If you’re looking for partial shade shrubs for your yard or garden, you’re in the right place! In this post, I’ll give you a list of my favorite bushes that grow in partial shade.
This is simply not true. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the amount of partial shade shrubs you’ll have to choose from!
You don’t have to sacrifice color or flowers either. Many of the partial shade bushes on this list have spectacular blooms or vivid foliage to bring color to those darker corners.
Read on to learn about my favorite bushes and shrubs that thrive in part shade areas.
What Shrubs Grow In Partial Shade?
If your yard doesn’t get much sunlight, don’t despair! There are plenty of good bushes for partial shade, and many of them even flower!
So whether you have a northern exposure, or your garden only gets morning or evening sun. You should have no problem finding lovely shrubbery to fill your space.
15 Partial Shade Shrubs For Your Garden
The bushes in the list below will perform well in a wide range of climates. So, no matter where you live, you should be able to find some great options.
When it comes to finding bushes for partial shade, hydrangea is one of the best. It’s known for the large, showy flowers that are good for arrangements or drying.
The late spring and summer blooms can be anywhere from white to pink, purple, magenta, or blue, depending on the variety.
There are tons of different species and hybrids. Some are as short as 36”, while others can get up to 12’ tall.
Various types of these iconic shrubs thrive in almost any zone, ranging from 3 through 10. Learn all about how to grow hydrangeas here.
2. Enkianthus campanulatus
These beautiful flowering partial shade bushes are tough, adaptable, and hardy. This Japanese native grows well in zones 4-7, reaching heights of 6-8’ tall.
It has bell shaped blossoms that are produced in clusters, and transition from white to pink or maroon. This habit sometimes earns them the name Redvein Enkianthus.
Blooming in late spring to early summer, and transitioning to vivid red and gold foliage in the fall, this shrub can bring a lot of color to shady gardens.
These small shrubs have beautiful blue-green foliage and are perfect for partial shade. Growing only 24-35” high, they are one of the shorter options on this list.
Spireas are particularly cold hardy, and will thrive in colder climates anywhere from zones 2 to 7.
It blooms from mid spring to early summer, with clumps of delicate tiny flowers that remind me of little umbrellas. These pink or white blossoms attract lots of bees and butterflies.
One of the largest partial shade shrubs on this list, dogwoods grow anywhere from 12-15’ hight. It does well in the cool to moderate climates of zones 4 to 8.
These classic bushes produces nice white flower clusters in late spring to early summer. Once the blooms fade, lots of small white berries will form, which attract birds.
There are several types to choose from. I especially love the variety that has beautiful variegated foliage, which brightens my shade gardens throughout the season.
5. Bush Honeysuckle
Known for attracting pollinators, like bees and butterflies, bush honeysuckles are good shrubs for shady areas.
Reaching heights of 10-12’ tall, they are hardy in zones 4-8. The pink or yellow flowers bloom in late spring to early summer.
Mine gets yellow blossoms in early summer, and it really brightens up the shady corner it’s planted in. Plus they get great fall color on the foliage to extend their beauty.
6. Witch Hazel (Hamamelis)
Another tall shrub for partial shade areas, witch hazel gets 10-15’ high. You can grow it anywhere from zone 3 to 8, as long as you keep it in evenly moist soil.
This plant has a rather unusual blooming habit. Depending on the species, the yellow or orange flowers open in either late winter or late fall.
The foliage is also very colorful in the fall, adding a bright spot to your garden at the end of the season.
With their stunning, dark red leaves, barberries are great shrubs for shade. They get inconspicuous yellow flowers in mid spring, but are more remarkable for their foliage.
Some varieties have golden yellow leaves, which creates a wonderful contrast when interplanted with the red ones.
Not only do they have lovely foliage, they are covered in bright red berries in the fall. I love watching the birds feed on them during the winter.
This tough shrub does well in many climates, thriving in zones 3-10. They can reach up to 48” tall, but the dwarf varieties stay smaller – between 24-36”.
I’m a huge fan of them. But some people don’t like them because they have prickly thorns like a rose bush, which can be annoying.
