How to Grow Shrubs That Like Shade - Plant Care & Tips

By NorwichGardener Team   /   2024

Shrubs that like shade is a type of plant that is usually found in areas where there is not a lot of sunlight. These plants are typically smaller in size and have leaves that are darker in color. Some common shrubs that like shade include: azaleas, rhododendrons, and hollies.

How to Grow Shrubs That Like Shade - Plant Care & Tips

Also called

  • Camellia
  • Rhododendron
  • Azalea
  • Hydrangea
  • Fuchsia

Good to Know

  • Not all shrubs like shade, so be sure to do your research before planting.
  • Some shrubs that like shade include: azaleas, rhododendrons, camellias, and certain types of hydrangeas.
  • Shade loving shrubs generally need less water and fertilizer than those that prefer full sun.
  • Shade also helps to protect against frost damage.
  • When planting shade loving shrubs, be sure to give them enough room to grow.
  • Mulching around the base of the plant will help to retain moisture and suppress weeds.
  • Pruning is generally not necessary for these types of shrubs, but can be done if desired.
  • Be sure to keep an eye out for pests and diseases, as shade loving shrubs can be more susceptible to these.
  • Fertilize in early spring with a balanced fertilizer.
  • Keep an eye on the shrub's growth habit and shape, and prune as necessary to maintain its desired form.

Related plant:
Best Shrubs To Plant In Front Of House

Planting Process

  1. For shrubs that like shade, first step is to find a shady spot in your yard. If you have a lot of sun, you may need to provide some artificial shade with a tree or umbrella.
  2. Prepare the soil by loosening it with a shovel and adding some organic matter like compost or manure.
  3. Choose the right shrub for your needs. Some common shrubs that like shade include azaleas, rhododendrons, and hydrangeas.
  4. Dig a hole that is twice the width of the shrub’s root ball and deep enough so that the top of the root ball is level with the ground.
  5. Place the shrub in the hole and fill in with the amended soil. Tamp down lightly.
  6. Water the shrub deeply and mulch around the base with straw, leaves, or bark chips.
  7. Check the shrub regularly, watering as needed and fertilizing every few weeks during the growing season.
  8. Prune as needed to shape the shrub and remove any dead or damaged branches.
  9. Enjoy your beautiful, healthy shrub!

Related plant:
Hardy Evergreen Shrubs

The Soil

About soil condition, well-drained soil is best for most shrubs, but some, like camellias and rhododendrons, prefer soil that's on the acidic side. If you're unsure about your soil, have it tested. You can amend soil as needed to improve drainage or add organic matter to help hold moisture.

Light condition

So, like the other plants, shrubs need sunlight to grow. However, not all shrubs need full sun. There are many shrubs that prefer partial sun or shade. If you are looking for a shrub to plant in an area that doesn't get a lot of sun, there are plenty of options to choose from. Some of the best shrubs for shady areas include rhododendrons, azaleas, and camellias.

Good Temperature

The temperature condition that is most ideal for shrubs that like shade is one that is cool and slightly moist. This type of environment is typically found in areas that get a lot of sun in the morning but are shady in the afternoon.

Ideal Humidity

Ideal humidity condition for this plant are high, as they are native to areas with high humidity, such as swampy areas. However, they can tolerate lower levels of humidity, as long as they are not too dry.


The fertilizer, this plant needs, should be organic and low in nitrogen. This is because too much nitrogen will result in lush foliage growth at the expense of flowers. The best time to fertilize is in early spring, just as new growth is starting to appear. Once the shrub is actively growing, you can feed it every 4 to 6 weeks.

About light

Pruning is an important part of keeping your shrubs healthy and looking their best. When pruning shrubs that like shade, be sure to remove any dead or diseased branches first. Once you have removed these, you can then shape the shrub by pruning back any overgrown branches. Be sure not to over-prune, as this can damage the plant.

Plant Propagation

Propagation is one of the most important aspects of gardening, and it is especially important when dealing with shrubs that like shade. There are a few different ways to propagate plants, but the most common method is by taking cuttings. Cuttings are pieces of the plant that are cut off and then rooted in soil. This is a very simple and effective way to create new plants, and it is a great way to expand your garden.

Growth Speed

Usually, the plant growth rate is slow to moderate. Some shrubs, such as rhododendrons, azaleas, mountain laurel, and hemlocks, have a very slow growth rate, while others, such as spirea, dogwood, and holly, have a moderate growth rate.

Common Problems

Common problems for this kind of plant are usually due to too much sun or too little water. If the shrub is getting too much sun, it will start to wilt and the leaves will turn brown. If the shrub is not getting enough water, the leaves will start to yellow and the shrub will start to droop.

List to Know

  • Make sure to provide plenty of shade for your plant. Shrubs that like shade will not do well in full sun.
  • Water your plant regularly. Shrubs that like shade need to be kept moist, but not wet.
  • Fertilize your plant every few weeks during the growing season.
  • Prune your plant as needed to keep it healthy and to encourage new growth.
  • Keep an eye out for pests and diseases. Treat any problems immediately.
  • Mulch around your plant to help retain moisture and keep the roots cool.
  • Check the soil regularly to make sure it is not too dry or too wet.
  • Be patient! Shrubs that like shade can take several years to reach their full potential.
  • Enjoy your beautiful, healthy plant!
  • Remember to provide shade, water, and fertilizer for your shrub to continue to thrive.

Alternative Plants

  • Azalea
  • Begonia
  • Bromeliad
  • Caladium
  • Camellia
  • Campanula
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cineraria
  • Cyclamen
  • Begonia Rex

Trees and Shrubs by: Shade Tolerance | OSU Extension Service
Shade Tolerant Trees and Shrubs | Horticulture and Home Pest …
Made for the Shade | Horticulture, Landscape, and ... - Nebraska

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Reviewed & Published by Richelle
Submitted by our contributor
Shrubs Category