The 15 Most Eye-Catching Shrubs for Your Yard

Team McFly Oct 24, 2023
9 People Read
Table of Contents
  1. 15 Colorful Shrub Varieties For a Gorgeous Landscape
    1. 1. Azalea Bush
    2. 2. Winter Gem Boxwoods
    3. 3. Rhododendrons
    4. 4. Camellia
    5. 5. Japanese Yew
    6. 6. Daphine Shrub
    7. A Daphne shrub has attractive foliage and small, fragrant blooms. It can be used as an ornamental plant or as a ground cover. However, all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested. This shrub grows up to four feet tall. The leaves are light green, arranged alternately along the stems. Some varieties also produce clusters of flowers.
    8. 7. Viburnum
    9. 8. Oak Leaf Hydrangea
    10. 9. Mexican Heather
    11. 10. Mountain Laurel
    12. 11. Rose Bushes
    13. 12. Yaupon holly (ilex vomitoria)
    14. 13. Snowberry
    15. 14. Arborvitae (Thuja)
    16. Arborvitae
    17. 15. Dwarf Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo var. pumilio)
    18. Conclusion:
    19. Recent Featured Articles:

Disclosure: Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.  

15 Colorful Shrub Varieties For a Gorgeous Landscape

Azalea Bush

1. Azalea Bush

Azaleas are deciduous plants that produce colorful blooms. They can be planted in containers and raised beds. However, they can be toxic to dogs and cats.

When planting azaleas, make sure they are well-draining. The plant will likely suffer from root disease if the soil is soggy or heavy. This can lead to stunted bloom production. You can improve the soil by applying a layer of organic mulch.

Watering azaleas in hot weather are very important. First, it will help if you water early in the morning. This will allow sunlight to dry the wet leaves. Then it would help if you watered them slowly to ensure the water does not run off.

Strong winds can also damage azaleas.

Therefore, it is best to plant them in a spot that will provide shelter from the wind. For example, you could plant them between tall trees.

Most azaleas can thrive in moderate winters. However, they prefer temperatures between 30oF and 85oF. Nevertheless, it is best to plant them in locations that receive at least six hours of sun per day.

Generally, azaleas prefer acidic soils. They can tolerate pHs as low as 4.5, but they will benefit from a higher pH. A good way to lower the pH is to add a small amount of sulfur to the soil.

In addition, azaleas need rich, well-drained soil. Ideally, apply a layer of organic mulch around the base of the stem. This will prevent rot and rodents from nibbling on the bark.

Azalea Bush

Growing Conditions: Partial to full shade

Zones: 3-9

Size: 3 to 6 feet tall and wide


2. Winter Gem Boxwoods

Boxwood is an evergreen plant growing in zonal or eye-catching topiary shapes. This robust shrub is great for borders and edgings, especially since its woody foliage can easily withstand light pruning. One of the best features of this versatile shrub is that it produces glossy leaves year-round, making it a beautiful decorative piece in any garden.

Winter Gem Boxwoods

Soil Type



Full, Partial

Drought Tolerance


Mature Height

2-3 Feet

Mature Width

4-5 Feet

Fall Color


3. Rhododendrons

Rhododendron is one of the most celebrated plants in horticulture. It can live for up to ten years, but some specimens can live up to one hundred years.

This species has an impressive amount of diversity. There are over a thousand different varieties in this genus. Most of these are native to Asia and the eastern part of Asia, but a few are scattered throughout Europe.

Rhododendrons need a combination of deep watering and good drainage to thrive. They also require filtered shade during the day. These shrubs are usually hardy, but some pests and diseases can harm the plant.

One of the most common insect problems is mites. It would help if you kept an eye out for these creatures and borers. Borers can cause serious damage to the plant.

Another common problem is root rot. If the soil is very wet, it may become too acidic, and the root system can rot. Root rot can also be caused by lime-induced chlorosis.

Rhododendrons can be relatively easy to care for when it comes to maintenance. You should not need to do much pruning; if you need to shape the plant, you can do so after it blooms. However, it would help if you were careful about transplanting rhododendrons.

In addition, you should be sure to use a spray to repel deer. Deer love to eat the rhododendron's leaves, so protect your plant from them.

Rhododendrons are show-stopping plants known for their impressive size, bold hues, and leathery leaves. Their flower heads in shades of lavender, pink, yellow, purple, rose, and bicolor can reach sizes up to softball size. Rhododendrons love slightly moist and acidic soil and come in sizes ranging from 20 feet tall to ground-hugging varieties.


