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Flowering Shrubs for Shade Gardens

What are some blooming shrubs that tolerate shade?

oakleaf hydrangea

Answer: When picking out what to grow in the shady areas of your garden, it is important to select plants that flourish with little need for the sun’s rays. Shade-loving plants, especially varieties with bursts of color, can beautifully brighten those dim, bare areas of the yard.

A good option is flowering shrubs because not only do they offer an abundance of vibrantly colored flowers, but also many are relatively low maintenance and easy to grow.

Here are a few of the most common flowering shrubs perfect for shade gardens:

Camellias: These beautiful flowering shrubs bloom in winter, fall and/or early spring, depending on variety, in an array of stunning colors—usually whites, pinks and reds— on top of lush, dark green foliage. Camellias are most successful when grown in well-drained, acidic soil and in part shade. USDA Zones 6-9.

Hydrangeas: Blooming in late-spring, summer and/or fall, varieties of hydrangeas can offer wonderful assortments of breath-taking colors, from creams to pinks, to blues and reds, these popular shrubs will liven-up any shade garden. Hydrangeas prefer rich, well-drained soil and thrive in part shade. USDA Zones 3-9. Shown:Hydrangea quercifolia.

Azaleas: Another species of shrub that thrives in well-drained acidic soil, azaleas bloom, depending on variety, in early spring, summer and/or early fall in striking shades of radiant reds, oranges, yellows, whites, pinks, purples, and more! These vibrant shrubs are successful in part shade and USDA Zones 6-9.

There are many other great flowering shrub options that thrive in shade. Some other examples are spicebush,bottlebrush buckeyes, rhododendrons and more. Remember that your options will vary depending on your climate conditions. Be creative and pick varieties with different bloom seasons to keep your garden overflowing with striking, colors for most of the year!

Image: Anne Norman
Become a shade-gardening expert with help from the Shade Gardening Expert’s Value Pack, which includes: Horticulture: Shade CD, An Encyclopedia of Shade Perennials and Solutions to Common Problems.

Grow a successful and stunning shade garden with tips from the Garden How-To University: Shade Gardening.

Become inspired to grow a spectacular shade garden by reading Kerry Ann Mendez’s Top Ten Lists for Beautiful Shade Gardens Seeing Your Way Out of the Dark.

Discover what plants thrive best in the company of others in The A – Z of Companion Planting.

Make the most out of your planting place and create combinations that will not only thrive but create a beautiful oasis by trying out some plants from the Shade, Annual and Perennials Garden Wheels Bundle.