I am looking for a shrub that will grow in a very shady spot. There is a little dappled sun/light. The area would be protected from harsh winds. I would prefer a bush that does bloom. I live in the city of Toronto. Please advise.
Thank-you for contacting Toronto Master Gardeners with your question.
There are some shrubs that do well in a shady spot, but few flowering shrubs will thrive in full shade. With a bit of dappled light, you may manage, especially if the shade is created by deciduous trees rather than buildings, other structures or large coniferous trees. With deciduous trees, there is often some filtered sun and brightness, and in the spring, prior to leaf-out, the spot can be quite sunny.
The following suggestions will manage in fairly deep shade. If your site is a little brighter, check out some of the suggestions in the TMG answers with links below.
Annabelle Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’) is a reliable bloomer (large, white, mophead flowers in summer) even in fairly dense shade. Another good choice would be Double Flowered Kerria (Kerria japonica ‘Pleniflora’). It has an abundance of bright yellow, pompom flowers in May/June, and then flowers sporadically through the summer.
Native plants that suit your site are: Canada Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), and Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa). Both flower in sping/summer, produce berries, and have great fall colour.
The following links are to answers to previous questions about shrubs for shade which you may find useful: