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Evergreen and Flowering Buying Guide

Shrubs -- both evergreen and flowering shrub varieties -- are remarkably diverse and necessary elements in a landscape, providing everything from focal points to natural fences to windbreaks. Here's a guide to what you need to know to purchase your own shrubs.

Types of Shrubs: Evergreen and Flowering

Types of Shrubs: Evergreen and Flowering

Many a garden memory recalls the fragrance of a lilac or the blooms of a rhododendron. Those diverse plants have something in common: Both are shrubs. These adaptable plants -- found in evergreen and flowering varieties -- come in hundreds of different types, styles, and sizes. They are a great starting point for a new landscape and a welcome visual diversion for an established garden. Here are a few of the main types of shrubs: hydrangea, dogwood, forsythia, rhododendron and azalea, spirea, lilac, arborvitae, boxwood, butterfly bush, and miscellaneous types.

Hydrangea

One of the most beloved shrubs, hydrangea generally loves shade and has varieties that bloom from summer through fall. There are also compact hydrangeas as well as those that offer distinctive blooms in unusual colors such as blue.

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Wayside Gardens

If youre already a lover of Hydrangeas, this gorgeous variety is a must-have. If youre new to gardening, you might as well start w...ith an easy-to-grow shrub with blooms that will absolutely blow you away! From late spring or early summer through fall, youll be dazzled by wide bloom heads filled with petals of lime green accented with deep pink. You truly do have to see these flowers to believe them! Extremely eye-catching and unique, this member of the Next Generation series of Hydrangeas looks simply amazing anywhere you place it. Plant one as a focal point in your partly shaded garden or place a few in containers around your patio for a display that will have the entire neighborhood talking! Zones 5-9. read more

Wayside Gardens

Discovered in an Anna, Illinois, garden, Annabelle is perhaps the most popular old-fashioned flowering shrub grown in American gar...dens. Once established, it produces enormous, 12-inch, globe-shaped flowerheads of snowy white starting in early summer and increasing in size until mid- to late summer -- truly spectacular! Growing to 4 feet high and wide, it is a splendid landscape plant that never gets out of bounds and complements every other color in the garden beautifully. It thrives in shade, but also tolerates heat and humidity. Very easy to grow once established, it is a lovely source of fresh and dried arrangements as well as a useful border, hedge, foundation, or accent planting. H. arborescens is a native species, far more cold-hardy than most other Hydrangea species. Recently another cultivar has been added to the family: spectacular pink-flowered Invincibelle Spirit. Try them together for a breathtaking pink-and-white hedge, border, or accent planting! Zones 4-9. read more

Wayside Gardens
$18.95 $22.95
at Wayside Gardens

Cultivar name: Lynn. Its the breeding breakthrough weve been waiting for! Just 2 to 3 feet high and wide, this container-sized Hyd...rangea blooms on both old and new wood, giving northern gardeners a lovely season and southern and western gardeners 2 glorious bloomtimes every year. But thats not even the innovation: its that the blooms arent the usual mophead, summer snowball rounded type. Theyre the far more unusual lacecap variety, with an outer ring of large open florets circling a core of tiny closed flowers! Now there is absolutely no barrier to growing Hydrangea wherever you live, for this super-compact variety thrives in containers that you can bring indoors for winter! You will love these blooms. The petals are triangular, for an exotic sort of look, and they will be colored with a rosy pink or deep blue, depending on the pH of your soil. They surround a big bouquet of inner flowers that may remain fairly green, with flashes of blue or pink. But either way, the big outer petals gradually mature to bright green : the complete opposite of the usual pattern for mopheads, where the flowers start green and then get their color! The foliage is large, toothy, and bright green on this tight little shrub, banking the blooms beautifully. Lets Dance? Starlight really knows how to fill a container, with giant blooms and big leaves tumbling from all sides. Of course, it doesnt have to go in containers (except north of zone 5, for winter protection), and it makes a fine foreground planting for the foundation, shrub border, and larger Hydrangea varieties. If you like lacecap Starlight, you must grow it among its cousin mophead Moonlight. Lets Dance? Starlight is the ideal Hydrangea for zones 5 and 6, where many other varieties suffer in late spring frosts. In these climates, even if a late frost should freeze the buds of the first early- to midsummer blooms, a second set will appear in summer for late season flowering. Thats the beauty of reblooming Hydrangea: it guarantees you at least one fabulous season every year! This mini shrub thrives in moist soil in full sun in the North, partial shade farther south and west. The Hydra part of its name indicates its love of water, but it needs good soil drainage too, so it is not a shrub for boggy or wet soils. Keep it well watered, especially during the summer heat, and it will grow and bloom for decades. Certain to become your favorite shrub, this versatile little beauty deserves a special place in your landscape! Zones 5-9. read more

