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When planning a garden, many of us tend to focus on the open sunny areas in our yard, and we have a harder time figuring out what to do with the darker shady regions. Well, today let’s explore what to do with those dark reclusive areas lurking about here and there…and perhaps transform them into inviting retreats we can actually enjoy.

What Are the Best Shrubs for Shade?

Shade-loving shrubs are indispensable companions to larger gardens, especially on heavily treed lots. They can take a drab, undeveloped understory and turn it into something truly breathtaking.

Large trees, shrubs, and shade-loving understory plants come together to change the temperature around your house too. They create what’s known as a micro-climate. The benefit to you is that you get to enjoy a substantially cooler yard during the hottest parts of summer!

Shade loving shrubs come in all shapes and sizes. Some are evergreen while others lose their leaves or die back. Some grow low to the ground while others reach a considerable height. Others still have flowers and bright foliage that magically dispel the darkness. All of these elements come together to create an appealing garden aesthetic.

In fact, every garden ecosystem has layers that work together to create texture, dimension, and character within your unique yard space. When thoughtfully planned out, your landscape can be transformed into a stunningly beautiful place full of diversity, complexity, and visual interest throughout much of the year.

Shade Loving Ground Covers

Ground covers are a great solution for areas where grass will not grow well. Ferns, yews, and liriope create a splendid carpet of green in otherwise unused areas.

Larger Shade Loving Shrubs

These larger shrubs and small trees are great companions to larger older trees in your landscape. Ruby Loropetalum is a great shrub for this purpose.

Flowering Shrubs for Shade to Accents Larger Shrubs and Trees 

As medium sized bushes, these shrubs look amazing next to trees and taller shrubs. Hydrangeas, azaleas, and hostas are great examples of this. Small flowering shrubs like these tend to brighten shady areas and make them feel more inviting.  

Using Shade Loving Shrubs in Mixed Beds

Creating areas with mixed plants is a wonderful way to add texture and dimension to the shady areas of your yard. Also, consider adding paving stones, walkways, and perhaps a table set and chairs for a charming retreat. Wintergreen Boxwood is an easy pick for mixed beds. Its bright green foliage and delicate texture mix well with other plants.

Shade Loving Shrubs for Erosion Control

Tidy up shady regions that are located on a slope by using plants with a strong root system. The Asiatic Jasmine shrub and ground cover are the perfect two-for-one plant. It provides excellent erosion control, and it can handle full shade. Oak Leaf Hydrangea is another great plant for erosion control, and it can tolerate afternoon shade. This shrub is great for transition areas that are partly shady and partly sunny.

How to Plant and Care for Your Shade-Loving Shrubs You Bought Online

Every plant has a set of unique parameters to which it will grow optimally. Research your plant thoroughly and make sure you have the right growing conditions that your plant will enjoy.

How Much Sun for Shade Plants?

Generally, all plants need some level of light. With that said, shade lovers can do very well in either full shade or dappled sunlight. Some shade lovers can even handle partial shade… that is, morning sun with full afternoon shade.

Watering Requirements for Shade Loving Plants

Water your shade-loving plants regularly and make sure they are living in well-draining soil. Many shade-loving plants can suffer from stagnant water, which can lead to root rot.

Soil and Fertilizer Information for Shade Loving Shrubs

Many shade-loving shrubs enjoy rich, acidic, and well fertilized soil. Also, mulch well around the plant to add nutrients, retain moisture, and protect roots.  

Shrubs for Shade & Pruning Information

Many shrubs can benefit from annual pruning, either to remove spent blooms, cut back untidy overgrowth, or to encourage new growth in the next season. Late spring and/or fall tend to be the best times for pruning. Research your plant's specific needs.

Consider Adding Shade-Loving Shrubs to Your Garden!

Adding shade-loving plants will be a game changer for your yard. You’ll find that you want to be out in your garden space more often.

Shade-loving bushes are ideal for shaded sitting areas, covered walking paths, or any heavily treed landscape. They also do well in decorative pots for your covered patio, north facing balcony or recessed entryway. Order your shade-loving beauties today!

If you’ve recently decorated the shady recesses of your garden, tell us about your adventure in the comments below. We would love to hear your story!

Happy planting!

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