Evergreen Shade Shrubs

shade-shrub-camellia

Camellia

The first thing to ask yourself when looking for evergreen shade shrubs is whether you want a broadleaf evergreen (like the camellia pictured at right) or a coniferous needled evergreen (like a cedar). The biggest distinction between them is that some broadleaf evergreen shrubs (such as camellia, rhododendron and leucothoe) have flowers while the needle-type evergreen shrub never flower.

Broadleaf evergreen shade shrubs

Your best bets for broadleaf evergreen shade shrubs are various species of camellias, hollies and rhododendrons. Keep in mind that in heavy shade  some broadleaf shade shrubs may become very leggy or sparse and produce few flowers.

Aucuba

Aucuba

Also look at the laurels , leucothoe (can be either deciduous or evergreen depending on species) and aucuba – all are extremely shade tolerant.

The evergreen shade shrubs you can choose depends a lot on your climate zone. In zone 6 and below there are not too many broadleaved evergreens hardy enough to survive the winter. However, the shade shrubs mentioned in this article should all be hardy enough for zone 6.

Coniferous or needled evergreen shade shrubs

Most coniferous or needled evergreens need at least partial sun, but take a look at the various shrubs in the yew and cedar families.  Cedar thrive in full to part shade and are evergreen. Their branches are covered in green, flattened branchlets arranged in fan-like shapes. A particularly nice shade shrub is the Dwarf Japanese Cedar (only about 3 feet tall).

Try visiting local nurseries, garden centers or even arboreta to see what is available for your area in the way of evergreen shade shrubs.