Thousands of shrubs are available to home gardeners, which can make it tough to choose. Here are some basics to help you understand the differences between them.
Deciduous shrubs – those that lose their leaves each year – come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and most have attractive blooms. Some have arching branches – for example, butterfly bush and forsythia. Common lilac and hibiscus have erect branches. Hydrangeas and witch hazels tend to have a rounded form. The Sargent crabapple and staghorn sumac have spreading branches.
Coniferous shrubs are cone-bearing, primarily evergreen plants with needlelike or scalelike leaves. They may be low and trailing, spreading, rounded or upright.
Broad-leaved evergreen shrubs include boxwood, azalea and myrtle. These plants’ leaves are usually thick and waxy.
Evergreens do a good job of hiding heat pumps, dog runs or garbage cans year-round. Tall evergreens can be used to guide the eye up and over permanent landscape features such as fences and walls.