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Podcast: Let's Argue About Plants

Episode 17: Dwarf Shrubs with Big Impact

February 9, 2018


These space-conscious wonders are low-care and have good looks, too

What do we mean when we say “dwarf shrubs?” After all, the dwarf version of a 75-foot tall conifer might be a cultivar that only gets 45 feet. That won’t be the case in this episode where we’ll focus on shrubs that stay less than 4 feet tall and wide. Plant breeders have been hard at work, developing these miniature dynamos, so you’re sure to hear about something you’ve never planted before-like a viburnum that sounds like it would be right at home in a sushi restaurant.

Expert Ed Gregan, Northeast field representative for Carlton Plants, a wholesale bare-root grower in Dayton, Oregon.

Two things that Sunshine Blue® bluebeard (Caryopteris incana ‘Jason’, Zones 7-9) has going for it: Glowing yellow foliage and incredible blue flowers in late fall when nothing else is blooming.
Does it remind Danielle or her favorite cocktail–yes. But Little Lime® panicle hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Jane’, Zones 3-8) has plenty of other noteworthy traits like long-lasting blooms that will never be stunted by a late frost.
Although slightly larger than 4 feet tall and wide, ‘Ruby Spice’ summersweet (Clethra alnifolia ‘Ruby Spice’, Zones 4-8) is considerably smaller than the straight species. With its deliciously fragrant pink blooms, it’s worth it to make a little more space so it can fit into your garden.
Although Steve dislikes seafood-especially sushi, he loves the new dwarf Wabi-Sabi® doublefile viburnum (Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum ‘SMVPTFD’, Zones 5-8) with its ground-hugging habit and abundant snowball-like flowers.
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