Stay Connected with Fine Gardening
OR Browse All Plants
Blue holly, so named for the glossy blue-green leaves, is a dense, vigorous shrub that can reach 15 feet tall and 10 feet wide. Insignificant flowers bloom in late spring. Female plants have glossy red fruit. There are many cultivars available.
This tall, pyramidal, evergreen tree may be grown as a large shrub. Its evergreen, spiny foliage is leathery and glossy. Insignificant, though fragrant, flowers bloom in spring followed by red, orange, or yellow drupes that attract birds. Many cultivars are available.
While the fresh green leaves and smooth, light gray stems are enough to make possumhaw holly an attractive shrub, the appeal of this plant is more evident in late fall. Bunches of small berries form along the branches and turn bright red as the leaves fall off. Only female plants bear fruit (plant at least one male plant for best berry production), which finally becomes palatable to wildlife in the early spring. Possumhaw tends to sucker from the roots, so it's best to allow it to form a multitrunk screen.
The inkberry holly has narrow, glossy, spineless leaves and tiny black fruits. The narrow foliage produces a much finer texture than that of many other hollies. A slow-growing, evergreen shrub native to eastern North America, it produces greenish white, inconspicuous flowers in spring, followed by jet black drupes the size of peas. The fruit can persist until the next spring unless eaten by birds. Ilex glabra is rather more casual in form than the spinier hollies and can be used in borders, around ponds, as foundation plantings, or in woodland gardens.
This compact deciduous holly reaches up to 8 feet tall with equal or greater spread. Pale yellow berries ripen in September and stand out on reddish-brown branches, persisting into early winter and attracting birds.
This plant is a suckering shrub or small tree with toothed, pointy, bright green leaves. It bears white flowers in spring, which are followed by spherical dark red to scarlet berries that persist through the winter. Some fruit ripens to yellow or orange.
Yaupon holly is an upright, irregularly branched, evergreen shrub or small tree with ovate, toothed, shiny dark-green leaves and gray branches. Profuse, transluscent scarlet fruit persists through the winter.
This dioecious shrub has much to offer the garden. Male plants have showier, tiny, pale yellow flowers in early spring, but the female counterparts take center stage in early fall, when they're laden with half-inch-diameter berries that turn from green to yellow to high-gloss crimson. About the same time, the leaves turn a hypnotic soft yellow and make the red berries visually pop. Spicebush becomes a large, 5- to 8-foot-tall shrub that is slightly wider than tall. It is the preferred food for the black and blue spicebush swallowtail butterfly larvae.
Few shrubs offer flowers as late as this one, which starts blooming in late October or early November. The upright, 10- to 12-inch-wide flower clusters last until January or February, then give way to long strings of dark purple fruit that the birds devour. The evergreen foliage is so architectural, 'Charity' would be a spectacular shrub even if it didn't bloom. Some years, the leaves turn red, but instead of relying on it, consider it a pleasant surprise when it happens.
Leatherleaf mahonia is a thick shrub with a formal feel. Its stiff, green-blue foliage looks something like holly foliage, and in spring, airy clusters of tiny, golden yellow flowers appear. These are followed in fall by inky blue berries. Consider this plant for a a mixed-shrub foundation planting, or use it as a hedge plant. -Nellie Neal, Regional Picks: Southeast, Fine Gardening issue #127
A Michelia hybrid, bred in New Zealand by Mark Jury, with beautiful lightly fragrant flowers blushed lilac pink and evergreen dark green foliage. It is ideal as a specimen shrub or as a hedge.
This North American coastal native exhibits quiet beauty and an easy-going habit. It grows to 10 feet tall, and spreads slowly to form colonies with glossy, semi-evergreen aromatic leaves. It looks equally at home as a hedge, in an herb garden, or in a natural meadow.
'Brilliantissima' rivals hollies (Ilex spp.) in the quantity and crimson color of its fruit. The quarter-inch-diameter, crab apple-like berries hang in clusters amid brilliant foliage that matures to scarlet. Like the species, this cultivar develops into a handsome, multistemmed, vase-shaped shrub that reaches 8 to 12 feet tall and about half as wide.
Many gardeners know ninebark as an undistinguished shrub with ordinary green leaves, white flowers, and fall fruit. But 'Seward,' sold under the trademark name Summer WineTM, has outstanding burgundy leaves and pink flowers that bloom in early summer. This plant is super tough and makes a stunning focal point in a summer border.
The yellow to lime green foliage of 'Nugget' ninebark makes an interesting contrast with the exfoliating, cinnamon-colored bark. Clusters of white flowers appear along the stems in early summer, followed by dark brown seed capsules, which add winter interest. Unsheared, the plant has a vase-shaped growth habit. -David Graper, Regional Reports: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #122
A suckering deciduous shrub with a dense, rounded form, beach plum has dull green leaves that are pale green beneath. Single or double white flowers bloom in mid-spring, maturing to edible purple fruit.
'Schubert' choke cherry, with its vivid foliage and pyramidal form, makes a fine focal point. Ephemeral, light pink flowers are followed by abundant, dark red-purple fruit that birds love. (Don't plant it near patios or walks, as they'll quickly be covered by bird droppings.) If the tree you buy isn't grafted onto nonsuckering rootstock; otherwise, suckers could become problematic as the years go by. -Ron Smith, Regional Picks: Upper Plains, Fine Gardening issue #120
This vigorous shrub hugs the ground (to 2 feet tall) and spreads out to 8 feet, making it an excellent choice for stablizing a bank or smothering weeds. It has small yellow flowers, hairy red fruits, and glossy leaves that change to gorgeous orange-red in autumn.
Lemon-lime foliage, fuzzy stems, and intense fall color make this sumac cultivar a standout. It grows into an upright, rounded form about 6 feet tall and as wide. New growth emerges chartreuse. Fall brings leaves of yellow, scarlet, and orange. Flowers are yellowish green and followed, on female plants, by hairy, dark red fruit. This plant spreads by suckers and can be invasive. The species is native to North America.
In spring, this North American native shrub produces clove-scented, lemon-yellow flowers, which are followed by black edible fruits. It has attractive leaves, and grows 6 feet high and wide.
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
Spectacular Spring Bloomers
These perennials are the light at the end of the long, wintry tunnel
by Dave Demers
Find out what all the buzz is about by planting these colorful perennials
by Sally Roth
Enchanting Japanese Maples
Two experts pick their favorites based on color, shape
by Francie Schroeder
How to Grow Trilliums
Plant the best species for your region in fall for a spectacular display in spring
by Gene E. Bush
FineGardening.com and VegetableGardener.com are part ofthe Taunton Home and Garden Network
Taunton Home |
Books & Videos |
Contact Us |
Product recall information
Copyright Notice |
Taunton Guarantee |
User Agreement |
About Us |
Work for Us |
Contact Us |
Press Room |
| Subscriber Alert
© 2013 The Taunton Press, Inc., Part of Taunton’s Women’s Network. All rights reserved.