Creating a lush and inviting outdoor oasis is a popular home improvement project for many homeowners. For those looking for an easy and attractive way to do this without taking up a lot of space dwarf shrubs for shade are a great option. Not only can these plants tolerate partial sun and deep shade but they help create a compact green setting that stands out from the rest.
Dwarf shrubs for shade are those small shrubs that stay under three feet in height, but still, have the strength to thrive. There are many types of shade-tolerant shrubs available to choose from and each variety offers unique benefits. With their dense foliage and colorful blooms, they add texture, color, and interest to any outdoor setting. Whether you’re looking for shrubs that thrive in full shade, partial sun, or even deep shade, you’ll find one that’s perfect for your garden.
Evergreen azalea shrubs are perfect for adding a touch of color to the shadowy corners of your garden. They feature evergreen foliage with delicate pink blossoms that light up the entire yard. Compact boxwood is another great foliage choice with its dense and glossy leaves that look great all year round. If you prefer flowering evergreen shrubs then you might try the lovely Andromeda bush with its vibrant pink blooms and contrasting bright berries.
With so many dwarf shrubs for shade to choose from you can easily find something that adds a beautiful splash of color to your outdoor area. Read on to learn more about these amazing plants and how to choose the right ones for your garden!
Table of Contents
The Best 23 Types of Dwarf Shrubs for Shade That Thrive In Small Spaces
1. Erica carnea
Erica carnea, also known as the Scottish heather, is a dwarf shrub that is native to Europe. Erica carnea is a species of dwarf shrub that is commonly used for landscaping in shady areas. It has a wide variety of subspecies that are adapted to different climatic conditions.
Erica carnea is a low-growing plant that typically reaches a height of only 30 cm. The plant has small, dark green leaves and delicate pink flowers that bloom in the spring. Erica carnea is a popular choice for shady gardens because it is tolerant of low light conditions and requires little maintenance.
It is often used as an ornamental plant in gardens and can be found in a variety of colors including pink, purple, and white. The Erica carnea is a low-maintenance plant that does not require a lot of water or fertilizer. It is also tolerant of cold weather and can even handle some shade.
2. Gaultheria procumbens
Gaultheria procumbens dwarf shrubs make an excellent addition to any shady garden. Gaultheria procumbens is a species of dwarf shrub that is native to North America. The plant is commonly found in shady areas, and it is known for its evergreen leaves and white flowers.
The Gaultheria procumbens is a low-growing plant, and it typically only reaches a height of about 2 feet. The plant has a spreading habit, and its branches can grow up to 6 feet long. The leaves of the plant are oval-shaped and have a leathery texture.
The flowers of the Gaultheria procumbens are white and have a bell-shaped appearance. The plant produces berries that are red in color. With their glossy green leaves and spreading habit, these hardy shrubs provide both ground cover and interest all season long.
In late spring, clusters of white bell-shaped flowers appear, giving way to bright red berries in summer and autumn.
3. Vaccinium myrtillus
Vaccinium myrtillus is a dwarf shrub that is native to North America. It is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide. The leaves are dark green and leathery, and the flowers are white or pale pink. The fruit is a small, dark blueberry.
Vaccinium myrtillus dwarf is tolerant of shade and can be used as an understory plant in shady areas. It is also drought-tolerant, making it a good choice for xeric gardens. Vaccinium myrtillus is a species of dwarf shrub that is commonly used for shade in landscaping.
This plant is native to Europe and Asia and has been introduced to North America. It is a member of the Ericaceae family and is closely related to other species in the Vaccinium genus. This shrub typically grows to a height of 1-2 m (3-6 ft) and has small, dark green leaves.
The flowers are white or pink, and the berries are dark blue. Vaccinium myrtillus is shade tolerant and can be used in a variety of landscape settings. It is often used as an understory plant in woodland gardens, or as a groundcover in shady areas.
