Flowering Evergreen Shrubs For Shade (With Pictures) – Identification Guide

Flowering Evergreen Shrubs For Shade

Flowering evergreen shrubs for growing in the shade add a splash of color to shaded garden landscapes. Evergreen shrubs that bloom in spring, summer, and fall can have showy flowers in shades of pink, red, orange, yellow, white, purple, and multi-colors. The best flowering shade-tolerant evergreen shrubs can also fill front or backyards with sweet, alluring floral fragrances.

Choosing suitable shade-loving evergreen flowering shrubs doesn’t have to be complicated. Many flowering shrubs thrive in partial shade, dappled shade, or full shade. So, even without several hours of sunlight, these evergreen shrubs bloom with attractive, fragrant, and sometimes exceedingly showy flowers.

This article is an identification guide to the best flowering evergreen shrubs for shade gardens. Descriptions and pictures of shade-tolerant shrubs with year-long foliage and their flowers will help you decide about the best plants to grow in your yard.

What Are Flowering Evergreen Shrubs For Shade?

Flowering evergreen shade-tolerant shrubs are bushy plants that survive on fewer than six hours of direct sunlight daily.

Partial shade shrubs typically thrive in the morning and late afternoon sunlight and need four to six hours of sunshine. Flowering shrubs for full shade can survive in as little as two hours of sunlight or even no direct sunlight.

Sometimes, flowering evergreen shrubs are classed as suitable for dappled shade or sunlight. This describes light exposure levels that are a mixture of shade and light. For example, sunlight filtering through a tree canopy or pergola is described as dappled light.

How to Choose Flowering Evergreen Shrubs For Shade

Several factors affect where to plant evergreen flowering shrubs in a shaded location. First, it’s crucial to check your USDA growing zone to plant suitable cold-hardy shrubs. Then, consider the shrub’s size, soil type, pruning requirements, and moisture levels. Of course, you should ensure the shrubs get enough shade throughout the day.

Types of Flowering Evergreen Shrubs For Shade (With Pictures) – Identification Guide

Many flowering evergreen shrubs are ideal for planting in landscapes with shady spots. Typically, shade-loving bushy plants are easy to care for and don’t need too much sunlight. This makes evergreen shrubs ideal for north-facing landscapes or planting in the shadows of tall trees, fences, or buildings.

Please read on to discover some of the most popular flowering evergreen shrubs for shade. For each shrub, you will find descriptions of the flowers and information on growing zones, soil type, and maintenance requirements.

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

Mountain laurel is a flowering evergreen shrub that can tolerate some shade in the garden

Mountain laurel is a flowering evergreen shrub with spectacular clusters of pink, white and multi-colored blooms. The showy white or pink flower heads consist of small dainty bell-shaped flowers creating clusters 4” to 6” (12 to 15 cm) in diameter. The long-blooming evergreen shrub flowers from April until July.

Mountain laurel shrubs thrive in partial shade or dappled sunlight. However, they will also tolerate full sunshine. The dense, rounded flowering shrubs grow between 4 and 15 ft. (1.2 – 4.5 m) tall and up to 8 ft. (2.4 m) wide. The large evergreen shrubs thrive in acidic, moist soil with excellent drainage.

Another identifying feature of mountain laurel shrubs are glossy, leathery lance-shaped leaves growing 2” to 5” (5 – 12 cm) long. The shiny evergreen foliage emerges yellowish-green before turning dark green.

Plant shade-loving mountain laurel in shaded front or backyards in USDA zones 4 to 9.



Evergreen flowering rhododendrons are excellent choice for dappled sunlight or partial shade

Many rhododendron shrubs are evergreen flowering plants with large, showy flowers that thrive in dappled shade. Evergreen rhododendron shrubs are identified by their bell- or funnel-shaped flowers that grow up to 3” (7.5 cm) long. Rhododendrons typically bloom in spring until early summer.

The best light levels for growing rhododendrons are partial shade or dappled sunlight. Their large, leathery, glossy, lanceolate leaves measure up to 6” (15 cm) long and 3” (7.5 cm) wide. The attractive landscaping plant grows best in USDA zones 6 to 8 in well-drained soils.

