7 low maintenance shrubs for shade

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Low maintenance shrubs for shade is a great idea for a garden enthusiast! Shrubs are a great choice for brightening up any garden. They come back year after year with a great variety of colorful flowers. But choosing the right ones is essential if you want them to thrive. Not every garden gets full sun, and most gardens have spots that only receive a couple of hours of sun each day. Of course, not everyone has the time to spend on high-maintenance plants. Fortunately, we have a list of 7 low-maintenance shrubs for shade that will bring color to your garden.

Azalea - shade shrubs

1. Azaleas and rhodedendrons

Most people get confused about the difference between azaleas and rhododendrons. In fact, azaleas are a subgroup of the rhododendron family. Azaleas are deciduous, losing their leaves every autumn. In contrast, most rhododendrons are evergreen, keeping their lush foliage year-round.

These plants are an ideal choice for low-maintenance shrubs for shade, and there is an endless variety to choose from. The varieties also flower at different times, with some flowering in early spring and others right blooming through the summer. These hardy plants also don’t require any trimming apart from the occasional dead branch.

“Regular watering during dry periods and some fertilizing during the growing season will satisfy the needs of most shrubs.”

Selecting Shrubs for Shady Areas, by U.S. Department of Agriculture
Companion plants for peonies - hydrangeas

2. Hydrangeas

Hydrangeas are always a popular shrub for the gardener who enjoys beautiful flowers but has little time for maintenance. The huge bunches of flowers are a delight to the eye that bloom right through spring and summer and into the fall. If you live in a hotter climate, the flowers may stop through the hottest part of summer, but they will come back in the fall.

Blue flowers are the most sought-after, but they do require a lot of water so you’ll need to situate them in soil that is consistently rich and moist. While hydrangeas are happy in shade, they don’t like it too cold and may not bloom in conditions where the temperature regularly falls below freezing. The only maintenance required is removing dead twigs in the early spring. This creates a low maintenance shrubs for shade.


3. Abelia

Abelia shrubs grow from two to six feet in height and produce trumpet-shaped blooms in yellow, white, pink, or lavender, depending on the variety you choose. These blooms appear in late summer, but the coppery-pink foliage is attractive throughout the growing season. It’s also a tough and adaptable shrub that requires no maintenance at all.

Japanese boxwood - ball topiaries in landscape

4. Boxwood

Boxwood is a shade-loving shrub that complements any plant you choose to place around it. As it comes in various sizes, you can choose a variety that grows large for screening or a small one to edge a border or place alongside perennials. Some are glove-shaped, some grow straight, and others are conical. Also, as well as being great in shade, they are equally happy in full sun, and they don’t mind what kind of soil you put them in.

Bush honeysuckle

5. Bush Honeysuckle

Bush honeysuckle was introduced into the US in 1897 as an ornamental plant for city landscapes. The reason for this was that it requires almost no maintenance at all once it’s established, making it one of the best low-maintenance shrubs for shade. It derives its name from the tubular flowers that attract pollinators from late summer into fall. The foliage is green, russet, or maroon, depending on variety, and remains glossy throughout the year. At only three to five feet in height, this shrub doesn’t take up huge amounts of space, and it’s quite happy in shade or full sun.

Hardy fuchsia's

6. Hardy Fuchsias

You may know fuchsias as pot plants that provide gorgeous flowers throughout the summer, but did you know some varieties serve as a shrub too? Hardy fuchsias grow to around four to ten feet in height and can even be used as an informal hedge. They are quite happy in shade and, once established, will only need watering in very hot and dry weather. The beautiful two-tone flowers come in various shades of pink, red, and purple and will appear throughout the summer and into the fall.

Camellia sasanqua

7. Camellia

Camellia is a shrub that provides stunning flowers in shades of red, white, or pink from fall to late spring, making it a fantastic addition to your winter garden. The bright green leaves remain throughout the year, so the plant looks gorgeous even when it’s not in bloom. Camellia grows slowly but can reach heights of 12 to 20 feet, so it’s not one for a small garden, but it requires almost no tending at all once it’s established.

FAQs about easy-care shade shrubs

What is the best shrub to grow in shade?

There are numerous shrubs that will create the shade that are low and easy maintenance. Boxwood, Hardy Fuchsias, and Hydrangeas are among some of the best shrubs to grow in the shade. With minimal sunlight needed, these shrubs will have your yard looking great!

What is the best low maintenance shrub?

Boxwood Shrubs are a low maintenance shrub that have a clean and modern look. If you are looking for a more vibrant shrub that is low maintenance, Hardy Fuchsias, Bush Honeysuckle, or Hydrangeas would be an excellent choice. I personally enjoy the vibrant color’s that these shrubs bring to the design and look.

What is the easiest shrub to grow in the shade?

The Boxwood shrub, Hardy Fuchsias, and Hydrangeas are among the easiest shrubs to grow in the shade. These shrubs require minimal work. Minimal watering, pruning, and any soil will do. These shrubs are the easiest to grow in the shade. This contributes to low maintenance shrubs to customize your gardening potential!

What shrub grows fast in shade?

Forsythia’s are the fastest growing shade shrub. If you’re looking to fill a space quick, forsythia’s are the way to go. They are quick to grow in shade, and create a flowering effect that is stunning.



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Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a Master Gardener and founder of the gardening website Home for the Harvest. She has been featured by Better Homes & Gardens, Real Simple, Good Housekeeping, Mother Earth News, and the National Garden Bureau. Mary Jane lives with her family in the Okanagan Valley.