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A shrub (or bush, but this is more of a gardening term) is a small- to medium-sized perennial woody plant. Unlike herbaceous plants, shrubs have persistent woody stems above the ground. Shrubs can be either deciduous or evergreen. They are distinguished from trees by their multiple stems and shorter height, less than 6–10 m (20–33 ft) tall.
Some definitions state that a shrub is less than 6 m (20 ft) and a tree is over 6 m. Others use 10 m (33 ft) as the cut-off point for classification.
Known for its vibrant foliage and long bloom times, the Abelia genus consists of about 30 species of both deciduous and evergreen shrubs. These shrubs produce pointed, oval-shaped leaves that are often yellow or green with pink, orange, bronze, or burgundy details. Some are multi-colored or variegated and even change color as the seasons change. Their flowers are tubular and are often seen in white, pink, or yellow. Unlike many flowering plants, Abelia shrubs have a long blooming season that extends from spring until fall.
Once established, Abelia plants are extremely easy to care for and require very little maintenance. Their vibrant foliage often changes colors throughout the growing season and their long-lasting flowers attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and other pollinators. These plants are rarely affected by pests and diseases, though powder mildew, anthracnose, and aphids may cause problems.
It is best to plant these shrubs in the early spring or early fall when temperatures are mild. Choose a spot with plenty of sunshine and rich, well-draining soil. Plant the Abelia in a hole that is twice as wide as the root structure and allows the very top of the root system to be slightly above the ground.
Abelia can be grown in both full sun and partial shade. However, planting them in an area with full sun will encourage more vibrant foliage colors and a healthy bloom. Plants grown in areas with intense summer heat will benefit from some afternoon shade.
Although Abelia plants thrive in fertile, well-draining, and moist soil, they are tolerant of different soil conditions. Amending the soil with compost before planting is recommended, as these plants do best in soil that is rich in organic matter. Soil pH levels should be slightly acidic for optimal growth.
These low-maintenance plants are drought tolerant once established. However, they do best when provided with regular watering. Especially during the hotter summer months, you should plan to water abelias once or twice a week to keep them vibrant and healthy. Allow the soil to begin drying before watering again. Watering deeply and infrequently is better for Abelias than watering lightly and regularly.
Types of Abelia:
In warmer climates, butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is a deciduous shrub with an arching habit and impressive flowers. In colder regions, it grows more like a perennial, dying back to the root crown each winter and reappearing in spring. With rather coarse leaves and striking flower spikes that attract pollinators, butterfly bush now comes in a wide range of colors, thanks to the magic of cultivar developers, Varieties are available to suit many different gardening preferences— some can grow up to 12 feet tall, while others are relatively small. Some varieties produce large clusters of flowers while others produce flowering spikes. Long, narrow sage green leaves grow along slim, arching stems. The bushes require little attention.
Butterfly bush is usually planted from potted nursery starts or planted from seeds in the spring. It is a very fast-growing plant that usually reaches its full mature size within a single growing season.
Butterfly bush grows well in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in a full sun location. If planting more than one, space them well apart—5 to 6 feet. Blend in peat moss before planting if the soil is dense and poorly draining.
In colder climates, butterfly bush often dies back to the ground in winter and is treated like a herbaceous perennial. In warm climates, they can be pruned back in the same way to keep them under control and stimulate better blooming.
Butterfly bush needs full sun (at least six hours daily) and will become weedy and sparse if grown in shady conditions. This plant will thrive in any average, well-drained soil that gets an average amount of moisture. It prefers a soil pH from 6.0 to 7.0, slightly acidic to neutral.
This plant likes a medium-moisture environment and will do poorly at either extreme—intolerant of drought or boggy locations that don't drain well. They will thrive on 1/2 inch of water by rain or irrigation each week.
*If you do choose to grow butterfly bush, give preference to varieties that are bred to be sterile or seedless.
Here is a list of seedless varieties approved for sale in Oregon:
The camellia is a flowering evergreen shrub with dark, glossy leaves and large, lush blossoms that appear for several weeks sometime during the fall through early spring period in warmer regions.
