Ornamental shrubs for the garden

Ornamental shrubs

Effective ornamental shrubs can solve many garden problems.

In addition to decoration, they can perform practical functions, playing the role of a green hedge or masking some corners of the garden. Most of the popular species of such plants in gardening are unpretentious perennials that do not require too difficult care. Beautiful flowers or leaves allow you to create from such shrubs various compositions, attractive throughout the season.

Varieties of ornamental shrubs

Ornamental shrubs are able to quickly fill the space of the garden. The height of such plants can range from 20 cm to several meters. From the many species present in the garden market, select copies that will best fit into the conceived landscape. These can be shrubs with attractive flowers or leaves, which can include lianas used in vertical landscaping. These shrubs have climbing sprouts that allow the plants to climb the support provided for them. Lianas can be used to quickly decorate many garden structures, resting places, or decorative objects: arbors, pergolas, grids, fences, walls, or even tree trunks. The direction of their shoots allows you to form a beautiful green wall.

Garden vines usually prefer sunny locations and are often heat-loving. Some of the most popular shrubs of this type include:

  • Wisteria – an extraordinarily showy liana with fragrant bunched inflorescences.
  • Maiden grape – a liana with beautiful foliage that changes color in the fall.
  • Honeysuckle – The climbing species have fragrant flowers and bright, inedible berries.
  • Campsis – a beautifully flowering southern liana that can become a garden weed.
  • Clematis is a moderately winter-hardy liana with large showy flowers.
  • Ornamental shrubs for your garden!
  • Flowering ornamental shrubs.

Shrubs of this type can look ornate throughout the season, but it is during flowering that attracts the most attention. Tender, bright or fragrant flowers make these plants a real decoration of the garden plot. Among the most common flowering perennial shrubs:


Fragrant and ornate buddleia is called “butterfly bush” or “moth tree”: during the flowering period, many insects flock to it. This plant belongs to the Norwich family. Buddleia has wide drooping branches, on the ends of which there are oblong spike-like inflorescences of white, pink, blue, or purple color. Most often the size of such a plant does not exceed 1.5 m in height, although the Buddleia David can sometimes reach up to 3 m. Buddleias are remarkable for their unpretentiousness but have some peculiarities of cultivation.

  • Plantings require fertile soil and a sunny location;
  • Buddleias are planted permanently in spring or fall;
  • Buddleia is considered quite frost-resistant, but the bushes will still need shelter for the winter;
  • Once a year, pruning should be carried out, removing dry branches from the shrub and shaping the crown for more lush flowering.

Common varieties of Buddleia Davidica include:

  • Darts Papillon – with purple inflorescences up to 30 cm long.
  • Purple Prince – forms dark purple flowers.
  • Border Beauty – flowers are colored bright lilac-pink.


Hibiscus is a tropical relative of the commonly known stonecrop or mallow. These shrubs have similar funnel-shaped flowers. Hibiscuses form bushes up to 2 meters tall. They have stiff branches and dark green lobed foliage. To grow hibiscus, you need:

  • Use fertile, slightly acidic soil;
  • Find a sunny and warm place in the garden;
  • Provide the plant a good cover of the root system before the onset of frost;
  • Water the shrub more often in hot weather;
  • Regularly feed the hibiscus for more lush and prolonged flowering.

Famous varieties include:

  • Andreas – red-flowered hibiscus.
  • Hambo – flowers with pink petals and a contrasting spot at the base.
  • Pink Giant – pink flowers with a red spot at the base of the petals.


Azalea and rhododendron are close relatives and have some similarities in cultivation. These shrubs can tolerate bright sunlight but need constantly moist soil. Most azaleas shed their leaves over the winter, so these plants are considered more frost-resistant than their evergreen counterparts. In addition, azaleas can suit not only a sunny but also a semi-shady location.

For the garden, the most commonly used is the large-flowered azalea, also called Japanese azalea. Its flowers can have different colors, including shades of pink, red, orange, or white. To grow azalea:

  • Choose a spacious area – the width of the bush reaches 1.5 m, so it should have enough space. The azalea will grow best in a moderately lit place, sheltered from the wind;
  • Acidic soil rich in humus is used;
  • Regularly feed the shrub;
  • Pruning is carried out only for sanitary purposes, removing tied flowers.

Azaleas will require moderate care. For the development of such plants, loose and fertile soil that is well permeable to air and moisture is preferred. To prevent the soil from drying out so quickly, mulch the root area with bark. During droughts, the plant should be watered more often, otherwise, it will not be able to form buds by the next season.

The appearance of azaleas depends on the species and variety of plants chosen. As they develop, the bushes become more lush and dense. They are used both in solo plantings and in various compositions, as well as growing in pots or vases. Because of their love of acidic soil, azaleas combine well with conifers as well as other ornamental shrubs. In addition to the bush form, azaleas can also be formed as small trees.


Most rhododendrons are evergreen shrubs. In autumn, such species do not shed their leathery leaves, so they need a sufficient amount of moisture in the pre-winter period. A large species diversity allows you to choose a plant with the necessary parameters. Rhododendrons can vary in bush size, color, and timing of flowering. Like azaleas, these plants require acidic and moist soil. Without this condition, plantings are weaker and more likely to become diseased.

  • Rhododendrons grow well in semi-shady places, where their foliage is less susceptible to getting burned or drying out;
  • You can place such plantings near garden ponds. The humidity of the air will promote their growth;
  • It is not recommended to grow rhododendrons next to spruces, although their bushes are good neighbors with pine or juniper.
  • Before the beginning of active growth and after flowering, the bushes are fed with mineral compositions, trying to avoid organics;
  • Rhododendrons do not need pruning, they are only cleaned of faded flowers. Such measures allow the plant to save strength, not wasting them on the formation of seeds.

