Midwestern landscape plants need to adapt to many conditions, including temperature and moisture extremes and different soil types. Shrubs that provide color and interest throughout the year are preferred by Midwestern gardeners. Multi-purpose shrubs that provide cover and food for birds and other wildlife during the winter are also landscaping favorites.
Creeping juniper, also known as blue rug juniper, is a low-growing evergreen groundcover. This plant has a trailing habit that makes it useful along retaining walls or in terraced plantings where it will spill over the edge and provide interesting greenery all year long. Like other evergreens, creeping junipers prefer acid soil. One plant may spread to cover an area 10 feet or more in diameter.
Spirea are flowering shrubs that grow equally well in full sun, partial shade or full shade. They make ideal foundation plantings where light conditions are uneven. Spirea bushes are covered with white or pink flower clusters in the spring and summer. Dwarf spirea mature at 3 feet, and regular varieties will grow to about 7 feet high. The plants have colorful yellow, rust or red foliage in the fall, depending on the variety.
Burning bush is an excellent plant for landscaping in dry, poor soils in full sun. It can be trimmed to any size and shape, from a low border to a 10-foot-tall screening hedge. Burning bush is a deciduous shrub with small white flowers in the spring that form red berries by fall. Birds love the berries, and they will frequent the bushes for food and shelter. The leaves turn bright scarlet in the fall, making a spectacular show.
Meadow Rose is an extremely hardy shrub rose that is native to the Midwest. The bushes are nearly thornless, with pastel pink single-petal blossoms. Meadow roses are covered with blossoms in the spring. They are known for producing countless rose hips that attract birds and wildlife. Meadow roses spread aggressively by suckers. They tolerate wet conditions and need full sun, according to midwestlandscapeplants.org.
Sweet Woodruff is a ground cover that grows to about 6 inches high. The foliage is extremely fragrant, making sweet woodruff a pleasant addition to any shade garden. Tiny white flowers appear in late spring. It prefers shade and partial shade, and it is ideal for use under trees and shrubs, according to midwestlandscapeplants.org.