Help with Shade Shrub for Front House - Photo Included

csilkman(z6 CT)April 30, 2007

I'm looking for hardy shrubs good for z6 (Connecticut) for the front of my house. Would like 4-5' mature height, and good for part-full shade. The photo attached was taken 3 years ago just planted and now:

Shrub on left (shady) and right (part shade) - completely dead.

Middle two shrubs are not dead, but definitely not attractive. They are extremely leggy and not doing well.

I thought I planned it well but now people say I chose the wrong shrubs for the conditions. I felt like a took good care of them. I have some perennials and Hostas in front of them that are doing excellent.

Any ideas on what I can replace them with?

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    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 12:14PM
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giboosi_alttara(z6 CT)

The problem could be that they are under the overhang of the house, and get insufficient water.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2007 at 8:19PM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

I agree with giboosi. They are planted too close to the house in any case. You want to plant your shrubs out closer to your stone border. The windows are pretty low - they don't even really look like the bottom edges are 5' off the ground. Are you OK with shrubs hiding the lower edges?

You might consider weigela, leptodermis oblongata, dwarf varieties of oakleaf hydrangea ('Sikes Dwarf') or peegee ('Little Lamb'). 'Annabelle" would probably fit under there - mine topped out at about 4 feet tall - but it isn't a neat, trim plant. I'd use mixed shrubs instead of trying for a hedge.

Lots of spireas would stay short enough and most are really colorful - you'd have to be careful to choose varieties that doesn't clash with your blue siding. Weigela might have this problem, too. Maybe stick with something that has normal green (or green and white) leaves and white flowers - like the hydrangeas. Corbus alba 'Ivory Halo' and variegated eleutherococcus probably get too big. Hmmmm...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 10:56AM
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csilkman(z6 CT)

Thank you so much for the replies, I will take a look at all the information here.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 11:46AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

Shrubs should be planted at least 4 feet from the foundation of a house. If you acidfy the soil adequately, you might try Kalmias. Short varieties are available. Other broad leaf evergreens might work too, but you must keep the soil acid (lime will continue to leach from the foundation.) Also, rhodies and azaleas will be happier if the part sun is morning sun and not hot afternoon sun.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 11:50AM
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diggerb2(z5oh)

keria will survive in dry shade once it's established.
has yellow flowers

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 12:03PM
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kitova(z6 NJ)

first of all, what is it that you planted there the first time? i can't quite make out the shrubs in your picture, but looks like you had, on the left a pieris, and then the rest look like some small pine or spruce. none of the conifers are tolerant of shade which is probably why they look gangly. and the pieris japonica is definitely part-sun not full shade and it tends to have dieback a lot after tranplanting in my personal experience.

my suggestion is to plant three shrubs of the same type in a row to provide structure for the front, followed by a feature shrub at the end of the bed where you have the most sun.

evergreen suggestions for your zone, there are so many, but i'll comment on ones i had experience with:

boxwoods - hybrids like green gem are best, i have them lining my full-to part-shade front bed and they do well
sweetbox - my neighbor has them, evergreen with fragrant white blooms, nice form
leucothoe - mounding shape, there are some with variegated leaves, easily prunable, inexpensive, a more informal look, if you use these, maybe two would do
english or schipka laurels - love the nice looking ones in my neighborhood altho i've never had success w/ them, tend to have winter burn, inexpensive

for the feature plant, i would consider something which interesting foliage or flowers:

spirea, especially gold mound - i love its chartreuse foliage, compact shape, it has pink blooms and can tolerate part shade, but i'm just trying it in my garden for 1st time this year so will see if it keeps its color.

small japanese maple, eg. crimson queen or waterfall - an expensive choice, nor sure you would have room for this, but it has a cascading effect, and is perfectly happy in part or even dappled shade (less leafy)

i am a huge fan of kerria. bright yellow rose-like flowers, there is one in my neighorhood blooming in dappled shade for years. i just got one for myself. however, the shape is a little rowdy for a front bed imho. arching multistemmed habit, like bamboo or forsythia, and it's a spreader.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2007 at 2:21PM
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