All Things Gardening forum: Shrubs for shade

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Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
Always room to plant one more!
Cat Lover Birds Region: Nebraska Butterflies Hummingbirder Bookworm
Critters Allowed Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Freedombelle
Aug 27, 2017 7:31 PM CST
Doing research about shrubs for shade so I have a list to take to the nursery in the spring and see if they have any of these. From my internet research for shade shrubs I found: Japanese Rose (Kerria Japonica), Mountain Laurels, Euonymus, Andromeda, Service Berry, and Virginia Sweet Spire. I imagine if they are in my zone the nursery will have them, also I want shrubs that will only grow 6 feet tall max. So, any ideas for me? And when I say shade, it is shade because of all the huge trees that shade my back fence. Plus I want to research what ones the Japanese Beetles will not desire.
You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Aug 27, 2017 10:12 PM CST
These do good in my zone in even deep shade.
Hydrangea, Clethra, Rhododendron, Azalea
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Aug 28, 2017 1:05 AM CST
@Freedombelle — love your new profile picture!
Your choices are so interesting. I have mostly shade but some (perhaps all) of what you listed need sun down here in Zone 8a. Sounds like you've done a lot of research. I looked at a few because they're in my 'I wish I may I wish I might' grow them list.

I love Mountain Laurels, especially for the blooms. Ever smelled them? It's reminiscent of grape kool-aid. When I lived in Austin there was one I'd pass by on my daily walk(s) with my dog. What grows here is Sophora secundiflora or Texas Mountain Laurel.

However, I bet you're looking at Kalmia latifolia in which case here are 2 good links:
https://www.gardeningknowhow.c... and https://www.thespruce.com/moun...

Another one of your choices that I'd love to grow is Itea virginica Virginia Sweet Spire. There are different cultivars and here are 2 that you might be looking at. I noticed that both say 'full sun to part shade but will tolerate heavy shade'. That kinda covers it all in terms of light!
https://www.thespruce.com/virg... and
http://www.missouribotanicalga...
And I think you'll like what jumped out at me when I looked at the 2nd link: 'No serious insect or disease problems'.

Unless you've found a Serviceberry different from the ones I read about, I think you might want to reconsider this choice. I was surprised that it grows as tall as I'm seeing in this link:
https://www.thespruce.com/nine...
and this link
https://www.gardeningknowhow.c...
says, 'The serviceberry is in the rose family so it can suffer from the same type of problems as roses do. Be on the lookout for Japanese beetles, spider mites, aphids and leaf miners, as well as borers. Powdery mildew, rust and leaf spot may also occur.'

Ok. I'm stopping here. Might come back with some other choices. In the meantime, be sure to write down the botanical names of the 'plants' you think will work for you, keeping soil and water conditions in mind. There are so many cultivars to consider! If there's a 'society' of Master Gardeners in your area, they might be able to advise you as to which ones do best where you live. The internet might not always be telling the whole story.

I want to add that I have a lot of confidence in you based on your other posts. I think you'll make some wise choices. (and aren't you glad that I have insomnia and lots of time to research! lol)
Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
Always room to plant one more!
Cat Lover Birds Region: Nebraska Butterflies Hummingbirder Bookworm
Critters Allowed Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Freedombelle
Aug 28, 2017 7:20 AM CST
Cinta said:These do good in my zone in even deep shade.
Hydrangea, Clethra, Rhododendron, Azalea


Thank you, will add these to my list to consider.
You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
Always room to plant one more!
Cat Lover Birds Region: Nebraska Butterflies Hummingbirder Bookworm
Critters Allowed Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Freedombelle
Aug 28, 2017 7:27 AM CST
tx_flower_child said:@Freedombelle — love your new profile picture!
Your choices are so interesting. I have mostly shade but some (perhaps all) of what you listed need sun down here in Zone 8a. Sounds like you've done a lot of research. I looked at a few because they're in my 'I wish I may I wish I might' grow them list.

I love Mountain Laurels, especially for the blooms. Ever smelled them? It's reminiscent of grape kool-aid. When I lived in Austin there was one I'd pass by on my daily walk(s) with my dog. What grows here is Sophora secundiflora or Texas Mountain Laurel.

However, I bet you're looking at Kalmia latifolia in which case here are 2 good links:
https://www.gardeningknowhow.c... and https://www.thespruce.com/moun...

Another one of your choices that I'd love to grow is Itea virginica Virginia Sweet Spire. There are different cultivars and here are 2 that you might be looking at. I noticed that both say 'full sun to part shade but will tolerate heavy shade'. That kinda covers it all in terms of light!
https://www.thespruce.com/virg... and
http://www.missouribotanicalga...
And I think you'll like what jumped out at me when I looked at the 2nd link: 'No serious insect or disease problems'.

