11 Perennial Shrubs Perfect for Your Landscape - Backyard Boss
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11 Perennial Shrubs Perfect for Your Landscape

Planting perennials can be costly and require a lot of work but their long life will be well worth it. Perennial plants, unlike annuals, live for over two years, coming back year after year. Ultimately, these varieties can save you money in the long run. 

If you’re looking for perennials for your landscape, you may want to consider adding a few shrubs. These versatile perennials can last for years and require little maintenance. Shrubs are fantastic for ground cover, shade, accenting, bordering, and privacy; This is partially due to their structure. 

While trees have a single main trunk, shrubs are multi-trunked woody plants. They vary in shape and size and can be flowering or non-flowering. Deciduous shrubs lose their leaves in the fall whereas evergreen shrubs maintain their greenery year-round. Picking the right shrub to compliment your garden can make all the difference. Luckily, there are many varieties to choose from.

Here are 11 perennial shrubs perfect for your landscape.

1. Meyer Lilac

purple petaled flower
Image credit: Irina Iriser via Pexels

The fragrance of lilacs is well-known and loved. If you’re one of the many who enjoy lilacs but don’t have room for a tree, check out a dwarf lilac variety, such as the meyer lilac. This deciduous shrub grows considerably smaller than the tree.

To enjoy their fragrance or for privacy, plant meyer lilacs outside of a window or beside a deck. They also work well as a border shrub.

The purple flowers bloom in spring, staying in small clusters of delicate, lustrous petals and leaves. For a balanced landscape, plant next to late flowering perennials and evergreen shrubs to enjoy a lush garden all-year round.

2. Rose Bush

pink rose bush
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Another popular flowering shrub is the rose bush. You might not think these pretty petals emerge from shrubs, but they do!

Red, pink, and white are the most common colors, but they come in a wide range. They’ll give you their signature blooms only if cared for properly. This perennial requires full sun, proper pruning, and well-draining, aerated soil. 

Rose bushes are a lovely addition to the landscape as they stay in bloom from spring to fall.

3. Hydrangea

bed of hydrangea flowers
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Hydrangeas are beautiful flowering shrubs that add a bold accent to any landscape. The large flowers come in several unique colors such as blue, green, pink, and white. Surprisingly there is a trick to get the specific colors you want – the pH of the soil can effect the shade of the petals!

They are great as bordering shrubs, often placed along walkways. However, these perennials do have a tendency to outgrow their environment. Give these shrubs lots of room to grow and prune them back if needed.

4. Tree Peony

pink and white flower
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Peonies are prized for their eye-catching flowers that can measure up to 12 inches across! The flowers are usually a shade of red, pink, white, or purple. Although it has tree in its name, it’s technically a deciduous shrub. These stunning and fragrant flowers come into bloom in late April, only lasting a few weeks.

Although, their flowering period is short, planting them next to evergreens and other perennials will ensure a stunning landscape year-round.

5. Boxwood

close up of a boxwood
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When it comes to evergreen shrubs, boxwoods are a must-have. They are perfect for hedging and as an accent in flower gardens or for creating interesting topiaries. You can sculpt them however you want, or if you prefer you can leave them unpruned. Boxwood perennial shrubs are slow-growing so they don’t need as much room as the other plants mentioned on this list.

Boxwoods prefer a location with partial shade, such as along a north-facing wall or under the cover of a tree. They need well draining soil with some organic matter. 

5. Creeping Juniper

lush green branches of juniper
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This low-growing evergreen shrub is incredibly hardy and amazing for rock gardens or ground cover. In fact, it’s known to take over.

If you’re unsure you want this perennial long-term, you may want to skip it. Once this shrub takes root, it creeps, lining even stone walkways, making it difficult to remove. If you live in a cooler climate and are losing perennials over winter, this may be the shrub for you.

7. Rosemary

Image credit: Karolina Grabowska via Pexels

You might think of rosemary as a herb, but it’s also a flowering shrub and a fantastic perennial to plant in your garden. Not only does it look good, you can harvest and cook with it. Rosemary thrives best in full sun, so it’s great for the south-facing garden.

Tuscan blue is a particularly hardy variety that has beautiful blue blooms. In warmer climates, rosemary will act as an evergreen throughout the cooler months. If you live in a climate with cold winters, prune the shrub back and cover it with mulch over winter.

8. Thyme

brown wooden signage on english thyme
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Thyme is another perennial herb that is also a shrub. Creeping thyme works well for borders, ground cover, and filling cracks between rocks. Many varieties have brightly colored flowers that are a perfect accent to the landscape.

A positive benefit of thyme, along with many other herbs, is that they help deter pests like mosquitoes.

9. Meyer Lemon

lemon tree
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The meyer lemon is a dwarf lemon variety that is a mix between a lemon and a mandarin orange. These shrubs are show-stopping accents to any landscape, but harvesting and enjoying the lemons may be the best part. They are great for providing shade to other plants, and for lining walkways.

If you live in colder climates, you may want to keep them in a planter so you can bring them inside over winter.

10. Red-osier Dogwood

red osier dogwood red twigs plants
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Red-osier dogwood is an easy-to-care for shrub that thrives in most soil and shady conditions. Their stunning red color is a most prominent feature to enjoy all year round especially in full sun.  Throughout the spring and summer the flowers bloom, and in the fall berries form. When winter comes around the stark red branches will add a pop of color to your landscape.

11. Chokecherry

chokecherry blossom and leaves
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Chokecherries are a delicious fruit-bearing shrub that makes a great border plant. Despite being a deciduous shrub, chokecherry bushes are pretty all year round, often still holding fruit in the winter. They are also easy to care for as they rarely need pruning and are adaptable to many soil conditions. 

The berries are even harvested for jellies, juices, or baking. 

Give Your Shrubs Room to Grow

Shrubs are a great addition to your landscape. They’re hardy and considered perennials in most zones, which makes them low-maintenance. It’s important not to plant them too close together or too close to structures, as most shrubs grow quite quickly.

What shrubs do you want to add to your landscape? If you used any of the varieties listed above, let us know about your experience in the comments.