Shade tolerant shrubs - Knowledgebase Question

Barrington, Il
Question by kasia
June 30, 2010
We have a very shady and moist backyard due to our mature trees. I would like to plant a variety of shrubs to create a natural fence, but I have not had much luck finding shade tolerant shrubs. The area gets 1-2 hrs sun. Do such shrubs exist?


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Answer from NGA
June 30, 2010

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There are a number of trees and shrubs with preferences for shade and moist soil. Here are a few: Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye) Partial to Deep Shade; Moderate soil moisture; Bold texture; flowers in deep shade. Aronia arbutifolia (Red Chokeberry) Partial Sahde; Wet or Dry; Nice color and attractive berries in fall. Aronia melancarpa (Black Chokeberry) Partial Shade; Wet or Dry; Nice color and attractive berries in fall. Buxus microphylla (Littleleaf boxwoodz0 Partial Shade; Moderate soil moisture; Evergreen plant with fine texture. Calycanthus floridus (Sweetshrub) Partial Shade; Wet or Dry; Unusual brown-purple leaves have pineapple scent; bark and leaves are also fragrant. Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet) Full Shade; Wet soils; Sweet scent; flowers in mid-summer. Cornus alba (Red-stemmed Tatarian Dogwood) Partial Shade; Moderate soil moisture; Attractive white-edged leaves; red bark in winter. Cornus mas (Cornelia Cherry Dogwood) Partial Shade; Moderate soil moisture; Berries attract wildlife. Cornus racemosa (Gray Dogwood) Full Shade; Wet or Dry soil; Attractive white berries; suckers form thickets. Hamamelis vernalis (Vernal Witchhazel) Full Shade Dry to Moist soil; Fragrant flowers in November. Hydrangea arborescens (Annabelle Hydrangea) Partial Shade; Moderate soil moisture; Large white flowers. Hydrangea paniculata (Panicle Hydrangea or PeeGee Hydrangea) Partial Shade; Moderate moisture; Coarse texture; large flowers. Hypericum species (St. Johnswort) Partial Shade; Dry to Moist soil; Blue-green foliage; attractive gold-yellow flowers in summer. Ilex glabra (Inkberry) Full Shade; Wet soils; Dark, shiny evergreen leaves; attractive fruits remain in winter. Ilex verticillata (Winterberry) Partial Shade; Wet soil; Holly-like leaves; attractive fruits. Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire) Full Shade; Wet or Dry soil; White flowers in summer; beautiful fall color . Kerria japonica ?Picta? (Japanese Kerria) Full Shade; Wet or Dry soil; White edged leaves; abundant yellow flowers. Ligustrum obtusifolium (Regel?s Border Privet) Partial Shade; Dry to moist soil; Interesting horizontal branching pattern; attractive persistent berries. Rhododendron / Azalea Partial shade; Moderate soil moisture; Flowers beautifully in spring; attractive evergreen foliage. Rhus aromatica (Fragrant Sumac) Full shade; Moderate soil moisture; Pleasant fragrance; shiny leaves; dense foliage. Ribes alpinum (Alpine Currant) Full shade; Moderate soil moisture; Dense foliage; tolerates pruning well. Rubus odoratus (Flowering Raspberry) Partial shade; moist to dry soil; Works well as groundcover; attractive fruits. Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Indiancurrant, Coralberry) Full shade; Dry or Wet soil; Attractive blue-green foliage; attractive and plentiful red fruits. Taxus (Yew) Full shade; Moderate soil moisture; Rich green foliage makes for an excellent background. Viburnum trilobum (American Cranberry) Partial shade; Moderate soil moisture; Attractive flowers and red fruits that last through winter. Viburnum carlesii (Koreanspice Viburnum) Partial shade; Moderate soil moisture; Attractive fall color; fragrant flowers Hope this list provides some good ideas for your landscape!

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