Shrubs for Shade

Shrubs for Shade...and "Part Sun"


Have deep shade?  Daphne, hydrangea, and broadleaf euonymus are great choices. The rest of the shrubs listed below grow well in what is considered 'bright shade'-- a morning sun location or in dappled light—as under the canopy of an open-branched tree. Many (but not all) of the shrubs listed below are also versatile and can also be planted in full sun. (see shrubs for full sun)

Shrubs help add structure to the garden. They vary from small spreading groundcover types to large specimens that can grow 12 feet or more.  As you consider which to plant, know that many offer more than one season of interest. These woody plants can flower, produce ornamental or edible berries, offer colorful foliage or even spectacular fall color.

Please Note:  In stock availability of specific varieties listed below will vary depending upon time of season and sales.  Please call (719) 574-8058 for current availability.

Almond, Flowering (Prunus glandulosa)

prunuspinkfloweringalmond_pcojenprunuspinkfloweringalmondclose_pcojenHeight: 5'-6'

Spread: 3'-4'

Flowers: Double pink flowers in early Spring.

Fall Color: No

Other Notes: A dwarf type ornamental almond. Upright vase shape.  Shiny green leaves.

Bearberry a.k.a. Kinnikinnick (Arctostyphylos)

Variety: 'Massachusetts'

arctostaphyloskinnikinnickclose_pcojenarctostaphylos_kinnickinnicklr_pcojenHeight: 4"-12"

Spread: 3' and up to 6'

Bloom Color: White tinged with pink bell-shaped dainty flowers

Season of Bloom: Spring

Other Notes: A low growing woody groundcover.  Flowers are followed by small red fruit. Glossy bright green foliage turns reddish in winter. Evergreen, shrubby ground cover. Can planted in shade, part sun, or sun.


Carol Mackie Daphne
Photo Courtesy Plant Select


Height: 2'-3'

Spread: 3'-4'

Flowers: Fragrant, pink, ½" flowers in late spring.

Fall Color: Red berries 1/3" wide.

Other Notes: Variegated green leaves with cream margins. Small, mounded shrub. Must be grown in part sun in Colorado. Well-drained soil is a must. Holds its leaves for a long time into winter. Can be planted in shade or part sun.  

Dogwood (Cornus)

Red Twig Dogwood

cornusredtwigdogwoodagainstevergreen_pcojencornusdogwoodwide_pcojenHeight: 6'-8'

Spread: 6'-8'

Flowers: White flowers in Spring

Fall Color: Red purple

Other Notes: Bright red stems in winter! Can also be planted in full sun.

Ivory Halo Dogwood



Height: 5'-6'

Spread: 5'-6'

Flowers: White in spring

Fall Color: Insignificant

Other Notes: Bright red stems in winter. Leaves are white and green during season. Compact, rounded shape. Can also be planted in full sun locations.

Fire Dance Dogwood
Photos Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

cornusfiredancebloom_pcobaileynurseriesincHeight: 3'-4'

Spread: 4'-5'

Flowers: White in late Spring

Fall Color: Red-Purple

Other Notes:  Compact, mounded habit. Showy red stems.  White spring flowers are replaced with white berries attractive to birds.  Red-purple fall color. Versatile, drought tolerant once established and also tolerant of wet conditions which makes it suitable for rain gardens.

Yellow Twig Dogwood
Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Height: 6'-8'

Spread: 6'-8'

Flowers: White in Spring

Fall Color: Red purple

Other Notes: Bright yellow stems in winter! Can also be planted in full sun.

Elderberry (Sambucus)

Red Elderberry 'Lemony Lace' (Sambucus racemosa)
Photos Courtesy Proven Winners

Height: 4'-6'

Spread: 4'-6'

Flowers: Large clusters of white flowers in spring followed by bright red berries.

Fall Color: Yellow

Other Notes: A Proven Winners elder.  Does best in a moist spot.  Brightly colored yellow leaves all season.   Though Native American did use these berries-- they are not considered palatable. They are extremely sour with many seeds but are sometimes used to make jams/jellies.  They should always be ripe and COOKED before consuming.  Other parts of this plant are not edible. 