Growing: Full to partial shade on a damp but not soggy soil

Size: 2 to 20 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

4. Camellia

There are several types of camellias. They are all members of the genus C. Sinensis. However, most of the Camellias cultivated in garden centers and nurseries are of C. japonica, the "Japan Rose."

These camellias are mostly white. But there are several other colors and flower forms. For example, some camellias are double; others are semi-double. You can also find camellias with yellow, orange, and pink flowers.

If you're growing Camellias in the ground, you'll want to choose a location that offers plenty of shade. However, camellias are not particularly hardy, so you'll have to take special precautions if you live in a cold region.

The best time to plant camellias is in spring. However, keep in mind that camellias are slow growing and need a lot of water during the first year.

In addition to their beautiful blossoms, camellias are very useful as container plants. They can be grown indoors or outdoors. It's best to get a pot with a good drainage hole.

It would help if you used a potting mix with 50% organic material. This will help keep your soil acidic. And you'll be able to replenish your potting mixture every three years.

Unlike most other plants, the petals of camellias will not fall off but will stay attached to the calyx. For this reason, they represent a woman in love with a man. Several varieties of camellias are known for their fragrance. Many are used to produce a beverage similar to tea.


Growing: Make sure there is well-drained soil and partial to full shade

Size: 2-to-20-feet tall, 5-to-7-feet wide

Zones: 6-10

5. Japanese Yew

A Fast-Growing Evergreen Shrub

Japanese yew may be the right choice if you're looking for a fast-growing, evergreen shrub. It's a hardy tree that will grow to around 50 feet. The Japanese yew is a member of the Taxaceae family and is native to China, Korea, Japan, Russia, and the US.

Japanese yews are a popular plant for landscaping. They can be used as foundation plantings and hedges. In addition, their foliage is a good backdrop for colorful plants.

The Japanese yew is a hardy plant that can be adapted to various climates. However, they have a short lifespan when planted in compacted soil. That's why many landscapers prune them to form a narrow crown.

You can also grow Japanese yews as a decorative hedge

These shrubs will tolerate drought and are usually pest-free. Japanese yews should be grown in well-draining soil with a pH level of between six and seven for best results.

In addition to its foliage, Japanese yews have ornamental fruits. The fruit is small and red. But its flavor is quite bland. Besides that, the berries contain a toxic pit. This can be dangerous for people, pets, and livestock.

Even though they are toxic, Japanese yews are popular garden trees. However, if you're not careful, your yews can become invasive. Therefore, they should be grown in groups.

When ready to plant your yew, you'll need a large hole to hold the cutting. It should be 8 inches in diameter and a pencil width. Water the cutting regularly. After three months, it should be ready to transplant into a container.

Japanese Jew

Conditions: Grows in the sun and shade

Soil : Well-drained soil and medium moisture

Size: Grows up to 50 feet tall

6. Daphine Shrub

A Daphne shrub has attractive foliage and small, fragrant blooms. It can be used as an ornamental plant or as a ground cover. However, all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested. This shrub grows up to four feet tall. The leaves are light green, arranged alternately along the stems. Some varieties also produce clusters of flowers.

This shrub prefers moist, well-draining soil. It is intolerant to clay-based soils. If your soil is very acidic, adding peat moss is a good idea to improve its pH. Daphnes can be propagated from semi-ripe cuttings taken in late summer. However, they are slow to grow and can take seven to ten years to reach full maturity.

  • Daphnes respond best to a mixture of soil and peat moss.

  • They are also frost-hardy.

  • Daphnes are prone to fungal leaf spots.

These fungi can kill them within a month. To prevent this, use a light horticultural oil or soap solution to spray the leaves regularly.

Daphnes are easy to maintain once they are established. However, it is a good idea to prune the shrub as needed. Also, watch out for groups of pear-shaped bugs that attack the foliage. You can kill them by spraying the plant with an alcohol insecticidal soap solution.

Daphnes prefer a spot in the garden with partial to full sun. They can also tolerate shade. As they are highly sensitive, they do not like to be transplanted.

Daphnes Shrub

Conditions: Partial to full sun

Soil: Moist well drained

Size: 3-to-4-feet tall, 2-to-4-feet wide - Zones 7-9


7. Viburnum

Various evergreen shrubs and viburnums can reach heights of up to 30 feet. Their leaves are often glossy, and their flowers can vary in size from pink to white. The berries are edible and come in a variety of colors.

They grow best in full sun but can tolerate part of the shade. The berries can vary from bland to flavorful and are sweetest in cooler weather.

Some varieties produce ornamental fruits in late summer. In addition, they are tolerant of drought and heat.

Although they require full sun and moist soil, the varieties are quite resistant to disease. Most species are self-incompatible, but some hybrids are available.

