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Grow: Plants & Vegetables

Shrubs That Keep a Low Profile

Best bets for small shrubs that won't outgrow their welcome.

For the front yard makeover on Boston's south shore, the landscape needs new shrubs that won't outgrow the scale of the house. Michael Weishan visited Flowerland Nursery in Pembroke, Massachusetts, where he found some Best Bets for low-profile shrubs.


Clethra alnifolia
summer sweet
'Anne Bidwell'
Summer sweet is a small shrub that blooms from the end of summer and into fall. It covers itself with fragrant white blossoms that have a scent similar to lilac. Summer sweet grows best in partial shade and prefers a moist, slightly acidic soil.

'Mount Airy'
Fothergilla is a shrub that isn't seen very often in American landscapes. 'Mount Airy' is a relatively new cultivar and is much smaller than other varieties. It's a great shrub for any landscape, adding color to your garden from early spring into the fall. It blooms in April with 2-inch white blossoms and its foliage turns an orange and vermilion color in the fall.

Stephanandra incisa
'Crispa' is a great ground-cover shrub that spreads rapidly. Its branches grow down in an arch and, if they reach the ground, will take root. 'Crispa' is easily grown in shady areas — it's one of the few shrubs that doesn't need a lot of light, but be sure it gets plenty of water.

'The Fairy'
'The Fairy' is a good rose to grow if you have had trouble with them in the past. It's a landscape rose that blooms all season and is resistant to many diseases, including black spot, an infectious disease common in roses. Although not particularly fragrant, this variety makes up for its lack of scent with super blooming — up to 35 or 40 blossoms on a single stem!

Hydrangea macrophylla
'Nikko Blue'
Hydrangeas are known for their brilliant display of color, ranging from an almost turquoise color to a shell pink, depending on the acidity of the soil. 'Nikko Blue' is one of the more popular varieties and can be kept at any size by yearly pruning. It blooms from early to midsummer and, without pruning, reaches a height of 4 feet.

Weigela florida
'Alexandra' is another shrub that adds color to your landscape, with pink flowers throughout the summer and wine-colored foliage in the fall. It prefers full sun and reaches a height of 3 feet. It will tolerate some shade, but will not flower as profusely.

Ilex meserveae
'Blue Maid'
This is the only one of this collection of shrubs that will grow above 6 feet, but it can be easily pruned back in early spring. It is an evergreen shrub and a female plant will produce red berries if a male plant is grown along side it.

For more information on resources used on the show, visit our Resource Directory

This segment appears in show #2823.

Published August 31, 2007