Small Flowering Bushes Add Interest to the Landscape
Low growing landscaping shrubs that flower as well as produce greenery make a versatile addition to any landscape. If there is limited space, one can choose a selection of shrubs under six feet tall to compliment small areas. Bushes like beautyberry, hydrangea, and Persian lilac are all simple to care for and add beauty and interest for most of the year. They are deciduous shrubs, which shed their leaves in the fall after they change color. The shapes of their branches, berries and bark will add visual interest to your winter landscape.
3 Deciduous Shrubs Under Six Feet Tall
This rounded, bushy shrub with light green leaves is tolerant of most soils and conditions. Though beautyberry does not flower like hydrangeas or Persian Lilac, it has small, ornamental reddish purple fruits that birds love. The berry clusters remain on the plant during the winter and produce visual interest. This shrub grows between four to eight in height and length. The leaves turn yellow in fall, contrasting to purple berries. It does well under shade trees or as a landscape border. It is often found growing amongst pines. This shrub does best in light shade with well drained soil.
Plant Beautyberry in the spring or fall and space the bushes about 4-6 feet apart. Like most landscaping plants, beautyberry needs about an inch of water per week, even though they can be slightly drought tolerant. Pests seldom bother beautyberry. It does not need to be pruned and has a naturally graceful form.
There are four common types of hydrangea grown in the United States. Mopheads and Lacecaps, Oakleafs, and Pee Gee. Pink, blue purple, white and green are common colors. Leaves can vary widely in size. The blooms come in many different shapes, from round to pointed. The color of pink or blue blossoms depends on how much aluminum is in the soil. Pink flowers result from less aluminum and blue from more.
Hydrangeas prefer full sun but can be planted in part shade. Since the shrub will not be pruned, consider how large it will get and make sure it has plenty of room around it. The soil should be well-drained. Do not overwater because this some hydrangeas, particularly Oakleaf, are susceptible to root rot. Yet, plant the hydrangea in an area where it will not dry out easily. Beware of planting the shrub too close to a tree as the tree will rob the hydrangea of valuable nutrients and water. There may not be enough light in these locations either. Try to buy the hydrangea while it is in bloom so you can be certain of what the blooms will look like. Most hydrangeas do not need to be pruned, but feel free to remove the dead flowers or dead branches. If grown in the United States, most of these shrubs do not need winter protection.
Learn more about Hydrangeas in this post
Persian lilac is a tree grown as a bush. It bears pale purple blooms in late spring and early summer and has long pale green leaves. The pleasant smelling flowers attract bees and butterflies. This plant need more than six hours of sunlight a day to produce flowers. Persian lilac can grow from four to eight feet tall and are excellent in borders and along foundations. It is low maintenance and makes a food privacy screen. There are over 250 varieties of lilacs and the flowers are often pink, purple or white.
Persian lilac is best planted on hill sides or in areas that are a bit elevated because they need good drainage and do not like wet roots. Thoroughly mulch them so the soil stays moist but not too wet. Persian lilacs don’t need much fertilizer, but if necessary use a fertilizer high in phosperous during spring to help the blooms. Avoid fertilizers with too much nitrogen or the blooms will be weak or even non-existent. Persian lilacs are not bothered much by insects but rodents will chew the bark that is close to the ground and possibly kill the plant. Avoid adding mulch too close to the base of the plant as that can be a haven for rodents. Persian lilac is also susceptible to powdery mildew during hot, humid weather. This shrub grows best in the north as they need a cold weather phase in their growing cycle.
Planting and Caring for the Shrubs
These shrubs can be planted in either the spring or fall and are available in containers or with the root ball wrapped in burlap. Dig a hole as deep as the root ball but two or three times as wide. Remove the plant from container, add it to the hole and pat soil firmly around it. These shrubs are best planted at the end of the summer or in the fall. Avoid planting them in mid-summer as it will be too hot and dry for the plant to become established. Make sure the shrub has adequate water while as it becomes established. Prune them regularly, after the shrub has finished flowering for the year. Otherwise, beautyberry, hydrangea and Persian lilac do not need much special care.