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This deciduous shrub is related to the forsythia, but differs in that it has white (rather than yellow) flowers that open in early spring before true forsythia. It is a member of the olive family (Oleaceae). In early spring, before the new leaves form, purplish buds all along the grey naked branches open into small white four-petaled, almond-scented flowers with yellow stamens. After flowering, green, glossy abelia-like leaves appear.
The textural quality of this eastern native's stems and foliage is superb. During winter, a circle of the thorn-covered stems is as magical as an outdoor sculpture. Dark blue-green compound leaves offer a tropical effect before turning yellow and purple in autumn. One-foot-wide flower clusters sit atop the foliage in summer and transform into purple-black fruits that attract birds. Aralia spinosa grows to 30 feet tall and spreads indefinitely.
This is a fine plant for cascading over the edge of a wall. It's a hardy, prostrate shrub with intricate branching that often forms mats up to 3 feet wide, by runners. Fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers tinged with pink are borne in May and followed later in the season by red berries. The common bearberry's stunning red stems are studded with small, glossy, evergreen leaves.
This shrub produces abundant, long-lasting, coral-red to scarlet berries, which stand out against dark-green, glossy leaves.
Fragrant white flowers in spring, red fall foliage, and persistent berries for winter interest make Aronia a valuable plant in all seasons.
Aucuba are grown for their bold foliage, autumn fruit, and adaptability to shade, dry soil, pollution, and coastal conditions. A. japonica is a rounded, evergreen shrub with small, reddish purple flowers in spring, and red berries (on female plants) in fall. It grows to about 10 feet tall and wide. 'Crotonifolia' has leaves that look like they were speckled with yellow paint. 'Gold Dust' is female with heavy yellow speckling. 'Mr. Goldstrike' is male, more upright, and has gold-splashed leaves. Use as a hedge or specimen, in a container outdoors, or as an imposing houseplant.
Although it produces small, lavender-pink flowers in spring, this plant is known mainly for its violet to magenta berries, which start appearing in October. The berries, massed in tight bunches that encircle the branches, are vivid against deep-green leaves.
A native small tree found in wetlands from Minnesota to Florida and from New England to California, buttonbush can reach 8 to 15 feet tall and is often wider than it is tall. Prune it into a small multi-trunked tree to reveal the curly bark of its young stems and the punctuated pale spots of its older stems. Blooms are extremely rich in nectar and attract butterflies and other insects.
This upright, suckering shrub bears creamy white, deliciously spicy clove-scented flowers in dense, upright spikes that last four to six weeks in July and August. It is more compact than the species. Flowers mature to spikes of dark brown capsules that provide winter interest. Its oval, glossy dark green leaves turn a pleasant yellow in autumn.
This vigorous deciduous shrub provides a long season of interest in the garden with its variegated leaves, attractive berries, pretty fall color, and red winter stems.
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 native shrub dogwood is more compact than the species with semiglossy, emerald green foliage and showy, white fruit. Purple fall leaf color and rosy pink pedicels make this gray dogwood a fine choice for the woodland edge. Its silvery gray bark in winter adds interest into another season. White flowers in the spring add to the list of what it offers. Plant this dogwood in the landscape where it will be seen in the fall and winter. It rarely suckers.
This spreading ground cover flowers from fall into spring. Its tubular, dusky pink flowers attract hummingbirds, and its deep green leaves release a citrus scent when crushed. Tolerant of dry conditions, frost-hardy 'Dusky Bells' correa should be tip-pruned regularly to promote new growth and improve flowering. Healthy specimens can live up to 50 years or more.
This evergreen species produces rose-purple buds that open to white and are intensely and exotically fragrant. The blooms (from mid-winter to early spring) are followed by red fruit and dark-green, glossy leaves.
This winter daphne has yellow-margined leaves and rosy-pink flower buds that open to white. Fragrant flowers bloom in winter and early spring. Reaching 4 feet tall and wide, 'Marginata' is beautiful against a wall or near a patio or deck where its fragrance can be appreciated. Or grow in a shade garden where its variegated leaves really shine. Daphne odora is evergreen and has a rounded form. It is native to China and Japan.
This small shrub from China is noteworthy for its spherical clusters of very fragrant yellow flowers that bloom in winter and early spring.
A member of the conifer clan, Ephedra equisetina is commonly called bluestem joint fir due to its finely textured blue stems. In spring, it features a conspicuous froth of yellow blooms that are often followed by red berries. It is perfect for naturalized areas since it reliably spreads.
Prostrate to mound-forming, vigorous evergreen shrubs have oval, toothed, dark green leaves. Cultivars vary in foliage color and variegation, form, climbing or creeping habit, and fall interest.
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.
This creeping, rhizomatous shrublet grows to 6 inches, with scalloped or bristly toothed, glossy, dark green leaves. Foliage has a strong wintergreen scent when crushed. Urn-shaped white or pale pink flowers appear in summer and mature to aromatic scarlet fruit that often persists into the following spring.
Conifers for Shade
Yes, you can grow evergreen trees and shrubs in shade. Who knew?
by Christine Froehlich
How to Prune Conifers
These plants are unforgiving, so make the right cuts for the right reasons
by Bert Cregg
VIDEO Potting Soil Recipe for Woody Plants and Perennials
This long-lasting mixture is the perfect medium for long-term plants
by Rita Randolph
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
PLANTING PLAN: A deer-resistant bed that shines in fall and winter
by Nancy Matthews
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