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99 Types of Shrubs Examples with Names (A to Z Photo Database)

Photo collage of different types of Shrubs

Welcome to our shrubs database where we list 99 different types of plants. Each listing includes photographs and key growing information.

Related: Sun-Loving Flowers | Water-Loving Flowers | Shade-Loving Flowers | Types of Flowers | Types of Flowers by Color | Types of Flowers by Alphabet | Types of Flower Colors | Types of Myrtle | Alternatives to Flowers | Types of Bamboo | Types of Heliotrope Flowers

Shrub Identifier Photo & Database

Click on the shrubs pictures and links for more info (brief delay for info window to pop up).

Alder-leaved serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)

Serviceberry Tree_Amelanchier-part shade to full shade
Common Name:
Alder-leaved serviceberry
Scientific Name:
Amelanchier alnifolia
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5-7.5
Flower Color:
White
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds, showy flowers, easy to grow, edible
Hardiness Zone(s):
2-7
Height At Maturity:
48-72"
Sun:
Full Sun, Partial Shade
Sub Type:
Deciduous

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana)

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American-Beautyberry_Callicarpa-Americana
Common Name:
American Beautyberry
Scientific Name:
Callicarpa Americana
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.6-7.5
Flower Color:
Pink, violet, white
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies, poisonous
Hardiness Zone(s):
6-10
Height At Maturity:
48-72"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Andromeda (Pieris japonica)

Andromeda_Pieris-japonica
Common Name:
Andromeda
Scientific Name:
Pieris japonica
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.1 to 6.5
Flower Color:
White/Near white
Special Characteristics:
Fragrant, poisonous, deer-resistant
Hardiness Zone(s):
4-8
Height At Maturity:
120-144"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia)

Angel's-Trumpet_Brugmansia
Common Name:
Angel's Trumpet
Scientific Name:
Brugmansia
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.1-7.8
Flower Color:
Pink
Special Characteristics:
Poisonous, fragrant, container
Hardiness Zone(s):
7-11
Height At Maturity:
72-96"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Banana Shrub (Michelia Figo)

Banana-Shrub_Michelia-Figo
Common Name:
Banana Shrub
Scientific Name:
Michelia Figo
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Tolerates wet soil
Soil PH:
6.1-6.5
Flower Color:
White/Near white
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies, fragrant
Hardiness Zone(s):
8-10
Height At Maturity:
120-144"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Bay Laurel (Laurus Nobilis)

Bay-Laurel_Laurus_Nobilis
Common Name:
Bay Laurel
Scientific Name:
Laurus Nobilis
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.6-7.5
Flower Color:
Yellow-green
Special Characteristics:
Showy flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
8-11
Height At Maturity:
180-240"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Bluebeard “Longwood Blue” (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

Bluebeard_Caryopteris
Common Name:
Bluebeard "Longwood Blue"
Scientific Name:
Caryopteris x clandonensis
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Tolerates drought
Soil PH:
6.1-7.8
Flower Color:
Violet
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies, fragrant, deer-resistant
Hardiness Zone(s):
5-8
Height At Maturity:
24" to 36"
Sun:
Full Sun
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Bridal Wreath Shrub (Spiraea)

Spiraea_Spiraea-full sun
Common Name:
Bridal Wreath Shrub
Scientific Name:
Spiraea
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
6 to 7.5
Flower Color:
White, Red, Pink
Special Characteristics:
Showy flowers, Attracts birds and butterflies,
Hardiness Zone(s):
5 to 9
Height At Maturity:
60" to 96"
Sun:
Full Sun, Partial Shade
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
Common Name:
Bunchberry
Scientific Name:
Cornus canadensis
Type:
Perennial
Water:
Medium
Soil PH:
6.5-7
Flower Color:
White
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies, Deer resistant, Tolerates rabbit, Edible
Hardiness Zone(s):
2 to 6
Height At Maturity:
3-9"
Sun:
Full Shade
Sub Type:
Groundcover

California Flannel Bush (Fremontodendron californicum)

