Large shrubs can be great for providing a hedge of protection against wind, hiding an unsightly fence or offering privacy from prying neighbors. Small shrubs also play an important role in landscaping, providing variety and visibility along walkways and under windows. Dwarf shrubs can also fit in tight spots where other shrubs won’t work, such as areas around mailboxes or in narrow flowerbeds.
While the name bluebeard may bring to mind an evil character from a French folk tale, it’s also the name of a small shrub with fragrant foliage. Bluebeard (caryopteris × clandonensis) shrubs can grow successfully in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 4 through 8, reaching a mature height and width of up to 3 feet. These shrubs produce blue or purplish-blue flowers in late summer that remain into autumn, according to University of Illinois Extension. Bluebeards can handle full sun or light shade. NC State University notes bluebeards can tolerate drought conditions, like well-drained soil, have a moderate growth rate and attract butterflies.
Dwarf Hinoke Cypress
Another compact choice for Zones 4 through 8 is the dwarf hinoke cypress (chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana’ ), a very-slow-growing evergreen. It can reach up to 3 feet in height and width when mature. Its dark-green foliage forms fan-shaped branches that give off a pleasing fragrance when crushed, notes NC State University. The dwarf hinoke cypress handles full sun or partial shade and likes well-drained soil. The nana lutea variety produces yellow foliage and is easy to take care of, notes Monrovia.
This evergreen shrub produces bright, aromatic clusters of pink flowers in April and delivers blooms sporadically in the summer, according to the UConn Plant Database. The rose Daphne (Daphne cneorum) grows from 6 to 12 inches tall and expands to a width that is at least double its height. This shrub does not produce any significant fruit. It is a slow-growing plant that likes shade and well-drained soil. It is suitable for Zones 4 through 8. North Carolina State University warns that this plant may be fatal if eaten.
Clusters of tube-shaped pink flowers cover the minuet weigela (Weigela florida ‘Minuet’) each spring, attracting butterflies and humming birds. The Morton Arboretum calls this shrub “extremely hardy and adaptable to any well-drained soil.” Monrovia recommends planting the minuet weigela in full sun in Zones 4 through 8 and watering it regularly. This deciduous shrub slowly grows up to 3 feet tall and wide, taking on a rounded form, says the arboretum.
Sources for this article:
University of Illinois Extension: Bluebeard
NC State University: Scientific Name Caryopteris x clandonensis
NC State University: Scientific Name Chamaecyparis Obtusa ‘Nana’
Monrovia: Golden Dwarf Hinoki Cypress
UConn Plant Database: Daphne cneorum
University of Delaware: Daphne cneorum
North Carolina State University: Poisonous Plants Daphne Cneorum
The Morton Arboretum: Minuet Weigela
Monrovia: Minuet Weigela