Pick the Perfect Large Shrub for Your Yard

Whether you like flowers or foliage, evergreens or leaves that change colors, we'll help you pick the best large shrubs for your yard's border, hedges or as a focal point.

Excerpted from Garden Design
  • Eastern Hemlock Ranks High for Ornamental Planting

    Variegated Japanese aralia

    The variegated Japanese aralia has small white flowers in late summer and striking gray-green leaves with creamy-white markings. This decidous shrub will grow to 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide in ideal conditions: partial sun, and well-drained to moist soil.

  • Boxleaf Has Vanilla Fragrance

    Boxleaf Azara

    An attractive evergreen with lots of glossy, dark green leaves and vanilla-scented wintertime flowers, the boxleaf azara is ideal for year-round interest. Though it prefers moist soil it will tolerate almost any kind of light - full or partial sun or partial shade - and grows well against a wall, up to 22 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

  • Fountain Butterfly Bush

    Silver Fountain Butterflybush

    If you like fragrant flowers, the silver fountain butterflybush may be for you - its slender \"weeping\" branches bear dense clusters of sweet-smelling blooms in summer. Prune the shrub after flowering to prevent branches from becoming tangled. Planted in full or partial sun and well-drained or moist soil, the butterflybush can grow to 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

  • Orange Ball Tree with Arching Stems

    Orange Ball Tree

    This semi-evergreen shrub sports dark green leaves and small balls of fragrant flowers that appear in early summer. It prefers full sun and well-drained or chalky soil, but does not respond well to hard pruning. Expect the orange ball tree to grow to 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

  • Blooming Camellia

    'Leonard Messel' Camellia

    Camellias are invaluable shrubs for gardners who want an evergreen that flowers in spring, and who has well-drained to moist acidic soil in a sheltered site with partial sun. The large pink flowers of the 'Leonard Messel' stand out vividly against a background of dark green leaves. Expect it to grow to 12 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

  • Glory Seeker

    Harlequin Glorybower

    This spectacular deciduous shrub delights with colors and shapes that live up to its name. Pink and greenish buds give way to fragrant, white star-shaped flowers in late summer, and then jewel-like, bright blue berries. The harlequin glorybower can grow to 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide in ideal growing conditions: full sun and well-drained soil.

  • Cornelian Cherry Dogwood has Appealing Winter Look

    Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

    Keep interest going year round with the Cornelian cherry dogwood. Sure, it has bright red fruits in late summer and leaves that turn pretty colors in the fall. But winter's when it really shines, when little clusters of tiny yellow flowers decorate its bare branches. Plant the Cornelian cherry dogwood in full or partial sun and well-drained soil, and watch it grow to 15 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

  • Purple Leaf Filbert

    Purple Giant Filbert

    To achieve the intense purple tone of this deciduous filbert, plant it in full sun and well-drained soil, perhaps as a focal point in a border. Make sure to collect the nuts that ripen in the fall; also known as hazelnuts, they're delicious roasted. The purple giant filbert will grow to 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

  • Purple Smoke Tree

    Smoketree

    The smoketree is so named because its colored leaves looks like smoke from a distance. 'Grace,' shown here, is an vigorous grower and excellent choice for fall color, with soft purple-red leaves that turn a brilliant orange-red before falling. The Rubrifolius Group, whose leaves are darker in both summer and fall, also boasts fluffy plumes of pale pink summer flowers.

    Grow the smoketree in full sun and well-drained to moist soil to achieve the best colors, and its maximum size of 20 feet tall and 15 feet wide.

  • Red Clusterberry

    Parney's Cotoneaster

    The dense, evergreen Parney's cotoneaster sports distinctive leathery leaves, milky-white flowers that appear in summer and clusters of dark red fruit that persist well into winter. It makes an attractive hedge or screen, and it can also be grown as a small tree. To achieve maximum growth of 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide, plant the Parney's cotoneaster in its ideal growing conditions: full or partial sun, and well-drained soil.