California Flannel Bush_Fremontodendron californicum_part sun n full sun
Common Name:
California Flannel Bush
Scientific Name:
Fremontodendron californicum
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.6 to 8.5
Flower Color:
Yellow
Special Characteristics:
Showy flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
8-9
Height At Maturity:
180-240"
Sun:
Full Sun
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Camellia Camellia

Camellia_Camellia_part sun n part shade
Common Name:
Camelia
Scientific Name:
Camelia
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
5.5 to 6.5
Flower Color:
Pink, Rose, Red
Special Characteristics:
Container, attracts birds and butterflies, Showy Flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
7 to 9
Height At Maturity:
96" to 120"
Sun:
Partial Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Carolina Allspice (Calycanthus floridus)

Carolina Allspice_Calycanthus floridus_full sun to part shade
Common Name:
Carolina Allspice
Scientific Name:
Calycanthus floridus
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.1 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Maroon, brown
Special Characteristics:
Deer-resistant, fragrant, poisonous
Hardiness Zone(s):
4-9
Height At Maturity:
48" to 72"
Sun:
Partial shade to full shade
Sub Type:
Herb

Charity (Polemonium caeruleum)

charity_Polemonium caeruleum
Common Name:
Charity
Scientific Name:
Polemonium caeruleum
Type:
Perennial
Water:
Medium
Soil PH:
5.8 - 7.2
Flower Color:
Deep blue
Special Characteristics:
Tolerates deer, showy flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
4 to 8
Height At Maturity:
18-24”
Sun:
Part shade to full shade
Sub Type:
Groundcover

Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum chinense)

Chinese Fringe Flower_Loropetalum chinense_full sun to part sun
Common Name:
Chinese Fringe Flower
Scientific Name:
Loropetalum chinense
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.1-5.5
Flower Color:
Pink
Special Characteristics:
Showy flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
7 to 10
Height At Maturity:
48" to 72"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Coast Rosemary (Westringia Fruticosa)

Coast Rosemary_Westringia fruticosa-part sun to sun
Common Name:
Coast Rosemary
Scientific Name:
Westringia Fruticosa
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Dry to Medium
Soil PH:
7.6 to 8.5
Flower Color:
Violet, White
Special Characteristics:
Tolerates Drought, Attracts birds and butterflies, Easy to grow
Hardiness Zone(s):
9-10
Height At Maturity:
36" to 48"
Sun:
Full Sun
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Common Barberry (Berberis vulgaris)

Common-Barberry_Berberis-vulgaris
Common Name:
Common Barberry
Scientific Name:
Berberis vulgaris
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
4-6
Flower Color:
Yellow
Special Characteristics:
Poisonous
Hardiness Zone(s):
6-9
Height At Maturity:
96-120"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Common Boxwood (Buxus Sempervirens)

Boxwood_Buxus-Sempervirens
Common Name:
Common Boxwood
Scientific Name:
Buxus Sempervirens
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.1-7.8
Flower Color:
Pale green
Special Characteristics:
Poisonous
Hardiness Zone(s):
6-8
Height At Maturity:
72-96"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Common elderberry (Sambucus)

Elder Shrub_Sambucus-part sun to sun
Common Name:
Common elderberry
Scientific Name:
Sambucus
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.6-7.5
Flower Color:
White/Near White
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies
Hardiness Zone(s):
3-9
Height At Maturity:
96-120"
Sun:
Full sun
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis)

Cotoneaster_Cotoneaster-full sun
Common Name:
Cotoneaster
Scientific Name:
Cotoneaster horizontalis
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
6.6-9.1
Flower Color:
White/Near White
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies
Hardiness Zone(s):
5-7
Height At Maturity:
48" to 72"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Crape Myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Crape Myrtle_Lagerstroemia-full sun
Common Name:
Crape Myrtle
Scientific Name:
Lagerstroemia indica
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.1-6.5
Flower Color:
Pink, fuchsia, red, coral, white/near white
Special Characteristics:
Showy flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
7-9
Height At Maturity:
144-180"
Sun:
Full Sun
Sub Type:
Houseplant

Deutzia (Deutzia pulchra)

Deutzia_Deutzia-part sun to full sun
Common Name:
Deutzia
Scientific Name:
Deutzia pulchra
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.6-75
Flower Color:
White/Near white
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies
Hardiness Zone(s):
5-8
Height At Maturity:
48" to 72"
Sun:
Partial shade to full shade
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Dwarf lady palm (Rhapis)

