Types of Shrubs: 18 Different Types of Bushes to Grow in Your Yard

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Type of Shrubs and bushes
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No garden landscape would be complete without different types of shrubs and bushes growing in it. There are flowering evergreen landscaping shrubs that provide year-long color and bloom in the spring, summer, and fall. Other types of perennial bushes are great low-growing border plants. You can also plant decorative bushes with various colors of leaves such as purple, red, and multicolored ones.

When choosing the best type of bush or decorative shrub for your yard, it’s important to look for low maintenance varieties. These types of easy to grow shrubs can transform your garden with minimal effort and care. As a result of this, you have more time to relax and enjoy the wonderful shrubs and bushes growing in your yard.

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In this article, you will find landscaping solutions for any kind of large or small yard. You will find out the best types of shrubs to grow in full sun or partial shade. You will also discover some of the best low-growing evergreen bushes that provide great ground cover.

Different Types of Bushes to Grow in Your Yard (With Pictures and Names)

Having attractive landscaping shrubs in your garden can provide color, privacy, beautiful blooms, and attract pollinators. Knowing how to choose the best bushes for your garden can be a challenge as there are literally thousands of different shrubs to choose from.

Read on to find out some great low-maintenance shrubs for any kind of yard or garden.

Types of Evergreen Shrubs to Grow in Your Yard (With Pictures and Names)

Shrubs that are green all year round are essential for a beautiful garden landscape.

Winter Creeper

winter creeper

2 cultivars of winter creeper are Emerald`n Gold` (left) and Emerald Gaiety (right)

The Winter Creeper is an easy compact plant to grow in your yard that provides foliage and greenery all year long.

Hardy garden shrubs such as the Winter Creeper are ideal for planting along borders, providing ground cover, or in containers. This evergreen shrub can also climb and decorate trellises or garden walls.

Winter creeper cultivars such as the ‘Blonde Beauty’ also has multicolored leaves. These can give your yard attractive yellow and green colors throughout the winter. You can also plant this type of perennial bush in full sun and in shady areas.

Other good Winter Creeper cultivars include the delightful ‘Emerald Gaiety,’ ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold,’ ‘Fortune’s Spindle,’ and ‘Emerald Surprise.’

  • Name: Euonymus fortunei
  • Growing zones: 5 to 9
  • Size: Up to 24” (60 cm) tall and a spread of 40” (100 cm)
  • Conditions: Grows well in full sun, partial shade, or full shade. Thrives in well-drained soil but also tolerates poor soil.
  • Difficulty: Very easy.

Japanese Laurel

Japanese laurel

The spotted laurel is a great type of shrub for partial sun and shady area

The Japanese Laurel is a wonderful landscaping shrub that has long, broad evergreen leaves. This bush for front yards or back yards is also called ‘Spotted Laurel’ or ‘Gold Dust’ plant.

If you need a good hardy shrub for shady areas of your garden, then Japanese Laurel cultivars are a great choice. Many have large glossy leaves, and some cultivars are variegated – meaning their leaves have 2 or 3 colors.

Many types of Japanese Laurels have small insignificant flowers during the summertime. However, the appearance of red berries in the fall gives your garden some bright colors.

Some outstanding Japanese Laurel cultivars include ‘Crotonifolia’ with bright yellow leaves and green speckles, ‘Golden King’ that has green leaves with yellow blotching, or the ‘Picturata’ with glossy green leaves and a yellow center.

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  • Name: Aucuba japonica
  • Growing zones: 6 to 10
  • Size: Between 6 and 10 ft. (1.8 – 3 m) tall and a spread of 5 to 9 ft. (1.5 – 2.7 m)
  • Conditions: Partial sun and shade. Grows well in most types of soil and the soil should be dry or moist.
  • Difficulty: Low maintenance and easy to care for.

Photinias

Photinia fraseri

Photinia fraseri is a popular type of shrub with new red leaves that gradually turn green as they mature

Photinia is a group of shrubs and small trees that are delightful ornamental plants for their striking foliage colors.

