The Q&A Archives: Large bush for total shade area

Question: Hello,
I would like to plant two bushes that I will look at from our outdoor porch. We know look a the back of two evergreens that because of shade are barren and dead, however they look great on the other side.
The bushes will be in total shade and need to be able to get wide and four feet tall if possible.
Thank you in advance for your expert advice.
Maureen Yeager

Answer: Unfortunately I am having trouble thinking of bushes that would grow well in the location you have described. Most shrubs need either bright dappled light or at least some direct sun during part of the day to stay healthy. The evergreen trees will also be blocking rain from reaching the ground so the location is probably quite dry in addition to being so dark.

You might experiment and see if Manhattan euonymus (Euonymus kiautschovicus 'Manhattan') or Nandina domestica or possibly Aucuba could survive there to help fill in the space. Hydrangea arborescens might be another possibility if you are able to keep the soil slightly moist. This would be a nice foliage contrast although I doubt it would bloom in that much shade.

Another option might be to place something decorative on the porch or closer to the porch to divert the eye, or perhaps try a trellis with a vine on it to hide that area.

I hope this gives you some ideas.

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