Lady Palm_Rhapis sp.-part shade to full shade
Common Name:
Dwarf lady palm
Scientific Name:
Rhapis
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.5-7
Special Characteristics:
Container
Hardiness Zone(s):
9-11
Height At Maturity:
48-144"
Sun:
Partial shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Eastern Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis)

Arborvitae_Thuja
Common Name:
Eastern Arborvitae
Scientific Name:
Thuja occidentalis
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Tolerates drought
Soil PH:
6-8
Hardiness Zone(s):
2-9
Height At Maturity:
48-72"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Fairy Duster (Calliandra Eriophylla)

Fairy Duster_Calliandra eriophylla-full sun
Common Name:
Fairy Duster
Scientific Name:
Calliandra Eriophylla
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Dry to Medium
Soil PH:
6.1 to 7.8
Flower Color:
Purple, Pink
Special Characteristics:
Showy flowers, Attracts birds and butterflies, Tolerates Drought
Hardiness Zone(s):
8 to 10
Height At Maturity:
24" to 48"
Sun:
Full Sun
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Feathery Cassia (Senna Artemisioides)

Feathery Cassia_Senna artemisioides-full sun
Common Name:
Feathery Cassia
Scientific Name:
Senna Artemisioides
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Dry to Medium
Soil PH:
7.6 to 8.5
Flower Color:
Yellow
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies, Fragrant, Showy Flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
8 to 11
Height At Maturity:
36" to 96"
Sun:
Full Sun
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Fig (Ficus Carica)

Fig_Ficus carica-full sun
Common Name:
Fig
Scientific Name:
Ficus Carica
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
6 to 6.5
Flower Color:
green
Special Characteristics:
Edible
Hardiness Zone(s):
6 to 9
Height At Maturity:
120" to 240"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade

Filbert Shrub (Corylus)

Filbert Shrub_Corylus-full sun to part sun
Common Name:
Filbert Shrub
Scientific Name:
Corylus
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
6.5 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Brown, Red
Special Characteristics:
Edible, Attracts birds and butterflies, Showy Flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
4 to 9
Height At Maturity:
120" to 180"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Firecracker Flower (Justicia Rizzinii)

Firecracker Flower_Justicia rizzinii-part shade to shade
Common Name:
Firecracker Flower
Scientific Name:
Justicia Rizzinii
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
6.1 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Red
Special Characteristics:
Tolerates Drought, Attracts birds and butterflies, Cut flower
Hardiness Zone(s):
9
Height At Maturity:
24" to 36"
Sun:
Part Shade to Full Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Firethorn (Pyracantha)

Firethorn_Pyracantha-part sun to sun
Common Name:
Firethorn
Scientific Name:
Pyracantha
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Dry to Medium
Soil PH:
6.1 to 6.5
Flower Color:
White
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies, Tolerates Drought
Hardiness Zone(s):
5 to 8
Height At Maturity:
96" to 120"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Forsythia (Forsythia)

Forsythia_Forsythia-part sun to sun
Common Name:
Forsythia
Scientific Name:
Forsythia
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
5.6 to 7.5
Flower Color:
Yellow
Hardiness Zone(s):
5 to 9
Height At Maturity:
72" to 96"
Sun:
Full Sun
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Fuchsia-flowering Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum)

Fuchsia-flowering Gooseberry (Ribes speciosum)
Common Name:
Fuchsia-flowering Gooseberry
Scientific Name:
Ribes speciosum
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Dry
Soil PH:
4-8
Flower Color:
Red
Special Characteristics:
Attracts birds and butterflies
Hardiness Zone(s):
7-9
Height At Maturity:
36-48"
Sun:
Full Sun, Partial Shade
Sub Type:
Deciduous

Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides)

Gardenia_Gardenia augusta-full shade
Common Name:
Gardenia
Scientific Name:
Gardenia jasminoides
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.6-6
Flower Color:
White
Special Characteristics:
Cut flowers, fragrant, showy flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
6-10
Height At Maturity:
36-48"
Sun:
Full Sun, Partial Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Germander Shrub (Teucrium Fruticans)

