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A large shrub or small tree, Albizia julibrissin is native to Iran to Japan. It is a fast-growing plant whose seedlings can become invasive. It can be seen growing in the wild in the southeastern U.S. and California in waste places, fields, and along roads.
However, its bipinnate, ferny leaves and fluffy pink flowerheads that cover the tree in summer make it a garden-worthy plant, as do the fragrance emitted by the flowers, which attract bees. Seed pods that resemble flat beans follow the flowers and persist into winter. Still, care should be used so that seeds from garden plants can't escape into the wild.
Red Japanese barberry is a deciduous shrub with multi-season interest. Most striking are the deep reddish purple inch-long leaves. In spring, scented yellow flowers appear on arching stems. This barberry is an excellent hedge pland, and it also looks good in the middle to rear of beds and borders. Watch out for the brittle, three-pronged thorns. -Gerald Gibbens, Regional Picks: Northwest, Fine Gardening issue#120
The white- and pink-mottled leaves of 'Roseo-picta' make it appear as if the plant has been snowed upon, even though it is a tropical plant. It is an evergreen shrub growing to 3 feet or more with pink and red stems in zigzagged formation. Native to Pacific islands, it is grown as an indoor plant or perennial, or as an annual in cooler climates. The tiny flowers go generally unnoticed. Do not allow the soil to dry out, as leaf drop will occur.
This large, conical-shaped tree has dark green flattened sprays of evergreen scale-like leaves.
Though its leaves are small, this semi-deciduous shrub stands out in the landscape. Littleleaf cordia has a prolifically branching, slightly open form that looks good year-round. Its roughly textured, dark gray-green foliage contrasts nicely with its coppery brown young stems. From late spring into fall, branch tips bear clusters of pristine, white, funnel-shaped flowers to provide a visually cooling effect during the peak of summer heat. It grows to 6 to 8 feet tall and wide.
These showy shrubs have two distinct phases of garden interest. In winter, they display boldly colorful bark—red, yellow, or orange—on twiggy stems to make a striking scene. In spring, the stems lose their vivid color and produce bright green, gold, or variegated foliage that accents the garden through the fall. Twig and leaf color vary according to the cultivar.
This bushy shrub or small tree has generated many notable cultivars, all of which add great textural qualities to the landscape. It has 6-inch-long frothy plumes that appear after the flowers and give a long-lasting, smoky haze to branch tips. Its green leaves are smooth and rounded and produce brilliant fall color.
This specimen is grown for its stunning golden leaves, which turn to brilliant shades of orange and red in autumn. It may or may not produce the smoke-like plumes typical of the genus.
This shrub or small tree has stunning dark red-purple foliage that turns scarlet in autumn. It has plume-like seed clusters, which appear after the flowers and give a long-lasting, smoky haze to branch tips.
This shrub or small tree has stunning deep purple foliage that turns orange-red in autumn. It has plume-like seed heads, which appear after the flowers and give a long-lasting, smoky haze to branch tips.
This is a tough evergreen shrub with pendent flowers that provide a delightful gardenia-like perfume during October and November. Brown fruit ripens to red in autumn. Handsome foliage is a lustrous green above, dull and silvery dotted with brown below.
This evergreen shrub can light up the dark corners of a garden. It grows quickly, and its branches are arched and somewhat spiny. Bright yellow, 3- to 4-inch-long leaves splashed are outlined in green. The twigs are a metallic copper color, and the undersides of the leaves are specled with a copper color, too. Tiny white flowers appear under the leaves in fall. They are hard to see, but very fragrant. Small orange fruit appear in spring. -Michael Lee, Fine Gardening issue #119
Because it is a relative of the immensely popular burning bush (E. alatus), it isn't surprising that eastern wahoo has great fall color. This North American native grows as a small tree in the southern part of its range and as a large shrub on the Plains. The bright red of its fall foliage is amplified and extended by abundant clusters of scarlet fruits that persist after the leaves have fallen, providing color even into midwinter. Eastern wahoo is effective as an accent plant or when massed wherever a bold, surprising splash of color is desired.
This cultivar boasts single, long-tubed, brick red flowers and dark bronze-red leaves and stems.
This erect shrub grows to 10 feet high and wide and produces many small, tubular, pendent flowers in shades of red, pink, and sometimes white. Flowers are followed by reddish purple fruits. Native to Chile and Argentina, Fuchsia magellanica is hardy in Zones 6-9 and adds bright colors and a tropical feeling to the garden. Use as a specimen or in a bed or border.
This gardenia cultivar features a very tight, upright form that is perfect for smaller gardens. It also boasts increased cold tolerance while maintaining the lustrous dark green foliage and abundant fragrant blooms you’ve come to expect from this genus.
Through the fall and into winter, pincushion hakea provides beautiful cut flowers for the holidays; the foliage and seedpods are also great for arrangements. You can prune it into a bushy shape or a slender, small tree. As a member of the Protea family, pincushion hakea does not like phosphorus fertilizer, and like most Australian plants, it prefers to be well mulched so that its specialized roots can extract nutrients from the mulch layer.
There are few better winter displays than the blossoms of 'Pallida' witch hazel. Bright green leaves line its flaring branches in spring and summer. After a display of yellow fall color, the plant shows its distinctive branch structure. Around the end of December, clusters of buds begin to open into spidery, pale yellow flowers. These cover the branches until early March, giving off a rich, fruity perfume. This small tree or large shrub grows up to 12 feet tall and wide.
This hardy, deciduous, vase-shaped, woody shrub blooms for several weeks beginning in midsummer. Cultivars include ‘Aphrodite’ (deep rose-pink flowers with a dark red eye), ‘Diana’ (large white flowers with wavy-margined petals), ‘Helene’ (white flowers with bases flushed reddish purple), and ‘Minerva' (low-branched with lavender flowers tinged with pink and dark red centers).
'Diana' has deep green foliage and large, pure white flowers that bloom from mid- to late summer. Unlike some other roses of Sharon, its flowers remain open at night. It requires little maintenance and, once established, will tolerate extreme heat, drought, and poor soil. -Judith Ireland, Regional Reports: Northeast, Fine Gardening issue #122
Flowering Paperwhites for Winter Windowsills
These easy-to-force bulbs have superior blossoms and scents
by Brent Heath
Experts Pick Their Favorite Plants
We asked 42 gardening experts from around the country to select their favorite plants. Now you can see the complete results of the survey.
10 Outstanding Succulents
Skip the finicky selections and go for these unique yet reliable beauties
by Maureen Gilmer
Alliums All Season Long
Deer resistant and dynamic, these bulbs provide color from the first showers of spring to the last leaves of fall
by Stephanie Cohen
VIDEO Potting Soil Recipe for Cacti and Succulents
Perfect drainage makes this recipe succeed
by Jeff Moore
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