Shrubs are trending more now than ever. Every landscape could benefit from one (or several) shrubs to provide structure an interest, but which is the right shrub for the right space, with the right light requirements? When trying to choose a shrub, you may ask yourself, “Where do I go from here?” Answer: Shrub shopping! Right after you read the rest of this blog post all about shrubs.
Though they look sweet as can be, Weigela are known for Hangin’ Tough in hot, southwest-facing exposures that make many plants droop and drape. These spring bloomers produce an abundance of pink, trumpet-shaped flowers that beckon hummingbirds, and some will continue to bloom lightly throughout the summer. Weigela prefer full sun, but can handle light or dappled shade. They like well-drained soil and adequate water, but will tolerate clay and drought. Check out the new Cocoa Krunch that stays little but is still a stunner with dark burgundy leaves and pink blooms. Or try Crimson Kisses, loved for its repeat blooms and stunning red flower.
Spirea are common but well-loved shrubs, and with good reason. They can handle tough conditions and come with a variety of attractive attributes – some are low and moundy, others have great foliage color, and some have a cascading habit. Call It What You Want, Spirea are here to stay. For a new take on an old favorite check out Lil’ Flirt. Little indeed, this attractive shrub grows just 2 ½ feet tall and wide and is quite enticing with dusky plum blooms that are a color not often seen in shrub flowers.
If your landscape has a significant amount of shade, but you’re in the market for shrubs, do you wonder Watcha Gonna Do (About It)? Don’t fret! Yews have got you covered. Though not strictly new, Hicks Yew are new to us. This evergreen grows just 10-25 feet tall, and 3-4 feet wide – perfect for flanking a North facing doorway or hedging a Northern property line. For a lower grower, just right for an evergreen or Japanese garden, check out Emerald Spreader Japanese Yew. At just 2 ½ feet tall but 8-10 feet wide, this little shrub makes a big impact.
For interesting structure, Junipers have a lot to offer. Grey Owl is a low grower with a bluish needle color and pretty growth habit. It grows to 3 feet tall and 6 feet wide, making this an excellent foundation planting for full-sun situations. For taller growth, try Wichita Blue Juniper, which reaches 10 to 15 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide, and looks lovely in a grouping on the corner of a home or landscape, or as an anchor in a perennial bed.
There is no shrub blog worth its salt without mention of the unofficial shrub of Minnetonka! The hydrangea is the Cover Girl of shrubs. And yes, it’s salt tolerant!
There is a hydrangea for almost any landscape need. Check out the Seaside Serenade Series from Monrovia (we carry Hamptons, Cape Cod, Bar Harbor, and outer Banks) – these shorter varieties like part sun, and some turn from pink to blue. Bloom Struck is another head-turner and sports showy flowers of a blue and purplish tint turning to a deep wine color in fall. There are more, but we can’t list them all here. Don’t worry, it’s only June and Time is on Our Side, we can help you choose the right hydrangea for your landscape.
How do you know when You Got It, the shrub with The Right Stuff? The right shrub is the one that will work in the area it’s planted in and happily grow with less care and maintenance. How much light, the type of light, irrigation and type of soil are important factors to consider for shrubs that thrive (rather than barely survive).
Step by Step – Planting shrubs isn’t hard, though it can sometime be a bit of hard work. Here are the basic steps:
- Choose the right shrub for the right place.
- Dig a hole only as deep as the root ball, but two to three times as wide.
- Remove the shrub from the container and release the roots to signal to the plant that it’s time to get growing. This can be as simple as running your fingers through them, or if the shrub is root bound it may require a serrated knife or clippers.
- Fill the hole with water, let it drain, and set the shrub in the middle.
- Fill hole halfway with mixed soil that is 2/3 native soil and 1/3 compost.
- Complete filling the hole with the same ratio of soil to compost. Water in.
- Pump up the jams, do a little dance, and pat yourself on the back.
Want a little more inspiration? Not all our favorite shrubs are new. For some oldies but goodies, read on!
Some of our favorite Weigela include Spilled Wine and Shining Sensation for the deep burgundy leaves. Red Prince is an old standby that always puts on a good show with bright berry-colored flowers, and My Monet is pretty spectacular for its tiny growth habit and beautiful pink, green and white variegated leaves. If pruning is required for shape, do so immediately after flowering – Weigela will produce next year’s flower buds this year, so late pruning will affect flower power.
More structured pieces include yews. Capitata Yews have an upright, conical habit and can grow 25 to 40 feet tall. Taunton spreading Yews stay low, reaching 4 to 6 feet tall and wide. The dark green needles are lovely in all seasons, and either variety will provide screening and structure in the landscape.
For a favorite hydrangea try Limelight, which reaches 8 to 10 feet tall, to create a stunning hedge. Quickfire, Firelight and several other varieties can handle full sun and turn from cream colored to deep pink.
This blog is Officially Over. All that’s left to do now is plant! After all, it’s Summertime, so it’s Now or Never for gardening. So Just Keep on Smilin’ and we’ll see you at Tonkadale!