Unless you've found a Serviceberry different from the ones I read about, I think you might want to reconsider this choice. I was surprised that it grows as tall as I'm seeing in this link:
https://www.thespruce.com/nine...
and this link
https://www.gardeningknowhow.c...
says, 'The serviceberry is in the rose family so it can suffer from the same type of problems as roses do. Be on the lookout for Japanese beetles, spider mites, aphids and leaf miners, as well as borers. Powdery mildew, rust and leaf spot may also occur.'

I want to add that I have a lot of confidence in you based on your other posts. I think you'll make some wise choices. (and aren't you glad that I have insomnia and lots of time to research! lol)


First off thanks on the new profile comment, had a ton of hair cut off and decided to update my picture. Secondly thank you for being so in depth and researching my list as well, will take all of the help I can get. I live right by Mullhall`s Nursery here in Omaha and those people are a vast source of knowledge and host a lot of seminars on topics, just love and trust in those people!
Too bad about the Serviceberry and the pests!, it was one of my favorites.
You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
Name: aud/odd
Pennsylvania (Zone 6b)
Garden Ideas: Level 1
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Cinta
Aug 28, 2017 9:48 AM CST
I am looking out my window now and those rose of sharon are blooming their heads off in the woods.
[Last edited by Cinta - Aug 28, 2017 9:50 AM (+)]
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Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
Always room to plant one more!
Cat Lover Birds Region: Nebraska Butterflies Hummingbirder Bookworm
Critters Allowed Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Freedombelle
Aug 28, 2017 10:25 AM CST
Cinta said:I am looking out my window now and those rose of sharon are blooming their heads off in the woods.


That is so good to know! Answers this one for me from your experience! Thank You!
You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Aug 28, 2017 1:22 PM CST
@Freedombelle -- I was really surprised by a lot of what I was reading last night. I'm mostly so caught up in native perennials that I forget what a difference a few zones can make.

I'm glad that you have a trustworthy local nursery. It sure helps.

I don't remember if you said, but do you know what type of soil you have? If not, the nursery can help you with that. Otherwise you could end up spending a lot of $$ to amend your soil to meet the needs of various 'plants'.
Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
Always room to plant one more!
Cat Lover Birds Region: Nebraska Butterflies Hummingbirder Bookworm
Critters Allowed Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Freedombelle
Aug 31, 2017 12:23 PM CST
tx_flower_child said:@Freedombelle -- I was really surprised by a lot of what I was reading last night. I'm mostly so caught up in native perennials that I forget what a difference a few zones can make.

I'm glad that you have a trustworthy local nursery. It sure helps.

I don't remember if you said, but do you know what type of soil you have? If not, the nursery can help you with that. Otherwise you could end up spending a lot of $$ to amend your soil to meet the needs of various 'plants'.


Do not know about my soil. We add compost to what we plant and have had good luck with a variety of plants in the yard.
You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
Name: Deb
Pacific NW (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Deer Organic Gardener Ferns Herbs Dragonflies
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Bonehead
Aug 31, 2017 12:40 PM CST
You might also check with your native plant society - they should have lists of shade shrubs that will thrive for you. I can add snowberry to your list, and some barberries. Not really a shrub, but about as tall as you are wanting might be darmera.


I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Yardenman
Maryland (Zone 7a)
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Yardenman
Aug 31, 2017 1:26 PM CST
I've never seen a Japanese beetle on my Euonymus, but the deer will eat them reluctantly. But they spread and can grow high. Nandina is good in shade is polite in height to about 6' and deer leave it for last and it recovers fast. Nicely evergreen.
Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
Always room to plant one more!
Cat Lover Birds Region: Nebraska Butterflies Hummingbirder Bookworm
Critters Allowed Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Freedombelle
Aug 31, 2017 6:53 PM CST
Cinta said:I am looking out my window now and those rose of sharon are blooming their heads off in the woods.


Darn, sounded so good until I investigated and discovered the Japanese Beetles love to feast on them. I have decided to plant only what they do not desire for their buffet. Sighing!
You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
Always room to plant one more!
Cat Lover Birds Region: Nebraska Butterflies Hummingbirder Bookworm
Critters Allowed Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Freedombelle
Aug 31, 2017 6:58 PM CST
Bonehead, thanks for your input, very appreciated! I will research some of those. We do have a Barberry we just bought this spring.

Yardenman, thanks for your reply as well! Thank You!
You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Aug 31, 2017 9:24 PM CST
Silly of me but I forgot to actually see what types of shrubs are native to your area. Got so wrapped up looking at your list.

