we have a bare area near a low fence that we were hoping to plant a shrub for privacy. Unfortunately the area is very shaded (no direct sun) due to two large cedars in our yard and a very large maple in our neighbours’ yard. I was wondering if you could recommend any plants/shrubs that could grow in these conditions? Ideally we’d like the plants to grow to be about 6ft for privacy. A friend had suggested hydrangeas?
Thank you for your question. There are a number of shrubs that would fit the bill. From your description of the site, I would say it is in full shade.
Evergreens add year-round structure to the garden. Yews (Taxus sp), hemlock (Tsuga sp) and Sarcoxie Euonymous (Euonymous fortunei ‘Sarcoxie”) are dependable evergreens that would do well in your situation. The euonymous would need to be trained to climb and it can also be bought in a tree form.
Deciduous shrubs include False Spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia), Annabelle (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’) and Bigleaf Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) and Double Kerria (Kerria japonica – yellow flowers would be bright in the shade).
Like an increasing number of people these days, I try to include native plants in my garden as much as possible. Some suggestions from the North American Native Plant Society are: Purple Flowering Raspberry (Rubus odoratus), Canada Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), and Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa). They all grow to roughly the correct size for you, have flowers, then berries for wildlife and sometimes, fall colour.
Toronto Master Gardeners have an excellent Gardening Guide on Ornamental Shrubs for Various Light Conditions.