This deciduous shrub has lovely, maple-like leaves that turn a beautiful shade of red in the fall. White, flat-topped clusters of flowers appear in the spring, followed by glossy red fruits that are enjoyed by birds.
4. Iberis umbellata
Iberis umbellata is a versatile and easy-to-grow dwarf shrub that is perfect for shady areas in the garden. Iberis umbellata, commonly known as Candytuft, is a species of flowering plant in the mustard family, Brassicaceae.
It is a low-growing, evergreen shrub that typically reaches only 8-12 inches in height, making it an excellent choice for groundcover in shady areas. The leaves are dark green and glossy, and the white, pink, or purple flowers bloom in early spring.
Candytuft is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to North America, where it is often used as an ornamental plant. Iberis umbellata is a compact plant that only grows to about 12 inches tall. It is perfect for use as a ground cover or in rock gardens.
Its deep green foliage is topped with clusters of white flowers in spring, and it makes an excellent ground cover. Iberis umbellata is tolerant of drought and poor soil, and it is also deer resistant. This shrub is a great choice for gardeners who are looking for a low-maintenance plant that will add interest to their landscape.
5. Saponaria ocymoides
Saponaria ocymoides are a species of flowering plant in the family. Caryophyllaceae, native to southern Europe. They are evergreen dwarf shrubs growing to 30 cm tall and wide, with small, ovate leaves and white or pink flowers in summer.
They are low-growing and have a dense growth habit, making them perfect for use as a groundcover. Saponaria ocymoides is a tough plant that is tolerant of poor soils and drought. It is a good choice for areas that are difficult to grow other plants.
Saponaria ocymoides are shade-loving plants, ideal for growing under deciduous trees or on north-facing borders. They are also useful for groundcover in dry shade.
The leaves and stems of the plant are covered in a white, waxy substance that helps to protect the plant from pests and diseases. The saponin content of the plant is also thought to have some insecticidal properties.
6. Helianthemum nummularium
The species Helianthemum nummularium, commonly known as dwarf sunrose, is a small, sun-loving shrub that produces yellow flowers. It is an excellent choice for a low-maintenance, heat-tolerant ground cover in areas of full sun.
This shrub does best in well-drained soils and can tolerate periods of drought once established. Helianthemum nummularium is a good choice for rock gardens or mass plantings. It can also be used as an accent plant in mixed borders.
It is a low-growing evergreen subshrub reaching a maximum height of 20 centimeters. The leaves are oblong to oval in shape and 2–5 centimeters long. The inflorescence is a solitary flower or a cluster of two to four flowers blooming at the end of a stem. The flowers have five yellow petals and are 10–15 millimeters wide.
7. Sedum telephium
Sedum telephium is a great choice for a dwarf shrub in shady areas. It is a low-growing, evergreen plant that only reaches about 6 inches in height. The leaves are dark green and the flowers are pink or white. Sedum telephium is drought-tolerant and does not require much maintenance.
It is a good groundcover plant and can also be used in rock gardens. Sedum telephium is grown as an ornamental plant in gardens and is also used as a groundcover plant in shady areas. It is tolerant of poor soil and drought and is suitable for growing in rock gardens.
There are many different types of sedum, but Sedum telephium is one of the best for creating a dwarf shrub border in shady areas.
This sedum grows to about 2 feet tall and has dark green leaves that are somewhat succulent. The leaves of Sedum telephium are arranged in a rosette pattern and the flowers are a deep pink color.
Sedum telephium is a great plant for shady areas because it does not require a lot of sun to thrive. In fact, too much sun can actually damage the leaves of this sedum. When planting Sedum telephium, make sure to put it in an area that gets some sun in the morning but is shady in the afternoon.
8. Prunus laurocerasus
Dwarf shrubs of the Prunus laurocerasus variety are an excellent choice for shady areas in the garden. They are low-maintenance and grow well in most soil types. The shrubs produce small white flowers in the spring and glossy green leaves that provide good coverage throughout the growing season.
