Recommendation for a small, reddish, rounded shrub

garasaki(z5 IA)August 1, 2005

Thanks in advance everyone.

I'm looking for a relatively small (3 to 5 foot height and spread) shrub, with rounded growing habit and redish/purplish/or really dark green foliage.

The best option my wife and I have seen at the local nursury (Culvers in Marion) is Wine and Roses Weigela. However, we have not seen any growing specimens locally and we are concerned that it gets a bit leggy and dosent fill in very well (as far as we can tell from pictures we have found on the net). My wife is pretty picky about plants appearing "neat" and she is really turned off by what we've seen about it's form. However, it's foliage is exactly the color we want (a nice mix of red and green). If anyone has any experience with weigela's and can shed some light on their form for us, we'd appriciate it.

The obvious choise is barberry, but I'd really like to stay away from that. First off, the thorns are a dealbreaker for me, not kid friendly or pruner (me) friendly. I also have read these are quite invasive. Plus, everybody and their brother has them, and I prefer to avoid using extremely common plants in my landscaping. So, with Barberry, it's got it's 3 strikes, so in my mind, it's out.

So after that, we run out of ideas. There's dark ninebarks, but those are neither mounding or "neat" looking so they don't fit the bill either. And beyond that, we just don't see any other options. Any suggestions??

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whatcheer(z4 Ia)

Maybe you should take a trip to Ames Iowa. The Remain Gardens have some nice full grown shrubs of about every variety. They are also a zone 5. If there is an arboretum near you, they may have different plants also.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 12:43PM
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marilou(z4 IA)

Fine Gardening has a list of shrubs and their design attributes at the link below. Maybe it will spark some ideas for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: Well Placed Shrubs

    Bookmark   August 2, 2005 at 9:59PM
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uicricket(z5 IA)

I can't think of any purple leaved shrubs with that growth habit - other than barberry which can be pruned to shape. Pruning a weigelia will affect how it blooms.

You could try holly. Nice deep green folliage with red berries in the fall. Light pruning should keep it shaped up. You need a male and female plant if you want berries and make sure it is hardy in your area.

I don't know much about pruning - I pretty much let my shrubs go natural. Could by my lazy gardener gene. Let us know what you finally decide on.


    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 11:43AM
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garasaki(z5 IA)

We do keep stopping and looking at the hollys we see, but I think we may have settled on a purple-leafed sand cherry. Does anyone here have an experience with them?

Marilou, thanks for the link, that looks like good stuff. I'll read it throughly later tonight.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 12:19PM
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twin_too(5 IA)

All I know about the purple-leafed sand cherry is through my neighbor's plant. Keeping that in mind... It can get very large, but will survive severe prunning (he cut it all to the ground one year). It blooms sparsely, but the blooms smell nice. It keeps the burgundy color all summer.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 4:21PM
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I'm replacing some Barberi with Purple leaf sand cherry.I forget what yor space requirements are,but they can be cut to the ground in the spring. The rabbits do a good job of this! We have one we yanked out & put a butterfly bush in its place & there are purple shoots coming up around the base! Doris

    Bookmark   August 4, 2005 at 6:57PM
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