15 Tall Shrubs For Shade That You Need To Try In Your Garden

Shady areas in the garden can present some challenges when it comes to choosing the right landscaping. However, finding shrubs that will thrive in your shadier areas is not as difficult as you might imagine. Below is a list of tall shrubs that grow amazingly in shady places; there are even some that bloom!

15 Tall Shrubs for Shade That You Need to Try in Your Garden

1. Shadbush

Its formal name is Amelanchier; its nicknames are shadbush, shadwood, sarvisberry, or serviceberry. There are around 20 species of this small deciduous tree or shrub. This is a flowering tree; it blooms in early spring. Its ideal growing space is swamps and wetland areas. Its hardiness zones are 2-6. At maturity, these plants can range from 15-25 feet.

This plant is known as the serviceberry because it blooms in spring right around the time that the ground thaws enough to dig for burials and it created a beautiful backdrop for such sad occasions.


Where To Buy Shadbush Shrubs

Shadbush you can find it, at local nurseries, but it is wise to call ahead and make sure they carry it.

Amazon is another place you can find shadbush, in live plant or dormant forms.

2. Dogwood

Formally called Cornus these shrubs are mostly deciduous, those some are herbaceous. There are 30-60 species of this shrub. A few of the species are evergreens. Dogwoods are used chiefly for landscaping purposes. Dogwoods hardiness zones are 3-8.

Where To Buy Dogwood Shrubs

With a little research, you can find the species you want and then check Amazon.

They are also available at the most popular garden centers, like Lowes and Home Depot. As well as a lot of local nurseries. Especially if you live in one of the dogwood hardiness zones.

3. Hydrangea

Hydrangea is this shrubs' formal name; its nicknames are hydrangea or hortensia. The species of this plant range from shrubs to small trees and even lianas, which climb up trees. These little trees are considered easy to grow in almost all parts of the US. They need to live in areas where there are regular frost dates.

Hydrangeas need at least four hours of full sun and can live in full sun, but blooms will last longer in the partial shade. They thrive in moist well-drained soil.  The hydrangea tree species can be pruned anytime while not in bloom.

Where To Buy Hydrangea Trees

When trying to find hydrangea trees, be sure you specify whether you are looking for shrubs or trees. With hydrangeas, there is a difference. You can find a few species of hydrangea trees on Amazon. Make sure you research and find the name of the one you want.

You can find hydrangea trees at Home Depot and Lowes.  You can also call your local nursery and ask if they carry these trees.

4. Virginia Sweetspire

Itea Virginica this plant is also known as Virginia Sweetspire, and Virginia Willow. It can grow up to 8 ft tall and 4 feet wide.  This plant is also a deciduous shrub whose white or cream flowers grow in downward spires. Its leaves turn red to purple in autumn, this plant is a semi-evergreen, so its leaves last long into winter. The Morton Arboretum states this shrubs' zone hardiness zones 5-9.

Virginia Sweetspire

Where To Buy Virginia Sweetspire

As with most plants call your local nursery first to see if they carry the species you are looking to buy. 

You can also find this species on Amazon.

Also to be found at Lowes.

5. Red Chokeberry

Aronia, by its formal name, is another deciduous shrub. With this one be especially careful because Red Chokeberry is often confused with chokecherries. These are actually two different species.

Choke Cherries are poisons to animals with segmented stomachs.  Red Chokeberry is different. In many cultures, the chokeberries (not chokecherries) are in juice blends and herbal teas. Known to be low in Vitamin C red chokeberries are sour, and often blending with juice to sweeten.

Where To Buy Red Chokeberry

Amazon has a couple of sources of Red Chokeberry.

Don't forget to check with local nurseries. Also, Home Depot has this option.

6. Aucuba

Aucuba is a plant native to eastern Asia. It is hardy in zones 7-9. Aucuba is in the family of silk tassels plants called Garryaceae. These plants live in warm temperate climates to subtropical areas.

This plant prefers partial to full shade. It enjoys highly organic and moist soils. It can grow 3-6 feet tall and about as wide.

Where To Buy Aucuba

Wilson Bros Gardens sells Aucuba. You can also find it here on Amazon.