The dwarf shrubs are typically quite small, only reaching a height of around 2-3 feet. However, they are very dense, making them excellent at blocking out sunlight. Prunus laurocerasus shrubs are also very low-maintenance, only requiring occasional pruning to keep them looking their best.
Prunus laurocerasus dwarf shrubs make an excellent addition to any garden, offering both shade and beauty. These dwarf shrubs are perfect for smaller spaces, as they do not grow too large.
9. Euphorbia cyparissias
Euphorbia cyparissias (dwarf shrubs) are perfect for shady areas in your garden. Prunus laurocerasus, also known as the cherry laurel or English laurel, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family.
It is a vigorous, evergreen shrub with a dense, upright growth habit. It is native to southeastern Europe and western Asia, from the Mediterranean region to the Caucasus Mountains.
Prunus laurocerasus is a popular ornamental plant for gardens and parks. It is often used as a hedge or screen. It is also used as a topiary plant. The leaves are dark green and glossy, and the flowers are white or pale pink. Prunus laurocerasus is relatively tolerant of shade, but it prefers full sun.
They are low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and make the great ground cover. These tough little plants are evergreen and will provide year-round interest in your landscape.
These shrubs are typically quite small, only reaching a height of around 2-3 feet. However, they are very dense, making them excellent at blocking out sunlight. Prunus laurocerasus dwarf shrubs are also very low-maintenance, only requiring occasional pruning to keep them looking their best.
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10. Buxus sempervirens
Buxus sempervirens dwarf shrubs are perfect for creating shade in your garden. These tough, evergreen shrubs are perfect for growing in containers or in the ground, and they require very little maintenance.
Buxus sempervirens dwarf shrubs are slow-growing, so they won’t take over your garden, and they’re tolerant of a wide range of soils. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, and simple with entire margins. The flowers are small, white, and borne in clusters.
The fruit is a small, hard, brown capsule. This species is popular as an ornamental plant in gardens and parks. It is also used as a hedge or as a topiary plant. Buxus sempervirens is a small to medium-sized shrub, growing to 2–10 m (7–33 ft) tall and wide.
The leaves are opposite, evergreen, oval to oblong-lanceolate, 3–8 cm (2–1 in) long and 1–4 cm (0.4–1.6 in) broad, with a glabrous or very sparsely hairy surface, and a blunt apex.
The flowers are inconspicuous, yellow-green, monoecious, and borne in small leafy clusters. The fruit is a globose, dark green to brownish-black drupe 4–8 mm (0.16–0.32 in) in diameter.
Buxus sempervirens, also known as the common boxwood, are small to medium-sized shrub that is native to Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia.
11. Loropetalum chinense
Loropetalum Chinense dwarf shrubs are a great addition to any garden, providing both shade and beauty. They are easy to care for, requiring little water and only occasional pruning. These tough little shrubs are perfect for areas that receive full sun to partial shade.
They are also salt tolerant, making them an ideal choice for coastal gardens. Loropetalum chinense dwarf shrubs come in a variety of colors, including pink, purple, and white. They can reach a height of 3-4 feet and a width of 4-5 feet.
It is a small to medium-sized shrub growing to 1-3 m tall. The leaves are ovate to elliptical, 3-7 cm long and 2-5 cm broad, with a serrated margin. The flowers are pink to purple, 5-8 cm in diameter, with four petals. The fruit is an oval drupe, 6-7 mm long and 5 mm broad.
Loropetalum chinense, commonly known as the fringe flower, is a popular ornamental plant that is tolerant of a wide range of soils and exposures. It is native to China and Taiwan and has been introduced to many other parts of the world, including the United States.
The fringe flower is a beautiful plant that blooms in the spring and summer months. The flowers are pink, red, or white and are borne on upright stems. The leaves are dark green and glossy.
Loropetalum chinense is an easy dwarf plant to grow and care for, and it makes an excellent addition to any garden or landscape.
