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More small shrubs for the landscape

Brilliant red color of Nandina in winter
Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images

When using small shrubs as a landscape plant, you may have need of those with colorful blooms or with attractive foliage. Some of your choices are featured here:

Heavenly Bamboo

Dwarf cultivars of Nandina domestica are hardy in USDA zones 6-10. 'Firepower' displays attractive reddish foliage in fall and winter. Use the dwarf Nandina shrub as an accent in front of larger shrubs. It functions well alone or in mass plantings.

The most brilliant color occurs when this small garden shrub is planted in full sun, but it will grow in part shade as well. Once established, it is drought tolerant and requires little maintenance. Canes of this cultivar are unbranched and do not require pruning. This is a virus-free selection that is not invasive, as it cannot reproduce. At a height of only 2' - 3', 'Firepower' offers long-term beauty with minimal effort.


No plant list for small shrubs in the landscape is complete without including some variety of Junipers. Often used for groundcover effect and erosion control, the berried evergreen may function well in a number of situations. It is particularly useful when draping over a wall, creeping over a berm or cascading down a slope.

'Plumosa Compacta' is a small, widely-used variety of Juniperus horizontalis. Growing at a 45-degree angle, this dense and spreading garden shrub sprouts tiny awls of green and blue and becomes a distinctive purple in winter. Reaching a height of 18", it is hardy in USDA zones 3-8 and needs full sun and well-drained soil.


The dwarf Aucuba japonica is well worth consideration for deeply shaded areas in the landscape. 'Nana' is a small garden shrub which is urban-tolerant with coarse green foliage year round. Its' upright and rounded form reaches 3' or less and is a proven performer in shady spots. Plant in fertile, moist soil and delight in this plants' serene beauty. Avoid sun for this specimen, as it will develop sun scorch. It is hardy in USDA zones 6-7.

Consider small shrubs as you plant your garden design.

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