If you have a dark area of your garden that is in constant shade you need to find shrubs that will thrive in those conditions. There are some beautiful shade shrubs and you can construct a magnificent shrubbery even in the deepest shade.
Shrubs for Deep Shade
White camellias only thrive in very deep shade. This evergreen shrub grows to about six feet eventually with a spread of about four feet. It has dark green glossy leaves all year round and beautiful large white flowers in February and March. All camellias need soil in the pH range 6-6.5, slightly acid.
Fire Thorn (Pyracantha) is so vigorous that it will grow anywhere. It has a sprawling habit and is another evergreen that has creamy flowers in early summer followed by a wonderful display of yellow, orange or red berries. Grow this at the back of your shrubbery or if you need a barrier hedge. It has fearsome thorns that make pruning it a task to dread. Fire thorn will quickly grow to twelve feet tall and needs regular cutting back to keep it under control.
Skimmia is another evergreen that will succeed in sun or shade. The shrub has pointed dark green leaves that are attractive. Plant one male to two or three female shrubs and you will still have masses of berries. Both male and female plants have attractive sprays of cream coloured flowers in early summer with the female producing red berries in September. You must have a male skimmia in close proximity to the female shrubs in order to pollinate the females’ flowers and produce berries.
Viburnums come in many shapes and forms. The evergreen ones will grow well in the deepest shade, forming tall, narrow shrubs that have pink/white flowers all winter long.
Euonymous shrubs are evergreen and very shade tolerant giving a much-needed splash of yellow to your dark shrub bed. Use low-growing euonymous varieties as ground cover.
Aucuba is another yellow evergreen variegated shrub that grows to four feet in a few years. Use it to provide a contrast to the darker shrubs.
Shrubs for Partial Shade
Pink and red camellias will succeed if your bed is partially shaded. Grow these at the front of our bed and white camellias at the back.
Hydrangeas will grow well in partial shade. If you want beautiful blue flowers you will need acidic soil, but they will grow in any soil. This shrub is a globular shape with a spreading habit, as low outside branches root themselves.
Dogwoods with their remarkable winter stems thrive in partial shade. Buy black, red or yellow-stemmed varieties.
Azaleas and rhododendrons are woodland shrubs and do best under trees or any form of partial shade. These shrubs need an acid soil with lots of organic matter incorporated.
Acers with their red, dark red or yellow leaves are deciduous and will provide a foil for your evergreen shrubs. You need to mulch acers heavily in the winter to prevent frost damage to the roots. Acers need acid soil that is best achieved by adding lots of rhododendron compost to the soil when you plant them.