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Can you recommend a non-poisonous flowering tree for mostly shade?

Jean Asked

Can you recommend a non-poisonous flowering tree for mostly shade? My house faces northeast so it would only get a glimpse of the morning sun. Something that doesn’t get very big. Or, do you know if I’d have any luck with a weeping cherry in this spot?

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The Gardener’s Answer

Hi, Jean: Choosing a tree that will thrive in the growing conditions of your space is essential for a long-lived healthy addition to your garden. Before planting it is always a good idea to have your soil tested and improved if necessary. This can be done at your County Cooperative Extension Service. The Washington County offices are located at 245 Corporate Drive in Springfield. The phone number is (859) 336-7741. The horticulture agent will be able to give you specific instructions.

There are certainly more flowering tree options for a full to part sun location and a weeping cherry falls under this category. There are options for shade tolerant flowering trees that mature at 15-20 feet. Deciduous, native understory trees such as a Dogwood (Cornus florida), Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) and Witchazel (Hamamelis virginiana) are all good choices. Fringetrees (Chioanthus) will also grow in the shade but will flower better with more sun. You may also consider larger shade-loving shrubs such as Azaleas, Oakleaf Hydrangea and Rhododendron (PJM group) are shade-loving shrub options. Evergreen options include Mahonia which produces yellow flowers in the winter. Aucuba is also nice evergreens that are not grown for their flowers but the variegated foliage gives this plant a tropical feel. I hope this is helpful.

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