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5 Best Evergreen Plants for Shade

There are many evergreen plants for shade, some are deciduous and others are evergreen. Only a few grow best in deep to light shaded areas.

In this article, you will find out about the 5 popular evergreen, shade-living plants that thrive in pots and in the garden.

5 Best evergreen plants for deep to light shade

Most plants require light to grow, that is why they may not do well in heavily shaded areas. But, there are some exceptional plants that thrive in shaded sites.

The 5 plants we cover in this article are popular shade-loving plants because they tend to adapt exceptionally well to different shaded sites.

They are evergreen and long-lasting.

Apart from bamboo, which is grass, the other shade-loving plants are shrubs with beautifully scented flowers. In fact, they are bees and butterfly ‘magnets’.

If you are looking for evergreen shade plants to grow in pots or in the garden, you’ll love these 5 plants.

Bamboo plants

There are different cultivars of bamboo plants, grouped into running and clumping varieties. They are hardy and extremely tolerant to shade. This is because most bamboos are native to subtropical and tropical Asia and the Pacific. They usually grow under the forest canopy where there is little or no light.

Many garden bamboo cultivars in the UK and the US display this feature prominently, which makes bamboo one of the top shape-loving plants.

Also, the small bamboo cultivars are best planted as ground covers.

Here are some suggestions of bamboo that thrive in shaded areas, and small variegated bamboos to use as ground covers.

Caution: The running bamboos will spread. Always use a bamboo barrier when growing them in the garden. Alternatively, grow them in pots or containers.

variegated bamboo UK evergreen plants for shade

Sarcococca (Christmas box)

Sarcococca, also known as the Christmas box, is a dense evergreen shrub. It bears sweet-scented white flowers in winter.

The contrasting white flowers with dark green leaves are adorable. The flowers attract bees and butterflies.

This flowering shrub is extremely shade-loving and drought tolerant, a fantastic undercover plant.

Buddleia (Butterfly bush)

Buddleia, also known as the Butterfly bush. This beautiful sweet-scented shrub has cultivars that are evergreen, semi-evergreen and deciduous.

They adapt extremely well to shade and dry soils.

You can trim the branches to give a lush bush.

Buddleia is a popular flowering plant for attracting bees and butterflies to your garden.

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Viburnum tinus

Viburnum tinus is a dense, evergreen shrub that also grows well in shade. It has dark, glossy leaves. The leaves contrast beautifully with the clusters of small pinkish-white flowers. They appear throughout the winter and spring.

It is a popular flowering shrub because it is easy to grow and adds greenery to the garden throughout the year.

You can use this beautiful plant for ground cover or hedging.

Ceanothus (Californian Lilac)

Ceanothus, also called Californian Lilac, is an evergreen flowering shrub. This beautiful plant has scented flowers that appear late in spring through to summer.

It can grow in shade to part shade, adaptable and hardy – a fantastic shade hedging plant.

How to grow evergreen shade plants – pots or garden?

Some shade-loving plants like the bamboo plants will thrive in pots and in the garden.

However, not all the shrubs that grow well in shade will thrive in pots.

The flowering shrubs have taproots that grow deep into the soil. This means that they do not like to be contained within the pots and containers.

Unless, of course, they grow in large planters and containers where there is plenty of rooting space.

To put this article in perspective, here are some uses of the 5 shade-loving plants and suggestions for growing them.

Evergreen plants for shade

The 5 Best Evergreen Shade Plants are:

  • Bamboo plants,
  • Sarcococca,
  • Buddleia,
  • Viburnum tinus and
  • Ceanothus.

Shade-loving plants for pots

The shade-loving shrubs, unfortunately, will not do well in pots. They have taproots and like to root freely. They will not do well in contained spaces like the pot, planters and containers.

If you want to grow a plant in a pot and put it in a deeply shaded area, bamboo is a fantastic option.

Shaded hedge plants

There are many hedge plants, some are deciduous whereas others are evergreen like the 5 plants featured in this article.

The 3 best plants for hedging a shaded area are:

  •  Bamboo,
  • Viburnum tinus and
  • Ceanothus.

Hardy plants/shrubs for shade

Most evergreen plants are hardy, which means that they can tolerate frost and ice during the winter.
The 5 hardiest evergreen plants are:

  • Bamboo,
  • Sarcococca,
  • Buddleia,
  • Viburnum tinus and
  • Ceanothus.

Note that some buddleia cultivars are semi-evergreen or deciduous. So, check the plant description carefully when buying online or in-store.

Best ground cover plants

The evergreen shrubs may not be the best ground cover, but they will require pruning to keep them in shape. These shrubs are beautiful ground covers when they are in full bloom.

The small Chinese Dwarf bamboos and variegated bamboos are best for evergreen ground covers.

You can mix and match them to great effect.

The 3 best ground cover plants are:

  • Bamboo plants,
  • Sarcococca and
  • Viburnum tinus.

Sasa nipponica is an evergreen small bamboo evergreen plants for shade

Where to buy the evergreen plants for shade?

The 5 shade-loving plants in this article thrive under the covers of trees and buildings, where other plants tend to struggle to grow.

They are also fantastic ground covers.

You can buy these plants online from YouGarden or Crocus.

Shade-loving evergreen hedging plants

In addition to the 5 shade-loving plants for pots and gardens listed in this article, here are the top 6 hedging plants that thrive in shade.

They have tightly packed leaves that last all year round.

Of the 6 plants (Refer to the table), bamboo is the only grass variety among the fast-growing evergreen hedging plant. Also, the beech tree is deciduous.

Read more about the 6 common hedging plants we covered in an earlier article here.

small bamboo plants for privacy

Conclusion (Best Evergreen Shade Plants for Pot and Garden)

The 5 evergreen shade-loving plants for pots and gardens are Bamboo, Sarcococca, Buddleia, Viburnum tinus and Ceanothus.

Bamboo is well-known for being the fastest growing plant. And, the shrubs are popular for their scented flowers and contrasting colours, best for attracting bees and butterflies.

We hope this article gives you some ideas about the evergreen plants for shade.

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