Landscaping your yard can be challenging, especially when you have different areas of sun and shade. Not all plants will do well in low-light environments. Fortunately, there are some great shade plants that will thrive in North Carolina and the Triangle area.


The hydrangea is a hardy plant that will do well in both full sun and shade. They grow in large clusters with dense foliage and large flowers that bloom late in the summer. In fact, their flowers will grow even larger the more aggressively you prune them in the late winter or spring. This plant provides a great mixture of color and texture that will enhance any shady garden bed.

Pagoda Dogwood

Dogwood trees are another common sight around North Carolina. The Pagoda version of this tree grows in horizontal layers and provides beautiful flowers that eventually turn into blue-colored berries by later summer. They can grow about 15-25 feet tall, which classifies them as small trees that will create a beautiful focal point in your landscape. 


This is another hardy shrub that produces beautiful flowers that have a distinct funnel shape. It has glossy leaves and the flowers are known for releasing a strong and pleasant scent. Rhododendron can withstand extreme cold and come in all sorts of colors.   

Mountain Witch Alder

Not only does the Mountain Witch Alder produce flowers in the spring, but it also shows off spectacular colors in the fall. During the summer, you will enjoy its bluish-green foliage, making it a great shade-loving plant that you can enjoy throughout the year.

Carolina Allspice

The Carolina Allspice is famous for the fruity fragrance of the flowers. It is a deciduous shrub that produces red flowers that turn into urn-shaped berries that can be seen throughout the fall and winter. During the fall, the foliage will turn golden-yellow for some added color. Perhaps best of all, it is resistant to disease, insects, and hot temperatures.