Sunshine levels, like partial shade, are measured in the summer during the eight-hour period between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. During that time frame, an area of the landscape that receives less than three or four hours of direct sunshine or receives continuous small spots of sunshine under a canopy of trees is classified as partial or dappled shade. When shopping for partial shade landscape shrubs, examine the nursery plant tag for the words "partial shade" or "dappled shade" to ensure the shrub will be a showcase in your landscape.
Boxwood shrubs offer a touch of formality to the landscape and are seen with traditional and colonial architecture. Boxwood is a slow growing shrub that can be pruned to crisp lines. Japanese boxwood shrubs can reach a height of about 4 feet. American boxwood reaches about 8 feet in height. Use boxwood shrubs for foundation plants or a hedge. Boxwood is cold hardy to USDA zone 5.
The shiny, dark green leaves of the camellia shrub remain year-round as a backdrop for the late winter blooms of pink, rose or white. Camellia is fast growing and can reach a height of 15 feet. Camellia prefers acidic soil and can tolerate full shade. Plant a group of three or five camellia shrubs in the landscape for a concentration of color. Camellia is cold hardy to USDA zone 7.
Rhododendron can be used in the landscape at the edge of a tree line. This evergreen shrub can exceed heights of 8 feet in optimal conditions of moisture and acidic soil. The lavender, pink, white or yellow blooms of the rhododendron shrub appear in the spring. Rhododendron is cold hardy to USDA zone 4.
Japanese andromeda, sometimes called the lily-of-the-valley shrub, is an evergreen shrub that can reach a height of 8 feet. In late winter or early spring, Japanese andromeda produces large, dangling clusters of fragrant white blooms. Plant Japanese andromeda in the landscape where it can be seen from the house or walkway to enjoy its beauty. Japanese andromeda is cold hardy to USDA zone 4b.
Use glossy abelia as partial shade landscape shrubs where the scent of its trumpet-shaped blooms can be enjoyed, perhaps as a foundation shrub along a porch. Glossy abelia has many stems, or canes, that display pink blooms from early summer into late autumn, when the blooms fade to a bronze color. Glossy abelia is easily pruned to maintain a desired height. Without pruning, this shrub can reach a height of 12 feet. Glossy abelia is cold hardy to USDA zone 5.