99 Types of Shrubs (A to Z Picture Database)

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Red flowered rhododendron shrub

Welcome to our types of shrubs database where we list many varieties of shrubs.

Below you can scroll through 99 different types of shrubs.  Each listing includes an image and key growing information below in a table.

Shrubs Photos & Database

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Types of Shrubs

Gardening can be a lot of fun. It is relaxing and rewarding and will bring hours of enjoyment while actively gardening and when you are all done and can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

When designing a garden one of the most overlooked aspects is the shrubs. You will always plan for the flowers or the produce, but rarely do we consider the shrubbery.

This guide will take you through all the aspects of designing a garden with shrubs in mind. Hopefully, it will give you some inspiration and ideas for your garden in the process.

1. What is a Shrub?


When you first think of a shrub, you probably imagine a little green bush that sits under someone’s front window or a little tree that has been shaped and manicured.

While these are shrubs, there is a whole world of shrubs that we don’t think about. A shrub, by definition, is a small or medium-sized woody plant. They have multiple wood shoots above the ground, unlike herbs.

You may know a shrub by its other name: bush. Bushes and shrubs are (but not always) green year round and are very hardy. They share a lot of characteristics with trees, although they are shorter and most will flower at some point during the year.

2. Designing Your Garden

Before you go outside and start making a hole in the ground for a shrub, you need to create your garden carefully.

You probably won’t have a garden of only shrubs, although this is easily possible with excellent results.

You need to consider a lot of different factors when adding shrubs to your garden. The size of your garden is paramount as shrubs, unlike perennials and annuals, will take up a lot of physical space. They will also use a lot of the nutrients in the soil, which, if not adequately planned for, can be detrimental to nearby plants and flowers.

A. Garden Size

In general, the size of your garden is the most crucial element in your design. Small gardens may not be able to utilize a lot of shrubberies.

Because of the nature of shrubs, smaller gardens tend to dismiss them. However, with different species and the protection they provide from erosion and wind or rain damage, you are urged to take a second look at placing shrubs in your garden.

Many varieties of shrubbery can be used indoors. Hanging pots or windowsill boxes make perfect homes for indoor shrubs. Shrubs have a lot of shoots which produce many leaves and flowers. These will contribute to the overall air quality of the room and make excellent plants for decoration that require little maintenance.

When planning your garden design, knowing the type and location of the shrubbery will help make things a lot easier for you. Understanding the specific purpose of the shrub will also help your design plans.

B. Indoor Gardens

Using shrubs indoors may seem like a crazy idea. However, shrubs like aloe vera or ficus make great additions to the indoor environment.

Pots can be used to spread the shrubs around the home and to decorate with live plants is never a bad idea. However, because the plant is inside, it will not get as much sun or natural watering that an outdoor shrub will.

Because of this you will need to monitor your shrub closely and maintain the moisture in the soil and not allow the pot to cause the bush to get root-bound.

You will have to place the shrub in a pot large enough to encourage growth and transplant to a more significant pot if the need arises.

The lifespan of indoor shrubs can be many years, so it is imperative that you understand the proper maintenance of having a live plant indoors.

C. Outdoor Gardens

When using shrubbery outside, you have more room to decorate with. There are many general applications for shrubs outdoors. One common use is to place bushes along the front of the house giving off a nice aesthetic appeal as well as protecting the home from soil erosion.

You can also use the shrubbery as a fence between neighboring lawns or walkways. You may even decide to plant shrubs to line a sidewalk or driveway. The options are as near limitless as there are varieties of shrubs.

When planting shrubs outside you must be aware of the soil they are being planted in. If the earth isn’t able to maintain enough water and nutrients to sustain the shrubbery, you may need to till in fresh soil, add fertilizer or water more often.

Once an outdoor shrub takes root and grows, though, it is very hardy and should do just fine on its own. You should always be aware of freezing temperatures, though, and cover the shrubs if the species isn’t designed for colder weather.

D. Raised Beds

If the soil isn’t optimal for maintaining shrubbery, you may want to consider a raised bed. These are areas in your garden that you have added extra earth or soil too, which will give a deeper base for the plant to take root.

This isn’t always the best option, however, as the raised bed may not be strong enough to hold the weight of the shrub. If high winds or just the top weight of the shrub knocks it over, it may break roots and could die.

3. When To Plant Shrubs

Certain times of year are better for planting shrubs than others. Many factors will dictate when it is optimal to plant in your area. You should know the zone you are in. Each section, based on temperature, is placed in a zone.

These zones determine when it is best to plant shrubs. You can find your zone on the back of most seed packets. You can also ask your florist or local garden center which zone you are in.

