In designing a landscape, some areas may benefit form the color and texture of shrubs in shady areas. Many shrubs are best suited for full sun or partial sun. However, a number of shrubs are well suited to full shade. Many shade-tolerant shrubs are flowering shrubs or have unique fragrances that can add interest to your landscape.
Sweet box is a landscape shrub that grows well in full shade. In addition to being suitable for shade cultivation, sweet box is a deer resistant shrub. Sweet box shrubs can grow to between 3 and 5 feet tall. They produce bluish-black fruits in the summer or fall, depending on climate. Sweet box flowers are not overly attractive, but emit an intense sweet fragrance in the late winter or early spring. Sweet box grows in USDA Hardiness Zone 7 and warmer.
Bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) is a 3-foot tall shrub that can work well in many landscapes that are shady. Cold tolerant down to USDA Hardiness Zone 3, bush honeysuckle had dark green leaves that sometimes have a reddish tint. The leaves turn maroon red in the fall. The bush honeysuckle produces inconspicuous yellow flowers and can grow well in many different soil types, as long as the soils drain well.
Fragrant sumac (Rhus aromatic) is a shade-tolerant shrub that can grow well in many landscapes. It grows well in most soils that drain well and is cold hardy down to USDA Hardiness Zone 4. The fragrant sumac has aromatic leaves with yellow flowers. Fragrant sumac can grow to between 3 and 9 feet tall and 6 and 10 feet wide.
Maple-leaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) is a shade-tolerant shrub that is cold hardy down to USDA Hardiness Zone 4. Native to the Eastern United States, this bush can reach 4 to 6 feet in height. It features three lobed leaves, similar in appearance to maple leaves, which are between 2 inches and 4 inches long. The leaves turn reddish purple in the fall. This bush produces yellowish-white flowers in June that are between 1 and 3 inches across. It grows well in most soils, as long as they drain well.