What Is A Shrub?
A shrub is a tree that grows from one or two stems and does not have leaves. They are usually small (under 2 feet tall) but they can grow up to 6 feet high. Most shrubs do not flower so their fruit is edible, though some fruits may be poisonous if eaten raw. Some shrubs such as the dogwood, hollyhock, and willow are invasive species that have spread throughout many areas of the country.
Shrubs need light to survive. They prefer bright sunlight and can tolerate low levels of light.
Many varieties of shrubs have been bred over time to produce flowers when grown under certain conditions. Plants with multiple blooms are called polycultures and those with only one bloom are called monocultures. Monocultures are generally considered to be better plants than polyculture plants because they require less care and maintenance.
Monoculture shrubs include: dogwood, hollyhock, maple, oak, pear and poplar. Polyculture shrubs include: azalea, blueberry bush, crabapple bush, dahlia bush, hawthornbush and linden tree.
All of these types of shrubs thrive in zones 8 through 10.
Which Are The Best Shrubs To Plant?
Planting shrubs is a great way to create privacy in your yard. Many people choose to plant pines and other evergreens to block their neighbors from view, but these plants offer little else in terms of eye appeal. Instead of planting monoculture evergreens, plant shrubs that have both flowers and fruits.
One type of shrub that is an excellent choice for homeowners in zone 8 is the dogwood tree. Dogwoods are considered to be one of the best trees or shrubs to plant because they have multiple uses.
Not only do they produce white or pink flowers during springtime, but their berries can be used to make jelly.
Flowering crabs are another type of shrub that can be planted to add some color to your yard. The crabapple flower is a type of apple blossom that grows in clusters.
They come in a variety of colors including white, pink, red and purple.
Although higher in maintenance than other shrubs on this list, linden trees are also worth considering when you’re thinking of what to plant. The flowers that grow on this tree smell just like the popular fragrance “Linen” and are quite beautiful.
The downside to this tree is that it requires a lot of sunlight (around 5 hours) and cannot tolerate shade.
Other shrubs that fall into this category include hawthorn, barberry, forsythia, and lilac bushes.
Semi-evergreen Shrubs That Flower
Semi-evergreen shrubs include: blueberry bush, heather bush, juniper bush, and hibiscus shrub. They are slightly more challenging to grow than deciduous plants because they need slightly different growing conditions.
They cannot survive in areas that experience prolonged periods of frost but require light levels to be between 2500 and 7500.
All of these shrubs are fairly small, reaching heights of between 3 and 12 feet. Although most people think that flowers have a strong scent, very few flowers actually smell strongly enough to be smelled from a distance.
Most of these types of shrubs produce small and non-fragrant flowers, except for the hibiscus which has large and highly fragrant flowers.
Planting Shrubs With Fruits
There are several types of shrubs that produce small edible fruits. If you’re looking for a way to add some extra nutrition to your meals or simply want to try something different, these plants are definitely worth considering.
Most of these shrubs will need pruning during the early spring, but this maintenance task will increase their yield.
These particular shrubs are some of the most common plants that people plant in their yards and for good reason. Blueberries are delicious and can either be eaten raw or turned into jam.
Raspberries are also quite tasty and can be used in a wide variety of recipes.
No other fruit is as quintessentially summery as the strawberry. These berries grow in clusters and come in a variety of colors including red, orange and yellow.
Although strawberries do not thrive in extreme cold temperatures, they can survive light frost and thus are the first harvests of spring.
All of these berries need to be planted in soil that has been enriched with compost. Most soil bought from a nursery or garden center comes with nutrients already in place so make sure to double check if you need to add anything.
Other types of shrubs that produce delicious fruit include: currants, gooseberries, and jostaberry.
Shrubs With Fragrant Flowers
Although the scent of some flowers can be quite pungent and annoying to some people, these shrubs all have flowers that smell absolutely wonderful. These are perfect plants if you want to add a light fragrance to your yard throughout the warmer months.
They will also attract bees and other types of insects into your yard which is a major benefit for any gardener.
These shrubs need to be pruned during the early spring, but apart from this small maintenance task they are incredibly low-maintenance. All of these plants grow to a medium height and fall into the deciduous category which means that in the winter they lose all their leaves.
It is important to remember that these shrubs cannot survive in areas where there is a heavy frost.
Sources & references used in this article:
Wyman’s gardening encyclopedia by D Wyman – 1986 – books.google.com
Herbaceous perennial plants: A treatise on their identification, culture, and garden attributes by AM Armitage – 2008 – books.google.com
Apples by J Janick – HortTechnology, 1999 – journals.ashs.org
Grow a Butterfly Garden: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-114 by J Hersey – 1974 – Scribner
Ecological status and traditional knowledge of medicinal plants in Kedarnath Wildlife Sanctuary of Garhwal Himalaya, India by W Potter-Springer – 1990 – books.google.com
Interdisciplinary analysis of homegardens in Nicaragua: micro-zonation, plant use and socioeconomic importance by JA Bhat, M Kumar, RW Bussmann – Journal of Ethnobiology and …, 2013 – Springer
The European garden flora flowering plants: a manual for the identification of plants cultivated in Europe, both out-of-doors and under glass by VE Méndez, R Lok, E Somarriba – Agroforestry systems, 2001 – Springer
Children’s active and passive interactions with plants influence their attitudes and actions toward trees and gardening as adults by J Cullen, SG Knees, HS Cubey, JMH Shaw – 2011 – books.google.com