Wayside Gardens

Everything that is new and wonderful about Hydrangea can be found in All Summer Beauty, a delightful new Bigleaf mophead. Unlike o...lder varieties, this super-floriferous shrub is hardy right through zone 5 in the north. And because it blooms on both old and new wood (well explain that in a second!), it wont be nipped back by a late frost or freak cold snap! This compact, deciduous shrub is among the most free-flowering Hydrangeas we have ever grown, and thats not just because its season is so long. Well-branched and vigorous, it sets masses of big round snowballs of pink (in alkaline or lime soil) or blue (in acid soil) among its toothy, bright green leaves. The larger blooms reach 6 inches in diameter, the smaller about 4 inches, but all are magnificent in fresh or dried bouquets as well as on the plant. Very long-lasting, they lose their color only very gradually, so you can leave them on the shrub through autumn if you like. The flowers begin in early summer in most climates (sometimes late spring in hotter areas), and thats as far as it goes for most Hydrangeas -- one big bumper crop and its done. Thats because Hydrangea traditionally blooms on old wood, meaning last years growth. But All Summer Beauty is one of a new breed that reblooms on the current years growth as well! So ideally you get your usual heavy show in early summer, followed by a big encore in late summer! Where this rebloom really comes in handy is in the north, where late frosts can freeze all the flower buds on the old wood. Even if this happens, youre guaranteed at least one good showing on the current years growth! Gardening offers few certainties, but this is a nice little insurance policy! And then of course in those years when spring is mild, you have two full seasons of bloom. Cant beat it with a stick! All Summer Beauty has one more trick up its sleeve: its foliage turns bright yellow before dropping in late fall. This is nice. Its not the breathtaking show that some plants put on, but its more than most Hydrangeas can muster, and youll love the look of these big, serrated leaves turning buttery yellow in the cool days of early fall. Expect All Summer Beauty to reach 3 to 4 feet high and 3 to 5 feet wide. You can put it in a big container, if you like, where it will grow a bit smaller. Its also terrific in the foundation, because even though its deciduous, the branchy upright silhouette in winter is interesting, and the flowers last forever in summer. It needs partial shade in the south, but does well in full sun farther north. And take that Hydr- prefix seriously in its name: keep it watered well, but with good soil drainage! Zones 5-9. read more

Dogwood

There are tree varieties of dogwood, but the shrub versions offer gardeners distinctive focal-point plants and bright-color branches. In addition, their fruit can be valuable food for birds and animals in wintertime.

Forsythia

Small yellow blooms stand out on forsythia shrubs in springtime. Forsythia loves full sun, and its tooth-shape leaves provide distinctive foliage that turns purple in the fall.

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Nearly Natural
$68.50 $99.00
at Wayfair

Tiny, delicate flowers dance ever skyward in this botanical masterpiece. Could there possibly be any better first sign of spring? ...That's a question that you won't have to answer with this silk arrangement, as it will be springtime year round! With its uniquely shaped vase and water look, this is one silk arrangement that's not to be missed. Features: Flowers seem to dance in mid air Will feel like spring time year round Will last for years to come Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 45 Inches Overall Width - Side to Side: 21 Inches Overall Depth - Front to Back: 17 Inches Overall Product Weight: 3.5 Pounds read more

Rhododendron and Azalea

Both rhododendron and azalea are woody, springtime-flowering shrubs that love moisture and shade; rhododendron has large, tough-looking leaves that stay on the shrubs through wintertime.

