From spring-flowering azalea shrubs to berried bushes in winter, garden shrubs add visual excitement to your yard. When mature, shrubs range in height from less than 12 inches to up to 15 feet. See below for helpful shrub care tips and how-tos.
Flowering shrubs are a great way to add a bit of color to your yard. The beautiful blooms from these shrubs are sure to brighten your spring and summer!
The American Rose Society classifies the shrub rose as hardy and an easy-to-care-for plant. Shrub roses are excellent for forming hedges, as a ground cover, or used as an accent. You can select from ever-blooming or once-a-year blooming varieties, all available in a rainbow of colors.
English roses are one of the most popular shrub roses. Originally cultivated by David Austin, an English rose breeder, English roses are often fragrant – the flowers have a traditional rose shape. A wide variety of English roses, with entertaining names, are available including:
The Poet’s Wife (zones 5 to 10)
Beautiful, lush flowers in buttery-yellow with a rich, fruity fragrance. This fragrant rose grows well in pots or containers.
Sweet Juliet (zones 5 to 10)
A lovely apricot bloom, neatly-formed rosettes, and a fresh tea rose scent. A hardy, disease-resistant choice.
Huntington Rose (zones 5 to 10)
Large, deep pink multi-petaled blooms emitting a delicious Old Rose scent. Tough and disease resistant, too.
Hydrangeas (Zones 3 to 7)
If you’re looking for a shrub with curb appeal, a hydrangea is a showstopper. Blooming globes or panicles cover these easy-to-grow shrubs in spring and summer. Hydrangeas grow quickly, so they’re an ideal choice if you have an open garden space to fill. A sampling of hydrangea cultivars include:
French Hydrangea – This is the original bigleaf hydrangea. It displays showy, vibrant blooms in blues, pinks, purples, and white, and lush, green foliage.
Lacecap hydrangea – Lacy, delicate flowers that surround smaller buds are characteristic of lace-cap hydrangeas, giving them an ethereal, fairy-like appearance.
Endless Summer® hydrangea – A unique, re-blooming hydrangea, this beautiful shrub blooms continuously from spring to fall. Endless Summer hydrangeas form buds on both new and last season’s growth, so they’re ideal for colder zones.
Ornamental Berry Shrubs
A berry-producing ornamental shrub will add winter interest to your landscape. Plus, berried shrubs provide nourishment for wildlife during the colder months. Varieties of berry-producing bushes include:
Holly, known for its bright, red berry clusters, provides a welcome shot of color during the winter months.
There’s a wide variety of evergreen holly shrubs available at your local gardening center, including English holly – a holly with glossy, deep green foliage, often used as a screen or foundation plant.
The barberry bush is famous for producing lots of oval-shaped, blue-black berries which serve as a food source for wildlife. The thick, green foliage turns a bright red in autumn. Barberry is often planted as part of a mixed border, alongside taller shrubs and perennials.
When your deciduous shrubs have lost their leaves in fall, an evergreen shrub will liven up a dreary landscape with season-long interest. Evergreens are grown for their lush year-round greenery. Some evergreen varieties produce bright blooms in spring, lush greenery in summer, and colorful berries in the fall. A lush green shrub is a welcome sight in a barren winter landscape.
Boxwoods are popular evergreen shrubs and low maintenance when grown in their natural form. Although shaping them as a formal, sheared hedge, does require effort. Boxwoods work well for a formal walled garden or as a privacy hedge.
Low-growing juniper is an easy-care evergreen shrub that works great for filling in small spaces between trees or near large shrubs. Juniper is popular for a few reasons:
- Emits a fresh fragrance
- Never needs pruning
- Withstands adverse conditions, and
- Provides a habitat for birds and wildlife
If you’re interested in wildlife conservation, a juniper shrub will provide food, protection and a nesting spot for birds.
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Visit your garden center and browse through the available shrubs. A shrub for sale in your neighborhood garden center will most likely be a variety that grows well in your planting zone. Read the plant label to learn about planting requirements such as:
- Sun – Does the shrub grow best in full sun, part sun or full shade?
- Moisture needs – Does the plant require plenty of water, or is it drought tolerant?
- Mature size – How tall and wide will the plant be when full grown? (This is important to know so your shrub will still fit where it’s planted, years from now.)
If you have questions or need additional shrub care tips and pointers, ask the horticultural professional, on-site.
Shrub Care Tips
Planting your new shrub –
- Visualize the best placement of your shrub by setting the shrub on the ground in the desired spot. Does the composition look balanced when you consider the surrounding trees and plants? Does the location meet the requirements for sun or shade?
- Next, dig a planting hole. The dimensions of the hole should be twice as wide as the nursery pot and the same depth as pot height.
- Remove the shrub from the pot –gently loosen the soil from around the roots.
- Position the shrub in the center of the hole, and at the same depth as in the nursery container. Add soil to the bottom of the hole to lift the shrub slightly, if needed.
- After the shrub is set in place, backfill the hole with dirt.
- Press the down the soil around the trunk and root ball, to firm it in.
- Water your new shrub well. Follow the instructions on the plant label for moisture requirements.
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Whether you’re itching to plant a flowering shrub, an evergreen, or a winter-berried bush, these helpful shrub care tips will have you ready to plant in no time.
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