Euonymus

The euonymus species is made up of about 130 species of shrubs, woody climbers and small trees. Euonymus includes many well-known landscape shrubs and ground covers, several which are best known for their fall foliage. There are many varieties that are evergreen, have variegation or vibrant foliage in the fall.

Burning Bush(Euonymus alatus) - The winged spindle tree , also called burning bush, is a  handsome shrub with corky winged stems. Getting about 6ft tall and just as wide. It loves full sun and it will show its best red Fall color if planted in full sun.

Japanese euonymus (Euonymus japonica) -this euonymus is a dense, oval, evergreen shrub that usually grows 10-15ft tall and to 5-8ft wide. Leathery, oval, dark green leaves (3” long) are rounded at the end of the leaf and tapered at the base. Leaf margins are serrated except near the base. Non-showy, four-petaled, greenish-white flowers bloom in June. Flowers are followed by showy pink fruits encapsulated with a red flesh which ripens in fall.

Ilex (Holly)

Holly a shrub that has pointy leaves and structural shape that can be attractive all year long.  They prefer well-drained but not dry, slightly acidic soil in full sun; but most can tolerate unideal locations and will grow well in partial shade. Red berries appear on female plants only (holly berries are poisonous to pets and humans). Holly bushes can range from small low growing shrubs to large trees, but most usually get 6-8ft tall and wide. There are many varieties that have rounded leaves and are a wonderful addition to any garden.

Euonymus fortunei (Euonymus ‘wintercreeper’)

Groundcover 

Wintercreeper euonymus is a dense, woody stemmed, broadleaf evergreen (in colder climates it is a semi-evergreen) plant that comes in a variety of forms. It may appear as a trailing ground cover, a mounding shrub or a climbing vine. Most of the wintercreepers have oval leaves that are opposite, glossy, slightly serrated, with light colored veins, about 1-2.5 in. long. There are varieties that are variegated with either white and green variegation, yellow and green variegation or combination of all three. The Winter foliage really makes the plants stand out! They can be shades of pinks, reds and oranges. Inconspicuous, greenish-white flowers with 5 tiny petals may appear in June. Flowers are at best sparse but are usually not present. Following the flowers are small round pink-red fruit capsules that split open and exposes their reddish orange seed.

Isotoma fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)

Groundcover

This Isotoma Creeper forms a dense, flat carpet of tiny green leaves that is smothered by blue star shaped flowers all summer. It only gets 3-6” tall and 18” wide it makes a perfect plant for plantings between paving stones or as a lawn substitute.

Festuca (Fescue)

Blue Fescue Grass

Blue fescue is a semi-evergreen, short-lived, low-growing, clump ornamental grass that is noted for its blue-gray, finely textured. Foliage forms a round, urchin-like tuft of upright to arching blades that gets 6-8" tall, with the flower stalks the grass will end up being 10-14" tall. Purple tinged light green flowers appear in panicles on top of stems above the foliage in late spring through early summer but are not showy. Flowers are followed by puffy seed heads that some gardeners find attractive.

Juncus (Rush)

Grass

Rush is a grass-like wetland perennial that has unjointed, smooth, upright, spire-like green stems (meaning the leaves are absent) which can grow in a spreading clump 20-40” tall and wide. Stems are usually solid, with the absence of leaves. Foliage turns yellow in the fall before browning up for winter. Tiny, yellowish-green to tan colored flowers bloom in single-sided clusters located on the side of the stem slightly below the tips. The flowers emerge in July through September.

Forsythia

Forsythia is a fast growing, deciduous shrub with upright-arching, square-stemmed branches covered with oval to elongated oval, medium to dark green leaves (3-5” long and 1” wide) which have toothed margins in the upper half of the leaf. Most varieties mature 6-10ft tall and spreading to as wide as 12ft, but some compact varieties rise to only 30inches tall. Shrubs are grown for their vivid, 4-lobed, abundant lemony colored flowers (each 1.5in long) which bloom in clusters of 2-6 flowers along the branches in late winter to early spring. Flowers usually bloom before the leaves emerge but there have been some cases where they bloom at the same time. Fall foliage is the ordinary yellowish green but if you live in a colder region, they can occasionally turn purplish.

Juniperus (Juniper)

Junipers are one of the hardiest and most drought-tolerant shrubs. These conifers have prickly young foliage, mature foliage is flatter and softer; their foliage can be light green, dark green, silver-blue or have golden hues. Junipers tolerate many soil types but prefer well-draining soil and sunny locations.

Fragaria (Ornamental Strawberry)

Groundcover 

Ornamental Strawberries are a perennial groundcover that is grown for foliage and flowers, not for its fruit. These strawberries form a compact mat, with spreading runners that will get 2-8 inch high. They have glossy dark green leaves and white or less commonly pink flowers in spring and summer that are replaced by small ornamental strawberries. The ‘Lipstick’ (Pink Flowers) blooms again in the fall with a lot less vigor that the spring bloom. Makes a good lawn substitute and can be cut back or mowed in early spring to encourage new growth. These plants can grow as far as you let them indefinitely if given the chance.