Many Photinia cultivars grow well in temperate climates and stay green throughout the year. One of the reasons for planting these popular shrubs is for their red leaves that appear in spring and summer. These large garden shrubs can also make attractive hedges for year-long privacy.

For example, one of the most popular types of Photinia is the red shrub called Red Tip Photinia (Photinia fraseri). New leaves appear red before gradually turning green as they mature.

Other notable red shrub Photinia cultivars with red leaves are ‘Red Robin,’ ‘Pink Marble,’ and ‘Scarlet Blaze.’

  • Name: Photinia
  • Growing zones: 7 to 11
  • Size: Depending on the cultivar, up to 4 ft. (3 m) tall and a spread of the same size.
  • Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Grows in most type of soil; however, for vibrant red bushes, you need nutrient-rich soil.
  • Difficulty: Easy to grow, but may need regular pruning to control height.

European Box Plant

Buxus microphylla Green Pillow

Buxus microphylla ‘Green Pillow compact’ is a type of oval shaped shrub with height and spread of 2-3 feet (60-90 cm)

Boxwood plants are great evergreen bushes for your garden that you can easily shape or prune to your needs.

The European Box plants are generally slow-growing evergreen shrubs that have thick green leaves. Depending on the cultivar, you can also get variegated varieties that have yellow and green leaves. These are also good types of medium-sized compact shrubs to create privacy hedges.

If you are looking for a small cultivar of the boxwood variety, choose the Buxus microphylla ‘Sprinter.’ This grows well in zones 5-8 and only reaches a height of 3 ft. (120 cm).

  • Name: Buxus
  • Growing zones: 5 to 8
  • Size: Cultivars range from 3 ft. (0.9 m) to 30 ft. (9 m)
  • Conditions: Partial shade. Grows in sandy to heavy clay soils that drain well.
  • Difficulty: Need some pruning in the summer, but generally easy to grow.

Flowering Shrubs for Your Garden

Planting flowering bushes can create an array of color that can last from early spring to late fall. Read on to find out which flowering shrubs are best for your landscaping needs.

Hydrangeas

hydrangea

Hydrangea is a type of flowering bush with many cultivars

Hydrangeas are a group of flowering decorative bushes that produce flowers in a range of colors from white to pink, purple, red and blue. There are over 70 species of hydrangeas that are large bushy flowering shrubs.

These low-maintenance landscaping bushes have large oak-shaped leaves that are good for ground cover. Blooms appear in early spring and continue flowering until early fall. Some types of hydrangea flowers are like large colorful aromatic balls, whereas other are clusters of flowers in a cone shape.

Planting hydrangeas in your garden also means that you have an abundance of cut flowers to add to your home décor during the summer.

Some notable hydrangea cultivars with beautiful flowers for your garden include:

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  • Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ with its enormous white flowers
  • Hydrangea paniculate ‘Magical Moonlight’ with green-white cone-shaped flowers
  • Hydrangea ‘Double Dutch Edam’ that has beautiful star-shaped flowers
  • Name: Hydrangea
  • Growing zones: 3 to 9 (however, check specific cultivars about your particular zone)
  • Size: 3 to 10 ft. (1 m to 3 m)
  • Conditions: Full sun to partial shade. Need rich moist soil to grow well.
  • Difficulty: Easy for most gardeners.

Camellias

camellia

Camellia shrub has many hybrids and cultivars with white, pink and red flowers

Camellias are a type of evergreen flowering shrub that include over 3,000 different hybrids and cultivars. The beauty of Camellia plants in your garden is that you get a wonderful array of colors throughout the summer.

If you are looking for a type of Camellia flower-producing bush for your garden, there are a number of small or dwarf cultivars to choose from. Usually, Camellia shrubs are the first ones to bloom in your garden after winter.

You can also train Camellia shrubs to grow against a wall to show beautiful floral displays in the summer.

