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14 Best Plants For Shade In Southwestern Ontario

14 Best Plants for Shade In Southwestern Ontario

We’ve compiled a list of our 14 favorite plants for shade in Southwestern Ontario.

  • Red Osier Dogwood
  • Witch Hazel
  • Ruby Falls Redbud
  • Jeddeloh Hemlock
  • Bottlebrush Buckeye
  • Lady Fern
  • Verigated Solomon’s Seal
  • Tigereye Coneflower
  • Green Velvet Boxwoods
  • Mountain Fire Pieris
  • Blue Princess Holly
  • Sunburst Yew
  • Fanal Astilbe
  • Annabelle Hydrangea

 

Red Osier DogwoodRed Osier Dogwood 2

1. Red Osier Dogwood

One of the best general purpose shrubs for northern landscapes, very hardy; good fall color, and brilliant red stems are highlighted by winter snow.

Red Osier Dogwood has clusters of creamy white flowers at the ends of the branches in late spring. It has green foliage throughout the season. The pointy leaves turn an outstanding brick red in the fall. It produces white berries in late summer. The red branches are extremely showy and add significant winter interest.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 8′ height – 10′ width
  • Sunlight: Part Shade – Full Sun

Red Osier Dogwood will grow to be about 8 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn’t necessarily require filler plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. 

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It is an amazingly adaptable plant, tolerating both dry conditions and even some standing water.  This species is native to parts of North America.

 

Witch Hazel

2. Witch Hazel

A large, spreading shrub that brings color and fragrance to the late winter garden when most other plants are still dormant with its delightfully fragrant reddish-brown flowers which appear along the branches in late winter, excellent blend of fall colors.

Witch Hazel is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a ground-hugging habit of growth. Its average texture blends into the landscape, but can be balanced by one or two finer or coarser trees or shrubs for an effective composition.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 15′ height – 15′ width
  • Sunlight: Full Shade – Full Sun

Witch Hazel will grow to be about 15 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 15 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 2 feet from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It is quite adaptable, prefering to grow in average to wet conditions, and will even tolerate some standing water. 

 

3. Ruby Falls Redbud

A spectacular and hardy spring bloomer, with very showy lavender-red flowers held tightly on bare branches in early spring; burgundy foliage emerges, maturing to a deep violet-purple; a great weeping ornamental tree for specimen use in the landscape.

Ruby Falls Redbud has lavender pea-like flowers with red overtones along the branches from early to mid spring before the leaves. It has attractive burgundy foliage which emerges brick red in spring. The heart-shaped leaves are highly ornamental and turn yellow in fall.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 8′ height – 6′ width
  • Sunlight: Part Shade – Full Sun

Ruby Falls Redbud will grow to be about 8 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 6 feet. It has a low canopy with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 60 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out.  Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selection of a native North American species.

 

4. Jeddeloh Hemlock

A justifiably popular evergreen garden shrub forming a fine textured mound, wider than tall, excellent for garden detail use and rock gardens; needs organic, acidic soil, adequate moisture and shelter from drying winds

Jeddeloh Hemlock has emerald green foliage which emerges light green in spring. The needles remain emerald green throughout the winter. 

Jeddeloh Hemlock is a multi-stemmed evergreen shrub with a ground-hugging habit of growth. It lends an extremely fine and delicate texture to the landscape composition which can make it a great accent feature on this basis alone.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 4′ height – 7′ width
  • Sunlight: Full Shade – Full Sun

Jeddeloh Hemlock will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 7 feet. It has a low canopy. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 50 years or more.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This is a selection of a native North American species.

 

5. Bottlebrush Buckeye

One of the best shrubs for massing over a large area, this beauty suckers to form large impenetrable colonies; when adorned with showy white flower spikes in summer, it can be a sight to behold; use appropriately, definitely not for the average garden

Bottlebrush Buckeye features showy spikes of white flowers with red anthers rising above the foliage in early summer. It has dark green foliage throughout the season. The large palmate leaves turn yellow in fall.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 8′ height – 12′ width
  • Sunlight: Full Shade – Full Sun

Bottlebrush Buckeye will grow to be about 8 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 12 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn’t necessarily require filler plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 50 years or more.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone in winter to protect it in exposed locations or colder microclimates. This species is native to parts of North America.

