The Q&A Archives: Drought tolerant shrub for shade

Question: I'm looking for a flowering shrub that is drought tolerant and will thrive mostly in partial shade. Can you recommend some?

Answer: Here are a few suggestions for drought and shade tolerant flowering shrubs:

Banksia baxteri - Birds Nest Banksia; Dense spreading shrub to 6-9 feet tall and nearly as wide with new reddish stems and 4 to 6 inch long blunt tipped leaves with deep triangular lobes to the midrib that are slightly prickly on margins and hairy on undersides. The terminal 2 to 5 inch globular to dome shaped greenish yellow flower heads appear from early summer to late winter and are followed by attractive seed pods. This plant grows naturally in deep sandy soil in coastal regions of south Western Australia. Plant in full to part sun in light or it well draining, heavy soil. Has proven to be drought tolerant and fairly frost hardy once established (protect young plants). Good specimen plant or for an informal hedge or windbreak. Grown commercially for cut flowers. The foliage and flowers of this plant are used in the Australian cut flower trade where it has been found that the plan responds well to light pruning but not to pruning of older heavier stems much over 1/2" inch thick.

Barleria obtusa - Bush Violet; An evergreen shrub with dark green foliage that grows to 3 feet tall by 5 feet wide. Clusters of blue flowers appear in the fall and winter and mix well with the autumn colors. Full sun or partial shade, water infrequently. In deep shade plants often grow taller and clamber up if supported by other plants or structures. Can reseed in the garden. Hardy to 20-25? F. Occurs naturally from the Soutpansberg in the Northern Province, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu Natal and further to the Eastern Cape Province. It grows quite commonly on hills and along forest margins in subtropical regions.

Coprosma 'Green Gleam' - Green Coprosma; A handsome, evergreen vase-shaped to rounded shrub reaching 4-5 feet tall and 3-5 wide with shinning leaves. This plant sported from our original stock of Coprosma 'Coppershine and lacks its brown shading of the leaves and stems. With age, the interesting light brown bark becomes more apparent. Once established it is durable enough to tolerate windy coastal conditions with only ocasional irrigation and is hardy to 25? F.

Escallonia x exoniensis 'Frades' - Pink Escallonia; This is a compact growing evergreen shrub that reaches 6 feet tall. The red stems hold glossy, serrated one inch long leaves. Dark pink flowers bloom throughout the year. This shrub is very tough and versatile; it is tolerant of seaside conditions and is deer resistant . Plant in sun or part shade. It will do well with little summer water. It is hardy to about 15 degrees F.

Tecomaria capensis - Red Cape Honeysuckle; A rambling shrub that will grow to 20 feet with support or can be pruned into an upright shrub that is 8 feet tall. The shiny leaves are divided into 5-7 toothed and pointed leaflets, similar to a rose leaf. Orange-red long tubular flowers bloom in clusters during the fall and winter. Plant in sun or light shade, needs little water. Can tolerate seaside conditions and is deer resistant. Cold hardy to 23 ? F although may lose leaves. Branches root where they touch the ground.

Hope one of these suggestions is just right for your landscape!

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