Shade tolerant shrubs for zone 5?

SnailLover(5a MI)August 20, 2013

I'd love some suggestions for shrubs to plant along my fence that will aid in privacy to the back yard area. This area only gets a few hours of direct sun in the afternoon and dappled sun in the morning.

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jim_1 Zone 5B Illinois(5b)

I don't know if you want to refer to them as shade tolerant, but I like forsythia as privacy shrub. You can prune to shape and that will take only a little time once a year. You get lovely spring blooms to boot.

Is your fence solid or chain link? Forsythia do lose their foliage in the winter, but many have such think branch structure that they obscure the view through them.

I have some on the north side of my house as a hedge and they get along nicely. They do get lots of sun during the mid-day in the summer, but in another month or so they will be in a mostly shady area.

Jim

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 10:19AM
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SnailLover(5a MI)

Thank you Jim. I do love forsythias. The fence is chain link.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 9:33PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

As long as you can give them some water if there is extended drought, Hydrangea paniculatas such as Pinky Winky, Limelight, Early Fire, or Pink Diamond will do fine in part shade. They won't help with privacy too much once they have lost their leaves, though they do retain the dried blossoms for much of the winter.

If you have acid soil, many of the rhododendrons will do fine in with this much sun, though they may bloom less. Mountain Laurels also need acid soil, and will tolerate quite a lot of shade. They are broadleaved evergreens and so will provide privacy except in the coldest weather when they will curl their leaves and provide less screening (but who wants to hang out in the yard when it's 15 degrees out . . . )

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 11:35PM
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SnailLover(5a MI)

Thanks, I will make note of these. I live in a piney forest so I'm assuming my soil is acid, though I haven't tested it yet.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2013 at 10:01PM
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Sequoiadendron4(6B)

You might try the Viburnum rhytidophyllum. It's semi evergreen so in a tough winter it could lose most of its leaves. Most of them around here only lose 25-50% of their leaves in the winter.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 7:44AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

so I'm assuming my soil is acid,

==>>> dont assume anything....

a quick call to your county extension or Ag office.. will probably get you a 'general' answer... and directions on how to get a good soil test done thru Moo U .... for the more specific answer ....

MI's predilection toward sand.. where the pine tree forests thrive ... means stuff doesnt necessarily build up ... like it might in other types of soil ...

or i am wrong.. call the COUNTY offices i noted..

that said... shade is impossible to discuss in words ... and frankly ... any other way ... you just plant things.. and see what happens ...

try to stay away from things with big flowers.. as they need full sun ...

and stay away from heavily variegated... as they might lack the chlorophyll to process what sun there is ...

and be leery of yellows.. which might end up green.. in not enough sun ...

otherwise... a few hours of dappled sun.. followed by full sun ... sound .. TO ME... like a lot of sun,.. in which 99% of things will thrive...

yet you are limiting yourself to shade plants ...

you would be much better off.. making a long list of things that make your toes curl.. and then asking us which of those might not thrive.. as compared to telling us to rule out just about everything.... if you get my drift ...

regards from adrian MI... ken

ps where are you????

    Bookmark   August 28, 2013 at 8:18AM
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