With their rounded shape and evergreen foliage, rhododendrons are ideal for foundation plantings. In addition, the eye-catching shrubs are ideal for hedges that keep their leaves throughout the year. You can also use rhododendrons as specimen plants in a garden landscape. Additionally, the large pink, red, or lilac flower clusters fill the bush when in bloom.



Camellia is a shade-tolerant flowering evergreen shrub that has many cultivars with white, pink and red flowers

Camellia is a flowering evergreen shrub for the shade that has spectacular pink, white or red flowers. Beautiful camellia flowers can be single flowers, semi-double, or double flowers. The showiest camellia flowers are double flowers with ruffled, papery petals. The spectacular floral displays last throughout the season as the flowers bloom continuously from spring until fall.

Camellia shrubs perform best in partial shade. However, some camellia varieties are flowering evergreen shrubs for full sun. Planted in mixed shrub borders as evergreen natural screens or containers, the flowering shrubs add visual appeal to a shaded landscape in all four seasons.

Typical evergreen camellia shrubs grow 6 to 10 ft. (1.8 – 3 m) tall and require little maintenance. If you have a compact garden, there are dwarf, evergreen shrubs for the shade. These attractive flowering camellia shrubs grow 2 to 5 ft. (0.6 – 1.5 m) tall and wide.

Camellia shrubs perform best in partial shade growing in USDA zones 6 to 9.

Fragrant Daphne (Daphne odora)

daphne odora

The evergreen daphne odora bush has pale pink or white fragrant blossoms and thrives in partial to full shade

Fragrant daphne is a pink to white-blooming evergreen shrub covered in fragrant pinkish-white star-shaped flowers. Also called winter daphne, the shrub is identified by its four-petalled flowers in a star shape, dense, mounding form, slender bluish-green leaves, and red berries. The attractive shrub blooms in early spring with small clusters of flowers.

Fragrant daphne is suitable for planting in USDA zones 7 to 9. The attractive flowering shrub with its pink spring-blooming flowers thrives in partial shade to full shade. The large flowering drought-tolerant shrub is around 6 ft. (1.8 m) tall.

Suppose you want to add a pop of color to a shaded garden landscape. In that case, you can choose the white-flowering shrub fragrant daphne ‘Alba.’ Or there is the rounded evergreen shrub winter daphne ‘Marginata’ with pinkish flowers and glossy green leaves with yellowish-white margins.

Garland Flower (Daphne cneorum)

Garland Flower (Daphne cneorum)

Garland flower is a trailing low growing evergreen shrub for partial shade with attractive pink flowers

The garland flower is an evergreen, low-growing flowering shrub with fragrant pink star-shaped blossoms. The trailing shrub is covered in masses of pink flowers from mid spring through summer. The eye-catching ornamental shrub only grows up to 12” (30 cm) tall and spreads up to 3 ft. (1 m) wide.

Suitable for growing in USDA zones 5 to 8, the garland flower is ideal as a flowering evergreen ground cover plant for the shade. Other landscape uses for garland flowers in partial shade include foundation planting at the front of the house, colorful border planting, rock gardens, and lining a driveway.

Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

Cape Jasmine (Gardenia jasminoides)

Cape jasmine is an attractive flowering evergreen shrub for partial shade or dappled sunlight

Cape jasmine is a white-flowering evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves and large brilliant white flowers. Also called gardenias, the bushy evergreen plants perform best in dappled shade or partial shade. The contrasting dark shiny green foliage and pure white flowers followed by orange berries give the shrub aesthetic appeal all year long.

Cape jasmine gardenia is a popular evergreen shrub for shaded Florida landscapes. The medium-sized shrub grows 4 to 8 ft. (1.2 – 2.4 m) tall and wide. Its lanceolate leather leaves measure 2” to 4” (5 – 10 cm) long, the dazzling white flowers are 3” (7.5 cm) in diameter, and orange berries appear in the fall.

