With patio and “garden” homes becoming a popular choice for both baby boomers and younger generations, there’s a growing need for compact shrubs that pack a punch in the landscape.
For narrow planting beds, courtyards, and even container plantings, you can’t beat many of the new introductions. These diminutive shrubs also, in many cases, outshine others with their brilliant foliage color, incredible blooms, and enviable winter interest.
Add these to your plant palette and you’re guaranteed to have happy clients.
Not all of these plants are available on LandscapeHub, but we still included them here because some are unique finds in the market and others are just starting to rise in popularity!
Keep in mind, the shrubs below are ordered in terms of Zone.
- Hydrangea Bella Anna: (Hydrangea arborescens ‘Piiha-I’) Showy magenta-pink blooms grace a 2-3 feet tall and wide deciduous shrub from July through September, brightening up those part-shade garden areas. It needs a medium, regular irrigation — not too fussy for a shrub this gorgeous. Zones 4-9.
- Abelia ‘Kaleidoscope’: (Abelia x grandiflora ‘Kaleidoscope’) How about a low-growing beauty with jellybean colors? That’s ‘Kaleidoscope,’ covered in medium green leaves tinged with bright yellow and cherry red accents. Reaching only 2 ½ feet tall and 3 ½ feet wide, this evergreen shrub is ideal for mass plantings and borders when given partial to full sun and regular irrigation. Zones 6-9.
- Ninebark Tiny Wine®: (Physocarpus opulifolius ‘SMPOTW’) Tiny Wine® is a deciduous shrub with a full, compact shape and moody bronze-maroon foliage. Pink and white flowers emerge in late spring for added drama. it's rare for a plant with such dramatic, awesome foliage to ALSO have jazzy flowers. Packs a big punch for such a small plant, a real point-of-interest in the garden. Give it full sun and regular water for it to thrive at 3-4 feet tall and wide. Zones 3-8.
- Pancake Arborvitae: (Thuja occidentalis ‘Concesarini’) Sometimes you simply need something extra tiny, extra cool, and extra easy to grow. Enter Pancake arborvitae, with its 12-18 inch height and 2-foot spread. And did we mention the low, dense and rounded growth habit with sage green leaves that turn a bluish shade in the winter? This striking evergreen prefers full sun and regular water to shine as a border, edging, or mass planting. Zones 4-7.
- Baby Gem™ Boxwood: (Buxus microphylla japonica ‘Gregem’) Yes, we’ve all seen and used boxwoods in our landscape designs, but this smaller and finely textured boxwood deserves a second look (maybe even a third). This evergreen shrub is densely branched with tiny green foliage, growing to 4 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide. Like all boxwoods, it holds its shape well and takes to pruning and shaping without any protest. Give it full sun to part shade and regular water to get it established, after which it’s fairly drought tolerant. Zones 5-9.
- October Magic® White Shi-Shi™ Camellia: (Camellia sasanqua ‘Green 02-004’) Who doesn’t love the classic camellia? This low-growing evergreen reaches 3-4 feet tall and wide, with medium green leaves and bright white double flowers from October through January. It prefers full sun to part shade, medium water, and well-drained soil. Consider this beauty for container plantings, mass plantings, and hedges. Zones 7-9.
- Dragon Prince Cryptomeria: (Cryptomeria japonica ‘sPg-3-014’) Need a compact, evergreen shrub that tolerates a wide range of soils, needs no real pruning, and has stiff, light green foliage? Try Dragon Prince. It thrives in full sun with medium water and is ideal in mass plantings, borders, containers, rock gardens, and woodland gardens. Stays a tidy 2-3 feet tall and wide with nary a demand. Zones 6-9.
- Distylium Blue Cascade®: (Distylium ‘PIIDIST-II’) This evergreen shrub is dense and compact with cascading blue-green foliage and reddish-maroon flowers in late winter to early spring. It’s also pest and disease resistant, tolerates heat and some drought, and reaches 3-4 feet tall and wide. Blue Cascade® enjoys partial to full sun and regular water and is perfect for borders, containers, mass plantings, and cutting gardens. Zones 6-9.
- Fatsia ‘Spider’s Web’: (Fatsia japonica ‘Spider’s Web’) Also called Speckled Japanese aralia, ‘Spider’s Web’ is prized for its amazing foliage — large, shiny green palmate leaves that are bordered with white speckling. This showy evergreen shrub is ideal for Southern landscapes that need a slightly larger, but still compact, plant for full to partial shade. It grows up to 5 feet tall but only 3-5 feet wide with regular watering. Zones 8-11.
- Garden Glow Dogwood: (Cornus hessei ‘Garden Glow’) This fast-growing, low maintenance shrub sports brilliant chartreuse foliage that turns to a burgundy/purple shade in the fall. After the leaves drop, striking red winter twigs remain. Growing just 3-4 feet tall and wide, it prefers full shade to partial sun. Zones 4-8.