These shrubs can be hardy enough to survive cold climates. However, some will drop their leaves if temperatures fall below freezing. Viburnums can also be planted in containers but must be in a large pot with drainage holes.

Viburnums should be pruned in early spring. This helps prevent the plant from being overrun with insects. You can use an organic fungicide to treat the affected areas if a pest or disease occurs.

Viburnums can be planted in the fall in milder climates. Depending on the type, they may need to be spaced about 10 feet apart. When ready to plant, dig a hole twice as wide as the root ball. Fill the hole with water, and then plant the viburnum.

Many types of viburnums have foliage that turns bright colors in the fall. For example, the Mohawk viburnum's leaves are red and spicy. Also, the Leatherleaf Viburnum has dark leathery leaves and brownish flower buds.

Viburnum Chicago Lustre

Conditions: Partial shade to full sun

Size: 6 to 8 feet tall and wide

Zone: 2-9

8. Oak Leaf Hydrangea

Oak leaf hydrangea is one of the most popular hydrangea cultivars. It is very hardy and drought-tolerant. With a long season of interest, it makes a wonderful accent plant.

This beautiful shrub grows to a height of 4 to 8 feet, but there are dwarf varieties available. These are suitable for patios and containers.

Oakleaf hydrangea grows best in moist, well-drained soil. It prefers the sun but will do well in partial shade. The flowers are large, long-lasting clusters.

Hydrangea quercifolia is native to the southeastern United States. In its natural habitat, it is an understory plant. Unlike other hydrangeas, it does not suffer from pests or diseases.

Hydrangea quercifolia can be propagated by seeds or cuttings. To ensure a healthy plant, protect it in the winter. If it is exposed to cold weather, burlap wrap should be used.

Oakleaf hydrangeas can be planted as an informal hedge, a privacy screen, or in a woodland border. They are also suitable as a specimen plant. Depending on the cultivar, they can grow as tall as 12 feet.

During the growing season, the foliage of oakleaf hydrangea is dark green. However, in the fall, it deepens to a crimson red.

Throughout the year, oakleaf hydrangea is known for its large, lobed leaves. The foliage of this shrub is an inspiration for its name.

Oakleaf hydrangea is very adaptable to many different growing conditions. It is also very easy to care for. However, it may be susceptible to certain diseases.

Oak Leaf Hydrangea

Conditions: Sunny to partial shade

Size: 4 to 8 feet tall

Soil: Moist to well drained soil

Drought tolerant

9. Mexican Heather

A member of the Lythraceae family, the Mexican Heather is a shrub with evergreen leaves and delicate blooms. It is a common choice for rock gardens and landscapes.

The plant is a hardy, drought-tolerant, low-maintenance shrub that can be used for beds, container plants, and even borders. Because the plant can thrive in various soil conditions, it's suitable for growing in various climates.

Originally from Mexico, the Mexican Heather has been naturalized in Hawaii. This small, evergreen shrub produces tiny purple or lavender flowers.

The plant is also known as false heather and is commonly used as a ground cover, walkway, or border plant. It is not frost-hardy, however. When planted outdoors, it is best positioned in a spot with six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. The plant should be moved indoors after the first frost if you live in a cold climate.

Though it's not a heather, the Mexican Heather can attract hummingbirds and butterflies with its nectar-filled flowers. This makes it an excellent addition to a pollinator garden.

Although it is a relatively low-maintenance plant, Mexican Heather does require regular watering to stay healthy. Water the plant early in the morning to avoid foliar problems.

To keep the plant's foliage green, water it twice a week. Be sure to water the Mexican Heather in the morning because the water will evaporate slowly.

Mexican Heather grows in a variety of soils. Although it prefers full sun, it will tolerate partial shade. However, it will produce fewer flowers if it is in partial shade.

Mexican Heather

Conditions: Full sun or partial shade

Size: 2 Feet

Flower color: Pink-Purple - White

Soil: Sandy well drained

10. Mountain Laurel

The mountain laurel, also known as Kalmia latifolia, is a flowering shrub. It is native to eastern North America. A member of the Ericaceae family, it is a mounded evergreen plant with deep green leaves and showy spring flowers.

Mountain laurel is an ideal flowering shrub for natural gardens. This species grows well in areas with acidic soil, like those in the Gulf Coastal region. Also, it has good resistance to drought. In addition, it tolerates a wide range of light conditions.

During the growing season, mountain laurel should be watered until the top few inches of soil are moist. Then, it should be mulched with an organic mulch that helps hold moisture between waterings.

This plant is easily propagated through stem cuttings. Depending on the variety, it can grow to about 10 feet tall.

