What Is The Best Shrub To Plant In The Shade?


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Although this may sound strange, in order to know which shrubs to plant in the shade, you will need to find out the 'degree of shade'. It is quite unlikely that many plants at all will thrive in very dense shade, such as under a tree, as not only is the plant not getting any light, but the tree will take its nutrients.

Light shade is the sort of shade that is cast by a fence or a house for some of the day, or even all day.

Here is a scale of shade that will help you identify what degree of shade your garden is in:

  1. Light shade: This is the sort of shade that allows the plant to be open to the sky but the direct sunlight is blocked by a fence or a wall etc. 
  2. Partial shade: This is when an area does receive some sunlight, but only for a few hours a day either in the morning or in the evening. So the light is not as bright as it would be in midday. 
  3. Moderate shade: The light is either reflected off of something of defused through something, like the canopy of a tree. 
  4. Deep shade: When a plant is planted under dense trees or undergrowth such as a conifer or a hedge. 
Even in the gloomiest conditions common ivy is likely to grow!

Around the base of a tree some spring flowering bulbs might be worth a try such as snowdrops, bluebells and cyclamen.

Unfortunately many of the shrubs that will grown in shade don't have much colour. These are 6 shrubs you should have the most luck with as they are very hardy.

  • Buxus sempervirens (box)
  • Hypericum calycinum
  • Mahonia aquifolium
  • Prunus laurocerasus ‘Otto Luyken’
  • Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis
  • Vinca minor
If your garden is only in lighter shade it might also be worth trying:

  • Bergenia
  • Gaultheria shallon
  • Daphne laureola
  • Mahonia aquifolium

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