Germander Shrub_Teucrium fruticans-full sun
Common Name:
Germander Shrub
Scientific Name:
Teucrium Fruticans
Type:
Shrub, Perennial
Water:
Dry to Medium
Soil PH:
6.1 to 7.8
Flower Color:
Blue, Violet
Special Characteristics:
Tolerates Drought, Showy Flowers
Hardiness Zone(s):
8 to 10
Height At Maturity:
48" to 72"
Sun:
Full Sun
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Gold Dust Plant (Aucuba)

Gold-Dust Plant_Aucuba-part shade to full shade
Common Name:
Gold Dust Plant
Scientific Name:
Aucuba
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Needs moderate moisture
Soil PH:
5.1-6.5
Flower Color:
White
Special Characteristics:
Poisonous, container, easy to grow
Hardiness Zone(s):
6-10
Height At Maturity:
96-120"
Sun:
Partial shade to full shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

Golden Bamboo (Phyllostachys Aurea)

Golden Bamboo_Phyllostachys aurea-part sun to full sun
Common Name:
Golden Bamboo
Scientific Name:
Phyllostachys Aurea
Type:
Shrub
Water:
Moderate
Soil PH:
6.1 to 7.8
Special Characteristics:
Easy to grow,
Hardiness Zone(s):
6 to 11
Height At Maturity:
240" to 360"
Sun:
Full Sun to Part Shade
Sub Type:
Evergreen

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Different Types of Shrubs

Gardening can be a lot of fun. It is relaxing and rewarding, and when you are all done you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

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

This guide takes 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?

Hydrangea

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. But that’s only a small part of shrubland.

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 another name: bush. They share a lot of characteristics with trees, although they are shorter (usually under 20 feet in height) 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 plan your garden.

You probably won’t have a garden of only shrubs, although this is 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, can 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

Garden

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

Because of the spreading nature of shrubs, smaller gardens tend to ignore them. However, with the right choices, the protection they provide from erosion and weather damage may require they get a second look.

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

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

B. Indoor Gardens

Indoor garden

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

Roses

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 different types of 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

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

Juniper

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

Fall garden

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

Garden indoors

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 shrub 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

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 begun 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

Garden

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. Shrub Types

The number of shrub species 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

Elderberry

Eating elderberries, straight from the bush.

 

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

Shrub decorative garden

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:

C. Useful Shrubs

Lavender

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 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.

Best Types of Shrubs for Various Uses

Shade – Oakleaf Hydrangea

Beautiful flowers of the Oakleaf Hydrangea.

Oakleaf Hydrangea is an eye-catcher with lush flower panicles and decorative leaves. This deciduous shrub can grow up to eight feet. In the fall, its green foliage turns to shades of purple, red, and bronze. It is particularly eye-catching during winter since it reveals a cinnamon-brown peeling bark along the stems.

The good thing about Oakleaf Hydrangea is that it can tolerate a wide range of growing conditions — including areas with little sun. It tends to do well in slightly acidic soil but with adequate drainage. Although this shrub is drought-tolerant, ensure you water it regularly for optimal flowering.

Full Sun – California Lilac

Beautiful blue flowers of the California Lilac.

California Lilac is a sturdy flowering shrub that thrives in full sun. Native to North America, this attractive plant is among those that don’t require special care, making it a favorite among many.

Besides being a low-maintenance shrub, California Lilac is also popular for its versatility. Some grow into upright bushes — up to 9.5 feet tall — while others grow low, making good groundcovers.

Another advantage of this plant is that it fixes nitrogen in the soil. So it does more than just coloring your garden with beautiful flowers.

Hedge – Japanese Holly

Beautiful Japanese Holly bonsai.

There are many reasons one would love to grow a shrub as a hedge. One of them is that the shrub will filter and calm the wind, which improves air circulation. The hedge can also reduce the noise level.

So it comes down to choosing the right shrub. That’s where the Japanese Holly comes in. It is a breathtaking evergreen shrub with a moderate growth rate.

As you might have guessed, the Japanese Holly is native to Japan and other parts of East Asia. It tends to do well in acidic soil, though it can tolerate other pH levels quite well.