When pruning, remove spent flower clusters. Mountain laurel produces thousands of seeds annually. However, it is a difficult plant to grow outside its native range. For this reason, it is considered to be a threatened plant.

While mountain laurel is a beautiful and easy plant to care for, it is poisonous to humans and animals. Therefore, it is best to keep it from areas where livestock and people are frequent visitors.

In addition, the mountain laurel is susceptible to borers, lace bugs, whiteflies, leaf spots, and scale. Additionally, it has a high flammability rating. Therefore, it should not be planted in a defensible space or within the house.

Mountain Laurel

Conditions: Partial Sun

Size: 5 to 15 feet tall and wide

Soil Type: Moist, Well drained

rose bushes

11. Rose Bushes

Rose bushes come in various varieties, each with its unique color. In addition, a broad spectrum of colors is available, from light pink to deep red.

The roses should be planted in well-draining soil. Mix in organic matter, such as compost. Most rose bushes prefer full sun, but they can tolerate partial shade.

They should be pruned annually in the spring. This should include removing any damaged or outward-facing stems. In addition, the crown of the rose should be kept 2 to 3 inches below the ground.

They should be topped with a balanced rose fertilizer during the growing season. It is also a good idea to mulch around the rose bush to reduce stress on the plant. A layer of mulch will also conserve water and encourage healthy growth. These bushes are also disease resistant. However, they should be treated for black spot, which appears as circular spots on the leaves. For this disease, an organic 3-in-1 fungicide should be used.

They are also a good choice for hot climates. However, roses do well in the afternoon shade, which helps protect the blossoms from the hot sun.

Hybrid tea roses are a great choice for temporary arid conditions. These plants don't have the large, elegant flowers of the species of roses, but they can also handle periods of drought.

They are relatively easy to grow. Some varieties could be higher maintenance. One is 'Pink Supreme,' which can be planted anywhere. Another is 'Smoothie,' a single-flowered rose.

Rose Bushes

Conditions: Full Sun

Soil Type: Well-drained soil

Size: Varies

12. Yaupon holly (ilex vomitoria) 

The Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria) is a species of holly native to the southeastern coastal plains of North America. It is a small, evergreen tree that grows in wet woodlands and dunes.

This fast-growing shrub can reach up to 25 feet in height. Yaupon Holly is easy to identify by its light gray trunk. Yaupon Holly is a good choice for a low-maintenance landscape plant, as it can tolerate many soil conditions.

This evergreen shrub grows well in coastal regions and can be used as a landscape screen or hedge. Yaupon Holly also has excellent ornamental qualities, providing red fruit in the fall and producing fragrant flowers in the spring.

Besides its aesthetic appearance, Yaupon Holly provides support for wildlife. As an evergreen, this shrub provides a habitat for birds and insects and helps create nesting sites.

The holly leaves are dark green and oval to elliptic in shape. The margins are toothed. The small red or yellow berries are edible.

Yaupon Holly is a hardy, drought-resistant, and adaptable native of the southeastern United States. Although a tolerant plant, it can struggle in higher hardiness zones. Consider a different shrub or plant if you are planting the holly in an area with harsh winters.

The Yaupon Holly is one of the many hollies bred for landscaping use. It is a great substitute for boxwood, as it grows well in humus-rich soils and resists soil compaction. The berries are very poisonous and should not be swallowed.

Conditions: Drought Resistant

Soil: Can grow in many soil conditions

Size: Up to 25 feet tall

Zones: 7-9

13. Snowberry

The snowberry is a shrub that is native to North America. Snowberry shrubs are found in woodlands and swampy thickets. They are a good species to plant for erosion control and bank stabilization projects. It grows best in full sun but can also thrive in partial shade.

Snowberries are a part of the honeysuckle family. There are many different kinds of snowberries. Some are poisonous to humans, while others are edible. In the United States, there are twelve common species of snowberry.

Snowberries are an attractive landscaping plant. They are native to North and Central America. Their berries are a great source of winter food for birds. They are useful for landscaping but are not recommended for edible uses.

A good way to grow snowberry shrubs is to plant suckers. Ideally, it would help if you did this in spring. This will help you manage the size of your shrub and keep it in check. You can also grow snowberry shrubs from seed.

Snowberries Prefer a Variety of Soils

  • Sandy Soil

  • Clay

  • Rocky

  • They grow well in dry areas

Snowberries are native to the Pacific Northwest and the eastern United States. They are commonly found in mid-elevations below 1,219 meters. However, they are also cultivated as ornamentals.