If you plant your shrubs during the wrong season the chances of survival diminish. To help the shrub take root and be protected, you should plant when the time is best for the particular zone and shrub.

A. Fall Planting

You may get the urge to plant as soon as it feels warm enough for you to get outside and start making holes in the ground. However, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes you need to wait to start your planting after the temperature has begun to get cooler.

When in doubt about the best time for your shrub, it is always best to ask your garden center for advice. The fall is a great time to plant though.

Early fall is one of the best times for shrubs and trees. This will allow the shrub to establish a root system over the winter and come to full bloom in the spring. Waiting until later in the spring is okay for a lot of shrubs, too, as long as the ground hasn’t had its first freeze and the ground is still workable.

If you wait too long, the shrub may not stay warm long enough to take root and could die before the winter is out.

If you are planting from seed or bulb, ensure that the shrub is cold weather tolerant. If it is not, or if you are planting a sapling, you may need to cover the area with a sheet or garden cover to prevent the cold from killing the plant.

B. Winter Planting

Winter is never a good time for much gardening. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.

If you are making use of pots and planting indoors, the season doesn’t matter as much. You can plant or transplant saplings anytime as long as the temperature inside is conducive to the plant species.

If you plant indoors over the winter, you need to ensure that the shrub has enough water and sunlight as possible. Knowing the details of how much sunlight, as well as planting the shrubbery in a pot that you can transport will help ensure the longevity of the plant over the colder months.

C. Spring Planting

When spring rolls around and the sun warms everything up is when most of our minds turn to actual gardening. However, before rushing outside on the first warm sunny day and digging numerous holes to fill with shrubs, you need to be aware of your areas freeze date.

A freeze date is a date that the average final freeze in your area occurs. This will vary based on location, but in general, the final freeze is a date that will tell you when optimal springtime planting can occur.

In the early spring, you can safely plant dormant shrubs. Dormant means they are not actively sprouting shoots or leaves. If your shrub is not dormant and it is before your locations freeze date, the shrub may die.

In late spring, after the freeze date, you can plant non-dormant shrubs or shrubs that have to begin to sprout leaves. If it is before the freeze date you can plant sprouting shrubs but only those that were grown outside. Interior grown shrubs and new shrubs should not be planted until after the freeze date has passed.

As long as the freeze date has come and gone and the soil is workable, you can plant any shrub you like. While the fall is better, springtime will work just as well. Workable soil means that it isn’t too wet and will crumble in your hand instead of packing down.

D. Summer Planting

Planting in the summer months can be done as well. However, you may need to tend to the shrubs more often than when planting in the spring or fall.

Because of the heat of the summer months, there may not be enough water in the soil to sustain the shrubbery. Maintaining enough water to keep the plant alive is crucial. Until the shrub has established a good root system and has begun to sprout green, healthy leaves, you should monitor the moisture in the soil regularly.

4. Types of Shrubs

The number of species of shrubs is as numerous as it can get. You will have your pick of variety regardless of where you live or your climate.

Different shrubs serve different purposes and can be used for anything from a food source to purely decoration.

A. Edible Shrubs

Many shrubs will produce fruit that you can eat. Growing these shrubs is rewarding because you can harvest the shrub and enjoy your rake.

Not only will budding gardeners enjoy the benefits of growing edible shrubs, but chefs and friends will as well.

Our favorite shrubs that produce edible items are:

  • American Hazelnut
  • Elderberry
  • Blueberry
  • Wild Raisin
  • Pasture Rose
  • Nannyberry

B. Decorative Shrubs

Many varieties of shrubs will add to the decorative factor of your garden or your home. You can plant decorative shrubs to create a living fence, or as a backdrop to a floral garden. You can also get shrubs that maintain trimming poses and make lawn art with their designs.

Our favorite decorative shrubs are:

  • Mountain-Laurel
  • Lingonberry
  • Japanese Maple
  • Common Ivy
  • Paper Plant
  • Peony

C. Useful Shrubs

Some shrubs have a purpose other than being fun to plant and nice to look at. Stems, leaves, and flowers can all be used for alternative purposes such as medicine or treatments.

Our favorite useful shrubs include:

  • Aloe Vera
  • Spurge
  • Flowering Oregano
  • Lavender

Regardless of the purpose, the use or the decoration, adding shrubs to your garden design is sure to delight any gardener. As a hardy plant, they will withstand most things flowers and garden plants will not.

You can view our shrub galleries to gain some inspiration and design ideas. You can also use our garden design software to help you plan the perfect garden for your home.

Indoors, outdoors or in a planter on the porch, your garden will come to life and with shrubs, give you years of aesthetic enjoyment.

Be sure to also check out our entire garden directory where you’ll find a lot more plant and flower entries as well.

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