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Georgia Shade-Loving Native Shrubs

About 25 percent of the plant species native to North America are at risk of extinction. You can help reverse this trend by planting great native plants in your garden.

Native Plants, Native Shrubs, Georgia Native Plant, Georgia Native Shrubs, Shade Shrubs

From the high mountain ridges of north Georgia to the flatwoods and swamps of south Georgia, Georgia’s landscape is carpeted with a rich array of wildflowers and native plants. It is home to many species of native lycophytes, pteridophytes, gymnosperms, and flowering plants. Noted for its glorious springtime, warm summers, brisk autumns, and brief winters, Georgia can also support many non-native species, and they are beginning to make their way across the landscape. Regrettably, some of these exotic immigrants are invasive and are threatening the native flora and ecology of the state.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, Invasive species have contributed to the decline of 42% of U.S. endangered and threatened species and 18% of U.S. endangered or threatened species. Invasive species compete directly with native species for moisture, sunlight, nutrients, and space. They displace and alter native plant communities, degrade wildlife habitat and water quality, and potentially increase soil erosion.

The federal government has estimated that nearly 25 percent of the 20,000 plant species native to North America are at risk of extinction, many of these through habitat loss. You can help reverse this trend by planting native plants in your garden.

A plant is considered native if naturally occurring in a particular region or ecosystem without human introduction. There are many benefits to growing native plants.

  • First, these plants are better adapted to soils, moisture, and weather than exotic plants that evolved in other parts of the world. They need fewer fertilizers and pesticides or use less water.
  • Second, they are unlikely to escape and become invasive, destroying natural habitats.
  • Third, they support wildlife, providing shelter and food for native birds and insects, while exotic plants do not.

Here is a list of Georgia native shrubs that are well-suited for plantings in shady gardens.

  • Never collect native plants from the wild, as it will deplete natural ecosystems. 
  • When possible, plant species grown straight from local seed sources. These native originals are the best choice, as they co-evolved with specific wildlife, which supports migration, breeding, and other seasonal interdependencies.

Guide Information

Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Native Plants Georgia, Southeast, United States

Georgia Shade-Loving Native Shrubs

Aesculus parviflora (Bottlebrush Buckeye)
Aesculus pavia (Red Buckeye)
Agarista populifolia (Florida Hobblebush)
Calycanthus floridus (Carolina Allspice)
Clethra acuminata (Cinnamon Clethra)
Clethra alnifolia (Summersweet)
Gaultheria procumbens (Wintergreen)
Gaylussacia baccata (Black Huckleberry)
Hydrangea quercifolia (Oak Leaf Hydrangea)
Illicium floridanum (Florida Anise)
Itea virginica (Virginia Sweetspire)
Kalmia latifolia (Mountain Laurel)
Leucothoe fontanesiana (Dog Hobble)
Lindera benzoin (Spice Bush)
Lyonia lucida (Fetter Bush)
Malvaviscus arboreus var. drummondii (Turk’s Cap)
Ptelea trifoliata (Hop Tree)
Rhododendron canescens (Mountain Azalea)
Rhododendron catawbiense (Catawba Rosebay)
Rhododendron maximum (Great Laurel)
Rhododendron prinophyllum (Roseshell Azalea)
Rhododendron prunifolium (Plumleaf Azalea)
Sabal minor (Dwarf Palmetto)
Staphylea trifolia (American Bladdernut)
Stewartia malacodendron (Silky Camellia)
Stewartia ovata (Mountain Camellia)
Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Coralberry)
Viburnum acerifolium (Mapleleaf Viburnum)
Viburnum rufidulum (Southern Blackhaw)
Zenobia pulverulenta (Honeycup)

Discover These Helpful Guides for Further Reading

Monarch Nectar Plants for Georgia
Georgia Sun-Loving Native Shrubs
Invasive Plant Species in Georgia
Georgia Native Deciduous Trees
Georgia Native Evergreen Trees
Georgia Native Grasses
Georgia Native Ferns
Georgia Native Vines
Georgia Shade-Loving Native Annuals and Perennials

Discover more beautiful Georgia native plants

Georgia native plants

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Coastal South Lower South
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.

Guide Information

Plant Type Shrubs
Exposure Partial Sun, Shade
Native Plants Georgia, Southeast, United States
Explore Great Plant Combination Ideas
Coastal South Lower South

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