24 Shrubs That Grow in Partial or Full Shade


mountain laurel partial shade shrub

By Erin Marissa Russell

Are you looking for shrubs you can plant in partial shade or full shade? We’ve got you covered with this list of 24 shrubs that will thrive in partial and full shade. Along with a description of each plant, we’ve included their basic care preferences so you can determine which plants will be right for your garden.

American Beauty berry shrub

American Beauty Berry (Callicarpa americana)

Soil: Moist clay soil with an acidic or neutral pH level

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 6 through 10

American beauty berry also goes by the name French mulberry, or simply beauty berry. The plants do produce pink or lavender flowers, but these are overshadowed by the stunning display of the berries. The berries are purple (or, in some varieties, white) and are present from the end of summer to wintertime. In addition to being gorgeous, the berries also attract wildlife to your garden. American beauty berry shrubs grow to between three and six feet tall, with the same spread.

American Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

Soil: Moist in humus with a neutral to acidic pH level, also offering good drainage

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 3 through 9

Toxicity Warning: Though the fruit is edible when cooked, consuming the plant otherwise is toxic to people and animals, so don’t plant American elderberry where children or pets play unsupervised.

American elderberry shrubs are versatile and do well just about anywhere in the garden. They’re happy in full sun or partial shade, and they can even tolerate dry, rocky soil or wet soil. These shrubs produce white flowers in summer and berries so purple they look black. Mature plants reach heights from five to 12 feet tall, with a spread of three to six feet.

azalea shade shrub

Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)

Soil: Loose soil that offers good drainage and has an acidic pH level (from 4.5 to 6.0); azaleas are often planted on berms

Sun: Partial shade with a few hours of sunshine in the morning; where weather is warm azaleas benefit from more shade, and where it is cool they can tolerate more sunshine

Zone: 6b through 8a (zones vary by species)

Toxicity Warning: Azaleas are toxic to people and animals, so do not grow where children or pets play unsupervised

From the beginning of spring through summer, azalea shrubs are covered with blooms in shades of orange, peach, pink, red, or white. They can reach heights from three feet to 20 feet tall, with the same spread.

Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)

Soil: Dry to moist soil that offers good drainage with a pH level from 6.0 to 7.5

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 3 through 7

Bayberry shrubs are also called northern bayberry or wax myrtle.  The foliage is dense, and the shrub has a rounded growth habit. Flowers are not significant, but as long as a male plant is present to pollinate, a female bayberry shrub produces grayish berries that can be used in making soap or candles. Mature plants can reach five to 10 feet tall, with the same spread.

bottlebrush buckeye shrub

Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

Soil: Average, consistently moist soil that offers good drainage

Sun: Partial shade to full shade

Zone: 4 through 8

Toxicity Warning: The seeds and foliage of bottlebrush buckeye are toxic to humans if consumed, so don’t plant it where children play unsupervised.

For major blooms in shady spots, you can’t beat a bottlebrush buckeye shrub. The shrub sends up tall spikes of tubular white flowers with red anthers. The flowers are followed by buckeye nuts, then the foliage turns yellow in the fall. Mature shrubs can reach from 8 feet to 12 feet tall, with a spread of eight to 15 feet.

Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

Soil: Loamy neutral or alkaline soil

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 5 through 9

Toxicity Warning: Boxwood is toxic to animals like dogs, pets, and horses, so it should not be grown where pets play unsupervised

Boxwood sizes can vary from dwarf bushes that reach just two feet tall to the taller standard-sized versions, which can reach eight feet tall by eight feet wide. They’re often used in landscaping or as privacy hedges and are known for their densely packed branches and foliage.

camellia shade shrub

Camellia

Soil: Rich, moist acidic soil that offers good drainage

Sun: Partial shade

Zone: 7 through 9 (though some camellia varieties are hardy in zone 6)

Camellia is a gorgeous plant with glossy green leaves and large blossoms that resemble roses. The blooms appear in late fall through winter into the beginning of spring and come in shades of lavender, pink, red, yellow, or white. Sizes vary depending on the variety of camellia you are growing and range from two to 12 feet tall and two to 10 feet wide.

Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus)

Soil: Tolerates most soil types as long as drainage is good

Sun: Full sun to full shade (in colder zones, appreciates some sun in wintertime)

Zone: 5b through 10a

Toxicity Warning: The berries and seeds are toxic to people and animals if consumed, so don’t grow Carolina allspice where children or pets play unsupervised.

Coast Leucothoe (Leucothoe axillaris)

Soil: Moist neutral to acidic soil that offers good drainage

Sun: Partial shade

Zone: 6 through 9

Toxicity Warning: This plant is toxic to people and animals, so don’t plant coast leucothoe where children or pets play unsupervised.

