15 Best Fast Growing Flowering Shrubs For Shade

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Finding the perfect shrub for your garden can be tricky without some extra help. Are you worried that the shrub you plant will not do well in the shade, or is it growing and flowering like crazy? We have done the work to find you some answers.

Whether you have a super shady garden or porch, it always helps to know what can and cannot survive without full sun. Luckily, tons of flowering shrubs prefer shade and even tend to thrive in it. Regardless of how much shade your space has, we’ve got a fast-growing, flowering shrub for you. Let’s dive in.

Drooping flowers of the Japanese andromeda photographed on a garden, 15 Best Fast Growing Flowering Shrubs For Shade

1. Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

First, we have a Mountain Laurel flowering shrub that loves the shade. This plant is native to eastern North America and typically grows in wooded areas. This shrub has glossy green leaves and a white or pink flower blooming in clusters on each plant. These shrubs grow in zones five to nine, and ideal conditions for this plant include partial to full shade and soil that is not highly acidic.

Pretty mountain laurel flowers photographed up close

Green Promise Farms Evergreen Mountain Laurel Plant

Here is a live Mountain Laurel shrub from Green Promise Farms that comes ready to plant. This live shrub varies in size but will measure around 8x8x15 inches and comes in a few different species options.

See this live plant on Amazon here.

2. Carol Mackie Daphne (burkwoodii)

A Carol Mackie Daphne photographed up close

Next up, we have a Carol Mackie Daphne shrub that is one of the sweeter smelling options on the list. This plant is native to Europe and Asia and does well in partially shaded areas. The Carol Mackie Daphne has a white to light pink flower and blooms primarily in May. This shrub grows in zones four to eight and needs soil that drains well and is not too acidic.

3. Japanese Rose (Kerria japonica)

Coming in at three, we have the Japanese Rose shrub. This flowering plant is native to Japan, China, and Korea and is one of the most shade-tolerant species on our list. Japanese Roses have a bright yellow flower and bloom all during the spring season. This shrub grows in zones four to nine, prefers shade, and likes loamy soil.

4. Andromeda (Pieris japonica)

Drooping flowers of the Japanese andromeda photographed on a garden

Another flowering shrub we found that loves the shade is an Andromeda plant. This evergreen shrub is native to Taiwan, Japan, and eastern China and is a fast-growing and flowering plant. Andromeda’s have a white flower and typically bloom in the late winter and early spring. This hardy plant grows in zones five to seven and prefers soil with a little bit of acidity.

5. African Scurf Pea (Psoralea pinnata)

Fifth, we have an African Scurf Pea shrub that will grow quickly in the shade. This brightly colored plant is native to South Africa and grows to about five feet if adequately trained. African Scurf Peas are commonly called the Kool-Aid flower because of their lilac purple and bell shapes. This specific shrub grows in zones nine to 11 and requires moist soil with good drainage.

6. Azalea and Rhododendron (Rhododendron)

Azalea flowers blooming breathtakingly at spring

Next up, we have the beautiful flowering Azalea shrubs. These colorful plants are native to Asia but are widely popular in Australia and North American countries. Azaleas produce either white, red, pink, purple, or yellow flowers and bloom mainly in the spring. This shrub grows in zones four to nine, depending on the variety, and prefers partial shade and acidic soil.

Elwyn Fresh Azalea Flower Seeds

Here is a ten-pack of pink Azalea seeds from Elwyn Fresh to add some color to your garden. This pack of ten seeds promises to be fast-growing and can be planted both inside and out.

Check out these pink Azalea seeds on Amazon here.

7. California Sweetshrub (Calycanthus occidentalis)

A California spicebush photographed at a garden

Coming in at number seven, we have the California Sweetshrub. This fragrant and low maintenance shrub is native to California and is known for its wine-like scent during the blooming season. California Sweetshrubs are deep red in color and are often planted near creeks and riverbanks to prevent soil erosion. This plant grows in zones six to nine and does best in partial shade and nutrient-rich, moist soil.

8. Chinese Fringe-Flower (Loropetalum)

Loropetalum chinense made as boundary hedges on a spacious Japanese home

Another flowering shrub that grows fast in shaded areas is the Chinese Fringe Flower. This evergreen shrub is native to China, Japan, and the Himalayas and is known for its fringe-like flowers. Typically, a Chinese Fringe flower will have a white, red, or yellow flower and bloom in early spring. These shrubs grow in zones seven to ten and prefer rich, well-drained, acidic loam soil. 

