15 Shrubs To Grow In The Shade

Camellia japonica

If you have a north facing garden or a space to fill under a tree there are some stunning shade-loving shrubs that have attractive foliage and others that produce showy flowers.

We have compiled a list of some popular shrubs that will thrive in the shady part of your garden.

Aucuba Japonica ‘Variegata’

Spotted Laurel

A versatile slow-growing evergreen shrub with attractive variegated leaves that will grow almost anywhere in the garden. Aucuba thrives in most soils, even dry ground near trees and hedges. Spotted laurel can be trimmed lightly to shape or strictly pruned as hedges.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 150-250cm (60-100in)

Spread: 150-250cm (60-100in)

Time to ultimate height: 10-20 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained, Moist but well drained

Buxus Sempervirens

Also known as box hedging, buxus is a vigorous, bushy, upright, evergreen shrub. Its dense habit makes it ideal for hedging and can be closely clipped into different shapes and sizes.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 4-8m (13-26ft)

Spread: 4-8m (13-26ft)

Time to ultimate height: 20-50 years

Soil Type: Clay, Chalk, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained, Moist but well drained

Camellia Japonica

Camellia japonica

Camellias are an acid-loving evergreen shrub, that produces showy flowers early in the year. They can be planted in the garden or kept in patio containers. Camellias need to be placed in a position where they are protected from early morning sunlight in frosty weather to stop damage to the buds from happening.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Spread: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Time to ultimate height: 10-20 years

Position: Partial Shade, Shade

Soil Type: Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained, Moist but well drained

Clethra Alnifolia ‘Paniculata’

Clethra Alnifolia Paniculata

Commonly known as sweet pepper bush or panicled alder. Clethra Paniculata is a bushy deciduous shrub which produces small fragrant white flowers.

Type: Deciduous

Height: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Spread: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Time to ultimate height: 10-20 years

Soil Type: Acid

Soil pH: Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil Moisture: Moist but well-drained

Daphne Pontica

A small rounded evergreen shrub that has abundant clusters of scented yellow flowers, commonly known as a twin-flowered daphne.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 50-100cm (20-40in)

Spread: 100-150cm (40-60in)

Time to ultimate height: 5-10 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained

Fatsia Japonica ‘Spider’s Web’

A bushy evergreen shrub that has dark-green leaves which are heavily-speckled with white, particularly at the edges, but the white variegation can sometimes spread across the whole leaf.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Spread: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Time to ultimate height: 10-20 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Moist but well-drained

Leycesteria Formosa ‘Purple Rain’

A deciduous shrub that is commonly known as Himalayan honeysuckle. It has arching stems which produce deep purply-red bracts with small white flowers in summer and autumn.

Type: Deciduous

Height: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Spread: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Time to ultimate height: 5-10 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained, Moist but well-drained

Mahonia Bealei

Mahonia Bealei

Beal’s mahonia is an upright evergreen shrub with blue-green foliage. It has pale yellow from late autumn to early spring.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 100-150cm (40-60in)

Spread: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Time to ultimate height: 5-10 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained, Moist but well-drained

Rhododendron Ponticum

Rhododendron Ponticum

An acid loving evergreen shrub, from the same family as azaleas. Rhododendrons produce bold coloured bell-shaped flowers from May to June, that are ideal for borders or a patio container planted in ericaceous compost.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 40cm-5m (16in-16ft)

Spread: 40cm-5m (16in-16ft)

Time to ultimate height: 10-50 years

Soil Type: Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid

Soil Moisture: Moist but well drained

Ruscus Aculeatus

Ruscus Aculeatus

A bushy evergreen sub-shrub that is also known as butcher’s broom. Ruscus aculeatus flowers in spring with glossy red berries on female plants in summer and autumn.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 50-100cm (20-40in)

Spread: 50-100cm (20-40in)

Time to ultimate height: 10-20 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained, Moist but well-drained

Sarcococca Hookeriana Var. Digyna

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna

Sweet box is a small evergreen shrub with green or purple stems that produce fragrant creamy-white flowers and black berries.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 100-150cm (40-60in)

Spread: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Time to ultimate height: 5-10 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Moist but well-drained

Skimmia Japonica

Skimmia Japonica

A slow growing compact evergreen shrub, that has aromatic leaves and produces small white or yellow fragrant flowers in April till May. It can be planted in the garden or in a patio pot or container.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 50-100cm (20-40in)

Spread: 50-100cm (20-40in)

Time to ultimate height: 10-20 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Loam,

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Moist but well drained

Taxus Baccata ‘Adpressa Variegata’

Taxus baccata ‘Adpressa Variegata’

Common yew is a large dense spreading evergreen shrub with pale yellow foliage when young, then turning dark green with yellow margins.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 2.5-4m (4-8ft)

Spread: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Time to ultimate height: 20-50 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained

Viburnum Tinus

Viburnum Tinus

A versatile evergreen shrub, that produces clusters of small, fragrant white or pink flowers from late winter to spring. Viburnum can be planted in borders or in patio containers.

Type: Evergreen

Height: 1.5-2.5m (4-8ft)

Spread: 1.5-2.5m (4-8ft)

Time to ultimate height: 10-20 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained, Moist but well drained

Vinca Major

Greater periwinkle is a vigorous evergreen sub-shrub forming a clump of erect stems bearing glossy ovate leaves and solitary violet-blue flowers

Type: Evergreen

Height: 10-50cm (4-20in)

Spread: 150-250cm (4-8ft)

Time to ultimate height: 2-5 years

Soil Type: Chalk, Clay, Loam, Sand

Soil pH: Acid, Alkaline, Neutral

Soil Moisture: Well-drained, Moist but well-drained, Poorly-drained

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