Flowering Shrubs for Shade
Azaleas are a classic flowering shrub for the south. They can come in several colors to suit your personal taste: pink, white, salmon, coral or lavender. Native azalea are also available in bright orange and yellow. While azaleas do need some sun to bloom well they are a great pick for dappled and part shade. See: Azaleas.
Aesculus parviflora Bottlebrush Buckeye 8' -12' deciduous shrub. A shade tolerant native plant that has show stopping white panicle flowers with conspicuous red anthers during mid summer. The perfect solution for a shade loving, flowering bush. Bottlebrush Buckeye has a dense, mounded form and beautiful fall color in bright yellow.
Evergreen. Who doesn't love camellias? Hardy and evergreen, camellia can be a stunning specimen plant or spectacular privacy fence in a shady landscape. Camellias can grow to 12' so be sure to give them some room! There are both spring blooming and fall flowering varieties, for the best effect plant a couple for the different seasons. See: Camellia.
Fothergilla major. Deciduous native. Fothergilla has beautiful, bottle brush shaped flowers with a light honey scent. This shrub blooms in early spring and is a welcomed relief from winter. The foliage is an unusual shell shape that turns bright yellow, red and orange in fall. Fothergilla needs a little shade and moisture to stay healthy and features an open, vase shape.
Hydrangea macrophylla Mophead Hydrangea. A hydrangea in bloom is always show stopping, and there are sever varieties which are shade tolerant. Colors can range from white and cream or the pink and blue cultivars. Mophead hydrangea does prefer a well drained soil to avoid root rot but are fairly easy to grow. They grow in an open habit so are best suited for an informal border or as accent shrubs. See: Hydrangea.
Hydrangea quercifolia Deciduous native. Oakleaf hydrangea has a gorgeous, cone shaped bloom which starts out white then fades to a light pink and finely a papery tan. The fall color is eye catching with purple, maroon, red and orange all on a single shrub. As a native shrub, oakleaf hydrangea preforms well in southern landscapes. Varieties can range from 5' -12', so choose carefully to fit a space! See: Hydrangea.
Itea virginica. Deciduous native. Itea a shade tolerant shrub which is a trouble free, hardy plant for a landscape design. They have an open habit best suited for informal borders, woodland gardens or edges. Like most fragrant shrubs, Itea attracts butterflies. Itea has stunning fall color.
Edgeworthia Paper Bush
Paper Bush Edgeworthia chrysantha Star Jasmine. Very fragrant, pale yellow to cream white Daphne flowers in late winter. Bloom appear on the branch tips before the foliage in late February when you are ready for winter to finish. Individual flowers on Edgeworthia Paper Bush are tube shaped and highly fragrant. They begin as a bright yellow color which ages to creamy white.
There is a pieris to suit any size garden, from dwarf cultivars to 8' shrubs for privacy fences. Pieris blooms in early spring with cascading, bell shaped flowers. Very shade tolerant and hardy, this shrub can handle dry spots if watered well when young. The evergreen foliage makes it a best pick for privacy hedges and border gardens. See: Pieris.
Clethra alnifolia. FRAGRANT. Deciduous native, attracts butterflies. Summersweet has abundant, delicate pink or white flower spikes in mid summer. The scent is well carried on a breeze, your neighbors will ask what that wonderful smell is. Summersweet requires a shady spot so it does not burn in our hot summer sun, and prefers some moisture. Fall color is a lovely bright yellow. To attract birds to your backyard, don't trim seed pods until spring and the goldfinch will thank you! See: Clethra Summersweet.
Calycanthus floridus FRAGRANT. Carolina Allspice, Sweetshrub. Deciduous. A native understory plant, Sweetshrub is well suited for dappled or filtered shade. In early summer button like, red to maroon flowers appear. Their fragrance is slightly fruity, and a must have for the scented garden. Sweetshrub is easy to grow in well drained soil and drought tolerant once established.
Viburnums provide multi season interest and some varieties are shade tolerant shrubs. They are show stopping when in bloom. The doublefile and snowball viburnum cultivars will require relief from our southern sun, yet still produce an abundant number of white flowers. Attractive red to blue berries appear later in the season, and the fall foliage is colorful red, orange, maroons and purple. See: Viburnum.
Available in different sizes and colors, rhododendron is suitable for large or small landscapes. They are an old fashioned plant and a long standing tradition in southern gardens. Most are evergreen with large, deep green foliage that looks lush in a woodland setting. Flowers can be white, pink or lavender. See: Rhododendrons.