Varieties of Shrubs – How to Plant Shrubs

Varieties of Shrubs – How to Plant Shrubs

The Great Guide to the Varieties of Shrubs

Shrubs constitute a wide range of plants that are suitable for gardens of any size.

All the varieties are immensely different in size, color, and shape.
The interest they provide at different seasons of the year is invaluable to give shape and substance to a garden.

The small types of shrubs are suitable for bringing body, form, and texture to summer flower borders.
While the larger varieties of shrubs – can be used to screen off unsightly parts of the garden.

Choose a theme for your planting, perhaps a specific color range, or a choice of correct varieties of shrubs with similar shape or habit.

Acid-loving plants often relate well to each other, and rhododendrons planted in mass can look spectacular.

Two of the most useful contributions that shrubs can contribute to the garden are leaf color and attractive berries in autumn.

Deciduous Shrubs, Evergreen Shrubs, or Semi-Evergreen types of Shrubs

Deciduous shrubs shed their leaves every autumn, while an evergreen shrub retains its leaves throughout the year.

A shrub is described as semi-evergreen sheds some but not all of its leaves during the winter.
The plant’s ability to retain its foliage varies according to the weather.

During a mild winter, deciduous shrubs may keep some of their leaves.

In especially harsh conditions, an evergreen shrub may shed more leaves than usual.

Where the form of a shrub is an essential part of the framework of your garden – you should choose an evergreen, unless you think the shrub’s branches and twigs are interesting enough on their own to provide an imposing silhouette in winter.

Ornamental Shrubs

The varieties of shrubs important to the garden’s basic structure may be deeply ornamental with colorful, scented flowers, varicolored foliage, or attractive berries or stem in winter.

But beware – it is easy to be seduced by individual plants and end up with too many varieties or simply too many shrubs.

Among things to consider is compatibility with the growing conditions and other types of shrubs.

Deciding where to place a shrub and, indeed, if it is suitable for the garden at all, is an important consideration.

Features of Interest

The shapes, bark, and stems of shrubs vary enormously, quite as much as their size.

Some types of shrubs have a sprawling habit. They can be useful as a ground cover but may look better trained up a wall.

Ceanothus prostratus is one of these. It will form a mound of bright blue flowers in spring but will take up less space if trained on a wall.

The low-growing forms of willow (Salix) can be very pretty for rock gardens or used by small pools. They have attractive foliage and catkins.

A rounded variety of shrubs such as Daphne Collina, an attractive dwarf, is ideal for a medium-sized rock garden, providing softness among the rocks.

An arching variety such as Buddleja alternifolia can provide a canopy over lower-growing plains at the back of a border.

Focal Points and Eye-Catcher

Focal points or eye-catchers are relevant within the garden.

Shrubs can do the job, but they need to be of interest all year round.
Many Cornus varieties make excellent feature plants, as do Cotinus, Corylopsis, and hydrangeas.

Phormiums have solid and strap-like leaves, giving a sweeping architectural, even tropical, effect.

Yuccas, which grow to 2 m (7 ft), are useful for providing vertical interest and have elegant, creamy white flowers.

Shrub borders

Shrubs can be grown to a significant effect on their own in borders.

Choose the varieties of shrubs that will suit your garden’s soil and climate and provide a series of color and interest throughout the year if possible.

Balance the shapes, heights, and forms of the shrubs, and leave plenty of room for their ultimate spread.

You can pick shrubs with exciting color combinations or concentrate more on the textures.

A border of mainly variegated shrubs with variations in the greens and yellows and the occasional single color to provide contrast should do well in a shaded position.

Evergreen and deciduous shrubs can be mixed, provided you can balance them well.

Taller shrubs should be at the back, creeping ones at the front.
Some varieties of shrubs will give months of interest, while others tend to mature and fade quickly.

When planning the border, make sure long-term ones camouflage the short-term shrubs.

Fast-growing shrubs will probably need to be thinned out as the border matures.

A more extensive shrubbery or shrub walk can be planted in grass.
The shrubs should not be grouped closely as in a smaller border, but each should be given room to grow into its natural shape and still leave room for walking around it and standing back to admire it.

Borders of herbaceous perennials only were popular at one time; today, it makes more sense to combine a framework of shrubs interplanted with various herbaceous perennials to give all-year interest and a much more labor-saving border.


Read more about the most incredible types of shrubs.

Maybe you want to plant Trees? Check out the Best Types of Trees for Small Gardens?


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