Fast-growing shrubs are planted as hedges to create living alternatives to fences. They are used to screen out undesirable views. Bare areas in landscapes are filled quickly with these shrubs. Swift-growing bushes can recover faster from severe pruning or pruning mistakes. As well, they speed up the time it takes to develop a mature-looking landscape.
Abelia (Abelia grandiflora) is a large evergreen shrub that grows 4 to 5 feet tall and spreads 3 to 4 feet wide. Pink and white bell-shaped flowers appear in the summer and continue through fall. The glossy, green leaves create year-round color.
Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a deciduous shrub with a vase-shaped natural outline. Growing 6 to 8 feet tall, it produces showy blossoms in white, pink, lavender and rose during the spring and summer. These flowers are 2 to 4 inches across and show up on newly grown stems.
Japanese euonymus (Euonymus japonicus) is a 6 to 8 foot tall, upright evergreen shrub. The 1 to 3 inch long leaves are variegated with yellow and white patterns. Japanese euonymus tolerates drought and salty conditions.
Oleander (Nerium oleander) is a very fast-growing evergreen shrub. It reaches 10 to 15 feet tall with glossy, dark green leaves that grow in whorls around the stems. White, lavender, pink, yellow, salmon and red flower clusters appear in the spring. The oleander is used as hedges, screens, windbreaks and as showcase plants. It is classified as a rapid-growth plant.
Thorny olive (Elaeagnus pungens) is an evergreen shrub with slightly spiny branches. This bush reaches 15 feet tall with bluish-green leaves. In the summer, clusters of small bell-shaped, white flowers appear. The thorny olive is drought tolerant.
Purple beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) is a rapidly growing deciduous shrub that reaches 3 to 4 feet tall when mature. The leaves are 1 to 3 inches long on slender, arching branches. Small lavender berries appear above the leaves in late summer and fall. Birds are attracted to the berries, so prune back severely each year to promote increased berry production.
Dwarf crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is a deciduous shrub that grows in a pyramid shape. Depending on the variety, it reaches 5 to 15 feet tall. Dwarf crapemyrtle produces clusters of flowers in white, pink, red, rose and purple shades during the summer. This shrub is drought tolerant and suffers winter damage if pruned before freezing weather.