Shade Shrubs - Knowledgebase Question

Chicago, IL
Question by Stephbkp
January 16, 1998
We have a shady moist area by the front door that I would like to brighten up. The porch is raised so I would like something that gets 4-5 feet tall, if it could provide some color that would be a bonus. Any suggestions?


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Answer from NGA
January 16, 1998

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Some of the dwarf rhododendrons would probably be great there, consider Rhododendron 'Northern Starburst' or 'P.J.M.' 'P.J.M.' would probably reach a height closer to 6' though. Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers'or 'Blue Wave' would also be suitable. Hibiscus shrubs would also be appropriate for this site, they do reach taller heights, perhaps 6' for a variety such as Hibiscus syriacus 'Helene' or 'Diana'. You could always prune to keep height in check though. Have you considered a mass planting of a perennial such as Astilbe? They perform beautifully in moist, shady areas, there are a wide variety of colors that would surely brighten up the spot, and, can get quite tall. I like the variety 'Purple Lance' which reaches about 4-5'. I think 'Purple Lance' combined with a variety such as 'Snowdrift' would look great there. Perhaps a combination of shrubs and Astilbe? Something to think about!

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