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33 Shrubs You Can’t Kill

If you're looking for low-maintenance, hard-working landscape bushes and shrubs, these are the tough-as-nails beauties you should put at the top of your list.

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Photo: Image courtesy of Proven Winners

Foolproof Plants

All gardeners know the excitement of planting something new in the garden, followed by disappointment if the plant doesn't make it. There are several things you can do to guard against this possibility. Make sure you plant your shrub in the best position in your garden with its light and drainage needs accounted for and make sure the soil in your garden or container is healthy and balanced. And, most importantly perhaps, make sure the shrub you are choosing will thrive by cross-checking it with your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone. But there is one additional step you can take to give a new shrub its best chance at survival and that is choosing one that has been proven hardy, easy to care for and with the best chances at being in your garden for the long haul.

First up: One of the garden's most resilient shrubs, hydrangeas offer bountiful flowers (perfect for cutting) on sturdy stems and tolerate a variety of soils, as with this beauty (pictured), 'Let's Dance Rhapsody Blue,' a reblooming bigleaf hydrangea with a compact habit.

how to plant, grow and care for hydrangeas

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Photo: Southern Living Plant Collection


Barberry is a deciduous compact shrub that performs best in full to part sun and is a vigorous, moderate grower, reaching 4-5 feet tall. Barberry does very well once established even in average soil as long as the soil is well drained. Pruning is not necessary beyond minimal maintenance to maintain an ideal shape. Barberry 'Orange Rocket' has lovely coral orange foliage that turns a ruby red in fall.

more on japanese barberry

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Photo: NetPS Plant Finder Tool


A flowering plant in the rose family, cotoneaster's dark green leaves make it a wonderful backdrop shrub to more vibrant flowers and plants. Cotoneaster produces small white and pink flowers followed by red or golden yellow berries. Hardy in Zones 4-7, many varieties of this deciduous shrub offer strikingly vibrant fall foliage. Cotoneaster is low-maintenance, deer-resistant, drought-tolerant and well-suited to erosion control.

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Photo: Spring Meadow


If you are looking for a tough, resilient plant, azalea is an ideal choice. A dense, rounded evergreen shrub that is easy to care for, azalea performs well as a hedge, in borders and as edging, in containers and as a specimen plant. Rhododendron 'Perfecto Mundo Double Dark Pink' is a reblooming azalea that thrives in full to part sun. Hardy in Zones 6-9 this azalea blooms dark pink in spring, then takes a respite and blooms again in mid-summer through frost for long-lasting color.

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