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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.


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

Plant Patent Applied For. Cultivar name: Wims Red Find a special place for this thrilling new Panicle Hydrangea! Fire and Ice chan...ges bloom color every few weeks, creating a season-long play of hue that never ceases to fascinate. This ultra-compact Hydrangea is just right for garden or large container, delighting with long wands of brilliant color. The blooms open cream-colored in early spring, standing out beautifully against the bright green foliage on plants 6 to 10 feet high and wide. By midsummer blushes of pink have overtaken the florets, and soon the entire plume is a rich shade of cotton-candy pink. Then, beginning in late summer and continuing throughout autumn, the flowers acquire a deep, intense shade of magenta-burgundy. Stunning! Best in part shade, Fire and Ice will become the focal point of any setting. Its a good choice for the foundation or along the driveway, where its bloom changes can be followed on a daily basis, but it also works well in border and woodland garden. Truly unique, it deserves a place of honor! Zones 3-8. read more

Wayside Gardens

Giant 6-inch flowerheads of either magenta or blue edged in white create quite a show on this ultra-compact Cityline® Hydrangea. M...ars is the latest in the ultra-popular series of shrubs that brings the beauty and majesty of the Hydrangea into containers and small spaces everywhere, and if youve got a bit of bare soil, its a terrific addition! The blooms are truly bicolored, with colored interiors of magenta-pink or blue (depending on soil pH) that gradually mature to green. Most Hydrangea blooms begin green, but these come full circle! The flowers appear in early summer in most climates and continue into fall. They are great for cutting, and make good Everlastings, too. But they look so big and imposing on the plant that you might find yourself unable to pick a bouquet! Mars reaches just 1 to 3 feet high (smaller in containers, larger in the soil) and 3 to 4 feet wide. It prefers full sun in northern climates, a bit of shade farther south and west. The leaves -- wide, toothy, bright green -- keep it attractive even when the blooms arent present. This Cityline® variety is renowned for its stem strength, too. The blooms are held up and out with no flopping on very well-branched shrubs that are mildew-free even in humid and rainy climates. Hydrangea has come a long, long way since the days of Grandmas huge old tumbledown shrub on the side of the house! To manipulate the color of the blooms, add lime to acidic soils to turn the blue tones magenta, or make the soil more acidic for bluer flowers. Hydrangeas are so much fun! Order yours today. Zones 5-9. read more

Wayside Gardens

Plant Patent Applied For. CBRAF. Cultivar name: Abetwo. Your eyes do not deceive you -- the flowers really are more than a foot and perfectly round on this stunning new Hydrangea! A new selection of a native species, this is without a doubt the largest-flowered mophead type in the world, its blooms approaching the size of beachballs! Incrediball® arose, like so many great inventions, as an accident -- it was part of a breeding program designed to improve the stem strength of Hydrangea, so that the blooms would stand up rather than flopping. Well, it worked -- but who could have imagined the blooms would emerge so enormous and so packed with florets? It is descended from Hydrangea Annabelle, a beloved favorite for decades, but each of Incrediballs® flowerheads contains 4 TIMES THE NUMBER OF BLOOMS as Annabelles. Its simply amazing. The blooms open a very pale shade of green to cream, maturing to pure white. Like most Hydrangea, they begin blooming when the warm summer weather arrives, and continue all season, often generously extending into fall. Cut the blooms for fresh or dried arrangements; they last for months indoors, their petals acquiring a lovely papery texture. Incrediball® reaches 4 to 5 feet high and wide in sun (in the north) to partial shade (farther south). A moisture lover, it should receive regular watering to grow and bloom its best. You will find it easy to grow, eager to bloom, and breathtaking in the foundation, as a hedge, or in the border. read more

Wayside Gardens

Earlier to bloom than other Hydrangeas, this lovely little mophead brightens the garden from summer through fall with large white set against attractive dark green foliage. Low maintenance and displaying a compact habit, its suitable for the shade garden as well as patio containers. Zones 5-9. read more


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.


