The Q&A Archives: Shade loving evergreen - tree?

Question: Hello - we are looking for a beautiful evergreen tree (or lg shrub) that can tolerate most shade. Any suggestions - note: we would love something like the Colorado blue spruce - but unfortunately, its not a shade lover. Would consider a beautiful & full holly. It will sit in front of our home so it must be a beautiful, large growing (to 10'+ wide) specimen. Thank you!

Answer: Unfortunately, most evergreens really do best in full sun or at least six hours a day of direct sun. In too much shade they tend to become thin and sparse. You might be able to grow the blue hollies as these have the best winter cold hardiness among hollies. You might also consider a yew if you would prefer a needled evergreen; if left untrimmed, some cultivars will grow quite large. Another possibility might be one of the larger varieties of Catawba rhododendron. All of these would do best with a half day of sun but are more shade tolerant than most. Your local county extension and local professionally trained nursery staff should be able to help you identify plants that would thrive in the location you have in mind for this plant. They may have different or additional suggestions based on a more detailed understanding of the conditions at the planting site (amount of shade and time of day, soil type, amount of wind exposure and so on) and your overall design goals. Good luck with your new evergreen!

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