 

6. Lady Fern

Lady Fern’s ferny bipinnately compound leaves remain green in colour throughout the season. Neither the flowers nor the fruit are ornamentally significant.

Lady Fern is a dense herbaceous fern with a shapely form and gracefully arching fronds. It brings an extremely fine and delicate texture to the garden composition and should be used to full effect.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 18″ height – 24″ width
  • Sunlight: Full Shade – Full Sun

Lady Fern will grow to be about 18 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 24 inches. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring filler plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 15 years.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It prefers to grow in moist to wet soil, and will even tolerate some standing water. It is particular about its soil conditions, with a strong preference for rich, acidic soils. Consider applying a thick mulch around the root zone over the growing season to conserve soil moisture. This species is not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets. It can be propagated by division.

 

7. Variegated Solomon’s Seal

Attractive variegated leaves is what sets this variety apart; elegant nodding silky white blooms in late spring above mounded foliage is attractive all season long makes this a great choice for the shaded area

Variegated Solomon’s Seal features dainty lightly-scented nodding white bell-shaped flowers along the stems in late spring. Its attractive pointy pinnately compound leaves are green in colour with showy creamy white variegation. As an added bonus, the foliage turns a gorgeous gold in the fall. It produces deep purple berries in mid summer.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 24″ height – 30″ width
  • Sunlight: Full Shade – Part Sun

Variegated Solomon’s Seal will grow to be about 24 inches tall at maturity, with a spread of 3 feet. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 30 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring facer plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets. It can be propagated by division; however, as a cultivated variety, be aware that it may be subject to certain restrictions or prohibitions on propagation.

 

8. Tigereye Coneflower

Sunny attractive flowers for planting close up; large daisy-like flowers in golden yellow surround a dark burgundy center; great for the middle border for some sensational late season color; also great for containers.

TigerEye Coneflower has masses of beautiful yellow daisy flowers with burgundy eyes and gold centers at the ends of the stems from mid summer to mid fall, which are most effective when planted in groupings. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its serrated pointy leaves remain green in colour throughout the season.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 16″ height – 24″ width
  • Sunlight: Part Shade – Part Sun

TigerEye Coneflower will grow to be about 16 inches tall at maturity extending to 24 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 24 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 18 inches apart. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in full sun to partial shade. It is very adaptable to both dry and moist locations, and should do just fine under typical garden conditions. It is considered to be drought-tolerant, and thus makes an ideal choice for a low-water garden or xeriscape application.

 

9. Green Velvet Boxwoods

A broadly mounded hybrid of this broadleaf evergreen that takes pruning exceptionally well; very versatile in the landscape, makes a great low hedge, also useful for topiary.

Green Velvet Boxwood has forest green foliage. The small round leaves remain forest green throughout the winter.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 3′ height – 4′ width
  • Sunlight: Part Shade – Part Sun

Green Velvet Boxwood will grow to be about 3 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 4 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn’t necessarily require filler plants in front. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 30 years.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It prefers to grow in average to moist conditions, and shouldn’t be allowed to dry out. 

 

10. Mountain Fire Pieris

A popular ornamental broadleaf evergreen shrub with delicate and showy chains of small white bell-shaped flowers and fiery red emerging foliage, extremely colorful in spring; performs best in moist, organic and acidic soils.