12. Osmanthus heterophyllus
Osmanthus heterophyllus, also known as false holly, is a type of dwarf shrub that is perfect for adding shade to your garden. This shrub is native to China and Japan, and it grows best in USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9.
False holly is a slow-growing shrub that can reach a height of 3 to 5 feet and a width of 4 to 6 feet. The leaves of this dwarf shrub are dark green and glossy, and they are covered in small prickles.
The flowers of this shrub are white or pale yellow, and they have a sweet fragrance. False holly is a low-maintenance shrub that does not require much pruning. It is a small evergreen shrub growing to 1–2 m (3–6 ft) tall and wide, with small, leathery leaves and highly fragrant flowers in autumn.
The leaves are opposite, evergreen, and leathery, with a blunt tip and a toothed margin. The flowers are white or pale yellow, with a four-lobed tubular corolla 5–8 mm (0.2–0.3 in) long. The fruit is a black drupe 5–8 mm (0.2–0.3 in) in diameter.
This species is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in temperate regions, for its autumn flowers which are intensely sweetly scented
13. Pachysandra terminalis
Pachysandra terminalis or Japanese Spurge is a low-growing, evergreen groundcover that is commonly used in shady areas where grass will not grow. It has glossy, dark green leaves that are 2-4 inches long and 1 inch wide. The white flowers appear in spring and resemble spurges.
Pachysandra terminalis does best in partial to full shade and prefers moist, well-drained soils. It is relatively low maintenance and can spread aggressively by rhizomes. Pachysandra terminalis grows well in shady areas with moist, well-drained soil. It is tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions, including both acidic and alkaline soils.
Pachysandra terminalis is a slow-growing shrub and can take several years to reach its full size. Once established, it is relatively low-maintenance and does not require much pruning or other care.
Arctostaphylos is a genus of dwarf shrubs native to North America. They are popular landscaping plants because of their ability to thrive in shady areas. Arctostaphylos dwarf shrubs typically have glossy green leaves and clusters of white or pink flowers.
These plants are relatively low-maintenance and are drought-tolerant once they are established. They are low-growing and compact, making them ideal for small spaces.
They are also tolerant of low light levels, making them a good option for shady areas. Dwarf shrubs are also easy to care for and require little maintenance. Arctostaphylos dwarf shrubs are also hardy and can tolerate a range of growing conditions, making them versatile plants for your landscape.
15. Common buckthorn
Buckthorn is a common shrub that is often used for shade. It is a deciduous shrub that can grow up to 6 feet tall. Buckthorn has small, dark green leaves and produces small, dark fruits. The fruits are edible, but not very tasty. Buckthorn is native to Europe and Asia, but it has been introduced to North America.
Buckthorn shrubs are a common sight in many gardens and landscapes. These tough, adaptable plants can thrive in a wide range of conditions, including shady areas.
There are many different species of buckthorn, but some of the best choices for shady areas include dwarf varieties. Dwarf buckthorns are compact and low-growing, making them ideal for small spaces. They also have a dense growth habit, which helps to suppress weeds.
While they are tolerant of shade, dwarf buckthorns still need some light to flower and produce berries. If you are growing them in a very shady area, you may need to prune them back to encourage more flower and fruit production.
16. Burning bush
Burning bush dwarf shrubs can provide year-round interest in the garden. They are perfect for small gardens or as foundation plants. The burning bush is a slow grower and can eventually reach 6 to 10 feet tall and wide, but it can be easily controlled with pruning.
It is a popular ornamental plant in gardens and parks. It has a spreading habit with upright, deciduous branches. The leaves are opposite, ovate to elliptical in shape, and 6-12 cm (4-7 in) long.
Burning bushes are typically found in wooded areas and prefer full sun to partial shade. These shrubs are low-maintenance and are resistant to pests and disease. Burning bushes can be propagated by seed or cuttings and will thrive in most soil types.