Plant cape jasmine landscape shrubs in USDA zones 7 to 11 in partial shade or dappled sunlight. The shrub also performs well in full sun if it gets plenty of watering throughout the hottest months.

Andromeda Japonica (Pieris japonica)

Andromeda Japonica (Pieris japonica)

The shade-tolerant evergreen flowering Andromeda japonica shrub looks beautiful in any front or backyard

Also called Japanese Pieris or fetterbush, this slow-growing evergreen, shade-tolerant shrub has masses of white or pink showy flowers. The attractive flower clusters consist of urn-shaped flowers blooming in late winter and early spring. Another eye-catching feature of andromeda japonica is its rosette-like green leaves that emerge bright red.

Andromeda japonica thrives in partial shade or full sun in USDA zones 4 to 8. In ideal conditions, the evergreen shrubs grow to 9 to 13 ft. (2.7 – 4 m) tall and 4 to 8 ft. (1.2 – 2.4 m) wide. You can plant fetterbush in a mixed border, along a foundation line, or mass planting for dramatic floral displays.

Japanese Pieris is a valuable landscaping plant due to its long-blooming time in a shade garden.

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica)

The small flowering sweetspire shrub is great for landscaping shaded compact spaces and is evergreen in warmer climates

Virginia sweetspire is a white flowering semi-evergreen shrub with dark green foliage and bottlebrush-like arching white flowers. The shrub’s fragrant white flowers cover the rounded shrub when blooming from mid spring until summer. These cylindrical flowers contrast with the dark green leaves measuring 4” (10 cm) long.

Virginia sweetspire thrives in full shade and partial shade and withstands full sun. As a result, the semi-evergreen shrub is popular in Florida landscapes, where it keeps its leaves throughout the year. In colder climates, the shrub’s leaves become red, orange, and gold shades in the fall before dropping.

Virginia sweetspire is a pest and disease-resistant plant for all sun exposure levels. You can grow the flowering shrub as a foundation planting, hedge, or shrub border. Because the white-blooming shrub tolerates soggy soil, it’s ideal for planting near ponds or streams. Virginia sweetspire grows 3 – 10 ft. (1 – 3 m) tall and wide. USDA growing zones: 5 – 9.

Oregon Grape Holly (Mahonia aquifolium)

oregon grape Mahonia aquifolium

Oregon grape is a flowering evergreen shrub for shade with yellow flowers in early spring, followed by blue berries

Oregon grape holly is a slow-growing evergreen shrub with yellow flowers, glossy, jagged leaves, and waxy edible blue berries. The broadleaf evergreen bushy plant is ideal for shade gardens. The attractive ornamental shrub grows 3 to 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m) tall and wide.

For best flowering, it’s vital to plant Oregon grape holly shrubs out of direct sunlight. The easy-to-grow landscaping shrub ideally needs fewer than three hours of sunlight daily. However, partly shaded conditions are also acceptable. Plant Oregon grape holly in USDA zones 5 to 8.

Landscape uses for the yellow-blooming grape holly bush include foundation plantings, flowering shrub borders, and shrubs for shade gardens. Apart from the spectacular yellow flowers and bluish-black berries, the other decorative feature of the evergreen shrub is its leathery leaves that emerge bronze-red, turn dark green, and then burgundy in the fall.

Evergreen Japanese Mahonia Shrubs (Mahonia japonica)

Mahonia japonica

The evergreen Japanese mahonia shrub has yellow flower spikes and is suitable for landscaping partial or full shade areas

Japanese mahonia is a group of yellow-flowering evergreen shrubs that thrive in partial or full shade. The identifying features of this colorful shrub are its yellow flowers growing in erect spikes, spiky leathery leaves, and clusters of black berries. The shade-loving shrub grows 8 to 10 ft. (2 – 3 m) tall and wide.

Japanese mahonia adorns shaded landscapes with color throughout the year. The lemon-yellow fragrant flowering spikes, reddish foliage in winter, and leafy stems with holly-like leaves add to a garden’s aesthetics. Also, the shrub’s long blooming habit adds bright color to shaded areas for several weeks.

