Fragrant Shrubs for Shade

You can choose from a variety of fragrant shrubs for a shade garden. Areas canopied with trees or spots near your home that don't receive much sunlight can receive added visual interest and a pleasing aromatic quality. A fragrant shrub can stand alone or be used as a hedge for a more powerful fragrance and added privacy to your shaded garden.


Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia), also known as sweet pepperbush, is a fragrant shrub that displays small white spiked flowers with dark green foliage that turns yellow to orange during the fall season. Summersweet thrives in shaded areas and prefers moist or wet, slightly acid soil. It tolerates dry and well-drained soil as well as salt. Often used as a border plant, summersweet shrubs grow to a height of 4 to 8 feet, according to the University of Illinois Extension.


Azalea shrubs (Rhododendron spp.) display flowers in hues of pink, rose and white. The cultivar Northern Lights is a fragrant, hardy azalea shrub that thrives in shade and cool temperatures. Azaleas have shallow roots, so well-drained soil is key to avoiding overwatering, which can lead to damage. Azaleas also prefer acid soil with a pH of 4.5 to 6.0. Mulch such as pine needles or pine bark can help keep adequate moisture in the soil and once decomposed, will add organic nutrients to the soil that help keep azaleas vigorous, according to the Clemson University Extension. Azalea shrubs grow to a height of 5 to 8 feet.

Carolina Allspice

Carolina allspice shrubs (Calycanthus floridus), also known as sweetshrub, display brown-maroon flowers with dark green foliage that becomes yellow during the fall season. The Carolina allspice plant emits a fruit-like fragrance as do its crushed leaves. This shrub thrives in both sun and full shade but is known for growing to a greater height when kept in the shade. Carolina allspice prefers moist, well-drained soil. It tolerates alkaline and wet soil. With proper growth, Carolina allspice grows to a height of 6 to 8 feet, according to the University of Illinois Extension.

Keywords: fragrant shrubs shade, fragrant flower shade, shrub flowers shade

About this Author

Tarah Damask's writing career, beginning in 2003, includes experience as a fashion writer/editor for Neiman Marcus, short fiction publications in "North Texas Review," a self-published novel, band biographies, charter school curriculum, and articles for eHow. She has a love for words and is an avid observer. Damask holds a Master of Arts in English and creative writing from the University of North Texas.