The white or pink flowers of coast leucothoe, which resemble lily of the valley, aren’t the only attractive part of this plant. The glossy, dark green foliage transforms in the fall into shades of purple and bronze. Mature plants reach up to four feet tall, with a six-foot spread.

Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii)

Soil: Acidic sandy loam soil rich in organic material that offers good drainage; does not tolerate heavy soils

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 5 through 8

The blossoms of dwarf fothergilla look like little white fuzzballs or bottle brushes appearing at the tips of flowering spikes. These little shrubs have a mature height of one and a half to three feet, with a spread of two to four feet. The foliage turns blazing colors of yellow, orange, and red in the fall.

Flowering Dogwood (Cornus florida)

Soil: Average, moderately moist soil that offers good drainage

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 5 through 9

The beautiful blooms of flowering dogwood appear from April to May. The plant is known for its characteristic large white flowers, which are actually made up not of petals but of bracts. (Bracts are decorative leaves, such as on a bougainvillea. The leaves are dark green, except for in the fall, when they turn red. The bright red fruits that appear from the end of summer to the beginning of fall are beautiful and attract birds to your garden.

Japanese Kerria shrub

Japanese Kerria (Kerria japonica)

Soil: Japanese kerria prefers moist, loamy soil that offers good drainage, but will tolerate any soil type; however, dense soil should be amended with organic material such as compost

Sun: Partial shade is best, though Japanese kerria will tolerate full shade

Zone: 4 through 9

Japanese kerria also goes by the names Japanese rose, kerria rose, and Easter rose. The yellow blossoms that appear in spring resemble marigolds and are plentiful. The shrub grows from five to 10 feet tall, with a six-foot to 10-foot spread. Japanese kerria is a low maintenance plant, except that you will need to remove the suckers if you want to control the plant’s size and keep it from spreading.

Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum)

Soil: Moist, acidic soil that offers good drainage

Sun: Partial shade

Zone: 5 through 9

Japanese maple does have flowers, but it’s the foliage that really steals the spotlight. Some have green leaves and some have red, but in both cases, the leaves greet the fall with displays of orange, purple, red, or yellow. Japanese maple varieties range in size from shrubs to small trees, with heights of 10 to 25 feet tall, with the same spread.

Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica)

Soil: Moist soil that offers good drainage and has an acidic pH level (between 5.1 and 6.0)

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 5 through 8

Toxicity Warning: This plant is toxic to people and animals, so do not plant Japanese pieris where children or pets play unsupervised.

The foliage of a Japanese pieris shrub changes colors as it grows. The leaves start out a bronzy red and transform to glossy green. Its blooming period is about two weeks long, occurring at the end of winter or beginning of spring. The blossoms of Japanese pieris are gathered in drooping clusters at the tips of the branches, and the flowers resemble lily of the valley. They may be white or pale pink. Mature plants reach nine to 12 feet tall, with a spread of six to eight feet.

Mountain Laurel shrub

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Soil: Moist, acidic soil that offers good drainage

Sun: Partial shade

Zone: 4a through 9a

Toxicity Warning: Mountain laurel is toxic to people and animals, so don’t grow it where children or pets play unsupervised

Mountain laurel is also known as American laurel. It has glossy green foliage and twisted, gnarled branches that make it a pretty plant year-round. At the end of May and the beginning of June, you’ll see clusters of white, pink, or rose-colored flowers with purple speckles. The plant size and flower colors vary depending on the variety of mountain laurel you choose to grow. Mature plants reach heights of five to 15 feet tall, with the same spread.

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

Soil: Moist soil that offers good drainage

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 5 through 9

Toxicity Warning: Oakleaf hydrangea is toxic to people and animals, so don’t grow it where children or pets play unsupervised

Oakleaf hydrangea combines the beauty of hydrangea blossoms with the handsome lobed leaves of oak trees. The blooms are white when they open and gradually transform into a pinkish purple color. Mature plants can reach heights of four to eight feet tall, with the same spread.

Paperbush Plant (Edgeworthia chrysantha)

Soil: Moist, acidic soil rich in organic material that offers good drainage

Sun: Partial shade

Zone: 8a to 10b

Paperbush produces tiny blooms, but they’re clustered together into large yellow flower puffs. Once flowers have faded in spring, the foliage of paperbush develops silver and blue undertones. The foliage changes color in fall to yellow. The plant got its name because it is used to make paper and is even used to make banknotes in Japan.