Camellias can be planted from container-grown nursery plants at almost anytime except during the hottest summer months. They are slow-growing but exceptionally long-lived plants.
Camellias are best planted in rich, moist soil in a part-shade location. If planting multiple camellia shrubs, space them at least 5 feet apart. They do not like to compete for water and nutrients with trees in close proximity. They should be planted at a relatively shallow depth, with the top of the crown slightly exposed. Know the mature size of your camellia, and plan accordingly if planting close to a window or home foundation. You do not need to amend the backfill soil at planting time; instead, rake compost or well-rotted manure into the top few inches of the soil.
Camellias thrive in part shade, or in locations that see dappled sunlight for the entire day, such as in the understory beneath tall airy trees. Camellia sasanqua cultivars can take more sun than japonica types.
Camellias require well-drained soil, and an ideal soil pH for camellias is within the 6.0 to 6.5 range—slightly acidic. If your soil is dense clay and doesn't drain well, use containers instead.
Water camellias so that they are consistently moist. Dry periods that occur during bud development result in fewer flowers with a lower petal count. Drought-stressed plants also open the door to spider mite infestation. Twice-a-week watering for a total of 1 inch per week is a good watering schedule. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to moderate soil temperatures, retain soil moisture, and stifle weeds.
Camellias are reliably hardy in USDA zones 7 to 9, although some, especially the hybrids, are known to be hardy in zone 6.
Some popular garden varieties include:
A growing class of camellias include the hybrids, usually designated as Camellia x williamsii. These include cultivars developed from a cross between C. Japonica and C. saluenensis. These are considered some of the most cold-hard camellias, usually reliably hardy into zone 6. Some popular hybrid camellias include:
Flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa) is a multi-stemmed deciduous shrub with a somewhat messy growth habit but beautiful red, orange, white, or pink flowers to go with shiny, dark green foliage. Related to roses, flowering quince has a thorny habit and easy-to-grow nature that makes it a good choice for barrier or border plantings. The shrub is a dense mound of gray-brown spiny twigs with five-petal flowers about 2 inches in diameter. The flowers last for about 10 to 14 days and are followed by yellowish-green fruits that can be used in preserves and jellies. The oval leaves with serrated edges are glossy dark green, growing to a maximum of about 3 1/2 inches.
Flowering quince is typically planted in the fall or winter months as a nursery container plant and must be watered consistently until the roots are established. It has a medium growth rate and can take several years to reach its full 6- to 10-foot height.
It grows adequately in most soil types other than alkaline clay, and pruning is necessary only if you decide to shape the shrub. It will gradually spread through suckering, so these will need to be removed if you want to keep the shrub contained.
A member of the rose family, flowering quince can be susceptible to fire blight, so be alert for the stem dieback that signals this bacterial disease.
Grow flowering quince shrubs in full sun. It can grow in partial sun, but the flower display will be better if the plant is exposed to full sunlight.
Plant flowering quince shrubs in well-drained loam for the best flowering display. An overly alkaline soil pH can lead to problems with chlorosis, so keep the soil pH slightly acidic or neutral. These plants can be grown in clay and sandy soils but may be less vigorous.
Mulch the base of the shrubs to suppress weeds and retain soil moisture. While these are reasonably drought-tolerant shrubs once established, young plants will need to be watered regularly during dry periods—1 inch of water per week through a combination of rainfall and irrigation is ideal. Water in the morning so excess moisture has time to dry before evening. Sprayed water can cause leaf spots, and leaves may drop if the foliage stays wet.
Flowering quince is reliably hardy in zones 5 to 9, though gardeners in zone 4 are sometimes able to grow it—especially if they select cultivars bred for their climate. This shrub is normally hardy down to about minus 25 degrees Fahrenheit, but young plants can be sensitive to cold. Once flowering quince is established, the plant is quite forgiving of a wide range of temperature and humidity levels.
