Best Trees that Grow in Shaded Areas (2023)

If you have big oak trees or tall pine trees in your landscape, you can still have smaller trees with pretty flowers and showy foliage underneath. In nature, the tall canopy trees may rule the forest, but the sub-canopy trees create the mood.

Perfect Plants offers several kinds of partial shade tolerant trees for the home landscape. Unless your back yard is 100% shade all day and all year, there are many kinds of trees and shrubs to choose from.

Here we present several trees that will thrive in partial shade to mostly shade.

Best Trees that Grow in Shade Locations:

Magnolias

Best Trees that Grow in Shaded Areas (1) The Ann Magnolia has early spring flowering blooms
The deciduous saucer magnolias from Asia (Magnolia X soulangiana), such as ‘Ann’ and ‘Alexandrina’ are shade loving trees beneath tall pines or live oaks. Alexandrina flowering magnolia gets up to 25 feet tall; Ann magnolia stays smaller, to 15 feet tall. Both have fragrant purple or pink flowers with white interiors and are hardy in USDA zones 4 or 5 through 9. These small trees have excellent fall color and green foliage.

Jane magnolia (Magnolia ‘Jane’) is a compact shrubby little hybrid tree that stays under 10 feet tall. ‘Jane’ has fragrant reddish-purple tulip-shaped flowers, and deciduous leaves. She is hardy in USDA zones 6-9 and makes the perfect street tree to turn heads.

(Video) Top 05 fast growing Shade Giving Trees in India

Best Trees that Grow in Shaded Areas (2) Little Gems are perfect to line a fence!
The larger native American evergreen magnolia, M. grandiflora, tolerates shady conditions. ‘Bracken’s Brown Beauty‘ and ‘Little Gem’ are a couple cultivars that are especially attractive in shady locations. Bracken’s Brown Beauty flowering magnolia gets 30-40 feet tall and Little Gem Magnolia stays under 25 feet in height and are fast growing trees. Both have large and fragrant showy white flowers. Both are hardy in USDA zones 5-9. Southern magnolias have evergreen leaves that will keep their color all year long. It is uncommon to find a broadleaf evergreen that grows in shade which is what makes the magnolias so special.

Sweet bay magnolia (M. virginiana) grows in shaded locations in zones 6-9. It gets as much as 60 feet tall and does best in moist soils.

Most Popular Shade Trees

Best Trees that Grow in Shaded Areas (3)
Little Gem Magnolia Tree

$ 33.95

(Video) 10 Best Fast Growing Shade Trees For Yard 🏠🌲🌳

Best Trees that Grow in Shaded Areas (4)
Bracken’s Brown Beauty Magnolia Tree

$59.99

Best Trees that Grow in Shaded Areas (6)
Thuja Green Giant Tree$ 44.95
(Video) Fastest Shade Giving Trees for India in Hindi / Fast Growing Trees / Trees for Landscaping / Trees

Native Trees to the United States

Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis) is a common understory tree in Eastern North American forests. It gets 20-30 feet tall, sometimes with multiple trunks if not pruned. Redbud blooms in very early spring with rose-purple flowers held close to its branches. The Eastern Redbud prefers medium, well-drained soil and partial sun to partial shade. ‘Forest Pansy’ is a popular cultivar sporting heart shaped leaves that are purplish at first, later turning to dark green leaves. In the fall, these small privacy trees produce orange red fruit. Best Trees that Grow in Shaded Areas (7) Pink or white? You choose!
Several species of dogwoods (genus Cornus) make fine specimens for the shady landscape. Flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) is one of nature’s finest understory tree species. Perfect Plants has a pink flowered version as well as the typical white flowered dogwood. They get 20-25 feet tall and can be grown in growing zones 5-9. Other shade tolerant dogwoods include the Chinese Tartarian dogwood (C. alba), pagoda dogwood (C. alternifolia), silky dogwood (C. amomum), Cornelian cherry (C. mas), and red-osier dogwood (C. stolonifera). All of the dogwoods stay under 20 feet tall in height and are well adapted to partial shade. This tree flowers in spring and loves small spaces.

