Florida Full Shade Shrubs

The climate of Florida is hot and humid with average temperatures above 90 degrees for nearly six months of the year. The abundant sunshine in the state not only makes it easy to grow a large variety of plants and trees but also makes shade a welcome element in gardens and landscapes. Where shade brings relief from the heat, it also creates challenges for gardeners. The best way to deal with shade is to select shade-tolerant plants for the low light areas in the landscape. A number of full shade shrubs are well adapted for Florida.

  1. Japanese Cleyera

    • Japanese cleyera (Ternstroemia gymnanthera) is listed as a shade shrub by the Florida University Extension. Japanese cleyera is a native of China and Japan and thrives in the heat of the southern United States. The evergreen, spreading shrub grows to a full height of 8 to 10 feet with a 6-foot spread and has dark green foliage that is red when new. The shrub produces white flowers followed by oval, red berries. Hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture zones 8 to 10, Japanese cleyera grows best in an acidic, moist, well-drained soil. Propagate with cuttings during late summer or with seeds in spring.

    Yew Podocarpus

    • The University of Florida Extension lists yew podocarpus as among the shrubs well adapted to growing in shade in Florida. Yew podocarpus (Podocarpus macrophylla) is also referred to as Japanese yew and podocarpus. The oval shrub is often grown as a small tree with its mature height of up to 20 feet. Yew podocarpus has dark green, needle-like, glossy foliage and grows slowly. The plant is a native of southern China and Japan and grows best in a rich, well-drained soil and areas of shade. Yew podocarpus is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10 is easy to propagate with hardwood cuttings. The shade tolerance of the plant makes it ideal for use in shaded courtyards and foundation areas.

    Yaupon Holly

    • Yaupon holly is a large sized shrub or small tree well adapted to growing in Florida shade, as cited by the University of Florida Extension. Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) is a multi-stemmed, evergreen large shrub or small tree with a typical height of 20 to 25 feet. The alternate, leathery, dark green foliage is oval and about 1 inch long. The shrub blooms with small white flowers in spring followed by red berries all through fall and winter. Yaupon holly adapts to a range of soil types and is hardy in USDA zones 8 to 10. The drought tolerant shrub is easy to propagate with seed or plant suckers.

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