Dozens of bush varieties prefer moist, well-drained soil to thrive. Many shrubs are rapid growers to quickly produce bright, long-lasting blooms during their growing season, while others are evergreen, meaning they retain their foliage and color all season long. Nestled along a front perennial bed or grown in masses along a backyard landscape, moist-tolerant bushes provide a classic, colorful presence.
Bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is a deciduous shrub with a rapid growth rate and course texture. The compact and rounded form of bigleaf hydrangea hold the erect stems. Flat-topped and large, the plethora of flowers on bigleaf hydrangea creates color to the garden. The numerous blooms emerge on the previous season's growth and in white, blue, pink or violet.
Bigleaf hydrangea have lustrous dark to medium green leaves that grow 4 to 8 inches long. Ideal as fresh cut flowers for an arrangement, bigleaf hydrangea tolerates well-drained, moist soil. Adjust the pH levels on bigleaf hydrangea to produce specific colored blooms. A pH of 5 to 5.5 produces blue flowers, while a pH of 6 to 6.5 creates pink blooms. Bigleaf hydrangea grows 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide, ideal for lining a garden walkway. They require full sun to partial shade and nutrient-laden soil to thrive. The USDA Hardiness Zone for planting is 6 to 9.
Gardenia (Gardenia augusta) is a striking evergreen shrub that prefers moist soils that is high in organic nutrients. Gardenia shrubs have a moderate growth rate and a dense, rounded form that grows in mounds. Reaching 4 to 6 feet in height and 4 to 5 feet wide, gardenia are classic shrubs to plant along a front flower bed. The fragrant, white summer-blooming flowers grow 2 to 3 inches wide and when mature, turn a pale yellow. Lustrous and leather-like, gardenia leaves grow 2 to 4 inches long in a deep emerald green. Gardenia bushes are drought-tolerant with a medium texture. They prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained, acidic soil. Gardenias are hardy in USDA Zones 7b to 10.
Sweet mockorange (Philadelphus coronarius) is a rapidly growing deciduous bush with course texture. The rounded, dense form has stiff, branches that are twiggy and straight. Drought- and wind-tolerant, sweet mockorange bushes have fragrant, white blooms that emerge in summer and grow over 1-inch wide. Sweet mockorange bushes grow to a towering 10 to 12 feet tall and 8 to 10 feet wide. Their medium to dark green leaves grow up to 4 inches long and cast a yellow tinge in summer.
Sweet mockornage bushes prefer well-drained soil and tolerate a wide range of soil types including, moist, wet soil. They prefer full sun to partial shade, and are hardy in Zones 4 to 8.