Small Shrubs That Do Well in Full Shade

azalea purple pink image by stresskiller from

Shaded areas in your garden can be more than just the place for ferns and hostas. A number of perennials and shrubs do well in shade. Finding the right plant for the shaded areas in your landscape may simply be finding a shrub that fits your personal tastes and growing zone. A number of flowering, evergreen and deciduous shrubs thrive in the shade. Simply contact your local cooperative extension office or check out the USDA Hardiness Zone Map to get an idea of what zone you're in.


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Flowering shrubs are used as a focal point in the landscape or as another layer of texture behind a perennial bed. A number of cultivars of rhododendron, azalea and hydrangeas stay compact in size and grow well in dappled to full shade. Other flowering shrubs that grow well in shade include: summersweet, with varieties that vary from 3 to 8 feet in height; witch alder, that stays in a mounded 2- to 3-feet high form; and winterberry. There are a number of other shrubs that are small and suitable for your growing area. Check with your local full-service garden centre for a selection of plants that work well in your zone.


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Evergreen plants are divided into two groups--narrow-leafed and broad-leafed. While most evergreen shrubs prefer at least some sun, some varieties of yew, boxwood, holly, euonymus, grapeholly and manzanita grow well in full shade and stay small. Other evergreen shade-loving shrubs include varieties of rhododendron and barberry.


Privet Hedge at Night image by Gary Chorpenning from

Deciduous shrubs make excellent backdrops for perennial gardens or to use as foundation plants around your home. Most deciduous shrubs--those that lose their leaves through winter--prefer at least some sun, but there are a few plants that fair well in full shade, including some varieties of privet, honeysuckle and burning bush.

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