Best Trees that Grow in Shaded Areas (8) Look at this Limelight Hydrangea tree beauty!
Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) is typically a deciduous shrub, but Perfect Plants has created a “hydrangea tree” by pruning it to a single-stem standard that gets 8-10 feet tall. Limelight hydrangea has flowers that start out a pale limey green, eventually turning to creamy white blooms. You can grow the Limelight panicle hydrangea tree in semi shady areas in plant hardiness zones 3-8. This flowering shade tree

Small Shade Trees to Plant

Best Trees that Grow in Shaded Areas (9) Red Maples are a favorite of ours here at the nursery. Simply majestic!
The Japanese maples (Acer palmatum) are popular deciduous trees for partial shade. They are hardy in planting zones 4-8. Several graceful cultivars with colorful leaves are available. Most of these small trees for shaded areas stay under 20 feet in height. Native American maples that thrive in part shade include mountain maple (A. spicatum) and striped maple (A. pensylvanicum). These ornamental trees for shade sure make a lovely statement piece in your yard!

Several species of Holly (genus Ilex) get to tree size and are shade-tolerant plants. American holly (I. opaca), Dahoon holly (I. cassine), and needlepoint holly (Ilex cornuta ‘Needlepoint’) are all good choices for shady spots in plant zones 7-9.

Pawpaw (Asimina triloba) thrives in the shade and produces delicious fruits. Hardy in USDA zones 4-8, the deciduous pawpaw is an excellent choice for the semi-shady edible landscape.

(Video) fast growing tree in india,fast-growing tree garden, fast growing shade tree,fast growing fruit tree

Crape myrtles are another excellent choice of small trees to plant for shady areas. They will produce bright colorful blooms during the spring and early summer months. Some flowering tree varieties do prefer some sunlight so do your research and choose your planting site wisely. There are dwarf varieties too for small spaces. Some dwarf trees are under 10 feet tall. These fast growing shade trees have a fast growth rate of up to 1-3 feet per year.

American hornbeam (Carpinus caroliniana) and eastern hop hornbeam (Ostrya virginiana) are common North American understory trees that are well suited to the backyard landscape. Both are small deciduous trees that stay under 30 feet tall.

Canadian (or Eastern) hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) is an evergreen shade tree that makes a good privacy screen. In nature, the Canadian hemlock can grow tall enough to be part of the canopy, but cultivated specimens normally stay smaller.

A deciduous tree, the weeping willow, is a shade tolerant tree that can be grown as an understory tree.

For a shade tolerant palm tree, consider the windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei). Windmill palms are hardy in zones 8-11, and usually get around 10-15 feet tall but can get up to 25 feet. They are tolerant of light shade.

Some other trees or shrubs that tolerate shaded areas are:
  • European beech (Fagus sylvatica)
  • Witch-hazel (Hamamelis virginiana)
  • Silverbells (Halesia carolina)
  • Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
  • Japanese snowbell (Styrax japonica)
  • Viburnums (Viburnum spp.)
  • Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidita)
  • Black alder (Alnus glutinosa)
  • White birch (Betula papyrifera)
You don’t have to allow tall oaks and pines to dominate the small yard. Brighten it up with smaller, short shade trees! Keep in mind most of these trees do require a small portion of sunlight to grow and thrive. Some may perform better than others with more sunlight so be sure to pick a partial shade planting site.

Shade gardens are a fun way to get creative in your yard and landscape and most of these plants are easy to grow! Smaller shade perennials can even be planted underneath these trees in full shade such as hostas. They will act as a groundcover and cannot tolerate full sun. Shade loving plants are few and far between.

Let us know in the comments if you have questions or other recommendations for shade trees! We would love to hear from you.

(Video) These 5 Shade Trees will keep you COOL 🌳

More from: partial shade shade trees

FAQs

What's the fastest growing shade tree? ›

Of the 11 listed here, the one that grows the fastest is the weeping willow — it adds about 10 feet to its height each year, topping out at 40 feet. Next in line are the nuttall oak at 4 feet per year, the dawn redwood at 3.5 feet per year, and the tulip poplar at 3 feet per year.

Can you plant trees in shade? ›

Some trees tolerate shady conditions, but they might flower less, or potentially, in the case of certain deciduous trees, their spring or fall foliage could be less vibrant than ones which receive plenty of light. That's no reason to avoid planting a tree, however, because they have so many advantages.