Typically, this shrub grows up to 10 feet tall, making it a perfect choice for the hedge. Besides, it can take shape without your help or a gardener, relieving you of heavy maintenance duties.

Butterfly Garden – Buddleia

A monarch butterfly collecting nectar.

Butterflies are beautiful to watch but they also play a critical purpose in nature — acting as pollinators.

However, there has been a significant decline in pollinator numbers, threatening nature. One of the ways you can help increase pollinator numbers is by creating a habitat for them — say, in the form of a butterfly garden.

A shrub-like Buddleia would be the perfect fit. This shrub produces colorful flowers in the late summer and fall — butterflies cannot resist the beauty. The honey-like fragrance produced by Buddleia flowers is also an attraction for the butterflies, not to mention the abundant nectar.

Notably, there are different types of Buddleia, with varying flower colors, such as orange, pink, and yellow. Although it is a tall plant, breeders also produce shorter cultivars.

Borders – Privet Hedges

Beautiful shrubs growing on the hedges.

A Privet Hedge is a shrub best known for its vibrant green leaves. A mature shrub can grow over 14 feet tall, making it ideal for seclusion and privacy. Besides, the shrub can also expand a great deal — up to 10 feet across. Therefore, you can use it for fencing.

The good thing about Privet Hedges is that they do well in almost any growing condition and are pretty easy to take care of. All you need to do is ensure that your planting site has good drainage. A Privet Hedge cannot thrive in a container since it is characterized by vigorous growth.

It would help if you also did some research to ensure that the species of Privet Hedge you pick is allowed in your area since some species are considered invasive. Give your young Privet shrub a deep weekly watering — mature ones tend to be more drought-tolerant.

Bees – Hibiscus

A small shrub of the Hibiscus flower.

Did you know that bees pollinate 80% of all flowering plants on earth? That means attracting bees to your garden is crucial — meaning you have to put some thought when picking a shrub in your garden. Hibiscus will be a good choice if you have bees in mind. This shrub is native to tropical regions.

The shrub grows rather quickly, with blooms erupting each summer. These flowers — usually as big as a dinner plate — can be of different colors, such as red, magenta and pink. Although a bloom only lasts a day or two, it doesn’t take long for another to appear.

Gentle reminder: Hibiscus blooms don’t do well in a vase. They are better left in the landscape. For your Hibiscus shrub to bloom to its greatest potential, it needs at least six hours of full sun a day. But if you live in a hot and dry region, you might consider growing the Hibiscus among leafy plants to shield it from the hot afternoon sun.

Containers – Rosa Munstead Wood

Apartment living has many benefits but does that mean giving up everything that comes with having a garden? Absolutely not. While there are certain limitations to what you can do, you can keep your love for plants by practicing container gardening.

But which shrub will do well in a container? You might ask. There as so many — the Rosa Munstead Wood among them. This shrub, also commonly known as the English shrub rose, is popular for its crimson-red blooms with a distinctly fruity fragrance. It is a rather short shrub, growing up to 90 centimeters in height at maturity. It does well in full sun to partial shade.

Clay Soil – Deutzia

Beautiful violet flower of the Deutzia.

Deutzia is a shrub native to China and other parts of Asia, though some of its species originate in Europe and Central America. It produces deciduous, light-green leaves, but you can find a variety that develops red leaves in fall. The shrub keeps its appeal even during winter, peeling the bark to reveal a reddish-orange color.

One thing you’ve got to love about Deutzia is that they are extremely low-maintenance. Just prune moderately to avoid ruining their beautiful arch. Ensure that you plant this shrub in full sun to maximize the flower buds and fall color.

Climbing – Honeysuckle

Beautiful flowers of the Honeysuckle shrub.

Climbers have this charm that any gardener can hardly say no to. Besides, they are an excellent way to increase your garden’s surface area and play host to birds and other garden wildlife. The Honeysuckle, for instance, is an excellent choice.

This evergreen shrub flowers in the summer in different shades like orange and raspberry red. Some varieties are semi-evergreen, while others are deciduous.

Ideally, this plant does well in moist but well-drained soil and partial shade. Ensure that you give your honeysuckle shrub a sturdy frame to climb up, such as a wireframe. The scent will most likely be stronger if your plant is in a warm spot.