It has dark green leaves that turn brilliant red in fall. The small, red fruits are beloved by birds. Burning bush dwarf shrubs are easy to care for and thrive in full sun to partial shade.
Elderberry dwarf shrubs are a great option for those looking for a bit of color in their shady landscape. These tough little plants are available in a variety of colors, including pink, purple, and white. Elderberry dwarf shrubs (Sambucus canadensis L.) are a popular choice for landscaping projects that require shrubs that can thrive in shady conditions.
Elderberry dwarf shrubs are known for their ability to produce an abundance of small, dark berries that are popular with birds and other wildlife. These shrubs are also relatively easy to care for, making them a good choice for those who do not want to spend a lot of time maintaining their landscaping.
They are also deer resistant and low maintenance, making them ideal for busy homeowners. Elderberry shrubs can be used as foundation plants, understory trees, or hedges.
The serviceberry dwarf shrub is an excellent choice for those looking for a shrub to provide shade. It is a low-maintenance plant that is drought-tolerant and can tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. The serviceberry dwarf shrub has dark green leaves and white flowers that bloom in the spring.
These shrubs are known for their dense foliage and ability to thrive in shady areas. While they may not produce as much fruit as their full-sized counterparts, they are still a great addition to any garden.
Serviceberry dwarf shrubs are hardy and tolerant of a wide range of conditions, making them ideal for use in areas where other plants may struggle to survive. They also have a long blooming period, providing a splash of color in an otherwise drab landscape.
It is a deciduous plant, meaning it will lose its leaves in the fall. The serviceberry dwarf shrub is a native plant to North America and can be found in woods and forest edges.
Serviceberry is a good choice for foundation plantings or for use as a groundcover. This shrub is also deer resistant and has showy flowers in the spring.
For a shady spot in your garden that needs a little color, try planting spindleberry dwarf shrubs. These little shrubs are covered in small, bright flowers in the spring and summer, and their leaves turn a beautiful red in the fall.
They only grow to be about 2-3 feet tall, so they’re perfect for adding interest to a shady border or understory. These tough little plants are native to woodlands and thrive in shady, moist conditions.
Spindleberry shrubs have a mounding growth habit and produce clusters of small, white flowers in spring. The flowers are followed by bright red fruits that are popular with birds.
Spindleberry shrubs are low-maintenance plants that are tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions. They are compact and have a dense growth habit, making them ideal for use as a groundcover. The leaves are small and dark green, and the flowers are white or pink, depending on the variety.
20. Dwarf yaupon
Dwarf yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) dwarf shrubs are excellent for providing shade in the landscape. They are slow-growing, but can eventually reach 6-8 feet tall and wide. Yaupon hollies are native to the southeastern United States and are tolerant of a wide range of soil conditions.
They can be planted in full sun or partial shade and prefer moist, well-drained soil. These shrubs are evergreen and have small, dark green leaves. The dwarf yaupon holly produces small, white flowers in the spring that are followed by red berries in the fall and winter.
They are small and compact, making them perfect for areas where space is limited. They are also easy to care for, and their leaves provide excellent shade.
Pachysandra is a great choice for a shrub to provide shade in your garden. It is a low-growing, evergreen plant that produces white flowers in the spring. Pachysandra is a genus of low-growing evergreen shrubs native to Asia. The most common species in cultivation is Pachysandra terminalis, which is often used as a ground cover in shady areas.
Pachysandra shrubs have glossy, dark green leaves and produce small, white flowers in spring. They are relatively slow-growing but can spread to form sizable colonies over time. Pachysandra is an excellent choice for shady areas where other plants struggle to thrive.
It is tolerant of a wide range of conditions and can even be grown under black walnut trees, which produce a chemical that inhibits the growth of many other plants. It is easy to care for and only needs to be trimmed once a year. Pachysandra prefers shady locations and is drought-tolerant once it is established.
