Limited options exist for species of evergreen shrubs that grow best in shade across U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 7. The zone extends along the East Coast from Long Island south into northern portions of the Deep South, heading westward into Oklahoma and Texas before tracking northwest into California, Oregon and Washington. Cold-hardiness of these evergreens does not have to be extreme, since winter lows in zone 7 only fall to zero Fahrenheit, so certain species of evergreen shrubs will handle shady sites within this area.
Use rhododendron "Yaku Prince" in groups, near a foundation or in a woodland setting to make this azalea cultivar's ability to grow in shade work for your landscape in zone 7. Yaku Prince grows to 3 feet high in part to full shade, blooming in April and May, generating pink flowers. Plant the azalea only in a well-draining area, advises the Missouri Botanical Garden website. Rhododendron "Mrs. Henry Schroeder" is an evergreen azalea, featuring purple-pink blossoms in May and growing between 1½ to 3 feet tall. Loving the shade, this azalea form does withstand morning sun in zone 7.
Among the evergreen rhododendron cultivars available for shade in zone 7 are types such as "Mary Fleming," "English Roseum" and "Capistrano." Mary Fleming develops to 2½ feet high and blooms in April, producing creamy yellow flowers. Use this rhododendron in a shade garden in zone 7. Darkened green leaves with a leathery texture along with lemon-yellow flowers highlight Capistrano. This rhododendron for a shady spot within the zone grows to 5 feet high, making it possible to plant it in mass in an appropriate area.
Canadian hemlock Tsuga canadensis comes in multiple shrub forms, with these much smaller versions of the parent species loving the shade in zone 7. "Betty Rose" possesses foliage with white tips, grows to 2½ feet and is a candidate for rock gardens. "Cole's Prostrate" grows low enough for use as ground cover, taking as long as 10 years to get 12 inches tall. Canadian hemlock cultivars "Moon Frost," "Lewis," "Jervis" and "Brandley" survive in Zone 7, but this is the warmest zone such species can handle.
The Japanese plum yew Cephalotaxus harringtonia is neither a plum nor a yew, but has the evergreen needle-like foliage similar to the latter and fruits that look like plums. It grows to 10 feet as a shrub in zone 7, but may require years to do so. Keep the Oregon grape Mahonia aquifolium out of full sun and protect it from winds. This evergreen shrub of the western states grows to 6 feet, has compound leaves, yellow April flowers; it generates edible, although somewhat sour, fruits.
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Rhododendron Yaku Prince
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Rhododendron Mrs. Henry Schroeder
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Rhododendron Mary Fleming
- University of Connecticut Plant Database: Tsuga Canadensis
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Tsuga Canadensis Betty Rose
- Missouri Botanical Garden: Cephalotaxus Harringtonia