Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!

Shrubs are among the most common inhabitants of domestic kitchen and ornamental gardens. Because with their striking appearance, their bushy growth and their size between real trees and other garden plants, they fill an important gap as a privacy screen, shade provider and focal point in the design of private green spaces. Here we tell you which shrubs feel comfortable in partial shade or even shade and can thus populate the less popular locations in the garden. However, sunny locations should also be taken into account.

shaded areas

Shade, semi-shade, sunny locations - what is actually behind these terms? Because although one should initially think that these classifications are almost self-explanatory, the exact demarcation is often unclear.

Sunny locations

However, this formulation is not precisely defined. In general, however, off-sun refers to a location that is not directly illuminated by the sun, but still receives a high level of brightness. Examples of this are courtyards, or the mostly small gardens of terraced houses, which are surrounded on all sides by trees. Even the north side of buildings outside of the direct shadow, but still in the area shielded from the sun, can often be described as off-sun.


If shadows are caused by trees, a wall or other objects, they can also move during the course of the day as the position of the sun changes, so that a location is sometimes shady but sometimes also directly illuminated by the sun. If a location is partially shaded, it will be reached directly by the sun for up to four hours a day, but will otherwise remain shaded.

the shade

True shade describes locations that, unlike penumbra, are never directly reached by the sun all day. This can be, for example, on the north side of buildings in the direct shadow of the building, or also directly on walls and garden houses, or even under trees with dense foliage and conifers.

Shrubs for partial shade

Sunny locations

From G - K

Ordinary barberry

With its strong leaf spines and very straight growth, the barberry (Berberis vulgaris) is an easily recognizable shrub that is often known for its striking appearance.

  • Appearance: straight, smooth stems with drop-shaped, dark green leaves; small yellow flowers in pendulous racemes
  • Size: one to three meters in height
  • Use/ Yield: scarlet fruits up to one centimeter long; edible, but very acidic due to the high content of malic acid and other fruit acids
Barberry is also called vinegar berry


The cornelian cherry (Cornus Alba) is known for its intense, bright yellow flowers. During the flowering period, they stand out from the surrounding vegetation from afar and thus become a striking eye-catcher

  • Appearance: strongly branched growth with small, light green leaves, flowering time before the leaves form, making it a particularly striking appearance
  • Size: up to several meters when growing freely, usually two to three meters tall when domesticated
  • Use/yield: dark red to black berries with an elongated, olive-like shape and size; edible and processable, but often very acidic and the pulp has a rather sandy feel
  • Special features: Fruits are considered to contain a lot of vitamin C, and they used to be popular for jams and compotes

From S - Z


Daphne flowers particularly early and enriches the other shrubs, which are usually still in the early stages of the annual growth period, with bright, dense umbels of flowers.

  • Appearance: Small or dwarf shrub, broadly upright habit with narrow, narrow leaves, dark green leaves with a distinctive light midrib; small flowers in pink to purple, grouped in dense inflorescences; Cherry-like fruits with a light red colour
  • Size: around two meters tall and wide when old
  • Use/ Yield: Pure ornamental shrub
  • Special features: is considered to be extremely cold-resistant, one of the so-called bee pastures

danger: The daphne is considered highly poisonous! Bark and especially fruits contain high amounts of daphnine, daphnetoxin and mezerine.

Mezereon, Daphne mezereum

witch hazel

The intensively fragrant winter blossom of the witch hazel (witch hazel) is particularly impressive. But the late autumn blossoms in yellow-orange enrich many an ornamental garden with another component.

  • Appearance: deciduous shrub or small tree with leaf shape reminiscent of beech, inflorescences with three to four flowers with heavily furrowed corollas, long, narrow petals, flower color yellow to intense red
  • Size: Two to three meters tall
  • Use/ Yield: Ornamental shrub, no yield
  • Special features: autumn to winter flowering, intense, pleasant floral scent; Explosively opening seed pods, ejecting seeds up to 10 meters
Witch hazel 'Diane' (Hamamelis intermedia)


Found again and again as a ground cover, the cotoneaster (Cotoneaster Dielsianus) can reach impressive sizes as a shrub or small tree. It is known for its bright red berries.

  • Appearance: dense growth with small, oval, dark green leaves; small, five-petalled, white flowers in the leaf axils, later solitary round fruits in bright red
  • Size: one to two meters high
  • Use/ Yield: Pure ornamental wood, not usable due to the poison content
  • Particularities: All parts of the plant, especially fruits, slightly toxic

Locations in partial shade

From B - K


The boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens) is mostly used as a dense, almost impenetrable hedge. But it also has a decorative effect as a solitary shrub with its compact growth in semi-shade.

  • Appearance: Small, pale green leaves in a dense cluster, very compact and dense growth; Flowers inconspicuous yellowish, growing in dense clusters in the leaf axils
  • Size: very easy to regulate with regular pruning, growing outdoors as a shrub up to eight meters
  • Use/ Yield: Pure ornamental shrub, no usable yield
  • Special features: recently discredited by the increasing number of box tree moths, but with proper care and early control it is still a popular and enduring plant

service pear

The pear (Amelanchier) settles somewhere between the terms lush shrubs and small trees and is well suited as a provider of small, child-friendly sweet fruits.