Ground Cover – Hardy Geraniums

Different types of flowers on the garden.

Groundcover shrubs go a long way in locking in soil moisture and nutrients. They also suppress weeds — making them all-around problem solvers. Hardy Geraniums are easily the best choice of a groundcover shrub, and it’s easy to see why.

To begin with, this shrub can tolerate a wide range of conditions and low maintenance. Generally, this plant does well in the early morning and afternoon sun, but it can also thrive in dense shade.

Although you can plant your Hardy Geraniums any time of the year, autumn to late winter seems the best time for optimal flowering. During the first year, you only need to water the shrub when the weather is dry. 

Hot Weather – Barberry

Red flower of the Barberry shrub.

Are you looking for a tough shrub that can withstand the hot weather? The Barberry might be what you are looking for. This shrub performs its best in full sun and well-drained soil. Barberry varieties include Crimson Pygmy Barberry and Nevin’s Barberry.

Low Maintenance – Dwarf Gardenia

Dwarf Gardenia bonsai tree.

Some people love plants so much, but they are just too forgetful. If you are such a person, the best thing to do would be to get a low-maintenance shrub that will probably laugh in the face when you neglect it. Think of a shrub-like Dwarf Gardenia.

This shrub is native to tropical and subtropical regions and has blooms that ooze a citrusy scent.

Privacy Screen – Cherry Laurel

Cherry Laurel shrub grown on the fence.

Cherry Laurel is the perfect privacy screen since it grows up to 20 feet tall and is wide-spreading. It is fragrant and flowers even in the heavy shade. It is also quite tolerant to various soil conditions and heavy pruning.

However, it’s intolerant to heavy fertilization, so consider applying it in moderation. Due to the sweet fragrance, Cherry Laurel attracts pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Better still, you can blend the Cherry Laurel shrub with other plants of any shape, making it a great addition to any garden. However, keep in mind that this shrub’s leaves, stems, and berries are toxic to both humans and pets.

Best Places to Buy Online

Monrovia

Monrovia has been growing plants for more than a century. They have several nurseries, which makes it easy for them to ship plants across the country. Every shrub sold at Monrovia is given the care it needs to thrive.

“Everybody puts their heart and soul into these plants,” says Rainer Krueger, a Monrovia craftsman. “We don’t get this by accident.”

From boxwood to hydrangeas, this online nursery has a great selection of shrubs. You can find detailed information about every plant, allowing you to find a shrub that’s right for you.

Home Depot

Home Depot offers everything you need for the home, including outdoor plants. This big box store carries a wide variety of shrubs that are all affordably priced.

One benefit of ordering plants from Home Depot is that you can return your shrub if you’re not satisfied. Home Depot offers online returns and also lets you return plants in store. Thanks to this policy, you can order with confidence.

Green Promise Farms

This online nursery grows hundreds of plant varieties, including many different shrubs. The selection of deciduous shrubs is huge. From greenery to flowering shrubs, you can find the best plants for your yard.

You’ll find lots of choices at Green Promise Farms. Once you pick out the right shrub, you can order it with ease. The store offers free shipping on orders over $80.

Logee’s

Logee’s is a family owned business that’s been selling plants since 1892. While Logee’s is famous for its rare and tropical plants, they have a terrific selection of shrubs, too.

“Logee’s is one of my all-time favorite online growers,” says gardener Devin Wallien. “Everything is safely packed and comes in healthy. 

You can find many types of hydrangeas at Logee’s, like oakleaf and polar bear hydrangeas. The online nursery also carries more unusual shrubs, like honeyberries and bush mallow.

Etsy

Etsy is a marketplace that’s focused on handmade goods. Many people sell plants here, including home gardeners and well-known nurseries. Top-rated stores that sell shrubs include GreenThumbsGarden and PanterNursery.

Since anyone can sell on Etsy, it’s best to stick to stores with lots of reviews. As long as you’re willing to look for reliable sellers, buying shrubs on Etsy can be a great experience.

