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GardenSMART :: Best Hedges for Shade

Best Hedges for Shade

By Stephanie Pratt, InstantHedge
Photographs courtesy of InstantHedge

"I need a privacy hedge but my yard gets a lot of shade. Is there anything I can grow? I'm desperate!"

Sound familiar? This is a very common question, so you are not alone.

Shady locations can present some unique challenges. Some sites are very dry, while others can be nice and moist. Sometimes a hedge is desired to stretch through both full sun areas and full shade areas, and you need something that can do both seamlessly.

There are plenty of great hedge options for shady locations. Partial shade has a few more to choose from, but some will tolerate deep shade. Here, from most to least amount of sun, are our top five favorites:

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5. Schip laurel (Prunus laurocerasus 'Schipkaensis')

Cherry laurels typically require a lot of sun, but Schip laurel can take partial shade as well. Its glossy, broad, evergreen leaves create a lush look in a shady spot. It is also drought-tolerant, making it perfect for dry shade. It is a fast, upright grower that quickly creates a tall, dense privacy screen.

Evergreen | Full Sun to Partial Shade | USDA Zones 6-9

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4. Teton Firethorn (Pyracantha 'Teton')

For some bright winter color in shady garden areas, Teton Firethorn gives a spectacular show. It will produce more berries with more sun, but still has a wonderful orange berry display from fall through later winter in partial shade. It is covered in small, white flowers in late spring. Bee and bird friendly!

Evergreen | Full Sun to Partial Shade (prefers some afternoon sun) | USDA Zones 6-9

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3. Green Giant Arborvitae (Thuja x 'Green Giant') & Virescens Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata 'Virescens')

Yes, these are two separate plants but they can be grouped together since they are related. Green Giant is a hybrid with Western Red Cedar as one of the parents. Virescens is an upright-growing variety of Western Red Cedar. Both are fast-growing (Green Giant especially) and tolerate quite a lot of shade. Both have a nice, feathery texture and grow well in a moist but well-draining soil.

Evergreen | Full Sun to Partial Shade | USDA Zones 5-9

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2. European Beech (Fagus sylvatica)

European beech is a beautiful choice for a hedge in a shady spot. With lush, green foliage in summer, nice fall color, and a unique copper look in winter, it gives seasonal interest while tolerating full sun to full shade. It handles dry or moist soil but does not like waterlogged or poorly draining soil.

Deciduous | Full Sun to Full Shade | USDA Zones 5-8

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1. Hicks Yew (Taxus x media 'Hicksii')

Hicks Yew is without a doubt the top hedge choice for deep shade conditions. It is extremely versatile and can be grown in full sun, partial shade, or full shade. Its dark green needles and bright red berries provide beautiful color and contrast in shady spots. It responds well to shearing and is just as well suited to an old-fashioned cottage garden as it is to a modern or contemporary setting. It does well in dry or moist shade but does not tolerate poorly draining soil.

Evergreen | Full Sun to Full Shade | USDA Zones 5-8


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Now is the time to shop for annuals that will go the distance all summer. Suntory Flowers has a portfolio of gorgeous varieties that thrive in the heat. To learn more, click here for an interesting article.

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