Native shrubs provide wonderful color and texture, cover and food for native wildlife, less maintenance than introduced species, and a way to work with the land instead of against it. Deciduous shrubs allow leaves to turn colors in the fall and gently fall away in the winter. It is a source of leaves that provide a good and free mulch source. While there are many evergreen natives in the wild, there are nice selections of deciduous ones for cultivation as well. These are native shrubs that grow well in partial shade conditions, according to the Native Plant Information Network.
California Buckeye (Aesculus californica)
This native shrub is a member of the horse-chestnut family of plants. It grows 10 to 20 feet high in a broad growth pattern. Branches are symmetrical while bark is a nice silver-gray shade. Dark green leaves are compound. Flowers are usually white, fragrant, and appear in panicles. There are seed capsules that are in the shape of a pear. The green leaves of a California buckeye turn into a colorful fall display. It prefers to grow in full sun or partial shade with a dry soil. Propagate by seed or softwood cuttings.
Hazel Alder (Alnus serrulata)
Also known as the tag alder or brookside alder, this native is a member of the birch family of plants. It grows 12 to 20 feet high with gray-brown bark. Dark green leaves are glossy and turn a yellow-red in the fall. Blooms are purple catkins in clusters. Fruits are cone-like. It prefers to grow in any lighting with a wet or moist soil that is nearly neutral in pH. It is a nitrogen-fixing shrub that is flood tolerant.
False Willow (Baccharis neglecta)
Also known as poverty weed or Jara dulce, this native is a member of the aster family. Leaves are green and flowers are silky with green-white flower heads. Blooms are clustered and look like plumes. Fruits are windborne by hair tufts. False willow prefers to grow in partial shade with a dry soil.
Eastern Sweetshrub (Calycanthus floridus)
Also known as sweet shrub or Carolina allspice, this native is a member of the sweetshrub family. It is a perennial shrub, growing six to 12 feet high. It has glossy deciduous leaves that are dark green and aromatic. Blooms are dark red and solitary. The dark green leaves will turn yellow in the fall. Eastern sweetshrub prefers to grow in partial shade and in moist soils. Propagate by seed or by semi-hardwood cuttings.
Native Shrubs for Xeriscaping
Landscaping With Fragrant Native Shrubs
Old Folk Remedies: Native Shrubs
NPIN: California Buckeye
NPIN: Hazel Alder
NPIN: False Willow
NPIN: Eastern Sweetshrub