When the majority of people think about planting they think about trees, flowers, or even vegetables. Shrubs are often overlooked and forgotten. But shrubs provide many benefits to homes and gardens. They can be used to form a privacy hedge, or accent your garden. Flowers will pop against their dark green foliage, and many shrubs and hedges will provide you with color all year because they’re evergreen.
I understand that choosing a new shrub may be difficult. You may ask yourself questions like, “What’s the difference between a shrub and a bush?,” or “I want a green bush, aren’t they all green?” or “Will a flowering shrub grow as large as a nonflowering one?” and maybe even “Will this shrub produce berries, and are they bad for my pets?”
As for the first question, a shrub is a plant that’s smaller than a tree and has many stems rising up from or close to the ground. A bush is a cluster of shrubs with branches of moderate length. A bush is often larger than a shrub. In order to answer the rest of those questions, we’ve made a list of the top 5 shrubs.
The American Boxwood is a classic shrub. You’ve probably noticed a few around your neighborhood because they’ve been around for decades and are still popular. Placing an American Boxwood in your yard is like putting a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top of a slice of apple pie. Yards and American Boxwoods are made for each other.
This boxwood has emerald green foliage, can get 10 to 12 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide, and is recommended for growing zones 5 through 9. It does well in the ground or potted. Also, it sports tiny pale green flowers every spring.
This all-American shrub was introduced to the US in mid 1600s, so they’ve had time to get used to our environments. They’re deer resistant, disease resistant, cold hardy, and drought tolerant. They make a perfect choice for beginners.
2. The Red Holly
The Red Holly is perfect for making a hedge and keeping unwanted neighbors out of your yard. The waxy leaves are sharp, so no one will want to trek through them. Every winter, the Red Holly produces seasonal red berries that attract birds and many other forms of various wildlife.
Will these berries harm your pets? Red Holly berries can cause tummy aches and sometimes diarrhea in pets. However, the sharp leaves on the bushes do act as a deterrent. Best of all, the sharp leaves also deter deer! They don’t like eating sharp, waxy leaves.
Red Hollies stay a dark shade of green year-round, and they sport their red berries in the winter that pop against the desolate winter landscape. They can get 10 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide and respond extremely well to pruning. They’re recommended for growing zones 6 through 9.
You can have a shrub that accents your garden and provides an excellent background for your flowers to pop against, or you can have a shrub that steals the show! The Lynnwood Gold Forsythia produces bright yellow flowers every spring. In the fall you’ll get another round of color when the leaves go from green to yellow with hints of orange and red.
Plus, the Lynwood Gold Forsythia is very cold hardy and recommended for growing zones 4 through 8. They’re low maintenance and grow 2 to 4 feet per year, eventually growing to 8 to 10 feet wide and 8 to 10 feet tall. They respond very well to pruning if you would like to keep this fast-growing shrub at a certain height.
4. Cherry Laurel
The Cherry Laurel Shrub puts an elegant twist on classic shrubs. It grows in an upright, oval, pyramidal shape, which differs from the normal box-like shape that most shrubs have. The leaves are also long and slender.
Every spring, the Cherry Laurel has clusters of small white flowers that pop out against dark green foliage. The foliage and flowers put off a very sweet scent. Also, the flowers attract butterflies in the spring, then turn into black berries during the winter that attract birds. However, these berries are a little more bothersome to pets than the holly berries. Keep that in mind if you have a pet that enjoys eating your plants.
This is one compact shrub: it gets about 4 feet tall and 4 feet wide. It’s recommended for growing zones 6 through 9 and makes for a beautiful ornamental.
5. Double Knock Out Roses
It’s not summer without roses. Therefore, Double Knock Out Roses are a must! Roses may not seem like a logical choice for a hedge, but these roses can grow 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. That’s definitely large enough to fill in an empty space. And they’re recommended for growing zones 5 through 10.
Best of all, Double Knock Out Roses aren’t just summer bloomers – they bloom for months. They start blooming in early May and continue until the first frost.
These roses thrive planted in the ground or in containers. You can plant them in pots and place them on your patio to fill the room with an all-natural, sweet fragrance.
Even better? They’re disease resistant and low-maintenance. They respond very well to pruning, so they’re a great option for a hedge.
The Beauty of Shrubs
Shrubs can make excellent privacy fences, accents, and even focal points. Whether they’re under windows, around walkways, or flanking the corners of your home, they can increase your property value. Don’t let your landscaping go without shrubs!