When these partial to full shade evergreen shrubs are planted alone, they can be a bit boring with no flowers. But it makes a gorgeous backdrop for some of the blooming ones on this list.
The year-round greenery and thick foliage can create a good fence alternative, and is an excellent addition to any garden.
Boxwood grows up to 6-8’ tall, and does best in the temperate to warmer areas of growing zones 6-8.
9. Rhododendron & Azalea Shrubs
Some of my favorite partial shade flowering shrubs for zones 4-8, rhododendrons and azaleas come in lots of different colors and sizes.
The early to mid spring blooms range from purple to pink, red, yellow, or white. The bush heights range from the dwarf hybrids at 24-36″, while large ones can reach 36-48″
When not in bloom, the beautiful, shiny foliage makes a fantastic background for other plants.
They thrive in acidic soil, which makes them a natural pairing for the shady areas under pine or other fir trees.
10. Mock Orange
Not related to citrus in any way, mock orange makes an excellent shrub for shade gardens. It blooms in late spring to early summer, and the white flowers smell AH-mazing.
These large specimens would make great shrubs for privacy, or a nice backdrop for other plants.
This vibrant green bush grows 8-10’ tall, and is quite full for optimal coverage. It does well in a range of temperate areas, primarily zones 4 to 8.
Believe it or not, roses can be excellent shrubs for shade gardens. Some varieties will not only tolerate partial shade, but they will thrive and blossom there.
I grow a few types in part shade, and they bloom profusely. I love how bright the flowers look in those darker areas too.
There are many, many different species to choose from, with tons of different flower colors. Their hardiness ranges from zones 4-11, depending on the type.
You can also find them in any height that you need. Small varieties start out as short as 24”, while others can get as tall as 20’.
If you’re looking for medium sized shrubs that do well in partial shade, look no further. Elderberries are native to most of the northern hemisphere, and they do well in zones 3-9.
These 8-10’ tall bushes produce sweet smelling white flower clusters in late spring and early summer, which the pollinators adore.
In the fall, they get beautiful black berries. Birds love them, and they are edible for humans too! In fact, the yummy berries are a common ingredient in jams, wines, and desserts.
I moved my weigela to a shady spot several years ago, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they bloom even better there than they did in the full sun.
These part to full shade shrubs are fairly small, growing 36-48”. You can also find dwarf sizes, which are only 12-18” tall. For even more variety, look for the ones with variegated leaves.
The light pink or fuschia flowers put on their show in late spring to early summer in zones 4-9, and provide a blast of amazing color.
They can get a bit leggy with age, so prune them in early summer after they are done blooming to keep them fuller.
This bushy shrub is great for a privacy screen in shady areas, growing 8-10’ tall with lots of branching.
There are several species of viburnum that grow from zones 2 to 9, and all of them are tough plants that can survive in trouble areas.
In late spring and early summer, they have balls of small white flowers. They also provide a splash of color in fall with their bright foliage.
The dark blue berries, which are produced in autumn, are great for attracting birds to your garden.
If you want gorgeous flowering bushes for partial shade, camelias are for you. There are hundreds of different species and cultivars, so you have lots of options.
These lovely shrubs can grow to a height of 4-12’ tall, and the varieties bloom at different times of year. They can have white, pink, red, or even yellow blossoms.
They do better in warmer climates (zones 7 to 11), and require consistently moist soil.
Don’t get discouraged by a lack of sun in your yard, there are plenty of beautiful partial shade shrubs to choose from. Whether you are looking for a privacy screen, pollinator attractors, or some interesting color, these shade loving bushes will serve you well.
- Grow a Fabulous Garden that Lightens up the Shadows
- Dazzling Plants, Design Ideas, and Proven Techniques for Shade
- Planting the Dry Shade Garden
- Shade-Loving Plants for Year-Round Interest
More About Shade Gardening
- 40+ Vegetables That Grow In Shade
- 17 Colorful & Gorgeous Shade Garden Plants
- 29 Rain Garden Plants For Sun Or Shade
- How To Determine Sun Exposure In Your Garden
Do you have any favorite partial shade shrubs that you would add to this list?