Hilary
Hilary
  • Hometalker
  • Duluth, GA
Asked on Feb 13, 2012

Evergreen shrubs for shade

HilarySouthern Trillium LLCCharlene S
+13

Answered

I need to identify some evergreen shrubs for a foundation plant. It needs to be in the 3-5 foot wide and high. It will be on the west side of the house behind a coral bark maple.
16 answers
  • Erica Glasener
    on Feb 14, 2012

    Hilary, I like Anise (Illicium parviflorum ) and although it can grow taller than 5' it is easy to control with pruning. The olive green foliage looks good all year. Another possiblility would be the inkberry holly, Ilex glabra 'Compacta.'

  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Feb 14, 2012

    Erica, good point on the Anise, since it can grow large it might be an issue. Thinking of color behind the coral bark maple, the anise has a tendency to have a much more yellow foliage, whereas the inkberry will provide a much darker green. I think the darker green will provide a nice contrast with the Coral Bark Maple. The spring color of the coral bark foliage is a light green, again, close to the Anise, but the inkberry will be much darker.

  • 360 Sod (Donna Dixson)
    on Feb 14, 2012

    Osmanthus burkwoodi or maybe some Sweetbox (sarcococca confusa).

  • Surrounding Landscapes Inc.
    on Feb 14, 2012

    All these are nice choices. Another plant I like is Mahonia fortunei. It may get in the 5-8' height range but easy to keep pruned.

  • Douglas Hunt
    on Feb 14, 2012

    You might also consider some of the smaller cultivars of Pieris, or andromeda, which, in addition to shiny evergreen foliage will provide clusters of lily-of-the-valley-like flowers in early spring.

  • Hilary
    on Feb 14, 2012

    Thanks for the wonderful suggestions. When I checked on the mahonia it said 'full sun' in zone 7. I have not used this before. My experience with shrubs that require full or part sun behind the Coral bark is that they are leggy and more prone to disease. Any other experience?

  • Surrounding Landscapes Inc.
    on Feb 15, 2012

    Hilary...I have had good luck with the mahonia 'Fortunei' and 'soft caress' in semi shady areas. They may have not been as shady as your situation. Have you seen the Dwarf green Aucuba?

  • Erica Glasener
    on Feb 15, 2012

    Soft Caress mahonia is a much friendlier plant than Mahonia bealei. It should do well.

  • Charlene S
    on Feb 15, 2012

    Globe arborvatae is a favorite that grows to the size you are looking for. It is easy maintanence because you don't have to trim it, and the needles are soft. The only downfall is that if you buy small, it is a slow growing bush. However it is a very dense bush that is good for foundaton planting for it's insulation factors.

  • Erica Glasener
    on Feb 15, 2012

    Just a quick note most Arborvitae are better for sunny sites, not shady.

  • Hilary
    on Feb 16, 2012

    Thanks for all the help. Erica, my experience is soft caress mahonia is a very slow grower in shade. Is this normal in Atlanta?

  • Erica Glasener
    on Feb 16, 2012

    Hilary, I would say that if it is deep shade (shady all the time) then most plants will be slow to establish. What about Camellia sasanqua 'White Doves' which has dark green foliage and white flowers, a lower growing type that may work in your setting.

  • Hilary
    on Feb 16, 2012

    Erica I may do the Camellia or the mahonia. Thanks for all your help.

  • Charlene S
    on Feb 16, 2012

    Erica, I have a large Maple tree at the end of my front porch and my arborvatae are flurishing. I live in northeast Pa. so it's not paticularly hot here. It's true arborvatae do better in the sun but will grow fine in a shady area as well.

  • Southern Trillium LLC
    on Feb 16, 2012

    Another great, and readily available, low growing camellia sasanqua is named 'Shishi Gashira'. http://www.monrovia.com/plant-catalog/plants/660/shishi-gashira-camellia.php If your house is red brick, the White Dove mentioned by Erica would probably be better. But for someone with a white house, the pink color blooms may stand out better. You always have to watch out for an ugly color contrast between plant colors as well as the house color.

  • Hilary
    on Feb 16, 2012

    Thanks everyone for your help. Great suggestions.

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