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Tried and Tested Shrubs for Any Landscape Project

Aug 10, 2008
The variety of shrubs you can use in your landscaping vary from the curious and novel to the dependable and well-known. Choosing the right one for your space can be overwhelming. Among the most common are the evergreen, that maintains it foliage year-round and the deciduous variety, whose leaves either fall off or shed during certain seasons or stages of growth. To follow, are short summaries of characteristics these popular shrubs are known for.

Evergreens

With more than 700 species, Rhododendrons are at the top of list for use in landscaping. These resilient, attractive plants offer a multitude of flowers in a rainbow of hues. These shrubs do not like soil with lime and should be protected with top soil, organic matter or compost during winter months. Among the favorite blooms are the white, purple and pastel pink flowers of the Rhododendron maximum, whose multiple names include: Great Rhododendron, Great Laurel, Rose Bay, American Rhododendron or Big Rhododendron.

Azaleas, part of the genus rhododendrons and subgenus Pentanthera (deciduous) and subgenus Titsushi (evergreen), should be planted in partial shade and are used as cornerstones in landscapes. Deciduous species produce white to purple, pink, red, orange and yellow blooms and Evergreen azaleas bloom in white, purples, pink, red and reddish orange, but species in this subgenus do not have yellow blooms.

Boxwoods, an evergreen, without pruning, can grow 20 feet tall. Most suitable for regions with harsh winters, they can be used to create topiaries when properly pruned. Boxwoods are wonderful additions to pathways and trails. Part of the Boxwood family, are the Pachysandra species used for ground cover in hard to grow areas where grass doesn't thrive.

Other evergreen shrubs and what they are known and liked for are as follows: Spindle trees, smooth green leaves and red berries; Japanese Holly, resembles Boxwoods; Laurel, foundation planting; and Mountain laurel, or American laurel, pink blooms in spring.

Deciduous Shrubs

Lilacs, available with white, pink, light purple and blue flowers, are top picks for deciduous shrubs. When selecting lilacs to purchase, make sure it is grafted onto rootstock or pivot stock. Once brought home your lilacs should be planted as soon as possible. The most familiar lilac, with a height of 10 feet, is the Common Lilac, or Syringa vulgaris.

Buddleia is referred to as the "butterfly bush" because it attracts butterflies during the summer. This shrub grows to 16 feet or more, with the exception of the smaller, or dwarf, versions. Its' blooms come in purple, pink, violet, blue and red. Pure white flowers bloom on the dwarf shrub.

Member of the rose family, or Rosaceae, the Quince gives pink and white blossoms in the spring and produces fruit much like the apple or pear. The average height of the Japanese quince is approximately 6 feet adorned typically with red flowers. Some variations include pink and white blooms. An easily, cultivated shrub is the Deutzia, with floral colors ranging in pink and white in various species. The sizes of the flowers vary from small to extra large and shrub heights range from 2 to 3 feet. Other deciduous shrubs mentioned, along with their description and/or reason(s), they are preferred, are the following: Chokeberry, decorative fruit; Broom, ability to grow in sandy regions; Witch Hazel, yellow flowers; Forsythia, low-maintenance and yellow flowers; Hibiscus, large purple, rosy-pink, or white flowers; Hydrangea, large blue oval bouquets; Honeysuckle, large covering plants; Various Spirea species, dense foliage with plentiful flowers used for screening; Anthony Waterer, small-sized shrub and flat, rose-pink clusters; Bridal wreath, bountiful white bunches; Japanese barberry, white flowers; Vanhoutte Spirea, natural 8 foot height shrub-fencing, snow-white flowers, crimson autumn foliage; Variegated weigela, funnel-shaped, pink blossoms and green leaves with white trim; and Pink weigela, bell-shaped, dark-pink flowers with pale pink-white interiors. There are many choices for big and small landscaping projects.
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