Evergreens that Thrive in the Shade

If your shrubs are looking limp due to a lack of sun, the Japanese aucuba is an evergreen that flourishes in the shade

Japanese Aucuba, or Japanese Aucuba japonica ‘Serratifolia’

Q: My townhouse is north facing and most of my shrubs look sparse and sick. Could you suggest a good evergreen for such deep shade, one that will thrive and remain full?

In my opinion, the most difficult area of the garden to plant successfully is indeed the one deprived of natural light.

Behind our cherished evergreens or between high buildings, “deep shade” usually forces plants to grow weak and stretchy with diminished foliage and flowers, if any.

One of the rare exceptions is the sawtoothed Japanese aucuba (Aucuba japonica ‘Serratifolia’). With beautiful leathery, shiny and dark-green foliage, this aucuba has the surprising capacity to form branches from the very base ensuring a full canopy in a variety of conditions.

Moreover, it can also be easily pruned. This all-green aucuba is a top-notch choice and I heartily recommend it!

Originally published in BC Home & Garden magazine. For regular updates, subscribe to our free Home and Garden e-newsletters, or purchase a subscription to the magazine.