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Gardeners define light shade as any area of the garden that receives less than six hours of sunlight a day. Areas receiving no direct light at all, such as under large trees or behind a home, may be considered medium to deep or dense shade. American Holly, Azaleas, Boxwood, Euonymus, Forsythia, Viburnum and Rhododendron are light shade lovers.
Shrubs that prefer medium to dense shade are Japanese Andromeda, Densa Yew, Mountain Laurel, Japanese Holly and Inkberry. Shade Shrubs require moist soil and will not tolerate drought conditions very well. Mulching around the shrubs will help to retain moisture.
To ensure that the shade shrub is getting all the nutrients it requires, fertilize once per year in the spring with an all-purpose plant fertilizer for shrubs. It is not necessary to fertilize more than once a year, as this can burn the roots of most shade shrubs. Prune only when absolutely necessary, such as in the case of dead or diseased branches.
Shrubs for Shade will experience a slower growth rate and a thinner leaf canopy than if they were planted in a sunny area.
How to Plant Shrubs for Shade: Select the right location. Any shade-loving shrub/shrubs will tolerate less than 2 hours of direct afternoon sun, and thrive in a location that provides filtered sun. Dig a hole that is at least two to three times the diameter of the root ball, but no deeper than the height of the root ball. Roots will grow quickly into the loosened soil and will speed up the tree's establishment into its new home. Place the shrub/shrubs into the hole and measure the height of the root ball with the surrounding soil.
Lay your shovel across the hole to see that the root ball is even or slightly above the handle. Once the shrub/shrubs is in place, start shoveling the soil into the planting hole. Lightly compress the soil around the root ball with your hands. When half of the root ball is covered, water the soil to settle out any air pockets and remoisten the soil in the root ball, then fill in the rest of the hole. Keep the soil moist, but not sopping wet.