Shade Plants & Bushes

Shade-loving plants and shrubs are just as colorful and vibrant as those that require a daily dose of full sun. Evergreen shrubs, a variety of shrub, have the ability to keep their color and foliage all year long, an added bonus to a shade garden. Tucked among a shade garden, plants and shrubs bring vibrancy and adaptability to the landscape.

Chapman's Rhododendron

Chapman's rhododendron (Rhododendron minus var. Chapmanii) is a shade-loving evergreen bush that grows 4 to 8 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide. Heat-tolerant, Chapman's' rhododendron has a loose, open and spreading form. The puffball-like blooms on Chapman's rhododendron are pale pink and grow 4 inches wide. Emerging in late spring, the blooms on Chapman's rhodendron light up a shaded garden landscape with color and vibrancy. Chapman's rhododendrons have lustrous green leaves that grow 1 to 2 inches long to contrast with the pale flowerheads. Preferring high, bright shade to flourish and thrive, Chapman's rhododendron remains with color all year long, including winter. Chapman's rhododendron prefers well-drained, moist soil to thrive. The USDA Hardiness Zone for planting is 7 to 9.

Fringed Bleeding Heart

Fringed bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia) is a perennial flower that grows in a low-growing, clump-like form and requires full to partial shade to grow. Growing 12 to 18 inches tall, fringed bleeding heart has heart-shaped flowers that grow in clusters along the blue to green parsley-like foliage. The floweheads sit atop the foliage and look as if they are bowing down. A hummingbird attractant, fringed bleeding heart's deep, pink flowers emerge in early summer to last through the season. Planted along a front flowerbed with other fringed bleeding hearts, the foliage and blooms create a dramatic presence. Fringed bleeding heart requires well-drained, moist and nutrient-rich soil. Divide the fringed bleeding heart in early spring to plant in other areas of the garden. The zone for planting is 3 to 9.

Japanese Laurel

Japanese laurel (Aucuba japonica) is a rapidly growing evergreen shrub that grows well in full shade. Growing 6 to 10 feet tall and wide, Japanese laurel shrubs have a rounded, open form, ideal for a classic hedgerow along a garden patio. The leaves on Japanese laurel have an interesting color combination and look as if they have been dappled with yellow paint. Adaptable, Japanese laurel grows well in a wide range of soils and growing environments, including dry and high polluted soils. In spring, Japanese laurel shrubs light up with red to purple flowers for a splash of vibrant color. Fall brings to the Japanese laurel shrub bright red berries that last into the winter. The zone for planting is 6 to 10.

Keywords: shade plants, shade bushes, chapman's rhododendron, fringed bleeding heart, Japanese laurel

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer, designer and photographer in North Carolina. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor living environment. Her articles have appeared in and and her photography has been featured in "Automotive News" magazine and