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small native shrubs

Posted by fiddlrs3 NE Illinois (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 22, 10 at 19:31

We inherited a foundation planting on our southwest facing side a row of redtwig dogwoods, which were an annual battle to keep from burying our small one-story ranch trying to (naturally!) reach their normal size of 10-15'. I finally pulled a few of them (for a number of reasons!) and would like to replace them with a native that would co-habit with some perennials and not try to exceed 3-4 feet tall. New Jersey Tea? Leadplant? Any suggestions for something short, beautiful, and preferably a friendly neighbor or host?

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: small native shrubs

New Jersey Tea is very nice. Other ideas include dwarf forms (cultivars) of other plants ('Little Henry' Itea virginica; 'Pee Wee' Hydrangea quercifolia; 'Nana' Ilex vomitoria).

RE: small native shrubs

Fothergillas have nice flowers and great fall color. There are two species that are commonly planted, one that stays quite small and a slightly larger one. Fothergilla major is the larger one I believe.

RE: small native shrubs

Because you're thinking about New Jersey tea, or Leadplant, I figure the area you want to plant in tends to be somewhat dry? If so, I think the New Jersey tea or the Leadplant are good choices. If the area is sunny, you may also want to try Bush/Shrubby cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa or sometimes called Dasiphora fruticosa ssp. floribunda). It gets yellow flowers in the summer, and would probably do okay in dry-ish conditions. I believe it's native to NE Illinois, and that butterflies like it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bush Cinquefoil

RE: small native shrubs

It sounds like Blue False Indigo would be perfect for you. It's beautiful, well-behaved, and ours have been maintenance-free.


Here is a link that might be useful: Blue False Indigo

RE: small native shrubs

  • Posted by carrieb 7 Philadelphia (My Page) on
    Sun, Jun 27, 10 at 19:40

If you're at all inclined to keep the red-twig dogwood...

I tend two red-twig hedges for clients, one is in front-of-the-house foundation planting, the other is along a (different) client's driveway. With twice a year pruning, these hedges are kept to about 3-4' in height and look wonderful year-round.

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