The Best Performing Landscape Shrubs

The Best Performing Landscape Shrubs

Planting shrubs is an easy way to keep your landscape in order. As shaped hedges or borders, shrubs can accentuate focal points, behave as natural borders to your house, or decorate the lawn with lovely flowers and attractive foliage. The best-performing, most easy-to-maintain shrubs share many of the same characteristics.


Along with supplying year-round greenery, top-performing shrubs are low-maintenance. They require little water once they are created and can withstand full sun. Their origins are not prone to decay, and will not wound readily or get tangled. The best shrubs resist diseases or can survive pest infestations; some are also drought-tolerant. Gardeners who reside at U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 8 to 10 can choose from numerous species of shrubs that fulfill these standards. Many of them include heaps of cultivars, including dwarfs varieties.

Hedges and Edging

Japanese boxwood (Buxus microphylla japonica) contains evergreen shrubs commonly employed for formed hedges and edging. These shrubs grow around 6 feet tall and have rounded, glossy leaves. Cultivars include “Green Beauty,” which can survive very cold weather, and “National” a fast cultivar developed at the U.S. National Arboretum. Star jasmine (Trachelospermum jasminoides), is a versatile plant that grows as a spreading shrub, a low-growing vine or ground cover. As a low shrub useful for edging, it rises as many as 2 feet tall and has glossy leaves and attractive star-shaped white flowers. Privet is a moderate to fast hedge that offers good cover as a privacy screen.

Flowering and Fragrant

Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus) plants create fragrant, eye-catching lilac-colored flowers that rise above shrubs that grow up to several feet tall, depending on the cultivar. The “Midknight Blue” grows up to 4 feet tall and has larger, more bluish flowers than other varieties. The flowers of Wheeler’s dwarf pittosporum (Pittosporum tobira “Wheeleri”) shrubs are fragrant white blooms. The plant grows up to 4 feet tall to a rounded shape with dark green leaves. The Indian hawthorn (Raphiolepis indica) is both a disease- and bug-resistant shrub. Its fragrant star-shaped white or pink flowers appear during the late winter and spring. Also known as India hawthorne, it’s dark green leathery leaves and grows up to 5 feet tall and broad. Gardeners can choose from several cultivars of Indian hawthorne, like the “Georgia Petite,” a dwarf with popcorn-like white flowers.

Drought Tolerant

Several shrubs can survive drought-like conditions. In case you have rocky or sandy soil, manzanita (Arctostaphylos) shrubs are ideal. This tree contains species like A. densifloria, which has white or pink flowers, small glossy leaves and smooth, dark red bark. Native to Northern California, the bush anemone (Carpenteria californica) takes very little maintenance, produces white flowers with a yellow center and rises up to 6 feet tall. The Carmel creeper is a fast evergreen shrub with glossy, dark green leaves and blue flowers. It grows up to 10 feet tall. Varieties of this plant include the “Yankee Point,” an attractive shrub with clusters of medium blue flowers.

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