Small Shrubs (1 to 4 feet) for North Carolina
Common Name
Scientific Name
Hardiness Zone
Groupa
Growth Rateb
Exposure
Texture
Form
Height
Spread
Landscape Remarks
Abelia, Prostrate & Sherwood Abelia x grandiflora cvs. 6, 7, 8
Semi-E
Slow Sun to partial shade Fine Irregular to oval 3 to 4' 3 to 5' Dwarf forms of Abelia x grandiflora.
Aucuba, Dwarf Aucuba japonica 'Nana' 7, 8
E
Slow Shade Coarse Upright; rounded 2 to 3' 3 to 4' Excellent, shade-loving dwarf plant.
Azalea, Dwarf Indica (Gumpo) Rhododendron eriocarpum 6, 7, 8
E
Slow to moderate Partial shade Fine Rounded 1 to 2' 1 to 2' Late flowering; can be used as ground cover.
Azalea, Kurume Rhododendron obtusum 6, 7, 8
E
Moderate Partial shade Medium Dense; twiggy 2 to 4' 2 to 5' Early blooming; dependable.
Azalea, Satsuki Rhododendron hybrida 6, 7, 8
E
Moderate Partial shade Medium to fine Compact; rounded 2 to 4' 2 to 4' Late blooming; large flowers; can be used as a ground cover.
Barberry, Red Japanese Berberis thunbergii var. 'atropurpurea' 6, 7, 8
D
Moderate Sun Medium to fine Rounded 3 to 6' 4 to 6' 'Crimson Pygmy'; dependable.
Barberry, Warty Berberis verruculosa 6, 7
E
Slow Sun to partial shade Fine Compact; rounded 3 to 4' 3 to 4' Spreading branches; bronze winter color.
Beautyberry Callicarpa dichotoma 6, 7, 8
D
Rapid Sun to partial shade Medium Arching branches 3 to 4' 4 to 6' Violet-pink berries; C. albifructus has white berries.
Boxwood, English Buxus sempervirens 'Suffruticosa' 6, 7, 8
E
Very slow Partial shade Fine Rounded 2 to 4' 2 to 4' True dwarf English boxwood; requires excellent drainage.
Bowood, Korean Buxus microphylla var. 'koreana' 6, 7, 8
E
Slow Sun to shade Fine Open, rounded mound 3 to 4' 4 to 6' Most hardy of boxwoods; bronze colored foliage in winter.
Boxwood, Littleleaf Buxus microphylla 6, 7, 8
E
Slow Partial shade Medium to fine Compact; rounded 3 to 4' 3 to 4' 'Compacta' useful for low hedge.
Cotoneaster, Bearberry Cotoneaster dammeri 6, 7, 8
E to semi-E
Moderate Sun Fine Spreading 1 to 2' 3 to 5' White flowers; red fruit; good for groundcover.
Cotoneaster, Rockspray Cotoneaster horizontalis 6, 7, 8
Semi-E to D
Slow Sun Fine Spreading 2 to 3' 4 to 8' Good rock garden plant.
Daphne, Winter Daphne odora 7, 8
E
Slow to moderate Sun to shade Medium Rounded 3 to 4' 2 to 3' Flowers in late winter; very aromatic; needs good drainage.
Deutzia, Slender Deutzia gracilis 6, 7, 8
D
Slow Sun to partial shade Medium to fine Compact; Rounded 3 to 4' 3 to 4' Very adaptable to adverse conditions.
English laurel, Dwarf Prunus laurocerasus cvs. 6, 7, 8
E
Moderate Sun to shade Medium Compact; spreading 3 to 4' 5 to 6' 'Otto Luyken' and 'Zabeliana' are dwarf forms of English laurel.
Euonymus, Dwarf Japanese Euonymus japonicus 'Microphyllus' 7, 8
E
Moderate Sun to shade Medium to fine Upright; rounded 2 to 3' 1 to 3' Used for edging, border; very susceptible to scale insects.
Fothergilla, Dwarf Fothergilla gardenii 6, 7, 8
D
Slow Sun to partial shade Coarse Rounded; informal 2 to 3' 3 to 4' Requires good drainage; white, spring flowers; excellent fall color.
Gardenia, Creeping Gardenia jasminoides ''Radicans' 8
E
Slow Partial shade Medium to fine Spreading 1 to 2' 2 to 3' White, fragrant flowers; can be used as a ground cover.
Hawthorn, Indian Rhaphiolepsis x Delacourii 7, 8
E
Slow Sun to shade Medium to coarse Open; spreading; irregular 3 to 4' 3 to 5' Excellent coastal landscape plant; several cultivars available; white pink spring flowers.
Holly, Carissa Ilex cornuta 'Carissa' 6, 7, 8
E
Slow Sun to partial shade Coarse Compact; rounded 3 to 4' 4 to 6' Excellent formal shrub for grouping, accent.
Holly, Dwarf Chinese Ilex cornuta ''Rotunda' 6, 7, 8
E
Slow Sun to partial shade Coarse Rounded; spreading 3 to 4' 3 to 4' Requires little care; very spiney foliage.
