North Facing Shrubs

(Question)

What shrubs would grow against a north facing wall. This is the back wall of a garage, which is quite empty and I’d like a larger shrubs. The planting area is 9′ wide and 3-4.5′ deep. I think a pyramidal shape would be best, so Hick’s yew won’t work. Green mountain boxwood, clipped yew, climbing hydrangea and euonymus are the only shrubs I came up with. But I’m not sure if yew and hydrangea won’t be too overwhelming in that small space. Can the yew be kept to same size year to year? I also thought about a standard panicle hydrangea, but it might be too wide? Any suggestions? I’d like an elegant, look, where plants don’t grow into each other, but have a bit of space between. Thank you.

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(Answer)

When choosing plants for the north-facing side of any structure it is important to remember that this location will only receive small amounts of sunshine in the early morning and late afternoon during the summer.

Since this area receives so little direct sunlight it will be considerably cooler and it will also tend to be moister since the sun will evaporate less of the water from the soil.

Both Yews and Boxwood do better when planted in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Both these evergreens need to be protected from the drying winter winds and require well drained soil.

Do not be discouraged , there are a large selection of vines and shrubs that are suitable for this area: climbing hydrangea, clematis,virginia creeper, euonymous Viburnums, and endless summer hydrangea to name a few. Our Gardening Guide on Shrubs for Various Light Conditions gives lots of examples for you to puruse. Also, This link will give you a list of climbers and shrubs for shade.