Some notable varieties include:
Several hybrid crosses between C. speciosa and C. japonica (Japanese quince) are also excellent landscape plants. Here are some award-winning options:
Smoke bush, Cotinus coggygria, is a deciduous shrub or small tree often used as a garden specimen thanks to its beautiful purple-pink smokey plumes and the purple leaves found on some cultivars.
Smoke bush has an upright, multi-stemmed habit. The leaves are waxy green except for those cultivars with purple leaves. Ovate-shaped leaves grow up to 3 inches long, turning yellow, orange, or purplish-red in fall, depending on the variety. The name "smoke bush" derives from billowy hairs attached to the flower clusters, which remain in place through the summer, turning a smoky pink to purplish-pink as the weeks progress.
Plant the bush outdoors in the spring or the fall. This type of shrub has a medium growth rate, which means it will grow about 1 to 2 feet a year. The bush is mildly toxic to humans, and the sap can cause skin irritation.
Once established, the plant is drought-tolerant, so it's useful in xeriscaping and other applications where water conservation is important. Purple smoke bush is dioecious, meaning it has staminate and pistillate (male and female) flowers borne on different individuals.
The plant does well in almost any soil type and most any pH level. The ideal circumstance is slightly sandy loam, but they also do well in rocky soils. In zone 5, plant them in slightly sheltered locations to protect them from winter winds. When grouping these plants, they should be spaced 10 to 15 feet apart.
Smoke bush should be planted in full sun. If it's planted In part shade conditions, foliage will be sparse and will require regular pruning to keep the plants dense.
Smoke bush does well in nearly all soil conditions provided the soil is well-drained. It does not tolerate poorly draining or soggy soils.
Young plants should be watered deeply and regularly twice a week, but once established, smoke bush has good resistance to drought and dry conditions. Mature plants can thrive nicely if watered moderately every 10 days during the active growing season.
Smoke bush does best in moderate temperatures and average to dry humidity levels.
Types of Smoke Bush:
The Daphne genus includes more than 70 broadleaf evergreen shrubs native to Europe, Asia, and Africa. Of these, a relatively small number of species and hybrids are commonly grown for landscape cultivation, including D. odora, D. mezereum, D. transatlantica, and especially the Daphne x burkwoodii hybrids, which include the popular 'Carol Mackie', 'Briggs Moonlight', and 'Somerset' cultivars.
Daphnes are quite attractive shrubs, producing white to light pink tubular flowers in spring or early winter in warm climates, followed by small red berries (drupes). The small oblong, light green leaves are evergreen in warm climates, but daphne loses leaves in cold climates, though they may still remain hardy to zones 4, depending on cultivar. The shrub usually forms a very nice rounded mound. Varieties such as 'Carol Mackie' are especially prized for their variegated foliage. Daphnes are relatively small shrubs that are good choices for small yards, where they make good foundation plants or specimens for shrub borders.
These are slow-growing shrubs that are generally planted from well-developed nursery plants in spring or early fall. It can take seven to ten years for these plants to reach their relatively small mature size. Be advised, though, that all parts of the Daphne are toxic1, especially the bright berries.
Daphne is not the easiest of shrubs to grow. They do not transplant well, and the grower is required to maintain a delicate balance between keeping the soil moist and keeping it well-drained. These plants are known to die suddenly and without an obvious cause.
If you manage to find the right balance of conditions, then well-established Daphne shrubs can be relatively easy to care for, since they do not require much maintenance, pruning, or special care. You will need to pick the type of Daphne shrub you want since there are many varieties. Choose one best suited for your environment and zone.
When planting a nursery-grown specimen, it should be set slightly higher than it was growing in the nursery pot, so the root crown is elevated about 1/2 inch. Preparing the soil by blending in some compost and azalea food can help create the slightly acidic pH level these shrubs like.
While some varieties of Daphne do fine in full sun, most will bloom best in part shade conditions. Those varieties grown mostly for their variegated leaves will display well even in relatively shady conditions, though the flowering will be reduced. Group them together with other acid-loving plants that have similar sunlight needs (azaleas, for example).