  • Dipelta Floribunda

    Rosy Dipelta

    This handsome deciduous shrub features fragrant pale pink flowers in late spring and attractive peeling bark in winter. The rosy dipelta prefers full sun and well-drained soil, and can grow up to 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

  • Golden Gilt Edge

    Ebbinge’s Silverberry

    A dense, hardy evergreen, the glory of the Ebbing's silverberry is in its leaves: glossy green with golden margins. With its desire for full sun and well-drained soil, the Ebbing's silverberry is ideal for coastal settings, where it can grow to 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

  • Quicksilver Shimmers in the Summer Sun

    Silverbush Eleagnus

    With silvery shoots, silver-gray leaves and silver buds which yield star-shaped, creamy-yellow flowers this fast-growing shrub counterbalances dark-leaved plants perfectly. Plant the silverbush eleagnus in full sun and well-drained soil to help it reach 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

  • Pallida Witch Hazel's Spiderlike Flowers

    Witch Hazel

    Witch hazel is a handsome shrub that produces spider-like flowers on bare branches in winter. Get to know its different cultivars so you can select among specific traits, whether the size of the flower or the color of its leaves in the fall. Witch hazels prefer full or partial sun and well-drained or moist soil, and grow to 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

  • Sea Buckthorn Makes Attractive Ornamental Shrub

    Sea Buckthorn

    Sea buckthorn thrives in harsh conditions, as long as they have full sun and well-drained or moist soil; it makes an excellent screening plant for a coastal garden. It has thorny stems with narrow, silver-gray leaves and can be trained to make a small tree, up to 20 feet tall and 20 feet wide. Grow male and female plants together to produce brilliantly orange-colored berries.

  • Unique Hydrangea As Showy Prominent Blooms

    'Unique' Panicle Hydrangea

    Hydrangeas are mainly grown for their showy flowerheads, but some have other desirable traits. H. paniculata 'Unique' bears large, creamy-white flowerheads from midsummer to early fall, and its leaves turn yellow before dropping. 'Unique' is quite so, in its ability to reach from 10 to 22 feet tall, although its 8 feet of width is quite consistent. It also adapts well to its growing environment, whether full or partial sun, and well-drained or moist soil.

  • Silver Queen Holly Grown for Variegated Foliage

    'Silver Queen' English Holly

    'Silver Queen' is a berry-less upright evergreen that features leaves with broad, creamy-white margins. At a maturity of up to 30 feet tall and 12 feet wide, 'Silver Queen' is ideal for hedges and screens. It can be planted in full or partial sun, and well-drained or moist soil.

  • Holly Sweetspire

    Hollyleaf Sweetspire

    This spectacular evergreen shrub has shiny, dark green leaves, long catkins made up of small, greenish-white flowers in late summer and a honey-like scent on warmer evenings. The hollyleaf sweetspire does well planted against a wall in full sun and well-drained soil, where it will grow up to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

  • Irish Junipers

    Irish Juniper

    Junipers are ideal for some of the most challenging sites and least attentive gardeners: they tolerate a wide range of soils and growing conditions, are tough enough for hot, sunny sites and need little pruning. The Irish juniper, forms a slender, refined column - up to 15 feet tall but no wider than 12 inches - of crowded, needle-like leaves, each with a silver line.

  • Prized Golden Privet

    Golden Privet

    A vigorous, semievergreen shrub, golden privet has variegated leaves with bright yellow margins and bears dense clusters of white flowers in midsummer, followed by black berries. It clips easily and is ideal for hedging and topiary. Shade tolerant, although it prefers full or partial sun, it can be planted in well-drained soil to brighten a shady corner of the yard. Golden privet will grow to 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

  • Glorious Golden Comet Azalea

    Yellow Azalea

    An elegant deciduous shrub, the yellow azalea has a long season of beauty. It bears rounded clusters of sweet-smelling flowers in late spring, and its rich green leaves turn shades of crimson, purple and orange in the fall. The yellow azalea requires well-drained or most acidic soil and full sun, where it can grow to 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide.

  • Deep Purple Mrs. Edward Harding Lilac

    'Mrs. Edward Harding' Lilac

    Lilacs are deciduous shrubs with pretty heart-shaped leaves and sweetly-scented flowerheads. 'Mrs. Edward Harding' has double, purple-red flowers. It grows to 22 feet tall and 22 feet wide in ideal growing conditions: full sun and well-drained soil.

  • Berry Beautiful

    European Cranberrybush

    The deciduous European cranberrybush is a good choice for wildlife enthusiasts: birds love the translucent red berries. Also attractive are the lacey white blooms and leaves which turn red in the fall. The European cranberry bush grows to 15 feet tall and 12 feet wide in many conditions: full or partial sun and well-drained or moist soil.

Excerpted from Garden Design

©Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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