Nature Hills

Nature Hills is one of the top online nurseries in the United States. This Nebraska-based business started out selling coniferous trees in 2001. Since then, they’ve expanded and now offer fruit trees, shrubs, and more,

When you order from Nature Hills, you can search for shrubs by state. This allows you to find plants that will thrive in your climate. You can also get information on the best selling shrubs in your region.

Amazon

Amazon has more than 1.9 million active sellers. This online retailer offers a little of everything, including shrubs. Lots of online nurseries, like Green Promise Farms, sell on Amazon. 

Like with Etsy, you should be careful when ordering shrubs on Amazon. Check out reviews and stick with sellers you know you can rely on. Amazon makes it easy to have shrubs shipped straight to your door.

Garden Goods Direct

Looking for holly? Want to buy butterfly bushes or boxwood? You can find it all at Garden Goods Direct

This Maryland-based business lets you get the local garden experience while shopping online. You can find plenty of information about all the plants they sell, including their shrubs. 

When you order plants here, you also have a quality guarantee. Garden Goods Direct has a gold-standard warranty on all the plants they sell.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are shrubs evergreen?

Some shrubs are evergreen. If a shrub retains its leaves year-round, then it is considered evergreen. They are great for providing privacy and adornment in many garden and yard settings. Shrubs that shed their leaves annually are deciduous.

Although lacking leaves at certain times of the year, they remain colorful additions to gardens and yards, like the Westonbirt Dogwood whose stems are red year-round.

Are shrubs perennials?

Most shrubs are perennials because they do not die after one year but continue to grow for years. Annuals can work well in the right context. Some gardeners and farmers in flood areas prefer annual shrubs and other plants because they don’t lose much if a flood takes out their landscape. Most planting of shrubs, however, involves perennials.

Are shrubs trees? If not, how are shrubs different from trees?

Shrubs are not trees. One difference between the two is that shrubs have many different stems while trees have one trunk. There are exceptions, however. Some trees do indeed have multiple trunks, such as the Japanese maple, and some shrubs can become trees.

Then there’s the informal classification of plants called “trubs,” which is a plant that could be both. It grows bushy like a shrub yet tall like a tree. A little bit of training could turn a trub into either a plant or a shrub.

Are shrubs annuals?

Most shrubs are not annuals. Annual plants have a one-year lifecycle while most shrubs, which are principally perennials, live multiple years. Few annual shrubs exist and are usually fast-growing due to their limited lifecycle. They are great for those who like to replant parts or all of their garden or property yearly.

Can shrubs be transplanted?

If done correctly and with care, transplanting shrubs can be carried out without any problems. The following are some steps to take to protect the plant and prevent it from going into shock or dying during and after transplanting.

Don’t rush the job. Patience is vital when transplanting anything.

Trim the shrub beforehand so it will be manageable while being moved.

Know where the shrub’s roots are and dig around them.

Disturb the roots as little as possible.

Maintain the dirt clumping around the roots. Don’t pull it or shake it off.

Dig a hole big enough to receive the new shrub. It must be bigger than the plant’s clump of dirt and roots.

Don’t neglect the new transplant. Shrubs require more attention than usual in the first few weeks after being transplanted.

Can shrubs grow in pots?

Shrubs grow well in pots provided they are in the appropriate receptacle. If a container is too small for a shrub, its root base will not have room to grow, and it will be small.

Can shrubs be cut back or pruned?

Cutting or pruning shrubs is a recommended way to make them grow into bushes. It also helps keep them clean and maintained. Pruning them at the right time is also crucial for the shrub’s future growth.

For example, pruning of shrubs that flower in the spring should occur shrubs that flower after flowering. The cuts will produce new growth over the year, and plenty of flowers will appear the next spring.

Having the proper tools and knowledge is also essential when pruning shrubs. Pruning shears and hedge shears can handle most jobs, but some thicker plants may require a pruning saw.

Can shrubs come back to life?

Shrubs can come back from near death. With the proper pruning and care, a near-dead shrub can become a vibrant bush again. It will take some work, though and possibly a lot of time depending on the state of the shrub.

The soil may be an excellent first place to start. The shrub could be suffering from a severe lack of nutrients or a lack of water. The inverse could also be true. If the soil is continually wet, then the hedge may have root rot. Other possible reasons for the shrub’s demise may be insects, animals, heat and age.