I have the Leatherleaf Mahonia (Berberis bealei) pictured above. Maybe it's the abuse I give it but it is a real s-l-o-w grower. Wish mine looked like the one in @kniphofia's photo. Things I like about the Mahonia: it's evergreen; the birds love it when it blooms; and it's very sharp so it works well for home security. This year for the 1st time, or maybe the 1st time I happened to be around to see it, a flock of cedar waxwings swooped down and did their thing. They eat every berry and then they're gone. It's like a big whoosh! However, having said all of that, at the time I planted it I was ignorant as to native plants. If I had known it was native to China, and that it has become an invasive plant in some southeastern states, I would have given it a pass.

Love Serviceberry. It's definitely native and does well in NE. You might consider it's height This was listed as a shrub but sounds like a tree to me.
https://www.wildflower.org/pla...
However, here's serviceberry that is a low grower:
https://www.wildflower.org/pla...
and there might be others.

Take a look at Coralberry:
https://www.wildflower.org/pla...

Back later!
springfield MO area (Zone 6a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Identifier
Frillylily
Sep 1, 2017 8:27 AM CST
We have rose of sharon around here and the beetles don't touch them Shrug! They do have my knock out roses though Grumbling so that may be why. I think they will eat something regardless. Best to plant something they like that you don't care too much for, so they will leave your other things alone, that is what I finally decided. They LOVE my hibiscus, but I figure that's ok, they leave my dl and other things alone pretty much. I just spray them w sevin every couple of days-only the hibiscus and only the bugs, they cluster up in a big orgy and that way I can put spray right ON them. They fall off and die within 1/2 hour or so, it may work faster if I mixed it full strength, but I do a little on the week side. My bees are so busy feeding at sages, coneflowers ect that they don't even visit my hibiscus anymore.

I have a shady spot too that is under some trees ,roots, and I can't grow anything there really. It is an eyesore next to the neighbors and I am thinking about putting up a cheap wire fence, w farm style fence posts and then planting some kind of really invasive vine on it as a screen since I can't get any shrubs for shade to grow there.

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DirtyGirl5b
Sep 2, 2017 8:13 AM CST
Hello FreedomBelle I would also add Fothergilla and if space permits Bottlebrush Buckeye. Just returned from a road trip to Missouri and totally inspired by the Missouri Botanical Garden, So awesome!! I am in the process of incorporating a small woodland garden into my property and could not wait to get home. I also use the internet for research but also bought a great book by Ken Druse called The New Shade Garden. I highly recommend it.
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Sep 2, 2017 12:31 PM CST
@DirtyGirl5b -- you just mentioned 2 shrubs that I thought of but didn't have time to see if they'd be good in NE and meet FreedomBelle's requirements. But I do love them both.

And welcome to NGA!

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Lauram847
Sep 2, 2017 3:57 PM CST
I would add Hamamelis (Witchhazel) to your list. It will perform beautifully in shade and give you something to anticipate in the early Spring when very few shrubs have even come out of dormancy.

I am in zone 5 as well and definitely agree with the Aesculus parviflora or Bottlebrush buckeye and the Fothergilla. If you choose Hydrangea make sure it is either the H quercifolia (Oakleaf) or the H arborescens (Smooth leaf) varieties. The H paniculata and H macrophylla require full sun.

If you have room for a large shrub to small tree you might consider Coruns alternifolia (Pagoda Dogwood). It can take some shade.

P.S. The butterflies and bees also LOVE the Bottlebrush Buckeye!

Thumb of 2017-09-02/Lauram847/38268f

Name: Linda
Omaha, N.E (Zone 5b)
Always room to plant one more!
Cat Lover Birds Region: Nebraska Butterflies Hummingbirder Bookworm
Critters Allowed Houseplants Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Freedombelle
Sep 2, 2017 6:42 PM CST
So many replies, appreciate all the research and time to respond to my question and want to thank every one of you, love the help here at this wonderful group. Hurray!
You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because they have roses!
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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tx_flower_child
Sep 2, 2017 10:03 PM CST
@Lauram847 — I love witch hazel. Just always wish the blooms would last longer! Which witch hazel were you thinking of? I don't know anything other than seeing them in other people's yards.

I have an Oakleaf Hydrangea. Had it since 2008. It's a wonderful 'plant'.Starts to bloom in the spring and keeps on going. I just noticed that I have a picture of mine in the Plants Database. It was taken in mid-April of 2016. Faces north. Most of the year it's in the shade of of 2 large Red Oaks. I suspect that it gets a lot of water, not from me, but because it's next to my neighbor's sprinklers.


and here's the link to it in the Plants Database. I noticed that the description says the height is 6-8'. Not my experience here in Texas.
Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)
The leaves and panicles start to turn to a darker color in the heat of our summers. Still looks lovely.
[Last edited by tx_flower_child - Sep 2, 2017 10:10 PM (+)]
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