Shrubs are not just “green bushes” used for foundation planting! They are much more than that and can be used for lots of different purposes in your garden.  Flowering shrubs, like hydrangeas, lilac and roses can add the necessary height, color, and texture that will make your garden really stand out.

Looking for ideas on types of shrubs to use in your garden or yard?

Instead of segregating flowers in their own beds, plant a mixed border using small flowering shrubs.  Use rhododendrons, mountain laurel shrub, rose of sharon, and others to join perennials in a planting that can look attractive all season.

Some additional reasons to plant shrubs in your garden are:

  • Shrubs are a much lower maintenance way to add color and texture all year long – not just in the spring and summer.
  • Many shrubs are easy care plants.
  • Huge selection of color, hardiness, textures and fragrances.

There are so many types of shrubs to select from – your only problem will be deciding which ones to pick!

Types of Shrubs

Hydrangea Angel Song Blue

Hydrangea Angel Song Blue at Johnson Brothers Greenhouses

When selecting your shrubs try to select ones that match the style of your garden or home. For instance, you wouldn’t want to put a formal shrub, like boxwood, into a cottage garden.
Instead, you might want to select a more sprawling and informal shrub, such as a small lilac, hydrangea, or rose bush to better match the cottage garden theme.

Just imagine the pretty bouquet you will be able to create when you go into your garden with your shears.

Winning Combinations

Formal Garden – Try adding some of the more formal and mannerly shrubs into your garden, such as boxwood, hollies, and camellia. Add some topiary in some classic pots, trained ivy on a trellis, a solar bird bath in a classic style, and some stone statuary and you’re ready for the formal.

  • Butterfly Garden – Butterflies are a welcome sight in any garden. If you really want to attract butterflies, make sure to include some shrubs in your butterfly garden design as the backdrop for the other flowers.
    Some great choices are wild rose, spicebush, and viburnum. Include some butterfly host plants, such as hollyhock, pansies, sunflowers, milkweed (butterfly weed), lavender, and catmint and you will be sure to draw butterflies to your garden.
  • Asian Themed Garden – Try planting some varieties of azaleas, rhododendrons, barberry shrubs, as well as acuba japonica and abelias to create a beautiful Asian-themed garden. Add some daffodils, ferns, and bamboo in pots and you will have a beautiful Asian-inspired garden. Make sure to add a bamboo waterfall or gong to tie it all together.

What Should You Consider When Looking for the Perfect Shrub?

Make sure the moisture, soil and sunlight requirements of your chosen shrub matches the conditions in your yard. Here are some helpful hints:

  • Shade-tolerant shrubs like, skimmia, scarcoccoa or evergreen azaleas, should not be planted in the sunniest spot in your yard. Ideally, you want a more shaded site.
  • Woody plants that grow best in moist situations will do poorly in dry soil areas unless you water them daily – and who wants to do that?
  • Consider the mature size and shape of the shrubs or trees you want to plant. If there’s a major mistake people make in their gardens, it’s that they seem to forget that plants grow! You don’t want to have to spend additional time pruning to make sure that your shrubs stay a manageable size in your garden.
  • The best woody plants have flowers in spring or summer and attractive leaves. In autumn, many produce berries or fall color in reds, yellows or golds. In winter, woody plants, especially evergreens, add shape and texture to bare yards. Try to find a variety that will look good all four seasons.
  • If you have the space, try to planting in odd-numbered groups of three or five. If you are planting a beautiful specimen shrub – it can stand by itself and shines better alone.

When adding these beautiful shrubs to your gardens consider plant diversity.  Just don’t plant what the neighbors have. There is a wealth of gorgeous shrubs to choose from so make sure you do the research to pick some unusual varieties that are suited for your particular style of home, geared for your climate, and match your soil conditions.  The time you spend picking the right variety will be rewarded with beautiful flowering shrubs that will add year round interest to your garden with little maintenance required.