Shrubs, also called bushes, are woody plants that have several stems. These plants are too small to be considered trees, but they're too large to be classified as flowers. Many plants are categorized as both shrubs and trees, depending on their particular growing conditions. While some shrubs are the best plants for flowering, others are considered top shrubs for growing quickly or for providing shade.
The azalea plant is a top flowering shrub. This ornamental shrub produces abundant blooms in spring. Azaleas, which are related to rhododendrons, have smaller flower clusters but more style than rhododendrons. They bloom from early spring to midsummer, yielding yellow, orange, red, pink and white flowers. These shrubs need full sun to partial shade.
The honeysuckle is one of the fastest-growing shrubs. They grow 3-to-6 feet tall, according to About Honeysuckle.com. Most honeysuckle varieties have fragrant flowers that bloom throughout summer, while some bloom even into autumn. The red rum honeysuckle is a deciduous shrub that grows as tall as 8 to 12 feet with a spread of 12-to-15 feet at maturity. The shrub's bright red berries remain on the plant through winter. The winter honeysuckle has a pungent lemony fragrance, creamy white flowers and dark green leaves with a bluish tint.
The Siberian cypress is a top shade shrub that is light green with scale-like leaves. This shrub works well as a year-round ground cover, as well in borders, foundation plantings or on slopes. Siberian cypresses have a low crown, grow low and are tolerant of light shade. Although they thrive in partial to full shade in areas where summers are hot, they can be grown in full sun when given enough moisture. They need well-drained, loose soil. Deer are prone to eat the plant's foliage in winter when they don't have a protective snow covering.
The heavenly bamboo is one of the best shrubs for warm Florida and California climates. This plant has vertical, unbranched stems that grow as high as 7 feet high, according to This Old House.com. It has a soft texture with creamy-white flowers that bloom in summer followed by scarlet fall fruit. In addition to being used as shrubs, heavenly bamboos can be ground covers, mixed plantings or accent plants. Adaptable to many soils, these shrubs do best in moist soil planted in full sun with afternoon shade in hot areas.
Boxwood shrubs, which are formal, evenly sheared hedges, need canopy thinning so sunlight and air can penetrate, which reduces the odds of disease. The boxwood 'Wintergreen' is one of the best foundation shrubs. It's so named because the shrub is shaped as a box because it's as wide as it is tall, standing about 4-to-5 feet high and wide, according to Erthturf.com. This shrub needs full sun or light shade and requires little watering.
The boxwood 'Harlandi Dwarf' needs full to partial shade and grows at a moderate rate. It has dark green leaves and low to moderate water needs.