St John's Wort shrub

Shrubby St. John’s Wort (Hypericum prolificum)

Soil: Average, medium soil that offers good drainage

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 3 through 8

Toxicity Warning: Shrubby St. John’s Wort is toxic to animals and moderately toxic to humans. In animals, it causes photosensitivity. In humans, it causes photosensitivity, gastric distress, allergic reactions, and fatigue. Do not plant shrubby St. John’s wort where children or pets play unsupervised.

This plant is also called klamath weed. Shrubby St. John’s Wort produces yellow five-petaled flowers in the summertime that are each packed with yellow stamens. The plants grow to between one foot and five feet tall, with a spread of one foot to four feet.

Sky Pencil Holly (Ilex crenata)

Soil: Prefers loose, loamy soil that offers good drainage, but will tolerate sandy soil, rocky soil, or clay soil

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 5 through 8

Toxicity Warning: Sky pencil holly is toxic to people and animals, so do not plant it where children or pets play unsupervised.

Sky pencil holly also goes by the name of Japanese holly. Mature plants grow to reach heights of three feet to 10 feet tall, with a three-foot to eight-foot spread. Established plants only require water during a drought and should be fertilized once a year. At the end of spring, sky pencil holly produces small white flowers with four petals. Once these fade, they are replaced by small black fruits.

Spotted Laurel (Aucuba japonica)

Soil: Prefers moist soil rich in organic material that offers good drainage, but will tolerate average to poor soil or clay soil

Sun: Partial shade to full shade

Zone: 7 through 9

Spotted laurel also goes by the name of gold dust plant or Japanese laurel. The dark green foliage is dusted with speckles of golden yellow. In springtime, tiny purple-burgundy flowers with four petals appear. Mature plants can grow to heights of six to 10 feet tall, with a spread of five to nine feet.

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)

Soil: Prefers moist, acidic sandy soil but will tolerate clay soil

Sun: Full sun to partial shade; will tolerate full shade

Zone: 3 through 9

Summersweet goes by lots of different names, including clethra, coastal sweet pepperbush, poor man’s soap, or sweet pepperbush. The shrub puts out flowering spikes packed with white blossoms in July and August. Mature plants can grow to reach heights of three to eight feet tall, with a spread of four to six feet. However, some varieties are especially short and fall outside this size range.

Viburnum

Soil: Moist soil that offers good drainage and is slightly acidic (though many viburnums will tolerate alkaline soil)

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 2 through 9

Viburnum also goes by the names American cranberry bush and hobblebush. There are lots of varieties to choose from, with some producing flat flowers, some producing flat umbels outlined with larger flowers, and some producing dome-shaped clusters of flowers. Mature viburnum shrubs can reach three to 20 feet tall, with a spread of three feet to 12 feet.

Virginia Sweetspire shade shrub

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Soil: Slightly moist humus-rich soil with good drainage; prefers a slightly acidic pH but will tolerate other soil types

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 5a through 9a

Virginia sweetspire also goes by the name of Virginia willow. The cylindrical, drooping flower spikes are covered with little white blooms and appear from late spring to the middle of summer. In the fall, leaves blaze into glory, turning red, yellow, and orange. These shrubs grow to reach heights from four to eight feet tall, with the same spread.

Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Soil: Rich, loamy, moist soil; prefers acidic to neutral pH but will tolerate alkaline soil

Sun: Full sun to partial shade

Zone: 3 through 9

Witch hazel also goes by the names American witch hazel and common witch hazel. It’s known for its use in cosmetics, but what’s less known is that it blooms in fall and winter with fragrant, spidery yellow flowers. The green leaves change color in the fall, turning yellow or yellow-orange. Mature plants reach 10 to 20 feet tall, with the same spread.

Now you’ve been introduced to the best shrubs for partial shade and full shade. Whatever you’re looking for in a shade-loving shrub, you’re bound to find it here. Choose a few of the options best suited to your shady spots, and soon you’ll be admiring a whole new view in your garden.

Learn More About Shrubs That Grow in Partial or Full Shade

https://balconygardenweb.com/best-shrubs-for-shade-loving/

https://www.bhg.com/gardening/trees-shrubs-vines/shrubs/shrubs-for-shade/

https://www.birdsandblooms.com/gardening/shade-gardening/top-10-shrubs-for-shade/

https://www.gardenersoasis.com/bushes-to-plant-under-trees/

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/flowers-and-plants/trees-and-shrubs/7-shrubs-for-shade-gardens-pictures

https://www.homesandgardens.com/gardens/best-shrubs-for-shade

The post 24 Shrubs That Grow in Partial or Full Shade appeared first on Gardening Channel.

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