Common Landscaping Shrubs

Shrubs can be an important part of a landscaping plan. Shrubs can work to visually break up a large space, add large surface areas of green when not flowering or color when in flower or help block undesirable views when used as a privacy screen. The exact landscaping shrub that is best for you will depend on why you are planting the shrub and your local United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zone. Be sure to select shrubs that will survive winters in your area.

Azaleas & Rhododendrons

There are many varieties of azalea and rhododendron. In fact, an azalea is a variety of rhododendron. Azaleas and rhododendron flower in almost all conceivable colors, depending on the variety. Azaleas are smaller landscaping shrubs that grow to between 2 feet and 4 feet tall. Rhododendrons are much larger, often reaching 4 feet to 10 feet tall. Azalea flowers are smaller, ranging from 1 to 3 inches in diameter. Rhododendron flowers are larger. They range between 2 and 8 inches in diameter, depending on the variety. Both shrubs grow best in partial shade to full shade and do very well in acidic soils. Azaleas and rhododendrons need soil that drains very well. Some varieties of azaleas are cold hardy down to USDA Hardiness Zone 3.


Lilacs are a bush that produces copious numbers of fragrant flowers. Although most people think of lilacs as being purple, lilacs can also be white or a variety of other colors. Although lilacs can be pruned to keep them small, they grow to between 8 and 12 feet when left un-pruned. Lilacs grow best in full sun and do best in neutral to alkaline soils. They are very cold hardy and can survive winters as cold as USDA Hardiness Zone 2. Lilacs are very sturdy bushes and make very good windbreaks.


Junipers are often good as slow-growing shrubs, especially in semi-arid or arid climates. Junipers are especially well suited to higher altitude areas. Junipers have low to moderate water requirements and, as such, are suitable for xeriscaped landscapes. There are many varieties of juniper that range in height from a few feet to varieties that can grow as a shrub to over 20 feet. Junipers often have blue-green needles, but some varieties can have a deeper green. Junipers are very tolerant of light. However, some varieties may turn a lighter green in full sun. Junipers grown in partial shade are often a deeper green.

Keywords: flowering shrubs, common landscaping shrubs, landscape shrubs

About this Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.