You can plant Japanese mahonia shrubs in USDA zones 7 and 8. Easy to grow, you can use the shrubs to landscape woodland gardens or plant them as a foundation planting, specimen plant, or evergreen hedge in a north-facing yard.

Viburnum Shrubs

Viburnum x burkwoodii Mohawk

Viburnum x burkwoodii Mohawk (in the picture) is an evergreen shrub in warmer climates that is suitable for part shade

Several varieties of viburnum shrubs have evergreen foliage and spectacular flower clusters that thrive in shade gardens. Viburnum shrubs are identified by their ovate, serrated leaves, showy fragrant spring flowers, and dark blue drupes. Because the shrubs don’t tolerate much direct sunshine, they are ideal for partial shade or dappled sunlight.

One of the attractive features of many viburnum shrubs—deciduous or evergreen—is their winter flowering habit. The white flower clusters can appear in late winter and last until spring or summer.

You can use viburnum shrubs in a shade garden to grow as a flowering hedgerow, foundation planting, privacy screen, or specimen plant. In USDA zones 4 to 7, the ornamental shrubs grow between 3 and 10 ft. (1 – 3 m) tall, depending on the cultivar.

If you are looking for a dwarf, evergreen flowering shrub for shade, then choose Viburnum burkwoodii ‘Mohawk’ or Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price.’ Both of these small landscaping plants don’t grow taller than 5 ft. (1.5 m) tall. Other evergreen viburnum shrubs with minimal care requirements are the leatherleaf viburnum, Viburnum davidii, and Viburnum cayuga.

Japanese Skimmia (Skimmia japonica)

Japanese Skimmias (Skimmia Japonica)

Japanese skimmia is a small flowering evergreen shrub that is easy to care for and loves shade

Japanese skimmia is a slow-growing, small evergreen shrub with clusters of showy spring flowers, red berry-like drupes, and leathery leaves. The ornamental landscape shrub thrives in partial shade to deep shade. The fragrant white or pink star-shaped flowers add color and sweet scents to a shade garden.

Japanese skimmia grows 3 to 4 ft. (1 – 1.2 m) tall and up to 5 ft. (1.5 m) wide. The leathery elliptical leaves measure 5” (13 cm) long, and the panicles (flower clusters) are 3” (7. 5 cm) long. For best results, plant Japanese skimmia in USDA zones 7 and 8 for it to thrive in the shade.

Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Cherry Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)

Cherry laurel is a hardy flowering evergreen plant for partial shade that will also tolerate full shade

Cherry laurel is a white-flowering evergreen shrub that tolerates heavy shade. The identifying features of cherry laurel are its eye-catching white flowering spikes, leathery, oblong leaves, and black berry-like fruits. Cherry laurel has an attractive rounded growth growing 10 to 20 ft. (3 – 6 m) tall.

Cherry laurel grows in USDA zones 6 to 8 in well-drained soil. Despite being a shade-loving plant, the evergreen shrub performs well in full sun. You can plant the shrub as an evergreen hedge or privacy screen or train it to grow as a small flowering tree.

Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora)

Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora) 

Glossy abelia is an evergreen shrub in warmer climates with pink flowers that is shade-tolerant

Glossy abelia is a semi-evergreen shrub with pink bell-shaped flowers and heart-shaped leaves growing on reddish stems. This small shrub for partial shade is characterized by its low-growing mounding growth, prolific blooming through summer and fall, and low maintenance needs. The shrub has a medium growth rate and grows 4 to 5 ft. (1.2 – 1.5 m) tall and wide.

Glossy abelia is a summer flowering, evergreen shrub in warmer climates. In colder climates, the shade-tolerant bush loses its leaves in the fall after turning an attractive pink color. However, the highly-valued landscape shrub blooms throughout summer until the fall in all climates.

You can plant glossy abelia in partial shade to grow as an informal hedge, shrub border, or specimen plant. The small decorative shrub is ideal for growing in containers to decorate a shaded patio, decking area, or balcony.

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