Japanese aucuba, commonly known as the gold-dust tree, is a drought tolerant shrub that does well in partial or full shade. A multitrunked member of the dogwood family, aucuba grows to 10 feet in height and features 8-inch long leathery evergreen leaves. Small purple blooms are followed by bright red berries. Other choices for shaded areas are Kerria japonica, also called Japanese rose, with its plentiful yellow pom-like flower display and Arrowwood viburnum that features deep russet autumn foliage.
Hetz's Japanese holly does well in shaded locations, providing spineless evergreen leaves and black winter berries. Featuring an upright growth habit, it attains a 6-foot height and width, but is easily pruned to maintain a smaller size. Because Hetz's holly is a female cultivar, berries are produced only if a male holly variety, such as beehive or rotundifolia, is planted in close proximity.
A native of China and Japan, Pieris japonica, commonly referred to as andromeda, is a deer-resistant shrub that does best in partial to fully shaded areas. It grows to 8 feet in height and produces clusters of early spring-blooming bell-shaped flowers from reddish-colored buds. It is often characterized as having an overpowering aroma when in bloom. Because it is a broad-leaf evergreen, andromeda is commonly used in foundation plantings and in shrub borders. Two recently introduced varieties, Red Mill and Mountain Fire, feature new growth that is bright red.
Amelanchier stolonifera, often called the running serviceberry, is a compact deciduous shrub that performs well in the shade. It features smooth gray bark with delicate white blooms in spring, edible berries in summer and peach-to-orange autumn leaf color. Because it needs little pruning, it is an excellent low-maintenance choice.