Can shrubs grow into trees?

Yes. Pruning and training a shrub while it is young is the best way to make a shrub grow into a tree because it will have fewer stems at this stage in its life. When transforming a shrub into a tree, most gardeners will remove all of the stems except for a vertical one which will become the trunk.

Depending on the shrub, it may be more appropriate to have more than one future trunk. It may take a few years before the shrub looks like an actual tree, but the time waited is worth it.

How are shrubs different from herbs?

Shrubs are woody plants while herbs are not, and herbs generally have one stem while shrubs have multiple. Also, many herbs are annuals and die after one year.

Shrubs are usually perennials and thus grow larger than herbs. Some shrubs have scents, but herbs generally have strong aromas and are used more by humans in medical and culinary applications than are shrubs.

There are some perennial herbs, such as oregano, rosemary and sage. These plants, often cultivated for their culinary value, can turn into shrubs when unmaintained. Just like shrubs, these perennial herbs will eventually have wooden stems.

How many shrubs can grow in one square meter?

It depends on the shrubs and their purpose. Some shrubs will need at least one square meter to grow because they have large spreads. In essence, the smaller the spread on a shrub, the more you can fit in one square meter.

Where do shrubs grow?

Shrubs can grow well in many different situations. Some of them can survive in a variety of lighting conditions as well as climates. These types of shrubs tend to be the most popular because they can work almost anywhere.

Some shrubs are a little more particular about where they grow compared to others. They have specific climate, soil, or lighting needs that are essential for them to thrive. Any variance from the ideal conditions makes them weak. For the most part, shrubs tend to be hearty plants that can survive and thrive in many different situations.

Why do shrubs turn yellow?

Shrubs turn yellow for a few different reasons. One is overwatering. Too much h2o in the roots will impede them from taking in oxygen. This lack of oxygen is what often causes the color change.

A lack of nutrients will also cause shrubs to turn yellow. Nitrogen, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron are important nutrients for shrubs. The yellowing could be a sign that one or more of them are missing from the plant’s intake.

Why do shrubs turn brown?

It depends. If the tips of the leaves are brown and nothing else, then the problem could be due to overwatering. When more than just the tips are brown, the problem is more serious. There could be a serious nutrient intake problem.

If this isn’t the case, then pests may be the culprit. Insects and animals can wreak havoc on shrubs.

Will shrubs grow in sandy soil?

Some shrubs can. In general, sandy soil is void of nutrients and needs amendments. The shrubs that need high-nutrient soil won’t do so well in sandy soil. However, there are a few that thrive under these conditions.

Some examples are the Blue Brush, the Common Broom and Cyprus Sunrose. They grow well in sandy soil and love and need as much sunlight as they can get. Hardiness Zones between 8a-10b are perfect for them.

Will shrubs grow in rocky soil?

Yes, some will. Shrubs are often the choice for difficult rocky terrains. Not all of them will thrive under these conditions, however. Shrubs that like the upper-numbered Zones (8a-10b) with lots of direct sunlight, and are drought tolerant do fine in the rockier soils.

The buckwheat shrub is an excellent example of a shrub that tolerates and even thrives in rocky soils. It produces a beautiful white flower and works well for erosion control. Many evergreen shrubs can also thrive in rocky soils, such as the Feelin’ Sunny Deodar Cedar which grows well on dry and rocky terrains.

Will shrubs grow in clay soil?

Many shrubs will. The main problem with clay is its lack of drainage. If soil is too dense with clay, and water never drains, then the roots of many shrubs may rot out. However, clay soils are full of plant food, which makes plants thrive.

Gardeners with clay soils have to do more work than those gardeners that work with sandier and lighter soils. Working with clay soil requires constant vigilance to prevent it from retaining too much water. However, the pay off is often healthier-looking shrubs thanks to clay soil’s high nutrient concentration.

Will shrubs grow in containers?

Many shrubs do well in containers. The trick is knowing which shrubs are the fast growers. Fast-growing shrubs will outgrow their containers and require multiple replantings. They do better in the ground. Slower growing shrubs such as Boxwood and Holly are much easier to maintain in containers, and they grow well in them.

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