What tree does not need sunlight? ›

10 Best Indoor Low Light Trees: Tall Plants that Don't Need Sunlight
1. Cat Palm OUR RATING 5/5VIEW PRICE
2. Corn Plant OUR RATING 5/5VIEW PRICE
3. Fiddle Leaf Fig Tree OUR RATING 4.5/5VIEW PRICE
4. King Sago Palm Tree OUR RATING 4.5/5VIEW PRICE
5. Sansevieria Trifasciata Laurentii OUR RATING 4.5/5VIEW PRICE
6 more rows
4 Feb 2022

Can pine trees tolerate shade? ›

In general terms, firs (genus Abies), yews (Taxus), hemlock (Tsuga) and arborvitae (Thuja) are all relatively shade tolerant. Most cedars (Cedrus), spruce (Picea), pines (Pinus) and junipers (Juniperus) are not.

Are there evergreens that grow in shade? ›

Aucuba japonica

Aucuba is an evergreen shrub that can grow in partial or full shade.

Do pine trees grow well in shade? ›

The two pine tree species that grow well in shade are Easter White Pine and Mugo Pine. Many others can be acclimated to a partial shade environment. There are also several other evergreen trees outside of the pine family that grows well in shade, too.

What time of year should I plant a tree? ›

Early spring, just as the ground thaws, is the best time plant. Fall can be too late, because trees won't be able to survive the freezing temperatures that can damage roots and stop moisture from reaching the tree.

What shade trees live the longest? ›

Bristlecone Pines (Pinus Longaeva), Yew trees, and Ginkgo Biloba trees appear to be the longest lived on record. They are commonly found in climates that are subject to change drastically.

Do magnolias grow in shade? ›

Position: full sun to part shade. Flowering: large, white, perfumed from spring through summer.

Can Japanese maple grow in full shade? ›

Japanese maples perform well in shade. As with any plant, they have their limits. But, along with dogwoods and redbuds, they are generally happy under the canopy of larger trees, on the north side of a house, or under a pergola, and they require no special care.

What plants can live without direct sunlight? ›

5 Indoor Plants that Grow Without Sunlight
  • Chinese evergreen (Aglaonema) Chinese evergreen is a durable plant that tolerates a fair amount of neglect. ...
  • Cast iron plant (Aspidistra elatior) ...
  • ZZ plant (Zamioculcas) ...
  • Monstera (Monstera deliciosa) ...
  • Lucky bamboo (Dracaena sanderiana)

What is the strongest most resilient tree? ›

1. Australian Buloke – 5,060 IBF. An ironwood tree that is native to Australia, this wood comes from a species of tree occurring across most of Eastern and Southern Australia. Known as the hardest wood in the world, this particular type has a Janka hardness of 5,060 lbf.

What is the hardest tree to keep alive? ›

Fiddle-Leaf Fig Tree

Despite its meteoric rise in popularity, the plant is surprisingly finicky and difficult to keep alive. Too much sun, and the leafs will brown and wither. Too little sun, and the plant will fail to thrive. And if you ever want to move it to the other side of the room?

What tree keeps its leaves all year? ›

Evergreen trees, like firs and junipers, keep their needles all year round. Many of these trees grow needles or scale-like leaves. Because they don't lose their needles in the fall, they stay green, thus the name evergreen. Deciduous trees, like maples, oaks, and beech trees, operate in the opposite way.

Can birch trees grow in shade? ›

Birch grows well in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. That is, as long as the shallow root system—which is sensitive to heat and drought—gets the shade it needs to thrive.

Can Douglas fir grow in shade? ›

You'll do best planting a Douglas fir tree in a shady area. Either part shade or full shade will work fine. Be certain that the soil is deep, moist, and well-drained.

Are hickory trees shade tolerant? ›

but many of the nuts remain unclaimed allowing them to germinate. Hickory seedlings are moderately shade tolerant to shade intolerant and do poorly in a closed canopy with too much shade.

Can cedar trees grow in shade? ›

Cedars look great as a single specimen, planted in clusters to create privacy or in containers. They are the number one choice for an evergreen hedge. They prefer well drained soil and full sun to part shade. They grow well in full sun but tend to have a more open and ratty appearance when grown in shade.

What grows well in a shady fence? ›

These plants look exceptional paired with other shade lovers. Hosta – Nothing is more graceful in the shade border than the hosta.
...
Other noteworthy plants for the shade border include:
  • ferns.
  • columbine.
  • bleeding heart.
  • forget-me-nots.
  • iris.
  • fuchsia.
  • impatiens.
  • various ornamental grasses.
6 Sept 2021

Will junipers grow in shade? ›

Junipers generally grow best in full sun, but will tolerate some shade. Plan for at least 5-6 hours of sun. These hardy shrubs adapt to any soil as long as there is no sitting water.

