Look to nature for suggestions of shrubs that like shade. What shrubs grow naturally in the forest understory in your region? They should thrive in your shady yard as well. Here are a few shrubs that tolerate shade and still do beautifully.
Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) offers pink flowers in spring and early summer. These flowers give way to clusters of unusual violet fruits. This native shrub prefers a spot in partial to full shade and moist but well-drained soil. 6 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Zones 5-9.
Glorybower (Clerodendrum bungei) bears clusters of fragrant dark pink flowers in late summer and autumn. A fast spreader, it is considered invasive by some gardeners. Plant it in partial to full shade and moist but well-drained soil. 6 feet tall and wide. Zones 8-10.
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia) produces beautiful clusters of pink, red, or white flowers in late spring and summer. It prefers afternoon shade and rich, well-drained soil. A relative of rhododendrons, it also needs acidic soil. 10 feet tall and wide. Zones 5-9.
Oregon grapeholly (Mahonia aquifolium) offers yellow flowers in spring and blue-black berries in summer. A native plant, it prefers part shade and well-drained soil. 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide. Zones 5-9.
Pagoda dogwood (Cornus alternifolia) produces small clusters of white flowers in early summer. If pollinated, the blooms give way to clusters of blue-black berries, which are loved by birds. A native plant, it prefers afternoon shade and moist but well-drained soil. 20 feet tall and wide. Zones 4-8.
Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) produces fragrant clusters of white or pink flowers in late summer and early autumn, a time when few other shrubs bloom. This native plant prefers partial to full shade and moist, acidic, well-drained soil. 8 feet tall and wide. Zones 3-9.