Small Bushes For Front of House.

jimishamJune 5, 2005

We'd like to plant some small bushes in front of our house.

What was planted there, got out of hand and was taken out.

We're looking for some small bushes that grow no more than 18 inches and don't require frequent trimming.

Something that's available at Lowe's, Home depot or Meijer's here in Michigan. We're in zone 5 near Lake Michigan. Anyone have any suggestions?

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nushie(5a / 5b)

I have used the spirea.Some people i've seen let it grow much larger, but I just prune it short in the spring "otherwise the rabbits in the area seem to do a good job of that as well> approx 10 inches high. It fills in and is now about 1 ft high.It grows to perhaps 2 ft high total thru the summer, and i do nothing else with it. I like smaller shrubs as well, and so far these have worked well, and its nice to have the constant blooming thur the summer as well. Another option might be a yew of some sort or boxwood. These are every greeen thru the winter, they are very easy too prune & easy on the hands and you only need to prume in the spring.These don't bloom.
I've seen others use the Rose of Sharon shrub either has a larger shrub/tree or also they've kept it shorter but usually taller than perhaps what you'd want
Potentilla is also another shrub that you can either prune too keep small or allow to grow larger.Whichever you rather.

good luck

    Bookmark   June 5, 2005 at 1:21PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Spireas stay small and there are probably almost a dozen varieties to choose from. They can get larger but you just whack'em back and they actually like to have a good pruning. Pruning them brings out the colours they were cultivated for.

The Weigelas are nice too but may grow larger than you like if not kept pruned back. They do come in several foliage colours as well as a wide variety of bloom colours and have a lovely trumpet-like bloom.

There are many new dwarf varieties of shrubbery too, evergreen as well as deciduous. You'll still have to prune them depending on what size you want to keep them and you'll want to check with the nursery as to how big they 'do' get as some "DWARF" varieties can still grow to a large size (ie. 10'x 10'). Dwarf Burning bush is one that can get to that size but with careful and regular pruning you can keep it at a manageble size for over 10 years. Likewise Dwarf Globe Blue Spruce can reach sizes of 10'x10' but pruning back on a regular basis will keep it smaller and keep loads of icy blue new needles on it.

There is a dwarf/small version of Fothergilla which as lovely fall colours (red/orange/gold) all on the same bush.

Another common and quite tiny dwarf variety is a dwarf boxwood. You can use them to line a walkway in a tiny hedge or you can prune them to globes or other shapes as you desire. But again, they 'will' need pruning to keep a nice shape and density throughout the shrub.

Another option is the dwarf varieties grafted onto a small tree trunk. This will help give you some varied height in your garden without the fear of it overtaking/overgrowing. You can get most anything in the form of a graft, from roses to lilacs to willows, euonymous(sp?), burning bush and fruited shrubs and vines.

The Barberries don't mind being kept small and there are some new and pretty varieties such as "rose glow", a gold variety and if you place the gold variety in shade it will be lime green. I've seen varigated types as well as the typical burgundy.

Cotoneaster is a vine type ground-covering item that has gorgeous berries and looks fantastic draped down over a retaining wall or similar area. You can keep it under control with pruning. The fall and winter colour is fantastic.

The Potentillas can also be kept quite small with pruning which will also help with giving you loads of flowers. The flowers come in orange, bright yellow and white but there could be new cultivars available since I last looked at them.

And the last one I'm thinking of off the top of my head are the dwarf cedars and cypresses. They are low, mounding evergreens and they too come in a wide variety of colours. My favourite is the "Gold False Cypress". In the sun it turns a rich golden colour but if you plant the same shrub in the shade it will stay lime green. It's foliage is whispy and is quite esthetically pleasing and so far in 2 years I've never had to prune it although I'm sure I will at some point.

Hope that helps some.

Good luck and let us know what you do with your gardens. It sounds like you have a blank canvas to work with now so it should be fun for you.


Southern Ontario, CANADA.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 9:51AM
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Thanks for the replies and suggestions. I've printed this out and will be doing some shopping.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 10:25AM
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hydrangea2(5b Ontario 4bUS)

Hi! before you go, I strongly suggest you try to get a shrub called "Golden Nugget" barberry.

It is the first to leaf out in the spring, first a beautiful chartreuse colour, then a bright yellow for summer, eventually turning to a orange for fall. It is a stunning plant! It stays a nice 'bun' shape without any trimming whatsoever! About 18 inches wide and 12 inches high. A bit pricey and a bit of a slow grower but well worth it to keep a neat appearance

    Bookmark   June 6, 2005 at 2:51PM
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chezmoose(z4/5 MI)

I have two potentilla in front of my house and I love them. They are compact little shrubs and I trim mine once a year. Mine are pink flowering and once they get started, they bloom continuously. Got mine at HD. I've also seen yellow and white there. The round arborvitae are nice too, mine is gold and has never been pruned. I'm also a big fan of the dwarf alberta spruce. They are especially pretty right now with all the new growth.

Let us know what you end up with!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2005 at 6:59AM
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