AUBURN, Ala. – Developing a functional and beautiful landscape can be difficult. When deciding how to build your landscape, there are two factors that come into play: space and expense.
Mike McQueen, an Alabama Extension regional agent of home grounds, garden and home pest, said that when choosing plants for a space, remember that the plant should have a purpose for being in the space.
“Each plant in your landscape should satisfy a need,” McQueen said. “Otherwise, it becomes an added expense, space taker and liability to the homeowner.”
One option that homeowners are turning to for planting when space is an issue is some type of a dwarf shrub. Often these shrubs make the most of a space while adding character and variety.
McQueen reminds people to not be fooled by the word dwarf in a plants name.
“Some dwarf shrubs can be as tall as fifteen feet at maturity,” McQueen said. “Before choosing plants for small spaces, do a little research to determine if the plant will be the right plant for the right place in the landscape.”
Types of Dwarf Shrubs
There are many different types of dwarf shrubs. Those looking for shrubs that are more aesthetically pleasing, might choose a dwarf nandina, azalea or Indian hawthorne. The dwarf nandina is short and compact and has a rich fall color and low maintenance. The dwarf azalea comes in a variety of colors, but requires mulch to protect its shallowroot system. The Indian Hawthorne is evergreen, but grows clusters of pink, white or bright pink blooms in late spring.
McQueen said if a homeowner is looking for a shrub that stays green year around, there are a number of options to choose from.
“Homeowners wanting an evergreen shrub could consider planting the dwarf yaupon, juniper or boxwood,” McQueen said.
The dwarf yaupon usually grows to 4 feet high and 3 feet wide. This is one of the larger shrubs, but has a gorgeous color and texture.
The juniper is one of the most popular shrubs because of its silver, blue or green coloring. Junipers can be susceptible to spider mites and bagworms. People must inspect these plants on a regular basis and treat for these pests when necessary.
The boxwood is also popular and only grows to 3 feet tall. Each of these is an evergreen, but on a much smaller scale.
While these are dwarf shrubs, they still must be pruned and cared for. If not maintain, these shrubs will take over a flower bed.
For more information on dwarf shrubs or other plants, visit Alabama Extension online or contact your county Extension office.
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