In the wild, the snowberry produces white drupes in the fall. These are flesh-covered berries that turn snow-white when they are mature. Bears and songbirds eat these winter berries.

Common snowberry is a drought-tolerant shrub that can tolerate cold. But it is also susceptible to anthracnose. Anthracnose causes lesions on the leaves and stems.


Conditions: Full Sun to Part Shade

Soil: Sandy -Clay-

Size: Varies

14. Arborvitae (Thuja)

Arborvitae Thuja is a popular tree for landscaping and hedges. They can range from small shrubs to larger evergreen trees. These plants are often used to accent houses or for privacy.

Arborvitae Thuja is a native of eastern North America. It can grow up to 40 feet tall. Most of the arborvitae varieties are derived from the species Thuja plicata.

When planted, arborvitaes require good drainage. It would help if you watered them regularly. However, you do not want to overwater them. The roots can grow deep into the ground. This can weaken the tree.

Eastern arborvitae grows best in moist, well-drained soil. It does not tolerate drought. It does not grow in areas that are too hot or too cold.

Many of the cultivars of Thuja are available for sale. Some of them are native to the United States. Among these are the Woodward globe arborvitae and the Emerald green arborvitae.

Another variety is the weeping arborvitae. It produces foliage that hangs from several stems. It is not as effective as a windbreak but is tolerant of most soil types.

If you want to buy arborvitae, you will need to find a wide variety nursery. Most horticultural arborvitaes come from the eastern United States.

While it is not a common species, arborvitae is also a useful plant. They are easy to care for. But they are more prone to disease than most other evergreens. So, be sure to plant them in fertile, well-drained soil.


Conditions: Sunny to part Shade

Soil: Moist well drained soil

Size: They can grow up to 40 feet tall

15. Dwarf Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo var. pumilio)

Dwarf Mugo Pine is a hardy-mounding evergreen shrub that can be used for landscaping. It can also be trained as a bonsai. This tree is native to Central and Southern Europe. It grows in many different soils. However, it is best in well-drained, moist loam or clay soil.

The needles of this range in length from 2.5 to 5 cm. They form oval or circular cones, usually 30-80 ft. tall.

Mugo pines are drought tolerant but can be subject to the pine bark beetle. Controlling this insect is simple; cut off infested branches and spray the plant with an organic pesticide.

Mugo pines are easy to care for. Most cultivars do not require fertilizing, but a general-purpose fertilizer is recommended. When it comes to transplanting, it is best to gently remove the plant from its nursery container and position it in a hole.

You will need to water the plant regularly. Watering the pine at least once in spring and once a week during the growing season is recommended. It would help if you watered the plants in containers as soon as the soil thaws.

The best location for this plant is in beds or woodland gardens. However, for best results, you should give the tree full sun.

Dwarf Mugo Pine has the potential to live more than 50 years. If you choose to prune, do it in the spring. Remember to cut the central candle of the tree, leaving a 5- to the 7-inch stem.

Dwarf Mugo Pine

Conditions: Full Sun

Soil: Well-drained, Moist Loam or Clay soil

Size: They can grow 30 to 80 feet tall

Zone: 2-8


With these 15 most eye-catching shrubs, you’ll be able to turn your yard into a stunning space that will make all of your neighbors jealous. Not only can you choose from a wide variety of different shrubs, but you can also customize the look with various colors and textures. Whether you want something low maintenance or something unique, there is sure to be a shrub for every taste. So why not get started on making your yard beautiful today?

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Table of Contents
  1. 15 Colorful Shrub Varieties For a Gorgeous Landscape
    1. 1. Azalea Bush
    2. 2. Winter Gem Boxwoods
    3. 3. Rhododendrons
    4. 4. Camellia
    5. 5. Japanese Yew
    6. 6. Daphine Shrub
    7. A Daphne shrub has attractive foliage and small, fragrant blooms. It can be used as an ornamental plant or as a ground cover. However, all parts of the plant are toxic if ingested. This shrub grows up to four feet tall. The leaves are light green, arranged alternately along the stems. Some varieties also produce clusters of flowers.
    8. 7. Viburnum
    9. 8. Oak Leaf Hydrangea
    10. 9. Mexican Heather
    11. 10. Mountain Laurel
    12. 11. Rose Bushes
    13. 12. Yaupon holly (ilex vomitoria)
    14. 13. Snowberry
    15. 14. Arborvitae (Thuja)
    16. Arborvitae
    17. 15. Dwarf Mugo Pine (Pinus mugo var. pumilio)
    18. Conclusion:
    19. Recent Featured Articles:

Disclosure:  Some of the links in this article may be affiliate links, which can provide compensation to me at no cost to you if you decide to purchase. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.