Shrubs for a North Facing Wall

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city_state: Southwest of Charlottesville, VA
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Shrubs for a North Facing Wall

Post by vasummer » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:53 am

I am looking for a smaller shrub for a north facing planting space. The area is in our back yard, is 5 feet deep and 14 feet long. It has a sidewalk on one side and a wall on the other. Rather like a capital D. As I explained in an earlier post, I'm considering azaleas, but find they have definite growing requirements. I will need to prep the area for proper pH and probably add peat moss for good water drainage. Maybe another smaller shade friendly shrub would need a little less effort. I've also been reducing my garden to those plants easier to look after. Do you have some ideas for the type of plant that would fit the shade requirement of the north facing site? I do have some nice hosta I'd like to keep in that site. Thanks much.

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Re: Shrubs for a North Facing Wall

Post by lorijones » Tue Apr 28, 2015 2:45 pm

It sounds like this area is getting full afternoon sun. This may be too much sun for most azaleas but there are some that are more sun tolerant. You will have to amend the soil as you have described but once they become established, they are fairly maintenance-free other than fertilizing once or twice a year with Espoma Holly-tone and light pruning after bloom, if necessary to keep them in bounds. Here is a great website that gives suggestions of rhododendrons and azaleas for full sun locations. It gives photos as well as descriptions:

Other shrubs to consider are:
  • Weigela spp. - Choose a more compact variety
    Viburnum - there are some very fragrant viburnums that are more compact
    Hydrangea macrophylla varieties - Endless Summer series blooms most of the summer. Most of these grow only 4-5 feet tall.
    Potentilla fruticosa - easy to grow
    Clethra alnifolia - Summersweet is fragrant and prefers part to full shade and moist soil. It is probably too sunny here for this shrub.
    Spiraea japonica - very easy to grow
Viburnum, Clethra, and hydrangea will tolerate more shade.

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