I need shrubs or evergreens for privacy, but it is in deep shade. The soil is somewhat clay, but can be amended. I am in zone 5, in Chicago area, next to the lake. Any suggestions?
Can you grow boxwoods in zone five?
There are some boxwoods that are hardy to zone 5b (-15F minimum), but most need milder winters. Maybe one of the hardier leucothoe or Itea virginiana?
Non-running bamboo (okay, not a shrub...) such as Fargesia murielae and F. rufa are possibilitis too. They make a lovely accent or screen in shade, and form a tidy clump.
I Can grow Korean Boxwood here. The deep shade does worry me. I have some in partial shade that do well.
Kerria japonica, Rhodotypos scandens (Jetbead), and various Symphoricarpos species or cultivars (Snowberry and Coralberry) can handle heavy shade (and still bloom) here in the Chicago area. All of these deciduous shrubs have a very informal, somewhat leggy, sprawling habit. Although you say you need screening, the maximum height you could expect from these is less than 5-6 feet, with equal or greater width. Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw viburnum) is another possibility for heavy shade--it can reach 8-10 feet, but in heavy shade this shrub can get leggy and will be more sparsely leaved than if it is grown in sunnier conditions. Hemlocks are pretty shade tolerant, but they will also become leggy and more sparsely needled in heavy shade.
Korean boxwood is a good possibility. It is hardy in your zone, and can handle a surprising amount of shade. I have one growing in nearly full shade (it gets a bit of dappled sun for around an hour) and it is doing well.
Worth giving it a shot!
Most all of the Illex (holly) will do well in shade except Inkberry Holly.
'Chicagoland Green' and 'Green Velvet' boxwoods do well here in Green Bay Wisconsin (z5a) in deep shade. Leatherwood (if you can find it) is one of the most shade tolerant. The Fargesia bamboos love the shade and do well here with winter protection. I also like Sambucus 'Pulverulenta' with its white-spoted leaves. Hydrangea arborescens is also very shade tolerant.
I use euonymous - not the invasive deciduous kind, but E. kiatschovicus, aka "Manhattan" for privacy in deep shade. It grows fast, is evergreen and pest-free, and will get quite tall with some support.
Also Aucuba japonica, but it's not as fast-growing. Not sure of the hardiness range, either.
Has anyone mentioned yew? The upright forms are fairly fast growing and it doesn't take up too much space.
Ah I was just going to mention yews. Amazing where they'll grow, and nicely too. But also, how about leatherleaf viburnum, Viburnum rhytidophyllum?
Aucuba is lovely, but hardy to zone 6 according to the tag at the local nursery.
Yews are the best evergreen for shade, if you don't have deer. Large-leaf rhododendrons also do well in shade, tho they curl their leaves in freezing weather. Some species of arborvitae do well in shade. Mountain andromeda, Pieris floribunda, is great in deep shade but hard to find. There are a number of deciduous shrubs too.
Pieris are terrific and mine are doing well in almost full shade.
Some deciduous shrubs have dense enough structure to provide shade in winter and are generally faster growing than their evergreen counterparts.
Since your goal is privacy, I'm going to suggest privet. Nothing grows faster, the structure is very dense, and it takes shade with no problem. It is invasive in my zone, but since it doesn't flower heavily in shade and since you're in a colder zone, this may not be an issue.
> Some deciduous shrubs have dense enough structure to provide shade in winter
Sorry, I meant to say that they can provice privacy even when leafless.
LOL! ahhhh, nothing like relaxing in the shade whilst sitting in a snowdrift...iced tea...snowsuit... :)
re: the leatherwood that was mentioned. is that the native one, or are there more than one? thanks!
Diane and everybody--The arborvitae that grows in shade is actually a cultivar, not a species. It is Thuja occidentalis 'Nigra'. It will take a lot of shade but absolutely must have ample moisture--it won't do well in dry shade or competing with tree roots. It's a very common cultivar and should be available at any good nursery. It gets very big but can be sheared or pruned. And of course it suffers from a heavy snow load.
Both yews and arborvitaes are deer candy. I wouldn't plant either in an area with deer.
I have shady areas that flood periodically and are fairly saturated much of the year. Nigra has done fabulously under these conditions. But they are high maintenance with pruning and the snow load--must be tied up etc. I'd go with Hicks yews myself for an evergreen screen in shade, unless the soil is too wet.
fairy, the leatherleaf mentioned above is native to china..see the link below...
Here is a link that might be useful: Viburnum rhytidophyllum
I thought about V. rhytidophyllum as a a good plant for shade, but its leaves hang mornefully, even more than rhododendron. I am unsure about V. pragense as to its hardiness and if it hangs its leaves in cold weather.
why, thankye, terry!
From what was provided, I'm not sure how tall you want these shrubs, but this one is taller than some of those mentioned. I have this plant in very dry soil and moderate shade and it's 4-5 ft and growing. It does sucker quite freely, but I control that with roundup. see the link provided
Here is a link that might be useful: diervilla lonicera
Fairy - the Leatherwood is a Wisconsin native - different than leatherleaf. Not good for privacy. Arborvitaes are poor choices for shade - Thuja plicata is more tolerant of shade but a large plant.
Diervilla sessifolia is not a good candidate for deep shade, better in full sun.
Needed: suggestions for foundation shrubs for front west facing side of home, conifer or deciduous, 3-5 hours of sun due to mature red maples in the front yard causing limited afternoon sun. Winter winds can be a problem though we are directily across from a ravine with tall trees which can deflect some wind. Would prefer evergreen but could fit in one or two deciduous. One taller evergreen specimen could be 5 feet. Others would be shorter and 2-3' size. thank you