Daphnes require well-drained soil with plenty of compost and a slightly acidic soil pH. Daphne shrubs thrive in moist soil. To keep the soil around them moist in summer (and to keep the roots cool), apply a three-inch layer of mulch. Daphnes absolutely cannot stand in water--make sure the soil drains well.
Types of Daphne:
There are several main categories of Daphne shrubs, including:
With dozens of species and even more varieties, hydrangeas (Hydrangea spp.) have been popular ornamental garden plants for decades with blooms that come in a wide array of colors, including white, many shades of blue and pink, maroon, red, and even pale green. Some hydrangeas have large, round flower heads while others have smaller, flatter, and more delicate flowers, along with varying foliage shapes depending on the species. To ensure that hydrangea shrubs have time to establish a healthy root system, plant them in the fall or early spring. Hydrangeas are rapid growers, averaging two feet or more of growth per year. Be aware that the plant is toxic to humans and animals.
Most hydrangeas can adapt to a wide range of growing conditions. They are generally hardy from USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9. If they are planted in well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter, they should grow well. These versatile shrubs thrive in sandy coastal soils, shady woodland sites, and almost everything in between.
Plan to water your hydrangeas regularly to keep them consistently moist, especially in hot and dry weather and fertilize them once in the spring.
The right time to prune a hydrangea varies according to the hydrangea species and the time of year when they set buds.
Too much shade can reduce flower output. Hydrangeas do well in the partial shade provided by tall deciduous trees, especially if they receive morning sun and the partial shade occurs in the heat of the afternoon. They will also thrive in full sun but might need extra water on hot summer days.
In general, hydrangeas can tolerate a wide range of soil types but they grow best in fertile, humus-rich soil. A notable characteristic of Hydrangea macrophylla is that you can control bloom color by adjusting the soil pH. Acidic soil with a pH of 6.0 or lower produces blue flowers and neutral to alkaline soil with a pH of 7.0 or higher produces pink blooms.
Hydrangeas need consistent moisture throughout the growing season: give your hydrangeas a deep drink of water one to two times every week. If your area has had significant rainfall, you can cut back on supplemental watering.
Types of Hydrangea:
From the many species of hydrangea, the following are the most commonly used as ornamental shrubs3. Some of these hydrangea species bloom on new growth (the current year's new stems) and those that bloom on old growth (last year's stems) .
The honeysuckle family (Lonicera spp.) includes 180 species of low-maintenance deciduous and evergreen shrubs or climbers with twining stems. Many have naturalized in the United States and some are native to specific regions of the country. If you plan to include this old time favorite in your landscape, be sure to do your homework. Other species of honeysuckle are highly invasive and prohibited in parts of the country. Check with your local cooperative extension to make sure the variety you choose can be planted in your region. The tubular or two-lipped showy honeysuckle flowers are easy for bees and hummingbirds to slip into. After the yellow, red, pink, purple, or white blooms fade, you'll find lot of juicy berries in the fall. Depending on the variety, honeysuckle grows hardy in USDA zones 4 through 10.
Common honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) is also called European honeysuckle or woodbine. Native to Europe, North Africa and western Asia, it has naturalized in some areas of North America such as Nova Scotia, Ontario, New England and the Pacific Northwest.
It is a deciduous shrub with a vine-like habit, growing 10 feet tall and occasionally to 20 feet tall. Leaves are ovate to obovate, about two inches long, appearing on the stems in pairs. Leaves are dark green above and blue-green underneath. Two shades of green appear in the center of the leaf, which has creamy white edges. New leaves emerge in spring and mature as smooth leaves by summer, becoming hot pink in autumn. Buds are pink. Colorful flowers open with ivory interiors and purple exteriors. Two-lipped flowers, each two inches long, bloom steadily in summer and more sporadically in autumn to frost, in three to five whorled terminal spikes that give way to glossy, red berries. Honeysuckle also has strong nocturnally scented flowers attracting large pollinating hawk moths that roam dense bushy and woodland areas.