Spirea

The most distinguishing characteristic of the spirea is its lovely cascading branches, but the shrub also supplies either white or pink spring flowers. Many have traditional green foliage, while other varieties sport lighter shades of green or gold-tone leaves.

Lilac

Old-fashioned and beloved, lilac provides unmistakable fragrance in late spring. Traditional varieties -- which can get leggy if not pruned well -- are still available, but newer dwarf versions offer a more compact growing pattern.

Arborvitae

A lover of sunny locations, arborvitae is a dense evergreen shrub that works well as a solid border in a yard. Arborvitae lends itself to shaping, and dwarf varieties can be used as focal points in garden beds.

Boxwood

Boxwood naturally lends itself to sculpting, but it can also be left to grow as a small, clumping shrub. The deep-tone, evergreen leaves of boxwood work well as a border, such as along a sidewalk, for example.

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Gardena
$34.99 $38.27
at Wayfair

Features: Secateurs 1 Year warranty Optimal shock absorption is guaranteed by the integral Technogel gel pads in the handle grips ...and the additional buffers with soft plastic components Integrated branch-cutter and a total length of 15.75" Tire-free work - non-stick coated With their 1.36 they are very light Allows easy and precise cutting Particularly suited for the precise and easy shaping of shrubs, such as boxwood Ergonomic design allows tire-free work Show Additional Info Dimensions: Overall Product Weight: 1 Pounds read more

All State Floral

Features: Boxwood ball in resin urn Pot material: Resin Topiary Flower color: Green Dimensions: Overall Height - Top to Bottom: 16... Inches Overall Width - Side to Side: 10 Inches Overall Depth - Front to Back: 10 Inches Overall Product Weight: 4.54 Pounds read more

Wayside Gardens

Buxus Green Velvet is a hardy Boxwood developed in Ontario, Canada. This hybrid combines the hardiness and compact growth habit of... Korean Boxwood with the luxuriant, deep green leaf color of English Boxwood. Best of all, Green Velvet retains its deep, velvety green foliage color clear through the most difficult winters! Its lovely, full-bodied habit, which is very low, rounded, and dense, shears and shapes beautifully to any desired form -- from topiary to an excellent, crisp low hedge. Zones 5-9. read more

Burpee
$3.95-$14.95
at Burpee

Tight mounds of small basil leaves that resemble boxwood plants. Discovered in a friend's garden, even on one of the hottest days ...of August, these plants remained in perfect form, extremely bushy and productive. Tight mounds of small leaves that resemble boxwood plants make a highly ornamental edging for the patio or container by the kitchen door. read more

Butterfly Bush

Arching and fragrant, the beautiful blooms and branches of butterfly bush are attractive to both butterflies and hummingbirds. In warmer climates the shrub can tower over the garden, but in colder locales it will die down in winter.

Miscellaneous

Countless other evergreen and flowering shrubs are available, from crape myrtle to hibiscus. Each one has specific hardiness zone limitations and will grow differently based on your soil and microclimate.

Product Features

Product Features

There are countless factors that go into any landscape choice -- which often makes it overwhelming for homeowners to decide on what's best. To get started with shrubs, boil down plants based on a few product features, then apply personal preferences. For example, a row of boxwoods in front of a house can be contained, but a row of arborvitaes will soon block windows and doors. So mature height and width is an important product feature. Others to review include container versus bare root, foliage, and flowers. Here's a guide to get started.

Mature Height and Width

Shrubs that are tiny, tidy, gallon-container plants at the nursery may, after a decade of growth, be towering specimens that block your front window. Make sure you understand the growth potential of the shrub as it relates to your landscape.

Container vs. Bare Root

Shrubs may be container-grown or bare-root, which means the roots are free of any soil. Bare-root shrubs may be planted earlier than container-grown versions.

Foliage and Flowers

Shrubs differ in foliage type and flowers. Some are green year-round, while others reward with a burst of springtime blooms. Which you choose depends on your landscape needs and preferences.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

We've all done it: purchased a plant for the landscape that pushed the limits of climate, soil, and convenience. The result is typically an unhappy plant -- and an unhappy homeowner. Particularly when it comes to shrubs, which are often more expensive but reward with longer life, it's important to take into account purchase considerations that will affect the plant and your time in the landscape. Carefully review water requirements, soil preference, and hardiness zone as you narrow down your options. Here's a short overview to get you started.