Camellia bushes produce red, white, and pink flowers with single or double blooms, depending on the cultivar. Camellias are a good choice for your garden if you are looking for pink, white or red flowering shrubs.

Examples of Camellia flowering bushes for full to partial sun include:

  • Camellia ‘Tricolor’ is a stunning hardy shrub with double blossoms that requires little care
  • Camellia ‘Cinnamon Lady’ with beautiful white flowers and reddish-green leaves
  • Camellia japonica ‘Don Mac’ that produces large red blooms which emerge from a dense pyramid-shaped bush
  • Name: Camellia japonica or Camellia sasanqua
  • Growing zones: 7 to 9
  • Conditions: Full sun to partial sun. Grows in neutral to acidic soil that is well-drained.
  • Difficulty: Easy to grow for glossy green foliage in your garden.

Daphne Odora

daphne odora

Daphne odora is a type of evergreen bush with fragrant blossoms

Daphne Odora is another type of evergreen flowering bush that grows well in yards without much maintenance.

This medium-sized shrub produces fragrant purple and pink blossoms in late winter and early spring. The dark-green leaves often have yellow edging which gives the shrub a very colorful look all year long.

The Gold-Edged Winter Daphne (D. odora ‘Aureomarginata’) is the hardiest of the ‘Daphne’ shrubs and has gold-edged leaves.

This evergreen shrub may not be suitable for all gardens as its leaves are poisonous to humans and animals if eaten.

  • Name: Daphne odora
  • Growing zones: 7 to 9
  • Size: 3 to 6 ft. (1 – 1.8 m)
  • Conditions: Full sun or partial shade. Loamy or clay soils that drain well.
  • Difficulty: Quite difficult and the plants only last up to 10 years.

Fatsia Japonica

Fatsia Japonica

Fatsia japonica is a type of fast growing shrub with variegated cultivars

The Fatsia japonica is a low-maintenance evergreen shrub and is one of the best shrubs if you want one with large leaves.

The Fatsia is a hardy, robust type of shrub that is fast growing. The large shiny leaves on the plant can grow up to 18” (45 cm) wide and can easily provide good ground coverage. During the summer, you can expect clusters of small white flowers to grace this majestic large-leafed bush.

For some additional color in your garden, you could also plant the Fatsia japonica ‘Variegata.’ This hardy shrub has blotches of yellows and whites decorating the dark-green leaves.

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  • Name: Fatsia japonica
  • Growing zones: 7 to 10
  • Size: 5 to 8 ft. (1.5 – 2.4 m) tall
  • Conditions: Partial shade. Grows well in a variety of different soils.
  • Difficulty: Easy to grow and regular pruning will help manage the height.

Dogwood

dogwood

During summertime Dogwood cultivars have light green leaves with white flowers with red-barked stems in fall and winter

If you are looking for some stunning red shrubs for landscaping, then some varieties of Dogwood are excellent choices.

Plants such as Siberian dogwood have red-barked stems that become striking deep red in the fall and winter. This type of red shrub can look stunning when there is little color in your garden apart from evergreen plants. You can transform your garden with shades of orange, gold, and red.

During summertime, Dogwood cultivars have light green leaves. Certain cultivars such as the ‘Elegantissima’ has delicate clusters of white flowers that provide some contrast to this flowering shrub.

  • Name: Cornus alba
  • Growing zones: Hardy down to zone 3
  • Size: 10 ft. (3 m) and a spread of up to 6 ft. (2 m)
  • Conditions: Plant in sunny spots to get the deepest red colors on this bush. Grows well in most soil conditions.
  • Difficulty: Fairly easy to grow in well-drained soil.

Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)

azalea

Azalea is a type of flowering bush with many cultivars that will give stunning color to your garden

Plant azaleas in your garden if you want beautiful colorful flowers in spring. Azaleas produce stunning blooms in various shades of pink, white, purple, red, and yellow.