Juniperus (Juniper)

Groundcover

Junipers are one of the hardiest and most drought-tolerant shrubs. These conifers have prickly young foliage, mature foliage is flatter and softer; their foliage can be light green, dark green, silver-blue or have golden hues. Junipers tolerate many soil types but prefer well-draining soil and sunny locations. “Low-growing” junipers range in height from a few inches to about 2 feet, making them a good ground cover plant. They spread easily to control erosion on a slope or to cover an area with poor soil.

Galium odoratum (Sweet Woodruff)

Groundcover

Sweet woodruff is a mat-forming perennial that is grown in shady areas as a ground cover. The plants grow 8-12in tall. Leaves have a vanilla and fresh cut grass fragrance (fragrance intensifies if leaves are dried); lance shaped, dark green leaves in a spiral pattern of 6-8 along square stems. Small, 4-petaled, white, fragrant flowers appear in loose clusters in the spring

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Crape myrtle is an upright, multi-stemmed, wide-spreading, deciduous shrub or can be formed into a small tree. It grows to 15-25ft tall and up to 15ft wide. These plants have very long bloom times, peeling bark and gorgeous fall color. Thin papery clusters of showy flowers (6-18” long) with wavy petals bloom in summer sometimes lasting until fall. Flower color can be white, pink, red, mauve, purple and lavender. Thick, leathery, privet-like, oblong leaves (3" long) emerge (late March to April) anywhere from light green with a tinge of red to bright fiery red eventually maturing to a dark green by summer. Fall colors can be shades of yellow, orange and red. After the flowers are spent, they give way to green, round seed capsules which can stay well into winter.

Hakonechloa macra (Japanese Forest Grass)

Grass

Japanese forest grass is a shade-loving, deciduous perennial grass. Gracefully arching, bright green leaves form a dense, spreading, cascading mound 12-18" tall and to 24" wide. The leaves resemble that of some types of bamboo. There are variegated varieties as well as the standard green leaved ones.

Laurus (Laurel)

Portuguese Laurel (Prunus lusitanica)-

Portugal laurel have glossy, dark-green leaves which are 5" long and 2" wide. In late spring through early summer, small white flowers on 5"-10" panicles, clusters of tiny, red to purple fruit follow the flowers. While humans and dogs should not consume the berries, birds will gladly eat them all once they are ripe. 25ft tall and 15ft wide. Portugal laurel is a slightly slower growing than cherry laurel, but more tolerant of the sun, wind and more drought tolerant.

Otto Luyken Laurel (Prunus laurocerasus) -

'Otto Luyken' is a compact cultivar of the English Laurel that grows to 3-4ft tall and will spread 6-8ft. Used in parking lots “low growing” hedges. Will tolerate heavy shade.

English Laurel “Cherry Laurel” (Prunus laurocerasus)-

English Laurel or cherry laurel is a dense,  broad spreading, evergreen shrub that matures to 10-18ft tall with a spread to 20-25ft. Leaves are dark green and oval in shape (6” long). Tiny, creamy white, fragrant, cup-shaped flowers in upright clusters (5” long) bloom from the leaf axils in April through May. The flowers are followed by inconspicuous black berries that will ripen in mid-summer. This fruit is basically inedible for humans (bitter aftertaste) and poisonous to dogs but is loved by the local birds. Will tolerate heavy shade.

Hamamelis (Witch Hazel)

Witch hazel is a large deciduous shrub with bright, fragrant flowers during the winter. These plants can get 10-20ft tall and wide but are easily pruned to keep smaller and are virtually maintenance-free along with being resistant to most pests and diseases. Oval, green leaves (6” long) with serrated to wavy margins turn shades of yellow in fall. The flowers hug the stems in clusters of fragrant, bright red, orange and yellow flowers, each having four crinkly, ribbon style petals that appear late winter through early spring. Fertilized flowers will form fruit over a long period of time. The fruits are a greenish seed capsule that turn woody with age and eventually turn to light brown.

Lavendula (Lavender)

Spanish Lavender (Lavandula stoechas)-

Spanish lavender is one of the easiest plants to grow, they’re drought tolerant and bloom a few times a year. The extremely aromatic (antiseptic or piney smelling) evergreen, gray foliage is gorgeous all year long and sets off the purple, pink or white blooms beautifully. Purple flowers are the most common. The flowers have a “pineapple” shape to them with “rabbit ears” on the top. The colorful "ears" are sterile bracts. The foliage has a deep lavender aroma and the flowers are sweeter and spicier. the dried flowers can be used for cooking and make great potpourri.  Being deer resistant makes them perfect for an herb garden border or massed as a low hedge. They flower in the spring profusely! When the flowers are spent, they need a good pruning to encourage growth and to stimulate new buds. If you do not get the buds off before they seed, they will sprout everywhere.

English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) -

English lavender is a semi-woody perennial that usually grows to 1.5-3ft tall and wide. Narrow, gray-green leaves (2 1/2” long) on square stems. Purple flowers sit on top of terminal spikes in late spring to early summer. Both foliage and flowers are highly aromatic. English lavender has been the backbone of many herb gardens for decades. Despite its common name, the English lavender is not actually from England, but it is native to the Mediterranean region. It got its name because it could grow in the English climate. This is lavender is considered to be “true lavender” and is commercially planted for harvesting its oils. English lavender flowers and foliage are popular additions to potpourris and sachets.

