Planting & Landscaping

14 Evergreen Shrubs for Pots in the Shade

Containers are a great way to add some greenery to an otherwise empty space. There are many different types of shrubs available for pots, but not all will work in the shade.

This article will tell you about 14 evergreen shrubs that grow well in shady areas and make beautiful additions to your home or garden!

The Difference between Evergreen and Deciduous Shrubs 

Evergreen and deciduous shrubs are both beautiful, but they serve different purposes in the garden.

Evergreens offer a lush green color year-round with minimal maintenance. At the same time, a deciduous shrub provides a more colorful landscape during the winter months when their evergreen foliage change colors and fall off.

In addition, evergreen shrubs for shady areas are a great way to add some greenery year-round and make your home feel more welcoming.

Choosing a Pot

When planting a shrub for container gardening in the shade, you need to consider its growth carefully.

Do not plant little plants in large containers or place small containers in a large area. Plants need to be the appropriate size for the pot, and pots should match your site.

Make sure your plants are no higher than twice the height of the pot and less than twice the width of the pot.

A pot that is too tall will lean dangerously to the side, and a pot that is too small may not have sufficient space for roots to grow, which will lead to problems like root rot.

When looking for evergreen shrubs for pots in the shade, you should be mindful of the different light requirements. Some evergreen shrubs can grow in full shade, but others thrive only in a space with dappled or morning sunlight, and the so-called bright sun is off-limits.

Here are some of our favorites from this group that tolerates shady spots.

Also See: Balcony Gardening for Beginners

Evergreen Shrubs for Pots in the Shade

Boxwood in containers


Boxwood shrubs do very well in containers and can be shaped into topiaries. Place Boxwood away from strong winds and keep rotating the pot to keep the shape balanced and uniform. Depending on the pot size, there are dwarf varieties available. Littleleaf or Japanese boxwood reaches a height of 4 feet (1.2m), but being planted in a container will limit their growth.

orange begonia in hanging basket

Begonias (shrub-like) 

Trailing or upright tuberous begonias are an excellent choice for pot plants in shaded areas. They prefer more shade and less heat. Be mindful of the begonia's needs when watering. Let the plant dry out between watering and allow them to become root-bound. Plant begonias in the well-drained soil mix, and they look stunning in a hanging basket.

fuchsia plant


Fuchsia is a shade plant that is beautiful in pots combined with other plants. Fuchsia grows best at a minimum of 32°F (0°C) and up to 86°F (30°C). It prefers temperatures below 85 °F (29C). Keep the soil damp but not soggy and feed regularly with an organic liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Pinch out the tips often to force new blooms.

Cypress shrubs in pots


Cypress is a dwarf, evergreen shrub with needle-like leaves that has excellent tolerance to drought and shade. It grows best at a minimum of 32°F (0°C) and up to 86°F (30°C). Keep the well-drained soil damp but not soggy. They are easy to grow in containers and will reward you for many years.

Nandina domestica in pot


Nandina prefers well-drained, fertile, moist soil and performs well from hot to cold weather. They come in compact cultivars, which provide great contrast when planted with other plants, such as hellebore and heuchera, in a large container. In addition, their red and burgundy leaves look stunning against the green of other plants.

Aucuba japonica

Aucuba japonica (Japanese Laurel) 

Aucuba is a very low maintenance shiny leafed, rewarding plant with variegated foliage. They can be placed in deep shade to partial shade or light shade and even dry shade. They grow tall, so make sure your container is heavy enough to stabilize wind. Dwarf varieties are also available, which reach about 3ft (1m). Keep soil moist but not soggy and let it dry between watering.

Coral bells in container

Coral Bells (Heuchera) 

Shallow rooted coral bells bloom on spikes with pink flowers in late spring to early summer. The lighter color coral bells prefer shady areas. However, they will let you know if they are getting too much sun as the edges of their leaves will turn brown. Plant them up with a few half part compost and an organic fertilizer every six weeks during the growing season.

Yews in container


Yews are ideal for shaping as topiaries. They thrive in the shade, remain evergreen, and are stunning alone or grouped to form a screen. Plant yews in well-drained potting soil, which is mixed with compost. They are fast-growing, so they make ideal screening plants. Ensure enough water but never allow the container plant to stand in water.

Andromeda pieris japonica in container

Andromeda (Pieris japonica) (Lily of the Valley) 

A slow-growing flowering shrub or small evergreen tree with bronze foliage and beautiful flowers from fall to early spring. They are shade loving shrubs in Southern gardens. They are acid-loving plants so with acidic soil and lots of organic matter. Use azalea or camellia fertilizer during their growing season, which is winter to early summer. They need protection from the wind.

Rhodendron in container

Azalea and Rhododendron 

Both azalea and rhododendron are stunning showy flowering shrubs that will brighten up a shady area with their large blooms. Their requirements are the same, and they thrive in acidic soil. Rhododendron comes in dwarf varieties and an abundance of colors. Plant in acid soil and water thoroughly and keep moist or they will have bud drop. The flower through fall to mid to late winter.

Checkerberry plant in a container

Checkerberry (Gaultheria procumbens) American Wintergreen 

A small compact evergreen shrub with underground rhizomes with glossy leaves and has a wintergreen fragrance. Evergreen plants with dark green foliage with a red berry that can tolerate cold and damp conditions make a good choice for potting or planting in shady areas. They can survive very low temperatures.

Red Tip Photinia (Photinia x fraseri)

Red Tip Photinia (Photinia x fraseri) 

An easy-to-grow screening shrub that can tolerate drought and can be grown as a specimen plant in a container in a protected position. Only water once the soil is dry. To keep the plant small and contained, prune in spring to early summer.

Mountain laurel (kalmia latifolia)

Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia) 

Mountain laurel is large low maintenance, evergreen shrub with azalea like blooms and glossy leaves. They come in dwarf varieties better suited to containers. Water mountain laurel regularly and feed during the growing season. Plant in ericaceous soil mix as these are acid-loving plants.

Gardenia in a container


Waxy white flower to creamy white with shiny green leaves, these heat-loving evergreen shrubs are easy to grow. Gardenia bloom from late spring to late summer. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and planted in well-draining soil. Never let the soil dry out but also do not overwater. They prefer acidic soil, which is rich in humus and a mulch of pine needles. They enjoy temperatures of between 60F (18C) to 70F (21C).


You can achieve a successful container garden by choosing plants well suited to containers or pots, and those plants are indigenous or will adapt to your climate.

The key is to choose various plants and give each plant the right amount of water, light and temperature.

By following a few simple guidelines, it will be much easier to create the perfect container garden.

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