Mountain Fire Japanese Pieris features dainty chains of white bell-shaped flowers hanging below the branches in early spring. It has attractive red foliage. The glossy narrow leaves are highly ornamental and remain red throughout the winter.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 11′ height – 7′ width
  • Sunlight: Part Shade – Part Sun

Mountain Fire Japanese Pieris will grow to be about 11 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 7 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils. This is a selected variety of a species not originally from North America, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

 

11. Blue Princess Holly

One of the hardiest of the evergreen hollies, this is a large, spreading shrub with the traditional spiny blue-green foliage and showy red berries in winter; requires a male pollinator, often paired with Blue Prince.

Blue Princess Holly is primarily grown for its highly ornamental fruit. It features an abundance of magnificent red berries from mid fall to late winter. It has dark green foliage. The spiny oval leaves remain dark green throughout the winter.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 8′ height – 8′ width
  • Sunlight: Part Shade – Part Sun

Blue Princess Holly will grow to be about 8 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 8 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn’t necessarily require filler plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 40 years or more. This is a female variety of the species which requires a male selection of the same species growing nearby in order to set fruit.

This shrub does best in full sun to partial shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth, but will die in standing water. It is very fussy about its soil conditions and must have rich, acidic soils to ensure success, and is subject to chlorosis (yellowing) of the leaves in alkaline soils.

 

12. Sunburst Yew

An exciting new variety with brilliant gold new foliage in spring that fades to a soft yellow-green over the summer, contrasts well against the normal green older needles, spreading habit, takes pruning well and tolerates shade; use for a splash of color.

Sunburst Yew has attractive chartreuse foliage which emerges gold in spring. The ferny leaves are highly ornamental and remain chartreuse throughout the winter.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 7′ height – 10′ width
  • Sunlight: Full Shade – Full Sun

Sunburst Yew will grow to be about 7 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 10 feet. It tends to fill out right to the ground and therefore doesn’t necessarily require filler plants in front, and is suitable for planting under power lines. It grows at a slow rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for 50 years or more.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. This particular variety is an interspecific hybrid, and parts of it are known to be toxic to humans and animals, so care should be exercised in planting it around children and pets.

 

13. Fanal Astilbe

Fanal Astilbe has masses of beautiful plumes of crimson flowers at the ends of the stems from late spring to early summer, which are most effective when planted in groupings. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Its ferny compound leaves remain emerald green in colour throughout the season.

Fanal Astilbe is an herbaceous perennial with an upright spreading habit of growth. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 18″ height – 24″ width
  • Sunlight: Full Shade – Part Sun

Fanal Astilbe will grow to be about 18 inches tall at maturity extending to 24 inches tall with the flowers, with a spread of 32 inches. When grown in masses or used as a bedding plant, individual plants should be spaced approximately 24 inches apart. Its foliage tends to remain dense right to the ground, not requiring filler plants in front. It grows at a medium rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 10 years.

This plant does best in partial shade to shade. It requires an evenly moist well-drained soil for optimal growth. 

Fanal Astilbe is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor pots and containers. With its upright habit of growth, it is best suited for use as a ‘thriller’ in the ‘spiller-thriller-filler’ container combination; plant it near the center of the pot, surrounded by smaller plants and those that spill over the edges. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the yard or garden.

 

14. Annabelle Hydrangea

A hardy, showy shrub which features enormous ball-shaped white flower heads in mid summer, lasting for a long time; best if treated like a perennial and pruned to a few inches from the ground in spring, blooms on new growth; somewhat coarse.

Annabelle Hydrangea features bold balls of white flowers at the ends of the branches from mid to late summer. The flowers are excellent for cutting. It has forest green foliage throughout the season. The heart-shaped leaves do not develop any appreciable fall colour.

– Growth Details 

  • Growth Size: 4′ height – 5′ width
  • Sunlight: Full Shade – Full Sun

Annabelle Hydrangea will grow to be about 4 feet tall at maturity, with a spread of 5 feet. It tends to be a little leggy, with a typical clearance of 1 foot from the ground. It grows at a fast rate, and under ideal conditions can be expected to live for approximately 20 years.

This shrub performs well in both full sun and full shade. This is a selection of a native North American species.

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