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Fast Growing Bushes That Grow in the Shade for Privacy

Lilac fiower image by Olga Guseva from

Brighten up and create privacy to shaded areas of the garden by adding shade-loving, vigorously growing bushes. Those with a rapid growth rate help to create privacy among the garden but in a short period of time. Grown in a wide range of sizes, shapes and blooms colors, many rapidly growing bushes produce attractive, showy blooms. Some bushes are evergreen, meaning they retain their foliage color year round and provide non-stop color to the landscape.

Japanese Laurel

Japanese laurel (Aucuba japonica) is a fast-growing, evergreen shrub with a rounded form. Reaching up to 10 feet tall and wide, Japanese laurel shrubs are an ideal variety to grow for privacy in the garden. Grown for their bold foliage, Japanese laurel bushes have glossy, oval-shaped foliage that appears as if it’s speckled with yellow paint. The small, red to purple flowers on Japanese laurel emerge in spring to light up the garden with color. They grow in full to part shade and well-drained soil. Versatile, Japanese laurel is adaptable to almost all soil varieties and outdoor conditions including, pollution and salt winds. They do not tolerate overly wet soil. Plant Japanese laurel in USDA zones 6 to 10.

Persian Lilac

Persian lilac (Syringa x persica) is a deciduous shrub with a rapid growth rate and medium to fine texture. It grows up to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide and has an upright form with arching branches. The fragrant, 2- to 3-inch-wide panicles, or blooms, on Persian lilac are pale purple and emerge on the previous season’s growth. The 1- to 1-1/4 inch-long leaves on Persian lilac are dark green. Versatile, Persian lilac is heat-tolerant to withstand periods of limited moisture. It grows in both shade and sun and well-drained soil. Plant Persian lilac shrubs in USDA zones 4 to 7.

Smooth Hydrangea

Smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescence) is a rapidly growing deciduous shrub with a rounded, clumping form. It grow up to 3 feet tall and wide and has a coarse texture. The clusters of 3- to 6-inch-wide lacecap flowers have a mild fragrance and emerge in early summer to light up the garden with color. They grow best in shade, and when planted in masses along the garden, provide an attractive makeshift hedgerow. According to North Carolina State University Extension, the leaves suffer in full sun. Smooth hydrangea attracts bumblebees to the garden and have 2- to 8-inch-long, dark green leaves that cast a yellow to brown tinge in fall. They grow best in well-drained, moist, nutrient-laden soils. Plant smooth hydrangea in USDA zones 3 to 9.

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