Holly, Dwarf yaupon Ilex vomitora 'Nana' 7, 8
E
Slow to moderate Sun to shade Fine Dense; symmetrical 3 to 4' 3 to 5' Excellent for eastern N.C.
Holly, Japanese cultivars Ilex crenata cvs. 6, 7, 8
E
Slow Sun to shade Medium to fine Dense; rounded 3 to 4' 3 to 4' Cultivars: Stokes, Helleri, Tiny Tim, Repandens, Carefree.
Hydrangea, Annabelle Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' 6, 7, 8
D
Slow Sun to partial shade Coarse Upright; loose; open mounds 3 to 6' 3 to 5' Large, white summer flowers; very hardy.
Hydrangea, Pia Hydrangea macrophylla 'Pia' 6, 7, 8
D
Moderate Partial shade to shade Coarse Rounded 2 to 3'   Deep pink 4 to 5" flowers most of the summer; dried bloom heads are attractive; a JC Raulston Arboretum Selection.
Jasmine, Showy Jasminum floridum 7b, 8
Semi-E
Slow to moderate Sun Fine Weeping 3 to 4' 3 to 4' Yellow flowers in winter.
Jasmine, Winter Jasminum nudiflorum 6, 7, 8
D
Moderate Sun to shade Medium Low; spreading 2 to 4' 3 to 5' Yellow flowers in winter.
Juniper, Creeping Juniperus horizontalis cvs. 6, 7, 8
E
Moderate to rapid Sun Fine Low; spreading 1 to 2' 3 to 4' Cultivars: Plumosa, Compacta, P.C. Youngstown.
Juniper, Parsons Juniperus davurica 'Expansa' 6, 7, 8
E
Moderate Sun to partial shade Fine Dense; low 2 to 3' 4 to 7' Long slender branches; good for coastal areas.
Juniper, Prostrate Juniperus communis 'Depressa' 6, 7
E
Moderate to rapid Sun to partial shade Fine Dwarf; spreading 2 to 4' 3 to 5' Withstands drought and poor soil.
Juniper, Shore Juniperus conferta 6, 7, 8
E
Moderate Sun Fine Spreading 1 to 2' 4 to 5' Emerald Sea, Blue Pacific are improved cultivars.
Laurel, Alexandrian Danae racemosa 7b, 8
E
Slow to moderate Shade Fine Arching stems 3' 2 to 3' Elegant evergreen shrub with showy, orange-red berries.
Leucothoe, Coastal Leucothoe axillaris 6, 7, 8
E
Slow Shade Medium Arching stems 3 to 4' 4 to 5' Needs high moisture.
Leucothoe, Drooping Leucothoe fontanesiana 6, 7, 8
E
Slow Shade Medium to coarse Arching stems 3 to 4' 4 to 6' Cultivars: Nana, dwarf form; Girard's Rainbow, new growth is pink and white.
Ligustrum, Curlyleaf Ligustrum japonicum 'Rotundifolium' 7, 8
E
Slow Sun to partial shade Medium Upright; columnar 3 to 4' 3' Lustrous dark green foliage.
Mahonia, Oregon holly-grape Mahonia aquifolium 6, 7, 8
E
Slow Partial shade to shade Coarse to medium Informal; irregular 3 to 4' 3 to 5' Upright stems; broadly clumped; yellow flowers in early spring.
Mugo pine, Dwarf Pinus mugo 'Compacta' 6, 7
E
Slow Sun Fine Compact; globe shaped 3 to 4' 2 to 4' Use grafted plants for true dwarf form.
Nandina, Dwarf Nandina domestica cvs. 6, 7, 8
E
Slow to moderate Sun to partial shade Medium to fine Upright 1 to 2' 1 to 2' Cultivars: Atropurpea, Nana, Harbour Dwarf, Harbor Dwarf, Fire Power.
Skimmia, Japanese Skimmia japonica 7, 8
E
Slow Partial shade to shade Medium Dense; rounded; mound 4' 3' Excellent foliage; showy red fruit on female plants.
Spirea, Snowmound Spiraea nipponica 'Snowmound' 6, 7, 8
D
Rapid Sun to partial shade Fine Mounded 3 to 5' 4 to 5' White flowers in early spring; bluish-green foliage.
Spirea, Thunberg Spirea thunbergii 7, 8
D
Moderate Sun to partial shade Fine Spreading 3 to 4' 3 to 5' Very early blooming spirea; requires pruning to maintain neat appearance.
Quince, Japanese Flowering Chaenomeles japonica 6, 7, 8
D
Rapid Sun to partial shade Medium Open; spreading 3 to 4' 3 to 4' Flowers in early spring.
Viburnum, David Viburnum davidii 8
E
Moderate Sun to partial shade Coarse to medium Compact; rounded 3 to 5' 3 to 5' Good dwarf viburnum; blue fruit on female plants.

a E = Evergreen, D = Deciduous
b Growth rate will vary with cultivar, weather, and site conditions.


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