Georgia experiences a rainy, humid subtropical climate with hot summers and milder winters. Georgia falls within United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 6 to 8. Gardeners in this region should select shrubs according to appropriate hardiness zone, bloom time, flower color and mature size. Several shrub varieties commonly thrive in Georgia gardens.
The dusty zenobia (Zenobia pulverulenta), sometimes called the honeycup, belongs to the heath family (Ericaceae). This perennial shrub forms mounds reaching from 3 to 6 feet in both height and spread. Dusty zenobias feature red twigs, reddish-brown bark and silver-gray leaves that turn purple in the autumn. Fragrant clusters of white, bell-shaped flowers bloom in May and June. The dusty zenobia prefers wet, sandy or peaty soils in partially shady locations. Georgia gardeners often plant dusty zenobias in shady shrub borders.
Farkleberry shrubs (Vaccinium arboretum), also called sparkleberry bushes, typically reach between 12 and 15 feet high in Georgia landscapes. Fragrant, white flowers appear from March through June, followed by blue-black berries that attract wildlife. This member of the Ericaceae plant family bears aromatic, deep green leaves that turn dark red in the autumn. Farkelberries prefer acidic, rocky or sandy soils in partial shade. Farkleberry shrubs work well as ornamental landscape plants.
The wax myrtle (Morella cerifera), sometimes referred to as the southern bayberry, is a wispy, perennial shrub ranging from 6 to 12 feet in height. This evergreen shrub features aromatic, pale green leaves, white to gray bark and light blue berries commonly eaten by birds. Non-showy, green blossoms appear in March and April. Wax myrtles need moist, acidic soils in partly shady to fully sunny locations. These shrubs tolerate some drought conditions once established. Georgia gardeners often use wax myrtles as hedges, screens and landscaping plants.
American Strawberry Bush
American strawberry bushes (Euonymus americanus), also called wahoos and hearts-a-burstin, reach 6 to 12 feet in height. This bittersweet family member (Celastraceae) bears twigs that turn purple in the sun and green leaves that turn dark red in the autumn. The blossoms appear in May and June, featuring light green petals and purple stamens. The vibrant red fruit contains orange seeds. This shrub tolerates most soil conditions, but performs best in partly shady locations. Georgia gardeners primarily use American strawberry bushes as landscape plants.
The crinum lily (Crinum americanum), sometimes called the seven sisters or the string lily, belongs to the Liliaceae plant family and naturally occurs in Georgia swamplands and marshes. This clump-forming plant reaches between 2 and 3 feet in both height and spread. The thick stems support fragrant, white flowers that bloom from June through November. This perennial shrub prefers rich, wet soils in semi-shady planting sites. Crinum lilies work well along bogs, ponds and water gardens.
The steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa), a perennial shrub in the rose family (Rosaceae), forms mounds ranging from 3 to 6 feet in height and width. This shrub features pink to purple flower clusters from July through September, while the green leaves turn yellow in the autumn. The steeplebush prefers acidic, moist soils in sunny locations. Georgia gardeners often plant the steeplebush in meadows and butterfly gardens.