Evergreens That Do Well in the Shade

Just because you have a shaded garden or landscape, doesn't mean it can't be filled with color and texture. There are many shade-loving evergreen to choose from to plant among the garden. Azalea, a shade favorite, has bright snowball-like blooms that come in a wide range of colors. Placed along a shaded garden wall or nestled around your favorite shade trees, colorful evergreens are a way to brighten up the space. They also have the ability to remain with their vibrant color all season long, including the winter months.


This evergreen shrub prefers bright shade and well-drained soils. This open spreading shrub has medium-sized green leaves that range from 1 to 2 inches long. The flower blooms emerge in late spring and are pale pink. This heat tolerant evergreen grows up to 8 feet high and wide and looks striking along a shaded garden spot for a commanding presence. The USDA hardiness zone is 7 to 9.

Mountain Laurel

Mountain laurel is an evergreen shrub that prefers well-drained soil and shaded areas of the landscape. Its glossy green leaves contrast with the 5-inch flower clusters. Beginning in the fall, the leaves turn yellow. The flower clusters colors on the mountain laurel are white to pink and emerge in late spring. The height of the mountain laurel ranges from 10 to 15 feet. The USDA hardiness zone is 5 to 9.

Spreading Yew

This slow-growing evergreen prefers shade and moist, well-drained soils. Spreading yew is also diverse and can tolerate clay, sandy and dry soils. This spreading evergreen grows up to 10 feet tall and 14 feet wide. The rounded form is wider that it is tall and is ideal along a garden border to help define a space or used as a focal point within the shade garden. The sharp, tapered leaves grow up to 2 inches long. They are dark green in color and keep their color well into winter, making for a bright contrast to the gray winter skies. Spreading yew are also drought and heat tolerant, as well as deer resistant, making for a hardy shrub to grow. The USDA hardiness zone is 6 to 9.


This brightly colored evergreen has a dense, upright form and arching shoots. The aucuba grows up to 10 feet in height and 6 feet wide. The leather-like leaves are specked with green and yellow and range from 8 to 3 inches long. Aucuba prefers shade and moist soils with high nutrient matter. It is also drought tolerant and easy to transplant, making this evergreen a garden must along the landscape. It remains its dense form in heavy shade to brighten up the landscape. The USDA hardiness zone is 7 to 10.

Keywords: shade loving evergreens, rhododendron shrub, mountain laurel, spreading yew, aucuba evergreen

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer and photographer in North Carolina. Her work has appeared in Forbes and Automotive News magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.