Common honeysuckle prefers dappled sunlight, but it will grow in full sun to part shade. Give the plant a similar environment to its native habitat of scrub and woods. If possible, shade the roots and let the plant climb towards the sun. Give common honeysuckle any fertile, rich, well-drained soil.
Water newly planted honeysuckle consistently. Keep the soil evenly moist until the plant shows signs of vigorous growth. Once established, it is quite drought tolerant.
The Latin name given to this specimen is Berberis aquifolium. It's genus name was once Mahonia in honor of American horticulturist Bernard McMahon but was later reclassified in the Berberis (barberry) genus.
The Oregon grape (Berberis aquifolium) is a broadleaf evergreen shrub that grows well in shadier spots. It originated in western North America and is the state flower of Oregon. It will provide color throughout all four seasons with its green and burgundy foliage, yellow flowers, and purplish-blue fruit.
Oregon grape will be 3- to 10-feet tall and 2- to 5-feet wide. Oregon grape grows best from seed, and those should be planted in the fall. It grows slowly at first, but as it ages, it quickly grows to maturity.
In April and May, clusters of cheery yellow flowers appear. The fruit is a berry that does resemble a grape in shape and color. They are edible but are quite tart and can be used to make jams, jellies, and preserves. Oregon grape can be used as part of a wildlife garden to attract butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other birds to your yard.
This shrub can clone itself and spread. On one hand, this can be a useful feature as you can use it to populate a native garden or divide to create new plants. However, this tendency can also lead to the species being invasive in some locations. Your local extension service will know if it is a problem in your area.
There are many different common names that are associated with this plant so specify that you want B. aquifolium to help avoid confusion. Even though the common names suggest a connection with the fruit, this is not a true grape (Vitis) or in the Vitaceae family.
The evergreen leaves are sharply toothed like members of the holly genus as noted in the species name. It can be used as a privacy screen to keep unwanted visitors out since the leaves are sharp. These are actually pinnately compound leaves that are up to 12-inches long and made up of several leaflets. When they first appear, they are red. As time passes they turn into a shiny green hue. During autumn, they become burgundy but do not fall off.
While Oregon grape will grow in most any light, it thrives best in partial shade. The soil needs to be moist with good drainage for optimal growth. It needs to be acidic or at least neutral, as alkaline soils can be problematic.
Oregon Grape Varieties:
Common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) is a deciduous flowering shrub widely used in landscaping. The bush gets its name from its unique exfoliating bark, which peels back in thin layers as its branches mature. This coarse-textured shrub is a member of the rose family, which also includes hawthorn and spirea, and features yellow, green, or reddish leaves that form an attractive cascading mound. Ninebark flowers in late spring with clusters of white or pink blooms, and it bears red fruit in late summer and autumn, attracting birds.
Many varieties of ninebark are used in landscaping, planted along foundations, incorporated into a hedge, or used to stabilize sloping areas, preventing erosion. Ninebark shrub needs ample space, as well as regular pruning, so that its arching branch pattern can be fully appreciated. When used in a mixed border, it works well alongside lilac and spirea.
Ninebark is available in many sizes, ranging from 5 to 10 feet high and 6 to 8 feet wide at maturity. Dwarf varieties reach only around 3 to 4 feet in height and width. Like many shrubs, ninebark is best planted in the early spring while the bush is still dormant.
Ninebark is an easy-to-care-for shrub with minimal pruning and feeding needs. It is remarkably tolerant of many growing conditions, including drought. Ninebark looks best when it is left to maintain its natural growth and shape, however, trimming old wood annually allows for proper air circulation. Similar to hydrangeas, ninebark blooms on old wood, so make sure to prune only after flowering.
Planting requirements for ninebark are similar to any woody landscape shrub. Dig a hole as deep as the nursery container and twice as wide. Plant the shrub so the top of the root ball is exactly at ground level, and then backfill the root ball, making sure there are no air pockets. Poor soil can be amended with organic material before filling the hole.
