The Q&A Archives: finding the right shrub

Question: I'm looking for a shrub to go between a variegated winter daphne and a golden euonymous as a foundation plant in front of my house facing north with mostly shade and some filtered light. I would like it to be rather small, less than 4 feet, evergreen in zone 7-8, and ideally the leaves with a red to burgandy color. I like the dwarf burgandy barberry but it requires full sun. Any recommendations? Thanks.

Answer: Barberry won't thrive in shady conditions, but you might like Nandina (heavenly bamboo). There is a compact version and the foliage of nandina begins with a purplish tinge, turns green in summer, then purple again during the fall and winter months. Or, you might try RAZZLEBERRI? FRINGE FLOWER (Loropetalum Chinense 'Monraz'). Clusters of raspberry red fringed flowers appear winter into spring and showy new growth is burgundy tinged, maturing to olive green. it's evergreen and grows 4 to 6 feet tall, 4 to 5 feet wide.

An herbaceous perennial, Shenandoah Mountain Coral Bells ? Heuchera x ?Shenandoah Mountain? is a striking variety of Coral Bells, distinguished by its large size and vigor, as well as its dramatic foliage color. Unlike other purple-leaved Heucheras with indistinguishable flowers on gangly, naked stems, this has showy creamy white flowers from contrasting purple buds on upright leafy stems.

A substantial plant, it well suited to the middle of the perennial border. This herbaceous perennial is shade loving and looks spectacular in a woodland or cottage garden, and its flowers are good for cutting. The foliage makes a clump to about 12 inches tall and 16 inches wide. In late spring, many flower stems rise to 30 inches over the clump.

I'm growing these plants in my Seattle garden and the foliage remains through the winter months. I cut it back in spring to make way for new leaves. You could do the same.

Best wishes with your garden!

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