We all have that part of yard that is often consumed by shade for most of the day. Many of us are confused about what exactly to plant in these difficult area’s of the yard because so many first time gardeners are under the assumption that to be a top producing flower shrub extreme sunlight is required. This is not the case, however. There are many lovely shrubs available that actually flourish only in shade or partial shade.
Here are five of my favorite shade loving shrubs that can be grown easily in the climate of the Pacific Northwest.
1) Azalea and Rhododendron
The Azalea is in the family of the Rhododendron so I’m listing them together here. Both flourish in the wet weather of the Pacific Northwest. They can reach staggering heights and their longevity is legendary. Some of these large shrubs are literally hundreds of years old. Both the Azalea and the Rhododendron are a woody shrub like plant that is quite hardy in extreme winters. There are deciduous varieties and evergreen varieties which means that some loose their leaves in winter and others retain there leaves. They both thrive in partial to complete shade.
The variety of blossom colors is staggering for each. You can choose white, peach, pink, red, yellow, and the list can go on with various shades and color patterns. They bloom in the early to late spring depending on the plant.
Please remember that all varieties in this family of shrubs is toxic so take that into consideration if you have children or pets that will be co existing with these lovely shrubs.
2) Burning Bush
This shrub does not blossom but it is striking so I’m including it in my list of favorites because it will always hold a place in my heart.
This is a very hardy shrub that can reach ten feet in height but can be pruned to maintain smaller sizes. During the summer and spring months it is just a typical shrub with green leaves but in the autumn get ready for a display of staggering proportions. This shrub will erupt into vibrant shades of red, orange, and pink. It truly does look as if the bush is on fire.
The Hydrangea is quite well known for its sheer beauty. The blossoms are huge and can be cut for inside your home to make lovely bouquets. They are also excellent for drying to make long lasting flower arrangements.
The uniqueness of this plant makes it well worth cultivating. You can literally manipulate what color blossoms you want to produce by the acidity of the soil. If the soil has a high acid content the blossoms will be blue and if the soil is more limey the blossoms will be pink.
There are many varieties of Hydrangea’s that vary in leaf pattern and size. Virtually a plant to fit any taste or yard. There are even climbing varieties that will easily hang from a lattice on that shady side of your house that is hard to fill.
This small shrub is quite striking with huge flowers that are often quite aromatic. They range in color from white to pink and arrive normally in the spring.
There are many varieties of Viburnum. Some will be deciduous and some evergreen in nature. All are small and compact. They tend to be quite easy to grow and flourish with minimal care. For a first time gardener they are an excellent choice for an attractive shrub that has a very showy flower display.
There are many varieties of Honeysuckle. Some are shrubs and others are vines. There are actually over a 150 varieties. But all of them have one very important thing in common, they are easy to grow and will flourish in shade with minimal care.
The various varieties will produce small pink, red, orange, or white flowers. Some of these go on to produce berries that are adored by song birds. Some of the blossoms tend to be quite fragrant while others hold no fragrance.
Honeysuckle shrubs can grow quite large and tower to heights of ten feet and a spread of ten feet but you can also easily prune them back with no damage to the plants. These shrubs tend to be fast growing and many people use them as hedges in both sunny and shady spots.
All the Honeysuckle varieties are extremely hardy even in harsh climates. Some varieties even hail from Russia where they survive the most extreme of winters.
The ease of the Honeysuckle and the diversity of this wonderful shrub cannot be overlooked. It flourishes in virtually all landscapes.
The choices for shade loving shrubs is quite large. This is only a sampling of my most beloved which I have personally grown with success in my Oregon home. Just remember to not let shade worry you because you do have a wide variety of plants and shrubs to choose from to fill these difficult spots.