Shade Tolerant Flowering Shrubs

Mature trees create a gorgeous canopy of shade in the home landscape. This different light level requires the addition of shrubs to accommodate the reduced light conditions. If you're partial to flowering shrubs, you don't need to give up these lovely additions to your gardens. Adding shade tolerant flowering shrubs to the landscape will increase the texture and visual interest in the shady areas of the property. Shade areas differ based on the amount of filtered light through tree branches. Match growing conditions with the recommendations from the grower to ensure full foliage and plenty of blooms on your shade loving shrubs.


Shady areas require a dramatic plant to spice up the dim lighting. The rhododendron offers drama galore with thick dark green leaves and showy clusters of flowers in white, pink or yellow. The rhodo is an evergreen and only shoes its dislike of winter weather with a curling of the leaves. Rhododendron prefers dappled shade but can tolerate a little more or less light if necessary. Rhododendron flower in the spring and produce groupings of 8 to 10 cup-shaped flowers on plants that vary in height from 4 to 12 feet depending on the cultivar. This plant is hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8 and will suffer if not planted in well drained slightly acidic soil. Avoid placing rhododendron in windy areas since this plant will experience wind damage easily.


Choosing shrubs for the shade garden requires selections of shrubs with interesting characteristics to provide value in the garden long after blooms fade for the year. Spicebush blooms with small, ball-like yellow flowers in the spring before the plant fills out with leaves for the season. Thick foliage helps this shrub form a rounded form of light greenery in the shade garden. Like many shade plants, spicebush performs wells with filtered sunlight in a partial shade location. This tree grows to a height up to 12 feet and performs as a good shelter plant for birds. Spicebush foliage emits a fragrance from both flowers and leaves and is hardy in zones 5 to 9. This plant also transforms with beautiful yellow foliage to add brilliant color to the fall landscape.

Rose of Sharon

Shrubs that bloom in the late summer offer the gardener a rare addition to the shade garden. Rose of Sharon produces blooms very similar to the hibiscus flower family. This plant actually is a member of the hibiscus family and features flowers ranging in color from pale pink to vibrant purple. Rose of Sharon spreads readily outward to a width of up to 10 feet and can reach heights of 12 feet. These flowering shrubs perform best in well-drained soil but tolerate difficult soils once established. Baby this plant with a yearly thinning to allow light to penetrate the interior of the shrub. Rose of Sharon prefers partial shade and thrives in zones 5 to 9.

Keywords: shade flowering shrubs, shade tolerant shrubs, flowering shrubs for shade

About this Author

S.F. Heron is an avid gardener with three years of experience in online writing and a working background in aviation and earth and ocean sciences. She is published on various sites, including Helium, eHow and Xomba. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.