the large palate of colors they offer.  From brilliant white to deepest red, a wide array of eye candy can be presented with a full line of azaleas.  Rhodies can also brighten these areas with their own rainbow hues of white, pink, red, yellow and purple. 


Shade gardeners are not by any means limited to these two popular shade loving shrubs, however.  There are several types of evergreens that also thrive in areas shunned by sunlight.  Boxwood, yew and barberry appear to be quite happy without full sun; offering dark, glossy green foliage as well as their own showy blooms.  They are sturdy plants, also, withstanding cold temperatures and able to live in diverse types of soil.


Evergreens are not the only plants that can live in these environments.  Several beautifully flowering perennial shrubs, such as hydrangea, goat’s beard, hosta, mountain laurel, snowberry, winterberry and more will add a great deal of color through long lasting blooms in the shade.  For a plant that offers not only beauty but excellent fragrance as well, a honeysuckle shrub will bring great delight.  The wonderful aspect of the honeysuckle is that it can be grown as a mounding shrub or a climbing shrub; providing tall or short interest to the area of shade. 

When a large area of shade is being designed for plants, consider using a witch hazel shrub.  Lesser known but an excellent choice for dim areas, witch hazel can grow to be quite large and fill shady areas with their spread.  In the spring and early summer, sunny yellow flowers blanket the large bush; giving the illusion of sunlight in a shady area. 


In areas where possible, combining a number of these shade loving shrubs will turn a dark and unattractive area into a breathtaking vision.  Mixing the varieties to provide a visual feast of color, incorporating spring and summer blooming bushes together with those which offer fall and winter interest will ensure that the shady area will shine with variety.


Gardeners who have tried and failed to fill those shade locations in their landscapes over the years can use these shrubs which thrive in the shady areas to bring beauty to every area of their yard.