Annabelle Smooth Hydrangea (arborescens)



Height: 4'-5'

Spread: 3'-5'

Flowers: Large (up to 10"), profuse white blooms mid-summer to frost

Fall Color: No.

Other Notes: Deep green leaves and rounded form. Can grow in shade or part sun locations.  Will also grow in full sun with consistent moisture.

Ninebark (Physocarpus)

Amber Jubilee Ninebark
Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Height: 5'-6'

Spread: 4'

Flowers: White flowers in spring

Fall Color: Red-purple fall colored leaves

Other Notes: Foliage tones in orange, yellow and golds.  Rounded, dense habit.

Summer Wine Ninebark
Photo Courtesy Willoway Nurseries

Height: 5'-6'

Spread: 5'-6'

Flowers: Pink flowers in spring make a nice show against the darker leaves.

Fall Color: Burgundy leaves

Other Notes: Upright rounded habit. Great shrub to use for color contrast.  May also be planted in full sun.

Little Devil Ninebark
Photos Courtesy Bailey Nurseries


Height:  3'-4'

Spread:  3'-4'

Flowers:  White/pink flowers in early summer

Fall Color:  Red-purple leaves all season

Other Notes:  This cute and compact ninebark offers low maintenance for the homeowner with a small garden.  Burgundy foliage makes for a nice contrast.  Upright mounded. habit.  No pruning needed.

Snowberry (Symphoricarpos)

Marleen Snowberry (Symphoricarpos x doorenbosii)

Height:  3'-4'

Spread: 3'-4'

Flowers: Small light pink flowers in summer followed by large pink berries in Fall

Fall Color: No

Other Notes:  Small light pink flowers in summer swell to beautiful, rose-pink berries that remain into winter. Compact habit, suitable for a prominent place in the front border.  Suitable for clay soil.

Spirea (Spiraea)

Anthony Waterer Spirea

spireaanthonywaterer_pcojenHeight: 2'-3

Spread: 4'-5

Flowers: Rose pink in summer

Fall Color: Red-purple

Other Notes: Upright rounded shrub. Can also be grown in full sun.

Goldflame Spirea


Height: 2'-3'

Spread: 3'-4'

Flowers: Crimson blooms in summer.

Fall Color: Red-bronze

Other Notes: Leaves are ever-changing color. Bright red new growth changing to yellow and then to green. Low, mounded shrub. Can also be grown in full sun.

Gold Mound Spirea
Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Height: 1'-2'

Spread: 2'-3'

Flowers: Pink blooms in summer

Fall Color: Yellow foliage tinges red.

Other Notes: Great pop of color for small spaces. Yellow foliage throughout season. Can also be grown in full sun.

Little Princess Spirea
Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Height: 2'-3'

Spread: 3'

Flowers: Pink flowers in summer.

Fall Color: Dark red.

Other Notes: Low mounded shrub. Can also be grown in full sun.

Mellow Yellow Spirea


Height: 3'-5'

Spread: 3'-5'

Flowers: Small white blooms in spring.

Fall Color: Yellow

Other Notes: Arching stems with bright lime-yellow leaves make this a GREAT contrast plant. Can also be grown in full sun.

Snowmound Spirea
Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Height: 3'-4'

Spread: 3'-4'

Flowers: Masses of pure white flowers in spring.

Fall Color: No

Other Notes: A dwarf, rounded shrub with dark green foliage. Can also be grown in full sun.

Renaissance Spirea (Spirea x Vanhouttei)

spiraearenaissance_photocourtesybaileynurseriesincspiraearenaissanceclose_photocourtesybaileynurseriesincHeight: 5'-7'

Spread: 6'-8'

Flowers: Profuse white flowers in spring.

Fall Color: Orange-red leaves.

Other Notes: Vase-shaped shrub. Can also be grown in full sun. Renaissance is an improved Bridal Wreath spirea.

Willow (Salix)

Hakuro Nishiki Willow (Salix integra)
Photo Courtesy Bailey Nurseries

Height: 4'-6'+

Spread: 4'-6'+

Flowers: No

Fall Color: White/Green/Pink leaves

Other Notes: A lovely small shrub with pink stems and buds that open to dappled green, pink and white foliage. Some leaves will be all white. The stems are graceful and spreading. Rounded shape at maturity.

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