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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Wayside Gardens

Cultivar name: Mindor. This unique shrub covers itself in earliest spring with bright yellow blooms that adorn the stems all the w...ay from the ground to the very tips! Its dark green foliage keeps it attractive all season long, and it never needs pruning, keeping its neat and tidy shape year after year. Absolutely the first of its kind, Show Offs? branches sub-branch and stand up, instead of arching like your typical Forsythia. Zones 4-8. 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.


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.


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.


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 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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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

O.W. Lee
$91.80-$122.40 $108.00-$144.00
at Homeclick

Rich with old world craftsmanship, the Classico collection embodies the graceful elegance of wrought iron. With its superior const...ruction techniques and artisan bends, the Classico collection brings comfort, style, and tranquility to any outdoor space. read more

O.W. Lee
$91.80-$122.40 $108.00-$144.00
at Homeclick

Rich with old world craftsmanship, the Classico collection embodies the graceful elegance of wrought iron. With its superior const...ruction techniques and artisan bends, the Classico collection brings comfort, style, and tranquility to any outdoor space. 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.


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

Glossy lime green, glistening foliage, with large pure white, fragrant blooms in August. Vigorous grower that adapts well to many ...light exposures. read more

Royal Standard Hosta - 3 root divisions

Frosty blue-green foliage and upright habit make this hosta a distinctive standout. It makes a great addition to any mixed hosta p...lanting, and its beauty is such that it can stand alone as a special accent. Leaves are large and ribbed. During the summer, sprays of small lavender flowers are an added treat. 28 inches tall. read more

Krossa Regal Hosta - 3 root divisions

Exceptional! Dark green leaves with crisp, clean white margins, and lovely lavender blooms in mid-summer earn this hosta a special... status ? it?s one of the best. Foliage stays fresh all season, and the flowers are perfectly proportioned to the plant. A striking accent on it?s own, or mix among your other hostas to make the whole planting more impressive. 22 inches tall. read more

Francee Hosta - 3 root divisions

For whimsical summer color without a garden, our bright mixed Annual Saddlebag kit is ideal. Kit includes a packet of mixed Annual... seeds, Saddlebag and instructions for planting. read more

Mixed Annual Vertical Garden
$11.00 $15.72

This item will ship in the Spring at the proper planting time for your area. Botanical Name: Hosta fortunei

Patriot Hosta - 3 root divisions

Lovely lavender lilac flowers with six petals that form little stars when fully open and deep yellow stamens as a center accent. P...erfect for rock gardens and in naturalized settings. Increase in numbers year after year. Mid-season. read more

Whitewell Purple Species Crocus - 10 bulbs

'Ruby Giant' crocus is a species crocus, among the first to bloom in early spring. Very low-growing, it creates a rich, velvety ca...rpet of deep lilac purple flowers with golden centers, on stems just 4-6? high. Silvery stripes decorate the bright green foliage. Use this versatile variety to edge a border or walkway or plant in a lawn for a burst of refreshing color ? flowers will have faded by the time you have to mow. Also eye-catching in drifts under deciduous trees. Order today ? our top-size, premium bulbs are guaranteed to delight! read more

Ruby Giant Species Crocus - 10 bulbs

Astonishing rich violet blue spheres are up to 8? across ? thick, sturdy 4? stems carry the huge flower heads. Allium 'Ambassador'... blooms late in spring, often at the same time as the first flush of roses. They are impressive lining a walkway, or planted in groups for an electrifying shock of color in beds, borders and containers. Best of all, this ornamental plant helps keep rodents out of your garden. Top-grade, premium allium bulbs guarantee a dazzling display next season. read more

Ambassador Allium - 1 bulb

Wide Brim hosta has a deep blue-green center with very wide irregular margins of cream with gold tints at maturity. Attractive bud...s and dense, pale lavender flower heads on 22 inch scapes in summer. 18 inches tall. read more

Wide Brim Hosta - 3 root divisions

Hosta Undulata albomarginata has green leaves edged in white. Blooming in July, good variety for potting. 22 inches tall.

Undulata Albo-marginata Hosta - 3 root divisions
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