Water Requirements

To become established, all shrubs need adequate water in their first few years. Even when they're a few years old, though, shrubs will need water, particularly in times of drought. Know your shrubs' requirements before making a selection.

Soil Preference

Shrubs differ in the soil -- acidic, alkaline, clay, sandy, loam, or a combination -- that they prefer. Know the composition of your soil and what amendments your shrubs may require to do their best.

Hardiness Zone

Shrubs are an investment for your landscape, and you'll be disappointed if your shrubs don't survive because of incorrect USDA hardiness Zone. Know your climate, and choose shrubs that can survive.

Garden & Outdoor Living on sale
Wayside Gardens
$14.95 $22.95
at Wayside Gardens

Plant Patent Applied For. The Double Take? series of Flowering Quinces features fully double, downy soft blooms that open in early... spring, before the foliage. As full and bright as Camellias, the exquisite orange 2-inch blooms of Orange Storm stand out magnificently in the early-season garden. Compact shrubs set no fruit, expending all their energy on large, radiant flowers. Developed by NCSU Extension Service, these are the brightest and most beautiful Chaenomeles cultivars we have ever grown. Zones 5-8. read more

Double Take Orange Storm Flowering Quince
Wayside Gardens
$14.95 $22.95
at Wayside Gardens

Plant Patent Applied For. The Double Take? series of Flowering Quinces features fully double, downy soft blooms that open in early... spring, before the foliage. As full and bright as Camellias, the exquisite orange 2-inch blooms of Orange Storm stand out magnificently in the early-season garden. Compact shrubs set no fruit, expending all their energy on large, radiant flowers. Developed by NCSU Extension Service, these are the brightest and most beautiful Chaenomeles cultivars we have ever grown. Zones 5-8. read more

Double Take Orange Storm Flowering Quince
Wayside Gardens
$16.95 $24.95
at Wayside Gardens

Hibiscus syriacus Azurri Satin®, Cultivar Name: DVPazurri, PP#20,563. This seedless Rose of Sharon grows an even larger body with ...even bigger flowers. The rich blue single flowers are as big as dinner plates, and they arise on lush plants 6 feet wide and 8 to 12 feet tall! This thriller is sure to become the focal point of you whole garden. And because this cultivar is sterile, it will not take over your yard (and beyond) like other Hibiscus can. Azurri Satin® is a carefree joy youll want for the hot, sunny summer garden. Few shrubs are more heat- and humidity-tolerant than Hibiscus, which basks in temperatures that make others wilt and brown out! Give this shrub plenty of water and nonstop sunlight and youve got a bloom machine 5 months out of every year! The showy, tropical blooms are a powder blue with a crimson eye that bleeds outward. The stunning, gigantic blooms open from late summer until late fall, attracting attention for months. Even though this variety is seedless, it still produces enough nectar to attract plenty of butterflies! The alluring blooms are all the more impressive because they are borne high in the air on plants with a graceful, narrow habit. Azurri Satin ® is a great choice for a foundation planting, accent in the patio or other garden nook, or hedge. It makes a fine companion to Plum Fantasy, and a nice background planting to Dwarf Russian Sage and other low-growing shrubs, as well as colorful annuals and perennials of all description. No shrub is easier--this is one tough plant, untroubled by pests and disease and able to maintain itself through good weather and poor alike. Space these shrubs about 4 to 5 feet apart for a dense wall of showy color. Zones 5-9. read more

Azurri Satin Rose of Sharon
Wayside Gardens
$13.97 $19.95
at Wayside Gardens

One of the showiest split-cups ever introduced, Cum Laude delights with midseason blooms of peach, salmon, pink, and gold around a... pure white perianth. An excellent choice for cutting, it stands out in any crowd of daffodils for its huge cup, elegant ruffles, and unusual blend of colors. Cum Laude was introduced in 1984 and became a favorite at once. Who could resist the large, elongated, elegant cup? A Division 11 daffodil, it stands about 14 to 16 inches high, and should be protected from strong winds to extend the life of the magnificent blooms. Like all daffodils, Cum Laude appreciates good soil drainage and plenty of sunshine. It naturalizes over time, and can be grown in containers. Select a very special place for this dramatic cultivar! Zones 4-8. read more