Azaleas are a member of the rhododendron genus and there are hundreds of cultivars in the azalea species. These perennial flowering shrubs come in all shapes and sizes and it is easy to pick a type perfect for your landscaping needs. Some azalea cultivars are also extremely hardy and can survive harsh winters.

There are also many different types of Azalea flowers. Some are simple flowers with a single row of colorful wispy petals. Other types of flowers can be double flowers with contrasting colors, and other stunning varieties are double hose-in-hose flowers.

  • Name: Rhododendron Tsutsusi (evergreen varieties) and Rhododendron Pentanthera (deciduous varieties).
  • Growing zones: 3 to 9
  • Size: 3 to 8 ft. (0.9 – 2.4 m)
  • Conditions: Partial sun and any type of well-drained soil.
  • Difficulty: Carefree and easy to grow.

Rose of Sharon

rose of sharon picture

The rose of Sharon is a type of hibiscus shrub or small tree

The rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) is a type of flowering shrub or small tree that produces beautiful red, white, pink, light blue, or lilac flowers.

Despite its name, this deciduous shrub isn’t a rose but a member of the mallow family Malvaceae. Other popular names for the rose of Sharon include Chinese hibiscus, Althea tree, Korean rose, or rose mallow.

  • Name: Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus).
  • Growing zones: 5 to 8
  • Size: 8 to 12 ft. (2.4  – 3.6 m)
  • Conditions: Full sun to part shade and any type of well-drained soil.
  • Difficulty: Carefree and easy to grow.

Related: Lilac Bush: Facts, How to Grow It, Care Tips and More

Decorative Purple Shrubs to Grow in Your Yard (With Pictures and Names)

Apart from planting green or variegated landscaping shrubs in your garden, you can add some striking colorful features by planting purple-leaved shrubs.

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Persian Shield

Persian shield

Persian shield is a type of flowering evergreen shrub with purple leaves

Persian shield is a great type of purple bush for landscaping as it is very hardy and requires very little care.

This is a dark-colored, beautiful shrub that is excellent for ground cover plant and it doesn’t lose its leaves in winter. However, for the plant to survive in your garden outdoors, you should live in warm climates.

The foliage on the Persian Shield can be in various shades of purple from lilac to deep purple. Some cultivars also have lance-shaped long leaves that have pointed tips.

  • Name: Strobilanthes dyerianus
  • Growing zones: 9 or 10 or you can grow this indoor as a houseplant
  • Size: 5 ft. (1.5 m), however, pruning can help keep the plant height down
  • Conditions: Full sun and warm conditions. Requires organically rich, well-drained soil.
  • Difficulty: A spreading plant that is easy to grow.

Purple Ninebark

diablo ninebark

Diablo ninebark is a type of a large purple bush with light colored flowers

Purple ninebark is a large deciduous flowering shrub with dark purple leaves that belongs to the rose family. It is a cultivar of Physocarpus opulifolius (common ninebark) that has a green foliage.

This type of purple shrub is fast growing bush with white or light pink clustering flowers that bloom in late-spring or early-summer.

Other names for this shrub include “Diablo ninebarks” or “purple-leafed ninebarks”.

  • Name: Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Monlo.’
  • Growing zones: 3 to 7
  • Size: 10 ft. tall and a similar spread (3 m)
  • Conditions: Full sun to partial shade. Requires well-drained soil that is kept moist.
  • Difficulty: Easy to grow.

Low-Growing Shrubs and Bushes for Your Yard

Other types of no-maintenance shrubs that are excellent for evergreen foliage are varieties of juniper, cypress, and spruce. Cultivars of these coniferous trees/shrubs are excellent for low-growing landscaping solutions that don’t require any maintenance.

Siberian Carpet Cypress

Siberian Carpet Cypress

The Siberian Carpet Cypress is a type of spreading shrub that is good as a ground cover bush

As its name suggests, the Siberian carpet cypress is a low-growing shrub that grows well in full sun as well as in cool shady areas of your garden.

