The Q&A Archives: Container Shrubs for Shade

Question: Can you recommend a shrub that will grow to 5' or 6' or more and that does not require a lot of sun. Deciduous or nondecidous; flowering or non-flowering. It's to be planted in a large container in a corner of my terrace where I
currently have a climbing hydrangea that isn't doing very well. I think it needs more sun than it is getting. Thanks. Barbara.

Answer: Climbing hydrangea actually tolerates a good amount of shade and will grow on a north wall, so if your hydrangea is growing poorly it may not be due to excess shade. That plant grows very slowly for the first few years even with ideal conditions so it may simply be in establishment mode for the time being.

Some plants to consider in its place might be a Virginia creeper grown on the wall or on a trellis panel (this has the additional benefit of the trellis providing a visual effect immediately, the vine is a large one and will need frequent trimming to stay within bounds) or perhaps a Euonymous fortunei trained as a climber (this plant will climb a wall) or the shrubby Euonymus kiautschovicus 'Manhattan' (this can be clipped or left to its natural shape) or perhaps you would like a Nandina domestica shrub in a half barrel container? These plants will tolerate shade and are tough enough to tolerate some wind, although wind protection is always important when growing container plants as is watering carefully to maintain a steadily moist(but not sopping wet) soil and attention to fertilizing throughout the growing season. Goos luck with your terrace garden!

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