7. Hemlock

A lot of people hear hemlock and get a little worried due to its poisonous reputation. However, we are talking about the Hemlock tree here. Specifically, Tsuga Canadensis is the shortest of these trees. And perfect for casting shade. With hardiness in zones 3-8, it is ideal for foundation plantings, groupings, and screenings. For more information on this tree, click here.

Canadian hemlock branches and leaves in a closeup. Eastern hemlock also known as eastern hemlock-spruce, Tsuga canadensis, showing new needle growth.

Where To Buy Tsuga Canadensis

Our research shows that most of the time, you will need to order this and have it shipped. Below is a list of places to order.

Nature Hill Online Nursery, Fast Growing Trees, and Kigi Nursery.

You can also find it on Amazon.

Want to a different kind of shrub? Check it here!

8. Bamboo

Bamboo is a family of evergreen perennial flowering plants. Bamboo is a type of grass called Poaceae. Bamboo Garden has a great list of plant types for each hardiness zone. Some species of bamboo can grow up to four feet in a day.

Where To Buy Bamboo

Lewis Bamboo has a high sorting of zone hardy bamboo to buy. Amazon sells bamboo. You will need to research if that species is hardy in your zone.

9. Arborvitae

Also known as Thuja, is a coniferous tree in the Cyprus family. Arborvitae is Latin for the "Tree of Life". Arborvitae trees have a wide range of growth from 10-200 ft tall. So you will need to research what size tree you want.

Arborvitae trees are typically used to add formality, and height to a landscape.

Where To Buy Arborvitae

The Tree Center will ship these trees to you. The Arbor Day Store also carries Arborvitae trees.

Amazonalso carries these amazing shrubs. 

10. Chinese Holly

Ilex Cornuta is also widely known as Chinese Holly and horned holly. It is a densely foliaged, slow-growing shrub in the evergreen family. The Tree Center offers a list of which hollies are hardy in your zone.  It is a popular shrub to provide shade, texture, and color to your garden.

Ilex Cornuta

Where To Buy Chinese Holly

Chinese Holly is available from Amazon. The Tree Center has a large selection of holly species as well.

11. Fetterbush

Fetterbush is the common name for a few plants in the Ericaceae family. The Ericaceae family is known as the heather family. The species for our shade shrubs are Leucothoe, Pieris, and Lyonia lucida. They are flowering bushes or trees whose flowers hang down from branches. It is a deciduous evergreen shrub, hardy in zones 7b-9.

Amazon is a seller of Leucothoe , and, Pieris. Izel Plants sells Lyonia Lucida.

12. Yew

Yew is the common name given to several varieties of coniferous trees and shrubs. Gardenista has a great tutorial on yew trees and their uses for formal gardens and adding shaping to your garden. All parts of this plant are poisonous.

Yew plant

Where To Buy Yew Trees

The Tree Center is an excellent resource for many species of yew trees.

You can also find it here on Amazon.


13. Mountain Laural

Mountain Laural is a North American shrub. It is a shade tolerant relative of the azaleas and rhododendrons. It is an evergreen and thus a perfect fit for a shade garden. This heather cousin to blueberry and cranberries is hardy in zones 5-9. It grows best in moderate to partial shade.

Wayside Gardens has an impressive variety of mountain laurel for sale.

The can also be found on Amazon in a variety of forms. 

14. Nandina

Often known as sacred bamboo, or heavenly bamboo is a flowering plant native eastern Asia. All parts of this plant are poisonous, it is considered non-toxic to people, but animals are susceptible.

Home Depot carries several varieties of heavenly bamboo. The Tree Center also sells nandina.

You can also find live plants for sale on Amazon.

15. Boxwood

Buxus is a genus of a plant family Buxaceae. Boxwoods are native to several countries, including Europe, Asia, Central, and South America. Hardy in zones 5-8, Boxwoods are used in accents, edges, en masse, to divert deer, and to create mazes.



Boxwoods are a common landscaping plant, and thus can be found at most nurseries, garden stores, and online stores. 

Are you ready to plant your shade garden? Order your plants now.

Be amazed with the low maintenance shrubs!

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