Shrubs for dry shade

(Question)

I need to know what bushes I can plant in shade and sandy soil in east end Toronto would prefer natural looking types with possibly white flowers
thank you

(Answer)

Sandy soils drain quickly so are usually dry and also are poor in nutrients. Most plants for sandy soils require full or at least part sun and the selection of plants for shade and sandy soils are very limited. It would be helpful to amend the soil you have with about 10 – 15cm of organic material such as compost once each year. This would help increase the amount of nutrients to feed your new shrubs, improve the soil structure so your plants grow better and increase it’s moisture holding capacity so a wider variety of plants might survive in your gardens. Usually it is advisable just to put the compost on top of the soil as digging it in will destroy the beneficial fungi that have managed to grow underneath the surface. I would definately dig in compost when you are planting the shrubs however as you have to dig a hole anyway for the plant. Some shade tolerant well draining soil shrubs with mostly white flowers are:

Hamamelis virginiana (yellow flowers), Aronia melanocarpa, Stephanandra incisa,  Symphocarpos albus and Symphocarpos orbiculatus. Some shrubs that prefer more part shade with white flowers and would greatly benefit from some compost soil amendment and a bit more watering would be: Cornus rugosa, Cornus drummondii, Cornus racemosa, Viburnum acerifolium, Viburnum trilobum, Amelanchier laevis and Clethra alnifolia.

It might also be helpful to have some tall white flowering perennials for dry shade: Actaea racemosa, Aruncus dioicus and Dicentra spectabilis.