shrubs for shady front yard

mack26May 5, 2010

Hi, I'm planting some shrubs in my front yard of a home I purchased last fall. The previous owner had some kind of holly planted next to the house that they let overgrow and was reaching up to the second floor windows. They were too big to trim back to managable size, so I cut them out completely. Now I am looking for a replacement. The front yard is entirely north facing, so gets minimal direct sunlight in the mornings. The soil is typical VA clay. I live in Northern Virginia, zone 7 I believe. I'd like a shurb that is evergreen. I plan on trimming it back so that it doesn't get any higher than about 5 feet. I still want to be able to see out the front windows. I've kind of narrowed it down to three types, all seem to have their pros and cons. Help me decide and "pull the trigger" or suggest another option. The three I've narrowed down to are Inkberry (I. glabra) (shamrock or densa so that it remains within the 5 foot range), yew densaforma (so this is a good hedge about 4-5'), and a type of blue holly, I believe either blue maid or blue princess. I'm going for a solid hedge in front about 4-5'. Let me know what you all think, pros and cons. Thanks.

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hortster(6a, southcentral KS)

Inkberry tends to get very leggy as it grows and haven't had good luck here. The plants that seem to prosper in shade in my area in KS are the yews (Taxus), boxwoods (Buxus) - in particular I like 'Green Velvet,' 'Manhattan' or 'Pauli' euonymus and some of the hydrangeas (A.G. and others). Some of the viburnums will tolerate shade and still bloom nicely. We have mixed luck with hollies here because of the alkaline soils, so can't comment on those.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 7:50PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA

Hollies take shearing well. Dwarf burford, blue hollies etc. Also, consider 'Soft Touch', a type of Helleri. It grows wide and not so high...might need more sun though.

Think about low-growing rhodies - like Yaku Prince. Could be beautiful.

A row of aucubas would be nice if you have dark brick or paint to contrast with.

'Conoy' viburnum is evergeen - might need some sun though.

Camellias might work -- look for the wider growers.

Prunus laurocerasus 'Otto Luyken' (spelling?) is very serviceable.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 9:34PM
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Will Mt. Laurels (Kalmia) do well for you? They grow wild in woods, but may need organics added to the soil as would rhodies, even a raised bed with coarse bark to help drainage for your clay soil.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2010 at 10:35PM
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Dave in NoVA • 7a • Northern VA
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