What is a pretty fast growing tree? ›

Leyland cypress (Cupressus × leylandii) is a bright green conifer widely used for privacy screens because it's such a fast grower. This upwardly mobile tree can grow 3 to 4 feet per year when it's young, eventually topping out at 60 to 70 feet with a 15- to 25-foot spread.

What is the fastest growing evergreen tree for privacy? ›

1. Thuja x 'Green Giant' – Hybrid Arborvitae. Green Giant might be the best evergreen for privacy. It has an extremely fast growth rate, putting on 3-4' per year.

How long should you wait before planting a new tree? ›

Ideally, one should wait about a year before planting a new tree in the same spot a tree was removed from. The ecology of that piece of ground will also keep changing for a few years, as microorganisms will be busily working to break down the old tree roots.

How long does it take to plant 1 tree? ›

How long does it take to plant a tree? Generally, a sapling can be planted in 15 to 30 minutes while container-grown or burlap trees take an hour to plant.

What is the strongest and longest living tree? ›

However, one species in particular outlives them all. The Great Basin Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva) has been deemed the oldest tree in existence, reaching an age of over 5,000 years old. The bristlecone pine's success in living a long life can be attributed to the harsh conditions it lives in.

Are maple trees good for shade? ›

The Acer Maples are among the most abundantly used shade trees in North America. With their outstanding fall foliage and fast growth, they are a prized landscaping specimen. Although some can achieve heights of up to 100 feet or more, there are also many smaller varieties suitable for smaller landscapes.

What tree can live up to 1500 years? ›

The current record-holders for individual, non-clonal trees are the Great Basin bristlecone pine trees from California and Nevada, in the United States. Through tree-ring cross-referencing, they have been shown to be almost five millennia old. A clonal colony can survive for much longer than an individual tree.

Which trees roots grow straight down? ›

Sinker roots are much smaller roots which grow straight down from the lateral root system to find nutrients. Some species of trees, like weeping willows, eastern cottonwood, and golden bamboo, have very aggressive lateral root systems.

What is the best tree to plant near a house? ›

These include willow trees, poplars, cottonwoods, aspens, silver maples, Norway maples, and American elm trees, among others. Smaller trees with shallow roots, however, pose little risk to your home. Japanese maple trees, for instance, are safe to plant relatively close to your house.

What trees have the worst roots? ›

7 trees and plants with the most invasive roots
  1. Silver maple tree. crystaltmcGetty Images. ...
  2. Southern magnolia. ZlataMarkaGetty Images. ...
  3. Willow trees. japatinoGetty Images. ...
  4. Hybrid poplar trees. by RuheyGetty Images. ...
  5. Mint. ...
  6. Sycamore trees. ...
  7. 7. Japanese knotweed.
7 Mar 2020

Where should you not plant a magnolia tree? ›

Magnolias prefer full sun to light shade. If you live in a particularly warm or dry climate, your magnolia might benefit from a location shaded from the hot afternoon sun. If possible, avoid exposed, windy locations because strong winds can damage large flowers and the typically brittle branches.

Will evergreen magnolia grow in shade? ›

They are capable of thriving in garden areas with full sun to light or partial shade, especially since the shade is beneficial to Magnolias grown in hot or dry areas, protecting them from the hot afternoon sun.

Is Big Leaf maple shade-tolerant? ›

Mixed-species Stands

The shade-tolerant bigleaf maple can be grown in any crown position in stands with mixed species or age classes.

Can red maple grow in shade? ›

Red maple can most accurately be classed as tolerant of shade. Seedlings are more shade tolerant than larger trees and can exist in the understory for several years. They respond rapidly to release and can occupy over-story space.

› 10-plants-grow-well... ›

If you want the crops you plant under dense shade in your garden to thrive, you should: Plant your shrubs and perennials while planting the trees or shortly aft...
Large, deciduous shade trees can keep your home and outdoor spaces cooler by blocking the hot sun. These trees also add beauty to your landscape with features f...
Plants and Shade The amount of shade a plant is growing under will directly affect the density of the foliage, as well as the flowering and fruiting characteris...