Plant ninebark in a location that receives full sun to part shade, taking note that it will flower best in full sun. In northern latitudes, the shrub prefers around six hours of direct light each day, but in the far south, the plant appreciates some afternoon shade.
This shrub prefers a neutral to slightly acidic soil that drains well, but it will tolerate slightly alkaline soils, as well. Provide mulch around the base annually to help the plant retain moisture and to prevent weeds. Ninebark's native habitat includes stream banks, hillsides, and damp thickets, allowing the plant to grow well in clay and loam soil, as well as shallow and rocky soil.
Ninebark will grow in both dry and wet locations. Its water requirements are generally low, but it can deal with poor drainage and occasional flooding. Once established, ninebark is a very good drought-tolerant shrub for dry areas.
Types of Ninebark:
The ninebark shrub comes in several varieties with different colored leaves, the most common being purple and yellow.
This shrub produces little-branched woody stems about 3-5' tall that are erect, ascending, to slightly arching. The base of older stems is reddish brown or reddish black with white lenticels; otherwise, stems are medium gray and winged with light brown woody ridges. Young non-woody shoots are light green, terete, and hairy. Alternate leaves develop along the shoots. The blades of these leaves are about 1½-3½" long and similarly across; they are orbicular in outline, but palmately lobed (3 or 5 lobes). The margins of the blades are coarsely and irregularly toothed and sometimes shallowly cleft. The upper blade surface is medium to dark green, glabrous, and variably wrinkled from sunken veins; the lower blade surface is light green and hairy, particularly along the veins. Both the lower and upper surfaces of the blades have minute glandular dots that are gold-colored. The petioles are up to 3" long, light green, and hairy.
The blooming period occurs from mid- to late spring and lasts about 3 weeks. Fertile flowers are replaced by fleshy berries. Individual berries are 1/3" (8 mm.) across or a little wider, ovoid to globoid in shape, and shiny. Immature berries are green, while mature berries are black. Each berry contains numerous minute seeds that are ovoid and somewhat flattened.
The preference is partial sun, consistently moist conditions, and cool to moderate temperatures; the soil can contain loam, clay, sand, or rocky material. This woody plant is one of the hosts of White Pine Blister Rust.
The edible berries of Wild Black Currant can be used to make jelly, wine, or pie; they can also be used to flavor black tea. Notwithstanding the palatability of its berries, the black currant that is commonly cultivated for fruit is the European species, Ribes nigrum (Black Currant).
American elderberry is an easy-to-care-for shrub that can tolerate a variety of different growing conditions ranging from wet soil and rocky terrain to bright sun and lots of shade. The one thing they do need is plenty of water. Enough H2O will ensure that your plant not only thrives and grows but produces lots of berries.
For the first few years of growing American elderberry, just focus on allowing your bush to get established. Do the bare minimum when it comes to pruning your shrub and check it for invasive weeds (a common problem for the shallow-rooted plant) periodically. Don't expect to reap any huge berry harvests, either—you likely won't get a worthwhile harvest until your second or third year.
The berries are quite sour on their own, so if you opt to make them into a jam or pie, you'll want to use lots of sugar. Additionally, the small white flowers on the plant, which form in a cluster called a cyme, can be used to make wine, cordials, and syrups.
American elderberry can be grown in a variety of different sun locations, making it an ideal pick for nearly any spot in your yard or landscape. Though it can handle it all, it prefers a spot that boasts full sun or partial shade.
For the most successful bush, plant your American elderberry in a soil that is humusy and moist. That being said, the plant can tolerate a variety of soil conditions, but whatever you choose must be well-draining. A neutral-to-acidic pH level is recommended as well. When planting your American elderberry, choose a spot that isn't prone to standing water (the plants have shallow roots and can rot easily) and plant each shrub at least a few feet apart from one another to allow them to grow freely.
