Shrubs are some of the most flexible garden plants. Gardeners prune shrubs to the size and shape they need. Plant shrubs closer together and they form a hedge, or plant them farther apart and the shrubs spread out rather than grow tall. States like Pennsylvania strongly encourage gardeners to use native plants, which will not cause environmental damage or become invasive.
Common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) is also known as eastern ninebark. The plant is a deciduous shrub that grows 6 to 10 feet tall with an equal spread. Medium-green leaves grow from 1 to 3 inches long, turning yellow to bronze in the fall. Small, pink-white flowers bloom from May to June, growing in clusters 1 to 2 inches long, and are followed by red fruits in September and October. Common ninebark is adaptable to different soil conditions, but prefers full sun or partial shade. The plant is hardy in USDA zone 6 in Pennsylvania.
Mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium) is hardy in zones 5 and 6 in Pennsylvania. The shrub is deciduous, grows from 4 to 6 feet tall and features dark-green, egg-shaped leaves from 2 to 4 inches long that turn red-purple in the fall. Yellow-white flowers bloom in June growing in clusters from 1 to 3 inches long at the tips of the stems. The flowers are followed by egg-shaped black fruits ripening in September. Plant mapleleaf viburnum in full sun, partial shade or full shade and a soil that is moist and well drained.
Pinxterbloom azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides) grows from 4 to 6 feet tall. Bright-green, deciduous leaves grow up to 4 inches long and 1 1/4 inches wide, turning a dull yellow in the fall. Pale-pink flowers bloom in May, measure up to 1 1/2 inches long and grow in clusters of five to 16 blooms. Plant pinxterbloom azalea in full sun or partial shade and a soil that is organic and moist. The plant is hardy in zone 6 in Pennsylvania.
Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is hardy in zone 6 in Pennsylvania and likes full sun or partial shade and a moist soil. The shrub is deciduous with light-green, egg-shaped, deciduous leaves growing from 3 ½ to 5 inches long and 2 inches wide, turning to yellow or golden-yellow in the fall. Small yellow flowers bloom in the spring and are followed by red oval berries that mature in September.
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