Shrubs add interest to your landscape. Whether used as hedges, as backdrops for flowering annuals and perennials, or for color and fragrance, shrubs are an important element. Use small shrubs in foundation plantings, and medium-sized shrubs to draw your eye from trees to flower beds. Choose quick-growing shrubs to make a visual impact in your landscape in a short amount of time. Reputable nurseries are a good source for common landscape shrubbery well-suited to your particular area.
Boxwood (Buxus microphylla) is a slow-growing, compact, multi-stemmed, evergreen shrub with a densely foliated texture. Boxwood is grows to 5 feet tall, but is commonly seen 2 to 3 feet tall, with equal spread. Its 1-inch leaves are leathery, oval-shaped, and opposite on the stem. Boxwood is not a flowering shrub. You can grow boxwood in full sun to partial shade on nutrient-rich, well-drained, acidic soils. Avoid deeply cultivating the soil around established boxwoods because of their shallow root system. Boxwood is hardy to USDA zone 5.
Glossy privet (Ligustrum lucidum), also known as tree privet, is a large, evergreen shrub, with drooping upper branches, commonly seen 15 to 20 feet tall, but capable of growing to 30 feet. Glossy privet has glossy elliptic-shaped leaves with pointed tips. Its flowers bloom in spring and consist of showy, 12-inch clusters of very aromatic flowers. The strong fragrance is offensive to some people. Grow glossy privet in full sun to partial shade on various soils. Glossy privet is hardy to USDA zone 7.
Chinese juniper (Juniperus chinensis) is a spreading, coniferous shrub with upward pointing branches. Its leaves are very small, and tightly compressed and scale-like, ranging in color in shades of blue, gray or green depending on the cultivar, Chinese junipers do not produce showy fruit or flowers. You can grow juniper varieties and cultivars in full sun, on nutrient-rich, well-drained soils. Chinese junipers need plenty of room to spread and are hardy to USDA zone 4.
Oriental arborvitae (Platycladus orientalis) is a coniferous evergreen tree or large shrub, up to 40 feet tall, but dwarf forms are available (cultivar 'Fruitlandii'). It needs an area large enough to accommodate its symmetrical, broad cone-shaped form. Arborvitae has small, bright-green, scale-like leaves. You can grow arborvitae in full sun on various, well-drained soils. Arborvitae is hardy to USDA zone 6.
Viburnum (Viburnum rufidulum) is a deciduous, shrub or small tree with a moderate growth rate, reaching a height of 25 feet. Viburnum generally forms multiple, slender trunks and has an open, flat-topped texture with 3 inch long, shiny, leathery leaves and scarlet red and purple autumn color. Viburnum produces small, showy, white flowers in April. Viburnum grows well in full sun or partial shade and on various soils. Viburnum rufidulum is hardy to USDA zone 6.