Shade Plants For Zone 8: Growing Shade Tolerant Evergreens In Zone 8 Gardens

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By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Finding shade tolerant evergreens can be difficult in any climate, but the task can be especially challenging in USDA plant hardiness zone 8, as many evergreens, especially conifers, prefer chillier climates. Fortunately, mild climate gardeners have several choices when it comes to selecting shady zone 8 evergreens. Read on to learn more about a few zone 8 evergreen shade plants, including conifers, flowering evergreens and shade-tolerant ornamental grasses.

Shade Plants for Zone 8

While there are numerous choices for evergreen plants that thrive in zone 8 shade gardens, below are some of the more commonly planted in the landscape.

Conifer Trees and Shrubs

False cypress ‘Snow’ (Chamaecyparis pisifera) – Reaches 6 feet (2 m.) by 6 feet (2 m.) with gray-green color and rounded form. Zones: 4-8.

Pringles Dwarf Podocarpus (Podocarpus macrophyllus ‘Pringles Dwarf’) – This plants gets around 3 to 5 feet (1-2 m.) tall with 6 feet (2 m.) spread. It’s compact with dark green foliage. Suitable for zones 8-11.

Korean fir ‘Silberlocke (Abies koreana ‘Silberlocke) – Reaching heights of about 20 feet (6 m.) with similar 20-foot (6 m.) spread, this tree has attractive green foliage with silvery-white undersides and nice vertical form. Zones: 5-8.

Flowering Evergreens

Himalayan Sweetbox (Sarcococca hookeriana var. humilis) – Having a height around 18 to 24 inches (46-60 cm.) with an 8 foot (2 m.) spread, you’ll appreciate this dark evergreen’s attractive white blooms followed by dark fruit. Makes a good candidate for groundcover. Zones: 6-9.

Valley Valentine Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica ‘Valley Valentine’) – This upright evergreen has a height of 2 to 4 feet (1-2 m.) and width of 3 to 5 feet (1-2 m.). It produces orange-gold foliage in spring prior to turning green and pinkish red blooms. Zones: 5-8.

Glossy Abelia (Abelia x grandiflora) – This is a nice mounding abelia with lossy green leaves and white blooms. It reaches 4 to 6 feet (1-2 m.) tall with 5 feet (2 m.) spread. Suitable to zones: 6-9.

Ornamental Grass

Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichor sempervirens) – This popular ornamental grass features attractive blue-green foliage and reaches 36 inches (91 cm.) tall. It is suitable for zones 4-9.

New Zealand Flax (Phormium texax) – An attractive ornamental grass for the garden and low growing, around 9 inches (23 cm.), you’ll love its reddish-brown color. Zones: 8-10.

Evergreen Striped Weeping Sedge (Carex oshimensis ‘Evergold’) – This attractive grass only reaches about 16 inches (41 cm.) tall and has gold, dark green and white foliage. Zones: 6 to 8.

More Information about Zone 8
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