Small Shrubs For Part Shade

By Harry RamosLast update: 2024-04-17

It’s not that hard to transform a tedious shady area into a lively and beautiful landscaping because there are a lot of small shrubs for part shade. In this article, I’ll give you a list of 10 top options that I’ve narrowed down based on hardiness zones, soil types, and gardening skills. Read on!


Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 6-9

Soil: Acid or ericaceous soil, with a pH of 5.5-6.5

Camellias are small trees or evergreen shrubs prefer filtered sun or partial shade. They usually have large and conspicuous flowers (5-9 petals each) and thick, serrated, and usually glossy leaves.

Camellias are easy to grow.

They require nutritious soil with good drainage and ample moisture, so you should water them frequently when they are newly planted and during dry months.

Arrowwood Viburnum

Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 2-8

Soil: Loamy, moist, well-drained

Arrowwood Viburnum is a small flowering shrub that grows upright. It has 4" long leaves that form oval foliage with toothed edges and glossy green stems.

The plant does well in partial shade to full sunlight, which means it needs a minimum of 3-4 hours of sunlight on most days.

And if its sunlight requirements are met, it will bloom beautifully, usually in the spring and early summer. This helps attract butterflies, bees, and birds to your garden.

Arrowwood Viburnum needs ample watering - 1.2 to 1.5 cm of water every two weeks, especially during the summer months.

Tree Peony

Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 4-9

Soil: a fertile yet reasonably well drained soil

Tree peonies are small shrubs that often bloom in May and June. Their flowers have goblet shapes and are varied in colors; they may be red, white, violet, magenta, pink, maroon, or shades of these colors.

Tree peonies prefer partial shade and need around 3-4 hours of sunlight daily.

When planting this shrub, you might need to invest some extra care because it needs frequent watering, especially during the first summer.

California Holly

Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 6-8

Soil: Well-drained soil

California Holly is an evergreen shrub that prefers full sun to partial shade. They are hardy and adaptable to many soil types, consisting of serpentine, clay, and sandy soils. But take note that they don't tolerate extreme heat.

California Holly blooms any time between spring and summer. Their flowers are small and white in color, followed by bright red berries which are a great food source for wildlife.

Japanese Skimmia

Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 6-8

Soil: Loam acidic soil

For shady gardens, this shade-loving small evergreen shrub is a great choice. The best place to plant them is partial to full shade with morning sunlight and dappled afternoon sun.

Japanese skimmia blooms in April or May and produces bright red berries throughout the fall and winter.

Their flowers may be white or pink with a strong yet pleasant scent that will attract many beneficial pollinators to your garden.

Red Tip Photinia

Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 7-9

Soil: loamy, well-drained soil

Red Tip Photinia sends out bright red new leaves each spring, which explains its name.

This small shrub is very popular in the South. They prefer full sun but can thrive well in partial shade as long as the soil is well drained, and they don't grow too densely.

Red Tip Photinia blooms in early spring and often lasts for 2 weeks, followed by bright red, berrylike fruits.


Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 4-9

Soil: loamy, moderately fertile soil

Kerria is a small ornamental shrub that sheds its leaves annually and prefers full to part-shade conditions. They usually bloom in late March to mid-April and last for several weeks. The flowers of Kerria are bright golden yellow.

Kerria is easy to grow and low-maintenance. You just need to water them frequently but not overwater.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 5-9

Soil: rich, well-drained, slightly acidic soil

What makes Oakleaf Hydrangea stand out is its cone-shaped flowers and showy foliage. This is a great shrub for small gardens that regularly receive afternoon shade or partial shade.

Oakleaf Hydrangea gives a unique appearance in all seasons. It blooms in spring and early summer; the flowers are greenish white at first, then change to pink or red color.

Oakleaf Hydrangea prefers moderately moist soil.


Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 2-9

Soil: slightly acidic, moist, but well-drained soil

There are many different Viburnum species; some are deciduous while others are evergreen. Most of them prefer the sun but some can do well in partial shade conditions and are usually used as focal points, hedges, or screening.

Viburnum can thrive in different moisture conditions and soil types.

The blooming time of this small shrub is from early spring through June. Its flowers are large and may be in pink or white color.


Small Shrubs For Part Shade

Hardiness zones: 4-9

Soil: slightly acidic, well-drained soil with plenty of compost

Daphnes are a small, deciduous shrub known for their gorgeous flowers with colors ranging from greenish yellow or yellow to white to pink.

They start blooming in late spring and last through summer, but sometimes, you can see Daphne's blooming in fall.

Aside from flowers, Daphnes are attractive for their very nice rounded mound foliage with small oblong, light green leaves.

But it’s not easy to care for Daphnes because you need to ensure the soil is moist but well-drained and not soggy.


As there are different soil types, weather conditions, and gardening skills, I tried to vary this list as much as possible. Hopefully, through this article, you have some good suggestions about small shrubs for part shade to consider. Thanks for reading!

I’m Harry Ramos, who's crazy about all things green. I’m here to share some experience in my gardening adventure and how to choose the best products for your garden. Let's dig in, get our hands dirty, and celebrate the simple, earthy pleasures of the garden together!

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