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Top Shrubs for Shade

A shady landscape can be an oasis of lush color. Some may view it as a challenge but once you being to explore the variety of plants that thrive in the shade, the more fun you can have! We recommend layering plants from tall to short, and then blending in different textures and colors. Let's start with discussing taller shade loving shrubs. There are many options for a shady landscape, including some flowering shrubs and evergreens listed below. Mixing them with shade loving perennials like coral bells (heuchera), astilbe, bleeding hearts and ajuga will add variety, texture and color to a shady area.

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Dwarf Fothergilla - A high caliber landscape shrub; features fragrant showy white "bottle-brush" flowers in spring on bare branches, and a very shapely rounded habit of growth. It prefers light acidic soils and is a great multipurpose garden plant.  It has dark green foliage throughout the season. The round leaves turn an outstanding orange in the fall.

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Green Velvet Boxwood - A broadly mounded hybrid of this broadleaf evergreen that takes pruning exceptionally well; very versatile in the landscape, makes a great low hedge. The small, shiny round leaves remain forest green through the winter. Low Maintenance. Great hedge under windows. Can be trimmed for a classical look.

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St John’s Wort - Beautiful bright yellow buttercup flowers with bushy stamens blanket the attractive oblong sea-green leaves in summer; widely adaptable but thrives in moist, well-drained soil. The blooms form at the ends of the branches from mid summer to midfall and are most effective when planted in groupings. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has bluish-green foliage throughout the season.

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Juddi Viburnum - An intoxicatingly fragrant garden shrub when in bloom, covered in rounded clusters of white flowers in early spring, plant where the fragrance can be enjoyed, and stays tidy the rest of the year. Judd's Viburnum features showy clusters of fragrant white flowers at the ends of the branches in early spring, which emerge from distinctive pink flower buds before the leaves. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. The round leaves turn an outstanding deep purple in the fall. The black fruits are held in spectacular clusters from late summer right through to late winter. SMALLER SIZE ALTERNATIVE: KOREAN SPICE VIBURNUM

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Autumn Jazz Viburnum - An attractive garden shrub featuring showy flat-topped clusters of creamy white flowers in late spring followed by bluish-blackberries, attractive to birds, excellent fall color; an upright spreading shrub, rugged and adaptable, ideal as a natural hedge. It blooms in the late spring and has forest green foliage throughout the season. The serrated oval leaves turn an outstanding yellow in the fall. The navy blue fruits are held in spectacular clusters from early to late fall. Also known as ARROWOOD.

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Karen Azalea - An extraordinary and stunning variety presenting multiple clusters of bright lavender-pink blooms on a hardy and dense compact shrub; a beautiful presentation as a garden focal point. Karen Azalea is bathed in stunning clusters of lightly-scented lilac purple trumpet-shaped flowers with pink overtones at the ends of the branches in mid spring before the leaves. It has dark green foliage that turns shades of orange and red in the fall and stay on the plant throughout winter. This azallea requires specific growing conditions. Ask for planting instructions.

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Blue Muffin Viburnum - A compact garden shrub covered in showy flat-topped clusters of creamy white flowers in late spring followed by striking blueberries, attractive to birds, reliable fall color; a rugged and adaptable shrub, ideal for the garden or as a natural hedge. It has forest green foliage throughout the season. The serrated oval leaves turn an outstanding deep purple in the fall.The powder blue fruits are held in abundance in spectacular clusters from early to late fall. The Blue Muffin stays smaller than the Autumn Jazz Viburnum.

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Incrediball Hydrangea - An exciting introduction to the world of hydrangeas, this shrub produces huge, basketball size flowers; best if treated like a perennial and pruned to a few inches from the ground in spring because it blooms on new growth. Incrediball Hydrangea features bold balls of white flowers at the ends of the branches from mid to late summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has dark green foliage throughout the season.

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Oakleaf Hydrangea - An excellent large garden or massing shrub featuring spikes of flowers which fade from pure white to pink, interesting foliage with spectacular fall color and papery bark; rather coarse in appearance, best used in grouping. Blooms late spring throughout summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has dark green foliage which emerges grayish green in spring. The large fuzzy lobed leaves turn an outstanding brick red in the fall. The fruit is not ornamentally significant. The peeling brick red bark adds an interesting dimension to the landscape.

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Little Lime Hydrangea - This compact shrub is a smaller form of 'Limelight'; features large conical flower heads that start chartreuse and change to pink in the cooler, late-season weather, lasting into Fall. Flowers late spring through late fall. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has green foliage throughout the season.

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Vanilla Strawberry Hydrangea - Wonderful white panicles turn to raspberry pink over the summer; a bold and audacious shrub that produces endless reams of massive and dense conical flower clusters at the ends of the branches; long-lasting blooms. Blooms mid-summer through late fall.. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has green foliage throughout the season.

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Witchhazel - A large shrub with an upright, wide-spreading habit of growth; fall is its season to shine, with fragrant bright yellow strap-shaped flowers and golden fall foliage; grow where space is not a problem. Common Witchhazel has fragrant yellow strap-like flowers along the branches in late fall before the leaves, which are interesting on close inspection. It has green foliage throughout the season. The serrated round leaves turn an outstanding yellow in the fall.

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Besides shrubs, there are also many options for shade perennials and annuals. By mixing all three you can enjoy year round color and interest. Visit us at our Garden Center and we will be happy to help you design a shade garden or landscape to suit your needs.

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