9. Coast Leucothoe (Leucothoe axillaris)

Next up, we have the urn-shaped Coast Leucothoe shrub that is perfect for a shady garden. This weeping evergreen shrub is native to the United States and thrives in heavily shaded areas. Coast Leucothoes generally have a soft white flower and make for great fences and boundary plants. This plant grows in zones six to nine and prefers soil with acidity and moisture.

10. Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii)

Fothergilla plant blossoming strikingly at a garden

Coming in tenth, we have a Dwarf Fothergilla shrub that grows quickly in the shade. This species of plant is native to the southeastern United States and typically blooms in the spring. Dwarf Fothergilla are known for their fluffy white bottlebrush-shaped flowers and smell similar to licorice candy. This flowering shrub grows in zones five to eight and likes moderately moist, well-drained, acidic soil.

11. Red Buckeye (Aesculus Pavia)

An up close photographed of a chestnut flower at a garden

Another flowering shrub that loves the shade is a Red Buckeye. Also known as the Firecracker plant, this bright red flowering shrub is a favorite among hummingbirds. Red Buckeye is native to the southern and eastern United States and does well in partial to fully shaded areas. This plant grows in zones four to eight and likes well-drained soil that is rich in alkaline.

Pixies Gardens 2 Gallon Red Buckeye Shrub

Here we have another live plant option from Pixies Gardens that will come in a two-gallon container. This Red Buckeye plant ships as semi-bare root and will weigh about nine pounds.

Follow this link to see this plant on Amazon.

12. Tree Peony (Paeonia suffruticosa)

Coming in at 12, we have the Tree Peony. This stunning pink, purple, and white flowering shrub is native to China and is perfect for shaded areas. This sub-shrub blooms in the mid to late spring and is famous for its big, beautiful peony flowers. This plant grows in zones four to eight, prefers fertile loam soil, and is sensitive to overwatering. 

13. Camellia (Camellia sinensis)

Beautiful pink flowers of the Camelia plant photographed up close

Next up, we have the Chinese tea-growing shrubs, Camellia. This evergreen shrub is famously used for tea leaves and is native to East Asia and India. Camellia does well in partial shade and can get up to ten feet if not regularly pruned. This plant grows in zones seven to nine and prefers soil with little acid and good drainage.

14. Common Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)

Next, we have the fragrant and hardy shrub, Common With Hazel. This plant is native to North America and is one of the few shrubs that bloom through the winter. Typically, Common Witch Hazel has a bright yellow spider-looking flower and is huge in the beauty industry. This shrub grows in zones four to nine and needs moist, rich, well-drained soil.

Green Promise Farms Live Yellow Flowering Witch Hazel Plant

Here we have a live Common Witch Hazel plant from Green Promise Farms that is perfect for a shady garden. This plant is delivered in a three-gallon nursery trade pot and can be planted as soon as it arrives at your door.

See this Witch Hazel plant on Amazon here.

15. Gardenias (Gardenia spp.)

An up close photograph of gardenia flowers in a garden

Last but certainly not least, we have the ever-popular Gardenia. Gardenia shrubs are native to the southern United States and have a fragrant glossy white or yellow flower. This specific type of plant loves humidity and can handle shade as long as the temperature is warm. Gardenias grow in zones eight to ten and require their soil to be slightly acidic and drain well.

August Beauty Live Gardenia Shrub

Here is a live, one-gallon Gardenia plant from the Shrub Store that will grow quickly in the shade. This Gardenia comes in a plastic planting container and has glowing reviews from verified customers online.

View this live Gardenia on Amazon here.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are interested in shade-friendly shrubs for your garden or want to learn more about the ones you already have planted, there are many options. Most flowering plants prefer to be in the shade for most of the day and handle it quite well, from what we found. If you want to add some color to your garden, we suggest planting a Red Buckeye or a Japanese Rose. Regardless of which shrub you choose to garden with, make sure it can survive your home’s climate and sun exposure. Now that you have all of these fantastic flowering shrub options, it’s time to do some gardening!

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