Shady locations with poor soil are a perennial dilemma for Minnesota gardeners and usually result in a sea of hostas. There are precious few shrubs that grow in such conditions that maintain a tidy form. This week's plant, leatherwood, helps fill that gap.
Native to hardwood forests of the upper Midwest, Dirca palustris is an upright shrub of small stature reaching 4-6' tall with an open form in full shade. It possesses handsome, trouble free foliage and a habit that allows it to be planted among woodland perennials without competing excessively with them.