Flowering Shrubs for Dry Shade

Written by erin maurer
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Flowering Shrubs for Dry Shade
Honeysuckles fill shade gardens with fragrance and interesting, yellow blooms. (Wild Honeysuckle 1 image by DelB from Fotolia.com)

Dry shade conditions are those typically found under the canopy of deciduous trees. In the spring and summer, when the trees are full of lush, green leaves, the areas beneath them become dry and very shaded. In the fall and winter, more light filters through the trees while rain and snow moisten the soil. Some types of flowering shrubs are well-suited to these conditions as they naturally grow under the canopy of forest trees.


Camellias thrive in dry shade conditions, according to the Cloud Mountain Farm website. These large shrubs commonly reach heights of about 8 feet or more. This evergreen shrub features snowy blooms and glossy, evergreen leaves. For many years, camellias could only be grown south of U.S. Department of Agriculture zone 6, but the development of winter-hardy versions makes them an appropriate choice for most of the United States, according to the National Gardening Association. Winter-hardy camellias may require more sun than traditional versions. To increase the number of blooms on a camellia shrub, plant along the edge of shaded spaces, allowing the shrubs to gain some light throughout the day.

Bush Honeysuckle

The bush honeysuckle is an ideal flowering shrub for many shade gardens, as the fast-spreading shrub is native to North America, according to the University of Delaware. The bush honeysuckle features yellow blooms throughout the midsummer, according to the National Gardening Association. This shrub tends to grow horizontally and often spreads rapidly throughout a space. In order to prevent the honeysuckle from becoming invasive, the gardener may need to regularly trim this shrub. Honeysuckle blooms provide a food source for insects, butterflies and birds.

Pinxterbloom Azalea

Many varieties of shrubs in the rhododendron family, including some azaleas, are well adapted to dry, shaded conditions. The pinxterbloom azalea, also known as the wild azalea and pinxter azalea, tops the list of flowering, dry-shade-loving shrubs, according to the University of Delaware. In the spring, the pinxterbloom blossoms with bright white, pink-tipped blooms. Blooms last through the entire spring season with bright, showy blossoms, according to the National Gardening Association. This shrub is native to North America, making it an ideal choice for many locations throughout the United States. Additionally, the pinxterbloom azalea is known for attracting birds and butterflies to the garden.

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