Trees That Love Shade

Trees that grow well in shade are often shorter trees that in nature might grow under a taller forest canopy. Although many trees that grow in shade may also grow well in either partial or full sun, trees that require sun will not grow well in shade. By selecting a tree that is suited for your growing conditions, your tree will thrive.

Japanese Weeping Maple

Japanese weeping maples, especially varieties that have red leaves, grow very well in shade. Most Japanese weeping maples grow to between 12 and 20 feet tall, and are often about as wide as they are tall. The hot afternoon sun, especially in very hot, dry climates, can result in leaf burn on some red leafed Japanese weeping maples. Green leafed Japanese weeping maples can also do well in partial shade and do not require full sun. Japanese maples grow well in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 5b through 8 and do well in almost any soil that drains well.


Although magnolias will grow in full sun, they do very well in partial or full shade. When grown in the shade, the tree will have a more open feel and not have the dense foliage of a tree grown in the sun. Magnolias do better with shade when younger, but may need more sun as they grow. Magnolias grow well in USDA Hardiness Zones 7 through 10a. They grow in almost any soil that drains well, and are very tolerant of extended flooding.

Common Yew

Yews, which are commonly grown as bushes, also grow as trees that are tolerant of partial shade. Like other shade tolerant trees, yews can also grow well in sun. If you are growing a yew as a tree, select a cultivar like the Brownii that grows taller with less spread. You can then prune the tree into a pleasing shape. Yew is best suited for USDA Hardiness Zones 5 through 7 and will grow in most soils that drain well.


Although tolerant of many growing conditions, many junipers do best in partial shade. In fact, some varieties, like the Colorado juniper and the Japanese dwarf juniper, can yellow in the sun. This yellowing is not a sign of an unhealthy tree, but junipers tend to be a more attractive deep green when grown in partial shade. Depending on the specific variety, junipers will grow well in USDA Hardiness Zone 3 through 9. It is also very tolerant of soil type, but needs soil that drains well.

Keywords: trees for shade, tree cultivation, growing trees

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.