Helictotrichon sempervirens (Blue Oat Grass)

Grass

Blue oat grass is a clump-forming, cool season, ornamental grass that grows 2-3' tall. The foliage gets 2’ tall and wide; whereas the flower stalks get three feet tall. It has very narrow, spiky, steel blue leaf blades that form a round, Urchin-like clump. The Blue Oat Grass resembles that of a blue fescue (Festuca glauca) but is significantly larger. Spikes of bluish-brown flowers hang in an open, one-sided panicle that arches at the tip; appear on upright stems that rise well above the foliage clump in June. Flower spikes mature to a wheat color by fall.

Leptinella (Brass Buttons)

Groundcover 

Brass buttons are a mat-forming perennial that grows to only 2” tall but spreads indefinitely by runners. Delicate, soft-textured, fern-like, oval green leaves are evergreen and will tolerate some foot traffic. Button shaped yellow flowers bloom in early summer are then followed by tiny fruit. The flowers nor the fruit are ornamental.

Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon)

Rose of Sharon is an upright, vigorous, multi-stemmed, deciduous shrub that typically gets 8-12ft tall growing in a vase shape. It can be shaped into an open hedge or trained as a small tree or espalier. Showy, hibiscus flowers have 5 petals (3” diameter) and has a prominent staminal column. Flower colors are red, pink, cream, white, purple and blue violet. Blooming over a long period, usually from early to mid-summer through early fall. The three lobed green (4” long) leaves are palmately-veined and coarsely-toothed; they’re attractive during the growing season but produce no fall color.

Ligustrum (Privet)

Japanese privet or wax leaf privet is a versatile shrub for warm winter areas. It has attractive evergreen foliage, dense foliage and is a fast grower with a compact growing habit; it is very easy to grow and maintain. Oval and blunt to ovate-lanceolate and pointed, glossy, dark green leaves (4” long) are pale whitish-green underneath. White flowers are on upright panicles (6” long) that bloom in late May through early June. Flowers have an unpleasant aroma. Flowers give way to oval-rounded black drupes which ripen in fall and persist into winter. Typically grows 6-10ft tall and wide, It shapes well and is sometimes used as topiary specimens such as globes, pyramids or cones.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea macrophylla –Commonly called big leaf hydrangea, is a deciduous shrub with a round growing habit that grows 3-6’ tall and just as wide unless damaged or pruned to be smaller. It features  toothed, oval to elongated, dark green leaves (4-8” long) and large clusters of long term blooming summer flowers in either a “lacecap” form (flattened flower clusters of small florets  in the middle with sporadic showy four petaled florets usually forming a marginal ring) or “mophead” form (the traditional hydrangea style flower that are globe shape clusters of mostly showy sterile florets). Flowers come in shades of white, cream, pink, purple and blue.

Hydrangea paniculata – the panicle hydrangea is an upright, rapid-growing, deciduous shrub that  grows to 8-15ft tall and 7ft wide. It features oval to elongated, dark green leaves and upright, conical flower panicles (6-8” long) that contain both sterile and fertile flowers that bloom from mid-summer into fall. This cultivar is the only one that can be trained into a tree. Flowers come in shades of white and pink, there are many varieties that start off white and fad into a pink.

Hydrangea quercifolia –The oak leaf hydrangea is a broad, upright, multi-stemmed, suckering, deciduous shrub that grows 4-6ft tall with a rounded growing habit. It is known for its oak leaves (3-7 lobed and dark green) and for producing large pyramidal panicles of white flowers in summer. The branches have a peeling bark more so than any other hydrangea.

Liriope (Lilyturf)

Groundcover

Lilyturf or blue lily turf is a tuberous, grass-like perennial which grows 12-18" tall and features clumps of glossy, dark green leaves that arch towards the ground (1" wide). Clumps of Liriope will slowly expand by tuberous roots, but do not spread aggressively. Upright, showy flower spikes with tiered spirals of dense, violet-purple flowers; flower in late summer. Flowers give way to blackish berries which often stay on the plant through winter.

Hypericum calycinum (St. John's Wart)

Groundcover 

Evergreen to semi-evergreen shrub. Grows to 1' high & spreads by underground stems.  Leave are medium green in sun, yellow green in shade.  Bright yellow blossoms spring through summer.  Tough dense ground cover. Grows in full sun to full shade 12 to 18 inches prefers fertile, loamy well-drained acidic soil.  

 

Loropetalum (Fringe Bush)

The Chinese fringe bush or Loropetalum is an evergreen, broad-leaf, multi-stemmed shrub that grows 6-10ft tall and wide in a round habit. Oval, dark green to dark purple leaves (2.5” long) with a fuzzy underside have asymmetrical bases. The new growth is brown fuzzy shoots. Flowers are slightly aromatic, downward drooping, fringe style; flowers bloom profusely in clusters in late March through April and periodically blooming throughout the summer. Flowers can be white or pink.