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The Best Shrubs for Landscaping

camellia on stage image by feisty from

Landscape shrubs come in different types including evergreen and deciduous shrub varieties. Evergreen shrubs retain their foliage color year-round to provide a constant source of vibrancy to the landscape. Deciduous shrubs that make the best landscape shrubs often tolerate a wide range of soil varieties. Tucked along a garden wall or lining a front entrance, some of the best landscape shrubs are drought-tolerant to withstand periods of limited moisture.

Japanese Holly

Japanese holly (Ilex crenata) is an evergreen shrub with a slow to moderate growth rate. It has a dense, rounded form, grows 4 to 10 feet tall and has a spread of 3 to 5 feet wide, ideal for creating a makeshift privacy screen along the landscape. Japanese holly shrubs are drought-tolerant, making them convenient as a landscape shrub. The small, crowded, dark green leaves on Japanese holly shrubs grow just over 1 inch long and the dull white to green flowers emerge in spring to light up the shrub with color. Japanese holly shrubs grow best in full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil that is acidic. Plant in USDA zones 6 to 8.

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bush is a deciduous bush with a rapid growth rate. It grows 5 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide and has a large, rounded form with arching branches. The small, fragrant, 4- to 10-inch panicles, or flowers, on butterfly bushes grow in a wide range of colors including purple, white, pink and yellow and attract butterflies and bumblebees to the garden. The butterfly bush blooms from summer to fall, creating a long-lasting landscape shrub. The oval-shaped, 4- to 10-inch-long leaves range from gray to green and blue and emerge in late spring. Butterfly bushes are drought-tolerant and withstand periods of limited moisture without sacrificing their vibrant blooms. They are also easy to transplant. Butterfly bushes grow best in full sun and moist, well-drained soil but tolerate a wide range of types. Plant the butterfly bush in USDA zones 5 to 9.


Camellia (Camellia japonica) is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that has a large, compact growth habit. It grows 7 to 12 feet tall and has a spread of 5 to 10 feet wide. The 2- to 5-inch flowers grow in a wide range of colors including red, pink, white and variegated flowers that have more than one color swirled together. In warmer climates, camellia shrubs bloom from fall to spring, and in cooler areas into early spring, creating a long blooming season that keeps the garden in color, even in winter. The glossy green leaves on camellia shrubs keep their vibrancy year-round to create a dramatic landscape shrub. Camellia shrubs grow best in part shade and well-drained soils that are neutral to acidic. Plant camellia in USDA zones 7 to 9.

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