Gardening in shaded areas can be rewarding, provided you select the correct hardy varieties of plants, shrubs, and trees. Some of the best shrubs for shaded areas include azalea, bamboo, boxwood, camellia, gardenia, honeysuckle, Japanese maple, winterberry, and witch hazel.
When we speak about maintenance of a healthy garden, it is assumed that the gardening site is located in a sunny area. Nevertheless, most landscapes have a section of shady area, either because of the garden direction or the shade is cast by fencing and/or building structures. If you grow the regular flowering plants in such places, you may notice stunted growth, or may be the flowers will be dull and small.
Some plants even fail to flower if planted in shade. Thus, very often such shaded areas represent the dull portion of a garden. The practical solution is to grow plant varieties that can tolerate shade. Out of the several plant options for shade gardening are small trees, shrubs, and bushes. They are best adapted in shaded areas as compared to the seasonal flowers. In fact, you can find a myriad varieties of shrubs for shaded areas, from which you can choose as per your garden layout and personal preference.
List of Beautiful Shrubs
While selecting, make sure they are best suited for the climatic conditions and different types of soil in your area. If you are not sure about the hardy shrubs that tolerate shade condition, consider taking advice from your local horticulturist. Depending upon the shade condition, whether partial or complete shade, you can choose the shrub types. Following are some of the popularly-grown shrubs for shady areas that you can consider planting in your garden:
Azaleas are one of the most preferable flowering plants for such spaces with shade. They can be grown under the tree canopies. Acidic soil type, proper drainage, and timely mulching are some growing requirements for azalea. You can plant azaleas either in pots or directly in the garden soil in early spring.
If you are looking for a green background, that too in the dark areas of the landscape, then you can grow bamboos. Bamboos can adapt in partial to complete shade. They grow best if planted near a support structure like walls or fences.
Barberries belong to the deciduous or evergreen shrub types, which can be grown in partial shade to sunny areas. They can adapt in a wide range of soil types and grow to a height of about 8-9 feet. The plants develop attractive yellow blooms between the month of April to June, which mature to red berries in the fall season.
Boxwood is another shrub for shade areas. It is also a favorite for formal landscape designs. You can easily identify boxwood from the square stem. It grows well in alkaline to slightly acidic soils with good drainage. One of the characteristic features of boxwood is that the green foliage turns orange in color after being exposed to full sun.
Camellias are evergreen hardy shrubs that can adapt in complete shade areas. You can find many cultivars of camellia that differ in their growing requirements, flower colors (white, pink, red, bicolor), and blooming time (winter, spring). They are susceptible to heavy frost, hence should be protected during frosting.
Carolina allspice is another hardy deciduous shrub. The plant shows suckering habit and grows to about 7-10 feet in height. Brown-colored blooms appear in the month between April to July. After flowering, the plant should be pruned immediately in order to maintain the desired shape and compactness.
For light to partial shade condition, gardenias are a favorite option for many gardeners, especially because of their large, showy, and fragrant flowers. Based on the cultivar, the flower may be pure white to pale yellow in color. Gardenia can be planted in well-drained, acidic soil, either in containers or in the ground.
If you prefer sweet fragrance along with a beautifully carved garden, then consider growing honeysuckle. You can opt either for the climbing variety or the shrubby type. It grows best in well-drained soil that receives partial shade condition. With honeysuckle blooms in the garden, you can enjoy butterflies and hummingbirds through the spring and summer months.
Hydrangeas are fast growing shrubs that can grow well in partial shade conditions. They grow best in moist and well-drained soil. The average height of hydrangea is 3-5 feet, however, they can be pruned down to about 2 feet. Flowers are borne on large heads, which can spread to about 1 foot. Based on the type of cultivar, the flower color may be white or pink.
Japanese maples are beautiful, shade-loving shrubs. Their reddish purple leaves make them ideal for creating a color pattern in the garden. You can select cultivars that are resistant to pests and diseases. Maintenance tips for Japanese maples include moderate irrigation, minimal fertilization (twice a year), mulching, and regular pruning.
If you are looking for shrubs for complete shade areas, then Japanese laurel is the best alternative. It can thrive well and produce red berries, even if other plants fail to grow. Japanese laurels can also tolerate frequent pruning, hence are ideal for creating hedges.
One of the best shrubs for shade is witch hazel. The requirements for growing witch hazel are moist acidic soil, good drainage, and moderate watering. A striking feature of a witch hazel is the bright-colored cluster of yellow blooms that appear in the fall season.
If there is poor drainage in the shaded area, then there is no other ideal alternative, besides growing winterberry. This belongs to the deciduous holly type, which sheds its dark green leaves every fall season. You can enjoy the scenic beauty of the winterberry during winter when the plant bears bright red berries.
By planting the above shrubs, it is easy to maintain a uniform looking garden, even if the dark area contributes a larger section of the landscape. When purchasing them, ensure that you pick the healthy plants with no disease and pest infestations. You can check for plants with bright green leaves and a healthy stem without dark or brown spots.
Do not forget to take a note of the maintenance tips. Otherwise, all your efforts for planting them will go waste. Though most of these hardy shrubs require only occasional pruning for maintenance, you can remove dead branches and twigs (if any) and check for disease infestations. As you see, majority of the shrubs for shaded areas have vibrant-colored blooms. Thus, you can also think of creating a color pattern to brighten up the darkest areas of your garden.