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Shrubs for the Shade

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August 27, 2019

There are many great shady shrubs, but select hard working multi season shrubs today on Southern Gardening. 

There’s nothing wrong with planting privet, boxwood and azaleas in the shady parts of the landscape.  These are solid performers that provide good background.  At least for one season!  But for the biggest bang for your gardening buck look for multi season shrubs that will do double, or even triple duty.  Choose shrubs that start with flowering in the spring, good foliage color or texture during the summer months, a bang of fall color, and end with colorful berries persisting through the winter.  You may need a mixture of different shrubs to cover all of the bases.  Here are some shady shrubs that are hard workers.  Virginia sweetspire, Itea virginica, has pleasantly fragrant white flowers in the spring and brilliant fire engine red foliage in the fall.  Because of these attributes Virginia sweetspire has been chosen as a Mississippi Medallion winner for 2011.  One of the first shrubs to bloom in late winter is the Vernal Witchhazel, Hamamelis vernalis.  The flowers are spidery in appearance and selections range in color from solid yellows, oranges, and reds.  The flowers have a pungent fragrance and persist up to 3 to 4 weeks.  Vernal Witchhazel is a dense, multi-stemmed shrub, up to 10’ high and greater in width.  A shrub that is certainly a good choice is Japanese pieris, Pieris japonica.  This evergreen shrub has fragrant pendulous white flowers in the early spring.  New foliage emerges with bright rich bronze red color. 

Maintaining soil moisture is important.  Planted under trees blocks some rainfall and tree roots offer competition for soil moisture.  Use a soaker hose weekly to keep your shady shrubs happy.  I’m horticulturist Gary Bachman for Southern Gardening.

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