Growing plants in the shade is challenging for most gardeners. Over the years, shade patterns change with the growth of trees and shrubs. Shade can change each hour of the day depending on the position of the sun. One benefit is that the plants are protected from an excess of sunlight and moisture loss. Shade plants may need watering after rain has fallen, since trees and shrubs create an umbrella over the growing area. Choose vigorous, healthy plants for your shady areas.
Buttercup Winter Hazel
Buttercup winter hazel (Corylopsis pauciflora) is a deciduous, slow growing shrub reaching 4 to 6 feet in height. Dark green leaves turn yellow-green to gold in fall before dropping from the branches. Fragrant yellow flowers appear in spring. This bush needs well-draining, rich soil to grow well. Exposure to full sunlight tends to sunburn the edges of the leaves.
Japanese kerria (Kerria japonica) is a deciduous shrub with upright stems reaching 3 to 6 feet tall and spreads 10 feet wide with arching branches. The lance-shaped leaves are serrated along the edges. These green leaves change to yellow in the cool weather of autumn. Five-petaled blossoms are bright yellow and appear in late April and May. Remove dead shoots when they appear. Japanese kerria needs shade to thrive. The bush grows in full sun, but the flowers fade in the excess of full direct sunlight.
Strawberry bush (Euonymus americanus) is a deciduous bush with 1-1/2 to 3-1/2 inch long, green leaves that turn yellow-green in the fall. White flowers bloom in the early summer, followed by pink capsules that break open in fall to show red-orange berries. Strawberry bush grows 4 to 6 feet tall in moist soil. This bush tolerates arid conditions.
Swamp honeysuckle (Rhododendron viscosum) is a deciduous azalea growing 2 to 8 feet in height. The spreading branches reach 3 to 8 feet and are covered with green, oval leaves. White trumpet-shaped flowers cluster at the end of the branches in early summer. The blossoms are very fragrant and sticky to the touch. The swamp honeysuckle enjoys growing in moist soil and grows thick enough to form a hedge. This azalea tolerates arid conditions, but will also survive soggy soil.