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Taller shrubs for a mostly shady area

Posted by crabbygardener 7b / NC (My Page) on
Sun, Mar 9, 14 at 11:43

Hi there! I live in Durham, NC and have an area in my back yard (and neighboring yards) with mostly pine trees, so it doesn't get much direct sunlight. I want to plant some taller evergreen shrubs along the fence for privacy, but of course, they need to be able to grow (preferably quickly) in the shade. I'm hoping for suggestions for plantings if possible. I also have come across a few options that I have questions about.

According to, Florida Leucothoe (Leucothoe populifolia, aka Agarista populifolia, aka Florida Hobblebush, aka Tall Fetterbush, aka Pipestem) fits the bill: Plant Guide_253427968_?url=plant.aspx?code=l10116 It grows to 10 feet high in the shade and apparently grows pretty fast.

A few sites agree with this information...

...but other sites have conflicting information: -- slow growth -- sun/part sun -- sun/part shade
Another site that I can't post a link to says it's much smaller in size and grows in sun rather than shade.

Any insight? Any experience with this plant?

I'm also considering Aucuba japonica, but I'm not as enthusiastic about it. Also doesn't seem to grow as tall.

Any other ideas for plants that would fit the bill?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Taller shrubs for a mostly shady area

does it have to be evergreen? I think sweet bay Magnolia grows fairly quickly.

RE: Taller shrubs for a mostly shady area

Sorry for the delay in replying. Yes, I'd strongly prefer an evergreen for privacy in the winter. Thanks for your suggestion!

Anyone else want to chime in?

RE: Taller shrubs for a mostly shady area

I live in central Delaware and have an acuba gold dust. It is in complete shade, gets no supplemental water and is competing with tree roots. It is about 9 feet tall. We have acid/clay soil here.

Do hollies grow well in your area? I have a short row of burford hollies also growing in shade and competing with tree roots (spruce tree). This holly is a beautiful shade of dark green. Mine are about 11 or 12 feet tall. I don't know how fast they grow since they were here when I moved in. Very pretty holly, dense and great for privacy.

RE: Taller shrubs for a mostly shady area

Thanks, anniegolden--I hadn't considered hollies. I actually have a Burford holly in the sun out front, but IIRC, it's a dwarf variety that was listed as preferring full sun (and while it's growing, it's not growing super fast). Holllies do seem to grow well enough around here, though.

RE: Taller shrubs for a mostly shady area

Nellie Stevens hollies do well in shade. So do camellias and you have the added plus of flowers. Nandina is another good choice, but it does spread. All are evergreen and easy to grow!

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