What trees should be planted close to a house? ›

These include willow trees, poplars, cottonwoods, aspens, silver maples, Norway maples, and American elm trees, among others. Smaller trees with shallow roots, however, pose little risk to your home. Japanese maple trees, for instance, are safe to plant relatively close to your house.

How tall should a shade tree be? ›

Trees with a mature height between 25 to 40 feet make up the medium-sized group and a relatively few shade trees are considered small; maturing to less than 30 feet tall. Tree Forms: Fall Color: Red, orange, yellow and purple are all colors that add beauty in the fall.

Are maple trees good shade trees? ›

The Acer Maples are among the most abundantly used shade trees in North America. With their outstanding fall foliage and fast growth, they are a prized landscaping specimen. Although some can achieve heights of up to 100 feet or more, there are also many smaller varieties suitable for smaller landscapes.

What is considered a shade tree? ›

A shade tree is a large tree whose primary role is to provide shade in the surrounding environment due to its spreading canopy and crown, where it may give shelter from sunlight in the heat of the summer for people who seek recreational needs in urban parks and house yards, and thus, also protecting them from the sun's ...

What is the most drought resistant tree? ›

10 Best Drought-Tolerant Trees
  • Bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa)
  • Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Maidenhair tree (Ginkgo biloba)
  • Golden rain tree (Koelreuteria paniculata)
  • Eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis)
  • Mulga (Acacia aneura)
  • Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus)
  • Common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)
16 Jun 2022

What is the messiest tree? ›

In truth, the dirtiest and messiest trees for your yard are sweet gum, ash, bradford pear, pecan, northern catalpa, cottonwood, hackberry, silver maple, weeping willow, southern magnolia, loquat, gingko and red oak trees. These trees either drop leaves, debris, pollen, and fruits in your yard.

What time of year should I plant a tree? ›

Early spring, just as the ground thaws, is the best time plant. Fall can be too late, because trees won't be able to survive the freezing temperatures that can damage roots and stop moisture from reaching the tree.

Which trees roots grow straight down? ›

Sinker roots are much smaller roots which grow straight down from the lateral root system to find nutrients. Some species of trees, like weeping willows, eastern cottonwood, and golden bamboo, have very aggressive lateral root systems.

Which trees should not be planted in front of house? ›

Large trees, like the peepal, should not be planted too close to the house as their roots can damage the foundation of the house. The trees that attract insects, worms, honey bees or serpents should be avoided in the garden. They bring bad luck.

Do shade trees need a lot of water? ›

Shade trees need lots of water but not all at one time. Rule of thumb: Stick your finger in the soil near the tree; if saturated, don't water.

Will evergreen trees grow in shade? ›

Yes, you can grow evergreen trees and shrubs in shade. Who knew? Evergreens make excellent neighbors. For year-round good looks that complement almost everything, try shade-tolerant evergreens, like Emerald Spreader™ Japanese yew (USDA Hardiness Zones 5–7).

› how-use-to-cool-your-home ›

Good trees do a lot more than offer shade. They act as miniature ecosystems while defining areas of the landscape, and they also provide the benefits of cleaner...
Did you know that proper landscaping design with the right shade tree can help you keep your house cooler and preserve your safe haven from harsh sunlight durin...

Videos

1. एक सालमे छाँव देने वाला पेढ़ | Fast growing tree for shadow | Indian Wild Cherry,
(Green Culture)
2. 10 Best Shade Loving Plants You Must Grow at Home with Price Specifications.
(Gardening is my Passion)
3. Shade living Flowering plants/ flowering plants/flowering tips/sunlight&watering/malayalam/poppy
(Poppy vlogs)
4. Shade Loving Plants / Shade Loving permanent plants / Shade Loving Flowering Plants /Priya Gardenhub
(Priya Gardenhub)
5. Top 5 Best Shade Trees For Your Yard | NatureHills.com
(Nature Hills Nursery)
6. Shade Loving Plants | Garden Tour
(Plants Island)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Barbera Armstrong

Last Updated: 01/13/2023

Views: 5802

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (79 voted)

Reviews: 86% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Barbera Armstrong

Birthday: 1992-09-12

Address: Suite 993 99852 Daugherty Causeway, Ritchiehaven, VT 49630

Phone: +5026838435397

Job: National Engineer

Hobby: Listening to music, Board games, Photography, Ice skating, LARPing, Kite flying, Rugby

Introduction: My name is Barbera Armstrong, I am a lovely, delightful, cooperative, funny, enchanting, vivacious, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.