Trees provide shade and privacy in a backyard and may add emphasis to a front yard. The flowering dogwood (Cornus florida), the official state tree of Missouri, grows up to 30 feet tall with an equal spread. This tree is happy in full sun or partial shade. In April and May, the dogwood produces showy white flowers. attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. In autumn, the leaves turn bright red.
For a larger tree consider the Kentucky coffee tree (Gymnocladus dioica). This Missouri native may become 80 feet tall. It needs full sun and efficiently provides shade in large yards or parks. Pale green flowers appear in late spring. Leaves fade to pale yellow in the fall. Although there are no serious disease problems with this tree, Missouri Botanical Garden warns that the seedpods can create litter problems.
Rhododendron (English Roseum) grows 4 to 10 feet tall and produces light rose-colored flowers in April and May. The dark evergreen leaves provide interest all year. Rhododendron works well as foundation plantings on the shady side of the house. According to Christopher J. Starbuck of the University of Missouri, the rhododendron prefers filtered sunlight with shade in the afternoon. It needs rich acidic soil and good drainage.
For a smaller shrub, consider the boxwood (Buxus sempervirens). It only grows to 3 feet tall and can spread up to 5 feet. The insignificant flowers bloom in April and May. This shrub tolerates shearing and is often pruned as a hedge in Missouri landscapes. It needs full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil.
The Threadleaf Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata), a perennial with delicate flowers, grows to 2 feet tall in full sun. The showy flowers attract butterflies when blooming June through August. Cut the plants back in mid-summer to encourage new fall blooming. This flower does well in poor soil. This plant, however, spreads easily, and containing it in one area can become a problem.
Often grown as a bedding plant or in containers, the annual Heliotrope (Heliotropium arborescens) reseeds itself efficiently, so is often treated as a perennial. This plant prefers full sun but tolerates partial shade. It produces white or lavender flowers on stems up to 18 inches tall. Washington State University explains that It got its name because it turns its leaves and flowers toward the sun during the day.