Once planted, this Siberian coniferous shrub spreads out along the ground producing a thick green carpet. This spreading shrub is also drought-resistant and can withstand harsh cold winters.

  • Name: Microbiota decussata
  • Growing zones: 2 to 7
  • Size: 40” (1 m) high and a spread of up to 40” (1 m)
  • Conditions: Full sun. Prefers moist soil that drains well.
  • Difficulty: Easy to grow with zero maintenance.

Juniper ‘Blue Star’

Juniper ‘Blue Star’

Juniper ‘Blue Star’ is a type of dwarf evergreen shrub that is very easy to grow

Juniper shrubs such as the ‘Blue Star’ are excellent dwarf varieties of this evergreen shrub that grow well in most conditions.

The Juniper ‘Blue Star’ cultivar provides good low-level ground cover without requiring any care. The hardy shrub is slow-growing and will give silvery carpeting to your garden.

  • Name: Juniperus squamata ‘Blue Star’
  • Growing zones:  4 to 8
  • Size: 24” to 36” (60 – 90 cm) and a spread of 3 to 4 ft. (90 – 120 cm)
  • Conditions: Full sun as it doesn’t grow in the shade. Any type of soil as long as it drains well.
  • Difficulty: Very easy requires no maintenance.

Yew ‘Densiformis’

Yew ‘Densiformis’

Yew ‘Densiformis’ is a type of dwarf evergreen spreading shrub

This dwarf evergreen spreading plant is an excellent choice of small shrub for any garden. The branches are covered in soft needles that provide excellent ground coverage.

If you need some height from your coniferous bush, then dwarf Yew varieties such as this can grow to a height of 3 ft. The evergreen leaves also spread out well to create an attractive bushy shrub in shady conditions.

  • Name: Taxus media ‘Densiformis’
  • Growing zones: 4 to 7
  • Size: 3 to 4 ft. (0.9 – 1.2 m) and a spread of 4 to 6 ft. (1.2 – 1.8 m)
  • Conditions: Full sun to partial shade. Grows in any type of soil from light sandy soil to heavy clay soil that is well-drained.
  • Difficulty: Easy with no maintenance.

Dwarf Norway Spruce

Dwarf Norway Spruce

The Dwarf Norway Spruce is an evergreen shrub with flattened round dense foliage

If you are looking for a small shrubby conifer for your garden, then dwarf varieties of spruce trees are great choices.

For example, the Norwary spruce cultivar ‘Little Gem’ grows to just under a foot (30 cm) and creates a compact cushion-like bush. You can plant this small shrub in gardens with limited space. Or, you can plant a few shrubs together for a good ground coverage that doesn’t need maintaining.

  • Name: Picea abies ‘Little Gem’
  • Growing zones: 3 to 8
  • Size: 10” to 12” (25 – 30 cm) and a spread of the same size
  • Conditions: Full to partial sun. Grows in neutral to acidic soil and prefers moist or damp soil conditions.
  • Difficulty: Easy.

Juniper ‘Sea Green’

Juniper ‘Sea Green’

Juniper ‘Sea Green’ is a type of decorative evergreen easy to grow bush

One type of medium-sized coniferous shrub that is easy to grow is a type of Juniper bush called the ‘Sea Green.’ This is also called the Chinese Juniper.

The Juniper ‘Sea Green’ is a decorative evergreen shrub for your garden. The reason for this is that it has arching branches that give the shrub a cascading effect. In the summer, the soft foliage is a minty-green color that gradually darkens as it gets colder.

This easy-to-care-for plant is a good choice where you need medium height ground cover or if you want to create an attractive hedge.

  • Name: Juniperus pfitzeriana ‘Sea Green’
  • Growing zones: 4 to 9
  • Size: 4 to 6 ft. (1.2 – 1.8 m) and a spread of 6 to 8 ft. (1.8 – 2.4 m)
  • Conditions: Full to partial sun and survives well in dry, sandy soil.
  • Difficulty: Easy with little to no maintenance.

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