Long Flowering Shade Bush


I want to buy a bush that blooms most of the year for a shady area in the Toronto region. research says Hydrangea or rhododendron r suitable. Do u agree and if so please recommend a suitable garden center in Oakville area or recommend a suitable plant


Thank you for your inquiry with the Toronto Master Gardeners about possible suggestions for flowering shrubs for a shady site.

I will preface my suggestions with a quick primer on “shade”.  This is to say that ‘not all shade is created equally;  There is a wide range of “shade”; solid deep shade, dappled shade,# of hours of direct sun, and many variations in between. Some plants can thrive in dry shade but not in wet shade, and visa versa.

On the lower end of the scale where there is minimal dappled or direct sun, the choice and quality of flowering shrubs is very limited.

You mention in your quest to find longer blooming shrubs. The lower the light quality , the less likely any of the species will generate enough energy to produce longer lasting blooms.

Your two choices mentioned are very different in their blooming habits, as within the rhododendron family there are species which will thrive and bloom in more heavily shades sites, but they are generally 2 week showcases … short bloom time .  There are a few different species which have different bloom times , so by having a several different types, you can create a bit of succession.

Hydrangeas do put on a longer bloom display , as long as not very deep shade.

Some of the Hyrangeas which are more shade tolerant include;

Oak Leaf Hydrangea,  Annabelle,  Incrediball

Other shrubs which can be used for bloom in shade settings include, viburnum, honeysuckle,  Kalmia,  kierra..  to name a few.  Please consult with your garden center about specific varieties available and best match your conditions.

As a designer I am often faced with this challenge or opportunity, that is how to create interest in a shade setting.  Achieving color interest in your garden can be accomplished by or complimented by foliage color.

Using a variety of variegated leaves, or even different shades of green to create contrast can do wonders.

To help you locate a suitable garden center please refer to Landscape Ontario link below;


Enjoy your shade garden!