  • Appearance: rather filigree shrub with small, oval, slightly pointed leaves, some of which are felted; racemose inflorescences with white, delicate flowers
  • Size: up to five meters tall, depending on the variety
  • Utilization/yield: Fruits comparable to blueberries in terms of appearance and size, ranging in color from light violet to dark blue, aromatic, juicy-sweet taste
  • Special features: with around 25 varieties, the family is very rich in variety, but the varieties are comparable in terms of keeping and size


Kolkwitzia (Kolkwitzia amabilis) is characterized by a dense sea of white to pink-red flowers. It therefore pleases numerous parks and ornamental gardens with its lush flowers and its dense, bushy growth.

  • Appearance: ovate, serrated leaves with tapering tips, dense and bushy growth with overhanging branches; white to pink flowers in dense inflorescences
  • Size: two to three meters in height and width
  • Use/ Yield: Ornamental shrub, no yield
  • Special features: young shoots are brown and hairy, bark peels off later, appearance is then gray and smooth
Kolkwitzia amabilis, Kolkwitzia, mother-of-pearl shrub

From L - P

laurel rose

The laurel rose (Kalmia latifolia) is considered to be one of the most decorative hardy flowering shrubs. The dense, white to pink flower umbels give it an imposing and at the same time delicate and fragile appearance.

  • Appearance: Leaves reminiscent of laurel, dense, bushy growth around towering flower umbels
  • Size: usually 50 to 70 centimeters high, up to two meters in individual cases
  • Use/ Yield: Pure ornamental shrub
  • Special features: All plant components are moderately toxic to animals and humans


Mahonia (Mahonia Aquifolium) is a shrub that looks very similar to the related barberries, but without their annoying thorns.

  • Appearance: Alternate, dark green leaves with a jagged edge, light yellow, upright flower umbels at the branch tips, later blue, hanging berry umbels, not unlike elderberry
  • Size: one to one and a half meters, very broad bushy
  • Use/ Yield: Non-yielding ornamental plant
  • Special features: berries, however, slightly poisonous

splendor bell

Hardly any other shrubs are able to come so close to the term calyx in reality. Because the inflorescences of the magnificent bell (Enkianthus), arranged in umbrella-like clusters, with their numerous white-yellowish to pinkish-red shimmering flowers are actually very clearly reminiscent of an inverted calyx and develop an intense luminosity even in partial shade.

  • Appearance: loose, sprawling growth, elongated, ring-shaped, light green leaves
  • Size: Up to four meters tall
  • Utilization/ Yield: Ornamental plant, no usable yield
  • Special features: typical bog plant, ideal soil pH value between 4 and 6
Bell-bell, Enkianthus campanulatus

locations in the shade

Shrubs with K

cherry laurel

With a dark, compact appearance, the cherry laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) becomes the counterpoint of many plantings. Its love of shady locations and its good compatibility with the root pressure of larger neighbors make it the ideal companion for trees and larger shrubs.

  • Appearance: compact, upright shrub with partly overhanging twigs, deep dark green coloring of the large, lens-shaped leaves, prominent midrib; small white flowers in dense, upright umbels, later dark red to black fruits resembling cherries
  • Size: Easily more than 4 meters in ornamental gardens, but up to 7 meters in solitary position
  • Use/ Yield: ornamental shrub, raw fruits poisonous! Berries can be eaten cooked, but are no longer common today
  • Special features: poisonous fruits, but can be made edible by cooking, formerly often used as jam

Shrubs with R


The classic of the moor and heath-loving shrubs is the rhododendron. Its preference for acidic soils has made it almost notorious among hobby gardeners, but it makes up for this with its expansive appearance and its very own charm.

  • Appearance: alternate, deep dark green leaves arranged radially around the twig, large, upright flowers in large numbers, flower color depending on the species from blue to white, pink and yellow to lilac and red;
  • Size: Depending on the species, the maximum growth height is around 20 centimeters up to 10 meters and more
  • Use/ Yield: ornamental tree
  • Special features: very slow-growing, but with the right care it also produces many flowers and grows densely in old age; in the shade, however, fewer flowers


Actually an impressive tree, the horse chestnut (Aesculus Hippocastanum) can also be grown very well as a shrub for the bucket or the plant bed with the right pruning.

  • Appearance: Sprawling, open growth with striking five-fingered leaves, white to pink flowers in upright umbels
  • Size: as a shrub around one meter with regular pruning
  • Utilization/ Yield: Ornamental and park plant, round chestnuts with strong prickles cannot be used as fruit

Shrub horse chestnut

In contrast to the common horse chestnut, the shrub horse chestnut (Aesculus parviflora) is a real large shrub that does not mature into a tree even with less pruning.

  • Appearance: sprawling, spreading, with typical five-fingered chestnut leaves, white flowers on upright umbels
  • Size: Height of growth up to 4 meters, width increasing with age
  • Use/ Yield: quite thin, yellow-brown, thornless capsule fruits, but not usable
  • Special features: forms underground spurs over the years and can thus reach a total width of up to 10 meters; largely resistant to parasites and diseases

Help the development of the site, sharing the article with friends!