When it comes to the American elderberry, drought is pretty much the one thing it cannot tolerate. Your elderberry will need around an inch or two of water weekly during its peak growth period or during times of extremely hot or dry weather. Remember, the plant's roots are very close to the surface, so if the top layer of soil is dry, it's a good indication that they are too. As long as you have well-draining soil, there is little risk in overwatering the American elderberry.
American Elderberry Varieties:
Sarcococca confusa [sar-koh-KOH-kuh, kon-FEW-suh] belongs to the Buxaceae (box) family of plants.
The sweet scent of Sarcococca confusa gives it the common name “sweet box.”
The sweet box plant is native to China, but it’s adaptable to a wide range of regions, making it an easy plant to cultivate.
The sweet box Sarcococca plant is an evergreen shrub with glossy green leaves.
The foliage is dense, with stems growing outward from central woody branches.
The leaves are oval and may appear rippled. The plant typically reaches about 7′ feet tall and 3′ feet wide. It may take about five to seven years for Sarcococca confusa to reach its full height.
Sarcococca confusa blooms in the late winter or early spring. It produces small white flowers with thin petals. The flowers produce a strong scent of honey, attracting a variety of wildlife and pollinators, including birds and bees.
After the flowering season, small blackberries appear. Birds tend to eat the berries and scatter the seeds.
Sarcococca confusa is an adaptable plant, growing easily in most lighting conditions. However, it grows best in partial shade or full shade. Full sun may bleach the leaves a little, but it’s possible in cool climates with damp soil.
These plants are winter hardy in USDA zones 7 to 9.
The common lilac (Syringa vulgaris)—also known as the French lilac or simply the lilac—is a member of the olive (Oleaceae) family. Its relatives include ash trees, jasmine shrubs and vines, forsythia bushes, and privets. The common lilac is a popular ornamental landscaping plant that's fairly low-maintenance under the right conditions.
Common lilacs are very low-maintenance plants and require little care beyond annual pruning and fertilization. They are great plants for landscaping, including border plants and hedges, and are quite beautiful on their own. Flowers from lilacs are fragrant and come in a multitude of colors.
Plant your lilac in an area that receives at least six hours of full sun each day.
Lilacs will grow in some shade but likely won't produce as many of the prized blooms.
Common lilacs like loamy, somewhat moist, neutral to slightly alkaline soil.
Lilacs must have good drainage to avoid root rot and other diseases.
Lilacs can tolerate the occasional drought but likely would benefit from supplemental watering during excessively hot, dry stretches.
The common lilac prefers USDA growing zones 3 through 7. Lilacs enjoy a moderate to cool temperature in the summers, up to 75 F, and can handle freezing temperatures during the winter. These plants thrive in moderate to less humid but do not tolerate high humidity.
In general, viburnums are not particular about where they grow, though they prefer fairly rich, moist soil. Viburnums do not transplant well once established, so the best strategy is to plant well-established container-grown plants and take care to choose a location where the shrub will have room to grow. Early spring is the best time for transplanting, giving them a full season to adjust.
To plant viburnum, dig a hole as deep as the container and twice as wide. Gently remove the plant from the container and place it in the center of the hole. Backfill the hole halfway, add some water, then fill the hole completely.
After planting, add a 2-inch layer of mulch to keep the soil moist and hold in moisture. During hot weather, the shrubs should be watered every 7 to 10 days. Little pruning is necessary, though some species can be trained to form tree-like plants by removing competing stems.
Viburnums prefer full sun but will tolerate part shade. In fact, some afternoon shade is desirable in the warmer zones of the plant's hardiness range.
These shrubs prefer fairly moist, well-drained soil, but they do not like to have their roots soaking in water. Viburnums like slightly acidic soil but many types will tolerate alkaline soil.
A deep watering every week is usually sufficient, either through rainfall or irrigation. Native varieties that are well-established have a fairly good drought tolerance.
Viburnums prefer moderate conditions, though the preferences vary greatly depending on species. Extremely hot weather requires extra watering, and very cold temperatures can stunt the plant or cause dieback.
