shrubs for shade garden with winter interest
This topic contains 7 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by Anonymous 7 years, 6 months ago.
March 14, 2010 at 11:28 pm #28956
I’m looking for a shrub for a garden that is definitely shade. I’d like it to grow to about 4′-5′ tall. Winter interest is most important–red berries would be great. Evergreen would be a plus unless the berries were so plentiful.March 16, 2010 at 2:03 am #29207
joyhockman, Since I’m not sure where you are gardening, I’ll suggest a few of my favorite shrubs with winter interest that do well here in the Hudson valley.
For full shade take a look at Mahonia aquifolium, it is evergreen and has berries in late summer. For good fruit set you will need several plants.
Viburnums are great for medium to bright shade. For winter interest in the shade, I particularly love cranberrybush viburnum (Viburnum opulus or Viburnum trilobum) Margaret has several great posts on viburnums https://awaytogarden.com/a-fruitful-year-for-my-viburnum and https://awaytogarden.com/think-fall-yes-fall.
There are of course lots of great choices for bright or partial shade. Here are two of my favorites:
Ilex verticillata (winterberry holly) has beautiful berries until the birds get them. In general you will get fewer blooms and therefore fewer berries the deeper the shade. Here is Margaret’s post on winterberries https://awaytogarden.com/whither-goest-my-winterberries.
And twig dogwoods, such as Cornus sericea, Cornus sanguinea or Cornus stolonifera have beautiful winter twigs that come in a wide variety of colors. Check out this great photo of Margaret’s Cornus sanguinea ‘Winter Flame’ https://awaytogarden.com/great-shrub-cornus-sanguinea-%e2%80%98winter-flame%e2%80%99
This is by no means a comprehensive list, so if none of these appeal, a great website for when you need plant suggestions for a particular situation is Missouri Botanical Garden’s Kemper Center for Home Gardening’s Plant Finder: http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp
I’d love to hear what shrubs other gardeners like.March 16, 2010 at 3:59 pm #29211
I have tremendous good luck with mahonia and aucuba. Both stay green all winter and do well in the shade. I am in zone 6BMarch 20, 2010 at 1:42 am #29225
Thanks to both Leslie and Barbara for your information. I am, by the way, in zone 6. What do you think of skimmia for shade and winter interest?
joyMarch 20, 2010 at 2:29 am #29226
I always wished I could grow skimmia here (I am Zone 5), and it is a favorite of my garden mentor. I admire its red fruits in the offseason in particular. Good one.March 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm #29227
Skimmia is great. I have grown it in several different gardens in NYC where it was very visible from winter windows. I have had great luck with layering it to extend the size of a clump too. Don’t forget that Skimmia japonica needs a pollinator (a male). Skimmia reevesiana is self pollinating though.March 26, 2010 at 4:59 pm #29262
Skimmia, all kinds, are wonderful and showy, but unfortunately they don’t much like my zone 7 garden, and several have left me without a word. But, just yesterday, I was down in the back of the garden and discovered a lovely acuba with large and shiny red berries — it was hiding behind a tattered old schip laurel, and has survived our horrible winter without so much as a blemish. I wish I could say the same for the schip laurel hedge!
Other things I cherish for winter colour are camellia sasanqua, and thanks to some new breeding they are a lot hardier than they used to be. The buds on one of mine survived all three of our blizzards, and are now blooming away — a little smaller than usual, but very pretty.April 9, 2010 at 2:31 pm #29332
I’ve been very happy with variegated Osmanthus (Osmanthus “Goshiki”)– often referred to as False Holly — which is very beautiful, seems to be bullet-proof, works very well in the shade, and is also deer resistant. It’s slow, however, so buy the biggest shrub you can afford. I’ve had poor luck with Mahonia, incidentally. I’m in Zone 7.
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