14 Shrubs You Can’t Kill
Need a shrub? Check out these tough-as-nails beauties.
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Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
This native shrub is typically found along the edge of woodlands or meadows. Red velvety berry spikes appear on plants in late summer and linger through winter into early spring. Fall foliage burns bright red. Stout and fuzzy brown stems also add winter interest. Use in naturalized settings, mass plantings or for preventing slope erosion. Plants sucker readily. Avoid using in small gardens. Frequent mowing can keep new sprouts in check. Hardy in Zones 3 to 8.
‘Diablo’ Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Diablo’)
Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spiraea x vanhouttei)
Japanese Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Pink Lady’)
Give your landscape a dose of late winter color with the hardy blooms of flowering quince. Blossoms appear on plants before leaves unfurl, transforming bare branches into wands of color. Depending on variety, flowers open in pink, coral, bright orange or white. Use as a hedge or specimen shrub. Works well in wildlife gardens; the dense, twiggy interiors provide good shelter for birds. Hardy in Zones 5 to 8.
Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo)
‘Arnold Promise’ Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’)
Breathe life into winter scenery with the cheery yellow blooms of witch hazel. This native shrub flowers from January to March, depending on where you garden. Fall color features gold leaves. Include in a mixed border or plant as a specimen shrub. Flowers show up best when displayed against a dark background, like evergreens or a dark colored wall. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.
Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus sericea)
Also known as red osier dogwood, this suckering shrub forms colonies in the landscape by sending up suckers or shoots. New growth glows bright red, which adds sparkle to the winter landscape. Use red twig dogwood as a hedge, screen or part of a naturalized garden. Prune one-third of stems to the ground each spring to encourage new growth, which has the brightest color. Hardy in Zones 3 to 7.
Black Beauty Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Gerda’)
Border Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia ‘Lynwood Gold’)
This old-fashioned shrub has a sturdy personality that withstands all kinds of abuse. In early spring, gold blooms blanket the arching stems before leaves appear. Use forsythia for erosion control on a slope or creating a hedge or screen. Stems root where they touch soil, giving this shrub the ability to spread easily. Plant it where it can sprawl if you have little time for maintenance. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.
Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
‘Rose Satin’ Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Rose Satin’)
‘Goldfinger’ Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’)
Potentilla brings on the color in the garden, opening flowers from early summer to fall frost. Blossom hue depends on variety and can include gold, pink, lavender and white. This low-maintenance shrub is drought-tolerant once established. Include potentilla in deer-resistant plantings or butterfly gardens. It also blends well in mixed borders, entry gardens or perennial beds. Hardy in Zones 2 to 8.