Small and unobtrusive, cork bush (Dumosa Anacardium) is an excellent choice for adding a sense of order and calm to any space. Growing just two to three feet tall and wide, this evergreen shrub can be planted as a low hedge, grouped together as an informal screen, or used as a foundation planting.
It’s a tough plant that can withstand heat and wind, and it’s also deer resistant. Best of all, cork bush thrives in partial to full shade, making it an ideal choice for those difficult-to-plant areas beneath trees or next to north-facing walls.
The cork bush is a low-growing shrub, and it has small, dark green leaves. This shrub can be used as a ground cover, or it can be used to border a garden. The cork bush is a low-maintenance plant, and it is tolerant of both sun and shade.
There are many reasons to love Daboecia dwarf shrubs, but one of the best is that they provide shade. This is perfect for those hot summer days when you just need a break from the sun.
They are low-growing and compact, making them perfect for small spaces. They are also tolerant of shade and drought, making them a low-maintenance option. Daboecia shrubs are evergreen, so they will provide year-round interest in your landscape.
Daboecia has a dense growth habit, which makes them ideal for providing privacy and blocking out unwanted views. They are also very easy to care for, which makes them a great choice for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of time to dedicate to their garden.
Dwarf Shrubs For Shade FAQ
What shrubs are good all year-round?
Some good evergreen shrubs that can provide year-round interest are:
What is best shrub for front of house?
Some popular low-maintenance shrubs for the front of a house include boxwood, viburnum, euonymus, azaleas, holly, junipers, and barberry.
What is the most low maintenance outdoor plant?
The Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) is an incredibly low maintenance and drought-tolerant plant that requires very little care and attention. It does best in bright indirect sunlight and infrequent watering so, it can be an excellent choice for a low-maintenance outdoor plant.
What is a bush that stays green all year?
Boxwood is an evergreen shrub that stays green all year long. It is a popular choice for landscaping due to its easy maintenance, hardiness, and ability to thrive in a variety of climates.
Boxwood is often used as a hedge or border plant and can also be used in topiary, sculpting, and other creative forms of gardening. It can also be grown indoors in containers or in outdoor containers and planters. Boxwood is low maintenance and requires minimal pruning, making it an ideal choice for busy gardeners.
What is the hardiest shrub?
The hardiest shrub is the evergreen Rhododendron, which is an extremely popular choice for landscaping in both warmer and cooler climates. This plant is known for its ability to survive extreme temperatures, both hot and cold, and can thrive even in areas with poor soil.
It also has a high tolerance for drought and waterlogging, making it a reliable choice for any garden. It produces beautiful flowers that come in a variety of colors, adding color and life to any landscape. With its hardiness and versatility, it’s easy to see why Rhododendron is such a popular choice for gardeners around the world.
What shrubs do not lose leaves in winter?
Some evergreen shrubs that do not lose their leaves in winter include boxwood, holly, forsythia, pyracantha, spiraea, and rhododendron.
What bushes don’t need water?
There are several varieties of drought tolerant shrubs/bushes that don’t require much water, including Apache Plume, Greasewood, Sagebrush (Artemisia), Rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus), and Rosemary.
What plants should not be pruned in winter?
What flowering bush stays green in winter?
Many shrubs and bushes with evergreen foliage can remain green in winter, such as holly, boxwood, and rhododendron.
What shrubs are frost resistant?
Some shrubs that are frost resistant include:
7. Mugo Pine
8. Rose of Sharon
What bushes don’t need sunlight?
There are quite a few types of bushes that can thrive without direct sunlight, including English Ivy (Hedera helix), Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), Canadian Hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and Bougainvillea.
So, if you’re looking for some beautiful, low maintenance dwarf shrubs for shade, I hope this article has given you some ideas. With so many dwarf shrubs to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which one is right for your garden.
Consider the amount of sun or shade your garden gets, as well as the type of soil you have, before making your final decision. Once you’ve chosen the perfect dwarf shrub for your garden, enjoy watching it grow and thrive in its new home.