Did you know that a gardener will consider a place shaded if it receives only (or less than) 4-6 hours of shade a day? And if it is shaded behind a structure or a tree then it would be considered a medium or deep dense shade. Shaded shrubs can complement your landscape with vibrant color or foliage all year round. Listed below is a list of shrubs that can grow well in shade. 

Non Flowering Shrubs for Shade



These are of the evergreen needle variety rather than the broad leaf variety. They can be pruned to take on the persona of a dense foliage that does fantastically in the shade. This is in part, because needled evergreen trees and shrubs are a winter variety. They are a fun shrub because they are dense enough to create shapes and topiary with them.


Sky Pencil Hollies

These are also fantastic and dense shrubs for shade. It grows in pencil-like small columns that come together to form a solid one column. They can be shaped to a certain degree if there is an aptitude for that. You can use these as privacy shrubs just as you might the Hemlocks.


Emerald and Gold Euonymus

This plant in general gives off wonderful gold and emerald colored leaves. However; if you are thinking of buying it for that, it helps to be aware that it gets more golden from sun exposure. So, if you want it in a shaded area you will get much more emerald green than gold. It is a hardy shrub and easy to take care of.


Needle Palm

This is a short-to-the-ground palm. It is cold weather and shade hardy. It takes very little care and will grow maybe 6 to 8 feet tall. You have control through pruning and care as to how tall it gets. It needs drained soil above all because this plant is used to sharp sandy conditions. 



There are many varieties of barberries and some of them grow well in partial shade. On rare occasions, it will bloom some yellow flowers but it is not guaranteed. What is guaranteed is that you will get little red berries that look fantastic against the rich forest green waxy leaves. The leaves can get quite shiny and when pruned the right way, the Barberry can flourish into a full bush. We recommend them as foundation plants because of their low maintenance care and the fact that they stand up to most climates.

Flowering Shrubs for Shade



This is a shrub that comes in both a flowering and non-flowering variety. It grows in columns and can be pruned but not shaped as it is not dense. It has a nice two toned green and white color on the leaves and stays nice during the colder weather and even snow to a point. If it does get frost bitten, it is likely, with the right care to come back.


Mountain Laurels

These shrubs for shade are found in the northeastern part of the US for the blooms come out in late spring and will produce a snowy red and white flower. Since they are found in the woodlands—they have been cultivated by landscapers to better serve this purpose. The cultivated one is called the Minuet Laurel.  


Japanese Rose

This is a very hardy shade loving shrub. This is a shrub that landscapers crave. Many shrubs just tolerate the shade and will so well to a point because they can. These shrubs actually thrive in the shade and gives you the fall foliage you really want—bright iridescent yellow.


Climbing Hydrangea

This can work for you two ways. It is both a vine and a shrub so it has a lot of versatility. You can prune this as a shrub and get some awesome blooms out of it. Or you can use it as a vine. If the plant is big enough you can do both and be really creative about which part you want to prune and which part you want to cut loose on the wall! 


Carol Mackie Daphne

This is also a versatile one. It is a shrub and can be used to either bloom or not. There are certain care instructions to make this one bloom in shade more profusely. It is not the best looking bloom—just simple white flowers. But, they pack a powerful aroma which is pleasant.



These are an interesting twist to the shrub collection. The difference is that it will yield red berries. It comes out around Christmas time like Holly and is a poisonous plant. It takes excellently to shade. But, just beware if you have children or pets that will eat them outside.


Andromeda Shrubs

This shrub is a very fluffy one with white bloom clusters. It is hard to say it has a great aroma because it is a scent that is hard to identify. It is an acquired scent. This shrub can be pruned to be kept small or can grow up to 40 feet as a tree. 

How to Select and Plant Shrubs for Shade

Shade shrubs have a special job on the landscape. They are generally used as foundation planting. It is best to have your soil tested by a garden center to find out where the PH balance is. You may need to treat your soil to balance the PH. Then, a landscape design sketch would be ideal. You need to know how wide and long your garden is and plant your shrubs for growth. This means you have to know how tall and wide each shrub will be. Arrange the shrubs that are taller in the back and the ones that are shorter in the front.  This way you have a pretty and even garden.

How to Prune Bushes and Shrubs? For more information you may consult this video:


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