With proper care, such a shrub will be able to grow in one place for a very long time, so the place for its planting should be chosen carefully.


Clematis (or Lomonosus) belongs to the group of garden lianas. It can be used to decorate fences, arbors, and other garden structures. Their length depends on the species and can be up to 3.5 m. Clematis attracts with their large flowers with the velvety surface of petals and a wide palette of colors. They appear on the stems from midsummer to late fall, giving the liana a really exotic look.

  • Clematis prefer fertile soil that does not retain moisture. Stagnant fluid at the roots can harm them, but you should also not dry them out;
  • When planting, choose a place in which the flower stems will be located in the sun, and the lower part of the shrub – in the shade or penumbra. It is possible to plant next to the liana small annuals, which will shade its root area;
  • Bristly stems need to be protected from strong winds, as well as from precipitation if the plants are planted near the walls;
  • If there is a risk of severe frost, clematis should be covered for the winter, but in the spring the cover should be removed as quickly as possible so that the bushes do not go stale.

The exact timing of flowering of clematis varies, falling in the spring, summer or fall. Depending on the species, such lianas form flowers on the shoots of the past or current year, so the timing of pruning of different clematis will vary.


Lush and fragrant caps of hydrangea flowers can decorate any plot. This shrub is rightly considered one of the most decorative. The variety of hydrangeas are especially popular with large-leaf, tree, and panicle species. Large-leaf hydrangea can be grown both in the garden and at home. It is about a meter in size and can have flowers that change color depending on the soil composition. Hydrangeas with woody and panicle heads are considered hardier because they have woody sprouts. Their flowers are more delicate in greenish-white or pink tones.

  • Every Hydrangea species has its own growth characteristics, but in general, such plants are quite demanding.
  • Hydrangeas need nutritious soil with a high content of humus, clay soil is not suitable for them;
  • Semi-shady places are preferred for planting, in which the plants will have enough light, but the sun will not dry out their leaves;
  • Even frost-resistant species before the onset of cold weather must be covered. Hydrangeas that have frozen over the winter can quickly recover in the spring;
  • Throughout the season, shrubs are regularly watered and fertilized – the plant is very fond of water, but watering must be done in a timely manner. With fertilizers is also important not to overdo it – too much organic matter can have a bad effect on flowering;
  • Hydrangeas will need pruning to maintain abundant flowering, but its timing depends on the selected plant species: they form flower buds at different times.

The more heat-loving large-leaf hydrangea is often planted in mobile containers to bring inside when the cold weather arrives. The size of the bush allows it to fit in a pot.


Lilac is a widespread ornamental shrub belonging to the Olive family. The unpretentious plant is often used to decorate city streets and front gardens but is also often found in gardens. Inflorescences of lilacs can be variously colored in white, lilac, pink, purple, or burgundy. There are varieties with terry or bicolor flowers. Lilac branches can be used to create bouquets – they stand well in water.

For garden lilacs to bloom regularly and abundantly, not much effort is required:

  • The shrub is planted in a sunny place with a nutritious soil of neutral or slightly alkaline reaction;
  • After flowering, pruning is carried out, it will contribute to a more lush crown;
  • About a couple of times a season, it is recommended to feed the bushes with a moderate amount of nutrients.

Lilacs grown in the right conditions can grow to about 3 m. Thanks to the different flowering periods of the varieties, you can create a whole lilac garden, pleasing with their fragrant inflorescences for a long period of time.


Magnolia with its unusual delicate flowers can also be a highlight of the garden. Its flowers can be pink, white, lilac, or yellowish.

Popular varieties include:

  • Galaxy, a compact hybrid with fragrant red-pink flowers.
  • Nigra – the outer part of the petals is colored dark purple, while the inside of the flower is light.
  • Randy – an early flowering variety with pink-purple flowers.
  • Susan – the flowers are colored in shades of purple.

The size of magnolia bushes can reach up to 7 m, so they should be grown in a spacious area. From the bush to other plants, maintain a sufficient distance: the magnolia does not like close proximity.

  • Fertile, acidic, or neutral soil will be required for cultivation;
  • Magnolia is planted in moderately sunny places in the garden, sheltered from cold winds;
  • Plantings should be watered more often, especially during periods of drought: magnolias prefer moist soil. To make the soil dry out more slowly, the root zone should be mulched;
  • Pruning the shrub is carried out only for sanitary purposes.

Most varieties of magnolia do not tolerate severe frosts, so only a few species are suitable for cultivation in regions with harsh winters – for example, cobus or star-shaped. They can withstand frosts under good cover.


Pyracantha is often found in gardens in southern regions. These shrubs bloom profusely and also serve as good garden protection due to the thorns located on the branches. One of the most popular species is the scarlet or bright red pyracantha. Its white or pinkish flowers are considered honeycombs. By fall, red (less often yellow) berries form in their place and stay on the shrubs all winter. They are not consumed as food, but birds enjoy tasting them. This evergreen shrub does not like transplanting, so for it immediately try to choose the most suitable place.

  • Pyracantha prefers sunny areas with nutritious neutral soil, in which water does not stagnate. In the penumbra, its flowering is weaker;
  • In periods of drought, the bushes are watered regularly;
  • Pyracantha does not tolerate frosts below -20 degrees, so it needs a good cover;
  • In spring, dry or weakened shoots are removed from the bush.

This plant is well suited for creating a hedge – to maintain its shape will require pruning at the beginning and end of summer. Shrubs look no less effective in solo plantings near houses or on lawns. Pyracantha can also be grown at home.

About the Author: Amanda Johnson

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