How to landscape with small flowering shrubs

Written by leslie lane
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How to landscape with small flowering shrubs
Small flowering shrubs make excellent accent plants in gardens. (red hydrangea flower image by thea walstra from

While large growing shrubs can serve a valuable purpose in a landscape, small growing shrubs are excellent for use as accents, low hedges, and edging. Small flowering shrubs can add colour and life to just about any yard, and when carefully placed in a landscape design, will provide years of beauty.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Small flowering shrubs
  • Gardening hand tools

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    Plant very small flowering shrubs, such as Caryopteris 'First Choice', or Spirea 'Golden Princess', to create a soft hedge along walkways or drives, or to enclose garden areas. The University of Minnesota Extension notes that small ornamental shrubs like these add structure and definition, without the harshness of a brick, stone or plastic edging material.

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    Choose flowering shrubs that are short in stature for use as accents in garden areas. According to The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer, flowering shrubs work well to add shapes and interest to your garden that perennial flowering plants may not be able to do. If you use a shrub that blooms at a time when your perennial plants are not in flower, the accent will be even more pronounced. Shrubs that work well in gardens are dwarf red hardy azalea, dwarf lilac, and the Cityline series of hydrangeas.

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    Incorporate small ornamental shrubs into your landscape by planting a group of three or five of the same flowering shrub as an accent bed, or serving as a transitional grouping between turf grass and taller shrubs or trees, according to the University of Minnesota Extension.

    Such a grouping can stand on its own, and make a big, colourful impact within the overall landscape. Be sure to choose a shrub that provides at least two seasons of interest, the first with colourful blooms and another perhaps with vivid fall foliage colour or interesting winter form. A shrub, such as dwarf blue mist fothergilla, would work well in such a grouping, providing lovely blossoms in spring and bright foliage in the fall.

Tips and warnings

  • Pay attention to the expected mature size of the shrubs you choose for planting. While many large shrubs can be kept at bay with pruning and trimming, if you want to use small flowering shrubs, choose plants that have a mature height of no more that 3 to 3 1/2 feet, depending on your intended use.

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