Skip to main content

5 Flowering Evergreen Shrubs to Grow in Shade

A botany graduate, Nithya Venkat enjoys writing about plants that help sustain life on planet Earth.

Flowering evergreen shrubs add a pop of color to an otherwise shaded dull area in your garden. The shade varies depending on the season and time of day.

The key to growing a healthy shrub is to know the shade variations in your garden. Get to know which shrub will grow well in the spot that you have selected.

This article gives information on five flowering evergreen shrubs, including:

  • Garden Camellia
  • Mountain Laurel
  • Oregon Grape Holly
  • Winter Heath
  • Rhododendron April Rose
Garden Camellia

Garden Camellia

1. Garden Camellia

The garden camellia (Camellia japonica) is a large, evergreen shrub belonging to the family Theaceae. The leaves are dark green and have a glossy texture. The plant can reach a height of 6-12 feet at maturity. Camellias can be extraordinarily long-lived in the right growing conditions, with some specimens growing over 200 years old.

The flowers of the garden camellia bloom in every size, from miniature 1.5 inches to huge blossoms reaching 5 inches across. Their colors range from pure white to soft pink to dark red.

The flowers can be found in many forms and may be single, semi-double, double, formal double, or in full peony form. The flowers bloom from fall to spring and last for several weeks.

The garden camellias grow well in partial shade, consistently moist, organically rich, well-draining soils. These plants flourish in partial shade that is sheltered from cold, dry, or strong winds. Fertilize the plant during spring and summer.

Camellias do not grow well when planted too deep. Plant them 1 to 2 inches above the ground. Do not cover the root ball with soil; mulch around the plant with a thin layer over the root ball and water well after planting.

Mountain Laurel

Mountain Laurel

2. Mountain Laurel

The mountain laurel (Kamilia latifolia) plant is a broadleaf evergreen shrub belonging to the Ericaceae family.

The leaves are oval, glossy, and leathery in texture. The leaves change from light-green to dark-green to purple through the year and resemble the leaves of the rhododendrons. This plant grows at 10 cm per year and reaches an average height between 1.5 m to 2 m.

The mountain laurel plant blooms during late spring to early summer. The flowers are bell-shaped, white to pink, with deep rose spots. This plant blooms in late spring to early summer. The flowers are borne in terminal clusters.

The mountain laurel can tolerate various light conditions, but these plants flourish in lightly shaded areas with cool, moist, acidic, humus-rich, well-draining soils.

Do not plant the mountain laurel too deeply; the crown must not be buried. Buried crowns will suffer from rot, and the plant can die. After planting, water the shrubs well and keep the soil moist. Fertilize the mountain laurel once a year.

Deadheading or pinching off the spent blossoms and pruning back branches help to promote bushy growth. For the first year, keep the soil moist but avoid overwatering. Once the plant is firmly rooted in the soil, it will be strong enough to withstand infrequent watering.

Oregon Grape Holly

Oregon Grape Holly

3. Oregon Grape Holly

The Oregon grape holly is an evergreen shrub belonging to the family Berberidaceae. It grows to about 3-6 feet tall. The leaves are shiny green with sharp spikes. They look just like holly leaves. The flowers are bright yellow and hang in dense clusters just above the leaves.

This plant offers delightful colors in all seasons. The flowers are bright golden-yellow in spring. After pollination, the flowers produce dark purple berries. They resemble small grapes and attract birds and wildlife. The berries can be eaten fresh off the plant.

The leaves turn into a bronze-red in spring and, as it matures, the leaves become a glossy dark green before turning deep burgundy in fall.

Plant the Oregon grape holly in a shaded area with organically rich, moist, slightly acidic, well-draining soils. Once well established, these plants need little watering during dry spells. When these plants are grown together they form great shady borders or a protective barrier.

Winter Heath

Winter Heath

4. Winter Heath

Winter Heath (Erica carnea) is a low-growing evergreen shrub belonging to the family Ericaceae. This shrub grows to about 6-12 inches tall with evergreen needle-like leaves borne in four whorls.

The winter heath shrub forms an excellent groundcover for sunny locations. They grow in mounds and spread along the ground through procumbent stems.

The flowers are borne in racemes and are narrow urn-shaped, and bloom in abundance from early to late winter. The flowers of the winter heath are pink when they first open and become deep-light purple later in the season.

The winter heath shrub is a great addition to rock gardens, groundcover, coastal and cottage gardens.

These shrubs grow well in areas with sandy, acidic, medium moisture, well-draining soils. The newly planted winter heath can dry out quickly and has to be watered regularly. Once the plant is established, they are drought-tolerant.

Rhododendron April Rose

Rhododendron April Rose

5. Rhododendron April Rose

Rhododendron “April Rose,” belonging to the family Ericaceae, is a semi-dwarf evergreen shrub blooming in early spring and grows up to 3-4 feet tall.

The flowers are wide funnel-shaped, double, purplish-red, and are 2 inches wide. The leaves are elliptic, flat, deep green, and turn reddish-bronze in fall.

This rhododendron variety grows well in the sun to part shade with moist, acidic, rich, well-draining soils. These shrubs are great for shrub borders or mixed borders or as a flowering hedge.


North Carolina Extension Gardener

Missouri Botanical Garden

UMass Amherst

the Spruce

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Nithya Venkat