Cum Laude Daffodil - Pack of 10
Wayside Gardens
$13.97 $19.95
at Wayside Gardens

Marvelously fragrant, this very rare yellow-flowered selection of the species basks in blazing sun and sandy soil, making it an id...eal choice for rock gardens, edging, and other exposed locations. The 4-inch bloomspikes emerge in late spring with a violet cast, then turn a rich yellow. Eager to naturalize, the 6-inch tall plants quickly multiply in any very well-drained spot. Nursery-grown to be virus-free. Pack of 10 bulbs. read more

Golden Fragrance Grape Hyacinth - Pack of 10
Wayside Gardens
$59.95 $79.95
at Wayside Gardens

For years the Holy Grail of serious gardeners, this Itoh Hybrid from master breeder Roger Anderson sold for more than $1,000 a div...ision as late as 1999, but today is mercifully much more affordable! Yet no other Peony has surpassed it for beauty, fragrance, or sheer flower power, and we doubt any will. With blooms measuring 9 inches across, fully double and redolent of zesty lemon, this Peony would be remarkable even if it didnt have the vigor to produce more than 80 flowers a season on a single plant. The flowers are simply magnificent, whorled like a rose but far longer-lasting and much larger. The outer layers are a creamy meringue, becoming more richly yellow toward the center, where hints of a red base (the flares characteristic of Tree Peonies) are visible as the bloom unfolds to its fullest extent. Absolutely superior to others as a cut-flower, they last for several weeks in the vase, their scent remaining as fresh and enticing as their petals. A single plant will perfume the garden and keep your vases full . . . but at this very special pricing, who would plant just one? Bartzella is an intersectional or Itoh hybrid, a very special class of Peonies with parentage from both Tree and Herbaceous species. Blooming in between the Tree Peonies and their Herbaceous cousins, Bartzella offers a range of superior traits: shrubby habit, fragrance, luscious bloom color and larger bloom size, excellent resistance to Peony Blight, tolerance of heat, humidity, cold, and poor soil, and extended bloom season. This plant reaches about 3 feet high and wide in sun or light shade. It is untroubled by rabbits or deer, and is quite long-lived, blooming dependably for decades. Peonies are very slow to propagate (hence their high price) but are quite low maintenance once planted in the garden. They flower in late spring or early summer, and often need plant supports to hold up their bounty of huge blooms. Although most frequently used as a cutflower, they are a delightful garden presence as well, the flowers holding for weeks. Discover the joy of this old-fashioned flower with modern vigor, longevity, and bloom strength! And please reserve your Bartzella early. At this price, it will not see out the season! Zones 3-8. read more

Bartzella Peony
Burpee
$2.49 $4.95
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All-America Selections winner. Carmen is a traditional, horn-shaped Italian sweet pepper. It matures early from green to red and i...s extremely productive in a wide temperature range. Harvest about 75 days after transplanting. read more

Pepper, Sweet Carmen Hybrid
Burpee
$1.99 $3.95
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Preferred by gourmet chefs. This Sweet flavored pepper stays green when ripe. It?s thin-walled and versatile?perfect for grilling,... stuffing and roasting. read more

Pepper, Hot, Spanish Spice Hybrid
Burpee
$1.99 $3.95
at Burpee

Huge fruits with thick, tasty flesh. Huge peppers are over 6 ½" long, have thick walls and elongated shapes. Green peppers will ma...ture to red. Resistant to Tobacco Mosaic Virus. Ready to harvest 73 days after setting plants in the garden. read more

Pepper , Sweet Blockbuster
Burpee
$2.49 $4.95
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Brightens up the garden Thick-walled yellow beauty of a sweet pepper adds color and flare to the garden, snacks, and cooked in rec...ipes. read more

Sweet Pepper, Wagonwheel
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