Types of Viburnum:
Ceanothus is a Greek name for a spiny shrub. Velutinus means soft and velvety, referring to short, dense, silky hairs on the undersides of the leaves. This feature is more pronounced on shrubs found in drier areas east of the Cascades. When in bloom, it is covered with clusters of tiny white flowers, hence the name “Snowbrush.” It is also commonly known as Tobacco Brush or Red Root; other common names: Cinnamon Brush, Sticky Laurel, Shiny-leaf Ceanothus, and Mountain Balm allude to its sticky, scented leaves.
The genus Ceanothus consists of about 60 shrubs or small trees found only in North America with about 40 occurring only in California. Many have blue or purple flowers, earning the genus the common name, “Wild Lilacs,” but our creamy white-flowered northwestern species are generally called “Buckbrushes.” Blueblossom, C. thyrsiflorus,, one of the tallest and hardiest Ceanothus sp., which is native to southwestern Oregon and the California coast, is often planted in northwest landscapes.
Snowbrush grows to about 9 feet (3m) tall. It sometimes sprawls as it competes for sunlight, growing best in full sun.
Snowbrush is easy to identify by its shiny, often sticky, evergreen leaves with 3 main veins. Its small, creamy white flowers are borne in pyramidal clusters.
Snowbrush is an attractive evergreen shrub in the landscape for dry areas. It also is able to fix nitrogen, so is useful on restoration sites.
Bloom Period: May -June. Seedpods ripen in late June to early August; dispersal begins in August when seeds are ejected from the pods and fall to the ground.
Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides), a tropical broadleaf evergreen shrub, is typically grown as a large, indoor houseplant because its blooms smell magnificent. Gardenia can be planted outdoors in the spring or fall in the southern United States, or along the Pacific Coast.
Gardenia is toxic to pets and, if ingested, may produce mild diarrhea or vomiting.
Gardenia grows outside only in USDA Zones 8 to 11. If you live in a cooler climate, you can place your gardenia houseplant outside in the summer in temperatures of 60 F and higher. Garden gardenias prefer a planting area that is carefully amended with organic material to achieve a rich, acidic soil that drains well. Gardenia likes to be planted in light to medium shade in a location that doesn't face competition from tree roots. Soil should be regularly covered with a thick layer of mulch to control weeds and moisture.
A well-tended gardenia grows compact with deep green leaves and will bloom in early spring or early summer, depending on its location. This plant prefers daytime temperatures of 75 to 82 F, so when growing gardenia indoors, you'll need to keep it relatively warm. For this reason, outdoor potted plants need to be brought indoors on any night when the temperatures fall below the minimum.
Indoor potted gardenias prefer bright light, but not direct sunlight, especially during summer. Placing them in a sunny window that gets afternoon shade is best. Garden gardenias grow best planted in a partially shaded location. Some sun, with afternoon shade, works well here, too.
Gardenias are acid-loving plants, preferring soil with a lower pH. Traditional potting mixes with a peat base usually meet this criterion. When planted outdoors, it's best to test the soil's pH and amend it as needed. A teaspoon of agricultural sulfur mixed into the planting hole may help lower soil pH.
Gardenia prefers about one inch of water weekly (either by rain or by hand). Drip irrigation works best as it keeps water off the leaves, which can cause fungal leaf spots. Reduce watering in the winter and only keep the soil slightly moist to the touch. This winter watering method also works well for potted gardenia.
Types of Gardenias:
This plant has been widely cultivated outdoors in warm climates. Many varieties are created from plant grafting onto a Gardenia thunbergia rootstock. The grafted plants tend to grow more vigorously, with larger blooms, but they are even less cold tolerant than undrafted species.
Here are a few recommended cultivars:
Butterfly Bush 'Miss violet'
Buddleia davidii 'Miss Violet'
Camellia japonica 'Jacks'
Winter daphne flowers grow in clusters with flower colors ranging from pale pink to lilac to white. Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' is a popular cultivar of variegated winter daphne, meaning it has variegated leaves featuring a mix of green with bright yellow margins.
Be aware that every part of the winter daphne plant is toxic to humans and pets.