Gardening Help FAQs

Here are answers to some of the most common questions we receive about garden plants. You will find concise information on general gardening techniques as well as plant selection and care. For detailed information on specific plant pests and problems refer to our Common Garden Pests and Problems page.

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Horticulture Questions and Answers

Which trees and shrubs are good for shady areas?

Shrub and ground cover plantings in shaded areas will be successful if you select shade-tolerant landscape plants. Full sun is best for flower and fruit production and for autumn foliage color development in plants, but a number of plants either tolerate shade or actually need the protection of partial shade.

Among the needled evergreens, Japanese yew and hemlock perform well when planted on the north side of buildings. Shade tolerant deciduous shrubs include the flowering dogwood, common witch hazel, the snowball hydrangea, and some viburnums. Viburnums to be considered include cranberry bush viburnum, Korean spice viburnum and arrowwood viburnum. Inkberry is a good hedge plant for a shady location.

Ground cover plants which thrive in shade include the purple leaf winter creeper, pachysandra, periwinkle, (which is also called vinca or myrtle) and English ivy. These are just a few suggestions. Keep in mind that landscape plantings beneath large shade trees may need supplemental watering and fertilization because of competition from tree roots. There are numerous plants which will thrive in the shade. Ask at your local nursery to receive other recommendations or come to the Center for Home Gardening.