The Best Southern Shrubs for Privacy

Privacy shrubs are typically used to give homeowners a bit of seclusion from neighbors and passersby. There are various evergreen and perennial shrubs that add beauty to the landscape while screening off private spaces. Criteria for selecting privacy shrubs typically include aesthetics, disease resistance and cold hardiness. Southern gardeners should choose shrubs that tolerate hot summers and mild winters.

Burning Bush

The burning bush (Euonymus alatus) is a dwarf-winged deciduous shrub hardy in USDA zones 4 to 8. This shrub typically grows between 9 and 11 feet high with a similar spread, but is easily pruned down for smaller spaces. The non-showy, yellow to green flowers bloom in May and June. The green leaves turn a vibrant pinkish-red in the autumn months. This shrub grows well in fully sunny to partly sunny locations and can tolerate various soil conditions. The burning bush has no serious disease or insect problems.

Chinese Snowball Viburnum

Chinese snowball viburnum (Viburnum macrocephalum) is indigenous to China, but grows well in USDA zones 6 to 9. This shrub reaches up to 20-foot tall and 10-foot wide in the southern areas of the United States (US). Lime green blooms appear in May or June and mature into white flowers. The dark green leaves are semi-evergreen in the south. The Chinese snowball prefers acidic soil, but will tolerate other soil conditions. Mature shrubs are generally somewhat drought tolerant. The Chinese snowball viburnum is not associated with any potential serious problems.

Japanese Rose

Japanese roses (Kerria japonica) are deciduous shrubs native to the mountainous regions of Japan and China. Winter hardy in USDA zones 4 to 9, this shrub thrives in moist, loamy soils and partly shady locations. This species is shade tolerant and turns pale if it receives too much sunlight. The yellow, rose-like flowers bloom in April and May. Japanese rose shrubs reach up to 6-foot tall and 8-foot wide. The stems remain green during the winter months and the leaves turn yellow in the autumn. This plant is also called the Easter rose because it blooms around the Easter holiday. Japanese roses are susceptible to root rot, cankers and leaf spots.

Fragrant Honeysuckle

Fragrant honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima), also called winter honeysuckle, is a Chinese shrub that grows well in USDA hardiness zones 4 to 8. This deciduous, bushy shrub can reach up to 10 feet high with a similar spread. The lemon-scented, creamy white flowers bloom in March or April and are followed by red berries. These honeysuckle shrubs also have fragrant branches. Fragrant honeysuckle is slightly susceptible to powdery mildew and leaf spots.

Panicle Hydrangea

Panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) is a fast-growing shrub that reaches 15-foot tall and 12-foot wide. Indigenous to the southern and eastern regions of Japan and China, this shrub is winter hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8. Panicle hydrangea shrubs bloom pyramid-shaped, white flowers that gradually turn a purple to pink color as they mature. These showy blooms appear from July through September. Panicle hydrangea shrubs are vulnerable to mildew, bud blight and rusts.

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About this Author

Cat Carson has been a writer, editor and researcher for the past decade. She has professional experience in a variety of media, including the Internet, newspapers, newsletters and magazines. Her work has appeared on websites like and, among others. Carson holds a master’s degrees in writing and cultural anthropology, and is currently working on her doctoral degree in psychology.