Native Shrubs: Beautiful and Beneficial
Native shrubs are a wonderful way to add interest to a garden or yard. They add texture, color, and dimension. They do well on their own along walkways, can help separate a patio space from the rest of your yard, and add significant curb appeal to the value of your home.
A bush or shrub is a perennial woody plant. They come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They range in size from 2 feet to about 20 feet in height. They have numerous stems and branches, far more than that of a tree. Some grow in a compact fashion, while others spring out loosely in every direction.
Why Use Native Shrubs?
Native shrubs don’t need as much care as imported varieties. This means that they are resistant to disease, weeds, and pests in your area. You can usually forgo fertilizers and pesticides. Native plants require less maintenance than lawns or exotic plants. They also cut down on the amount of area that needs to be mowed, thereby reducing the use of fossil fuels that pollute the environment.
Native plants are adapted to your local weather. They will survive harsh winters and are adapted to your local weather patterns. Native plants tend to be more drought tolerant and don’t need excessive watering. This translates to saving money on your water bill.
Native shrubs can prevent erosion in problem areas along walls, terraced landscapes, and embankments. Native shrubs establish easily and provide excellent shelter for local wildlife. The various habitats provided by native shrubs create and support biodiversity. This, in turn, preserves the natural heritage of indigenous animals and plants.
Native Shrub Identification
Sometimes when you come into a new space there are existing plants in place. You may be wondering if your plant is native or not. There are a few things you can look for to see if your shrub is a good fit for your yard.
If a shrub tends to take over and choke out other plants, then it may be an invasive species.
Observe your local animal habitat. Do your native birds, squirrels, and insects do well with this plant?
Is the plant resistant to pests and disease?
If you’re not sure about planting or keeping a shrub, you can do a little bit of investigation. You can inquire with your local nursery, read a native plant book, and of course, look online. There are also numerous plant identification apps available for download on your smart device.
Types of Native shrubs
When choosing what kind of plant to get, it’s a good idea to think about what you want in a shrub. You can spend time out in your yard, and also at different times of the day, to see what’s missing.
Would you like to attract more birds? Do you want something that’s pollinator-friendly? Are you wanting to have more privacy? Home much time do you want to commit to maintaining your shrub? Do you want your shrub to look beautiful year-round? These are the kinds of questions you want to ask yourself.
Let’s explore the different types of shrubs available. In the sections ahead we will go into more detail about which type of shrub you can choose and why each is desirable for your situation.
Native Evergreen Shrubs
Depending upon the USDA growing zone in which you reside, there are numerous shrubs that stay green and beautiful year-round. In fact, some shrubs really stand out and shine during the winter months.
This versatile plant is evergreen. It does well in either partial shade or in full sun. It works especially well as a privacy hedge, as it can reach 10 to 15 feet in height. It also has a wonderful licorice scent when the leaves are brushed, touched, or crushed. May through June, this shrub displays compact yellowish-green flowers. Ocala Anise really does have it all.
Pink Charm Mountain Laurel
This shrub grows to a substantial size and is a broadleaf evergreen. Its late spring flower buds attract hummingbirds. It does well in partial shade or full sun. It can also be used as a privacy shrub as it can reach 8 feet tall.
Native Shrubs for Birds
Do you love to birdwatch? Are you wanting to support your local wildlife with both food and shelter? Below are some of the best shrubs for birds.
This delightful plant features bright red twigs that catch the eye no matter what season you are in. These scarlet twigs are a wonderful addition to flower arrangements, basketry, and seasonal décor. This plant also has clustery white flowers in spring and develops deep red variegated leaves by fall. The attractive white berries are a tasty meal for wildlife.
This shrub is a definite fall treat for the eyes. It boasts bright yellow stems. It is also wonderful for adding to flower arrangements, basketry, and home décor. The bark keeps its bright yellow color throughout winter. Late spring brings fragrant flowery white clusters. Blue-white ornamental fruit emerges by summer’s end and is beloved by local wildlife. This plant does well in moist areas.
Native Shrubs That Grow in Shady Areas
These plants have it made in the shade. Utilize these shade gems to make your yard look amazing.
This shrub usually grows between 10 - 15 feet tall but can grow taller. In spring it has fragrant yellow flowers. In fall its leaves turn golden. It grows best in partial shade or full shade. It is enjoyed by wildlife.
This native plant can grow up to 5 feet high and up to 7 feet in diameter. It loves the shade and grows well in moist soil. It is also easily maintained. It is well placed along walkways, as understory for a wooded lot, and on the north side of buildings.
Native Flowering Shrubs
Need a little flower power in your yard? We’ve got you covered. These flowery gems are sure to make your yard look dazzling.
This beautiful native displays delicate clusters of white or pink flowers along tall shoots. The broadleaf foliage is lobed and looks similar to that of oak leaves. This shrub is an eye-catcher.
This low-maintenance shrub grows in compact clusters. In spring it has darling white flowers that cover the entire bush profusely. The flowers are small and clustered. Dark berries develop by late summer. Birds love and are attracted to this plant. This shrub also does well as a privacy shrub because it can reach up to 12 feet tall and wide.
New Jersey Tea
This native treasure produces white flowers loved by 62 species of butterflies and moths. It is drought tolerant and helps prevent erosion. It can also be used to make a fragrant tea as well.
Native Shrubs for Screening and Privacy
Many of us feel that our outdoor space is just as important as our indoor space. We often spend numerous hours outside in our yard each day. Having the right shrubs in place can make your yard feel more private.
Muhly grass really shines in the fall. It develops fluffy pink tips. This feathery tipped grass is a nice way to create a pinkish backdrop along fences. Its pinkish-purple stalks grow up to five feet tall and can help add a bit of privacy for backyard patios and sitting areas.
Though slow-growing, Shilling Holly can grow up to 7 feet tall and 10 feet wide. This hardy shrub has fine delicate leaves that grow in a dense pattern. It has small flowers in spring and does not produce fruit. This shrub is great for sculpting and training into an attractive shape. Schilling Holly is great for walkways, front door planters, or well-spaced in garden beds. It enjoys full sun but can tolerate partial shade as well.
No matter what kind of yard you have, there are a variety of wonderful shrubs that will meet your needs. To find out what native plants are found in your area, you can do a search by zip code through Audubob.org.
At perfect plants, we have the right plant for every yard. To add native plants to your yard, you can also check out our native trees section.
Let us know what native shrubs you love and why. Shop our selection of native shrubs for sale!