LEAFLET NO: 634
Revised 9/93 -- Author Reviewed 4/96

SHRUBS 1-4' FOR NORTH CAROLINA LANDSCAPES

M.A. (Kim) Powell
Extension Horticultural Specialist
Department of Horticultural Science
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service
North Carolina State University

Landscapers and home gardeners rely upon plants in this size category because of their relatively low maintenance demands. Modern trends in landscaping depict this growing concern by utilizing groundcovers, dwarf, or slow-growing shrubs.

Plants in this category are not only used for their functional value but also for their aesthetic features. Mass plantings, where shrubs are planted on 4-5 foot centers, are implemented on larger projects. Properly selected cultivars of Japanese and Chinese hollies, cotoneaster, hypericum, and several of the junipers will give this "groundcover" effect.

Another popular use of small shrubs is in planters, especially in combination with street trees. These compact growing species are often used in formal designs to edge planters and walks.

Many folks will want a "foundation" plant for their residence. The following list offers several choices for this particular situation. Several of the plants in this group, if completely forgotten, will grow higher than 4 feet and broader than the typical 3-4 feet. They are listed here because they can easily be kept in the smaller size range.

BOTANICAL NAME:  Abelia grandiflora
COMMON NAME:  GLOSSY ABELIA
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  semi-evergreen
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  sun, part shade
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  irregular to oval
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3-5'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Prostrata’, 'Sherwood'  

BOTANICAL NAME:  Aucuba japonica ‘nana’
COMMON NAME:  DWARF AUCUBA    
HARDINESS ZONE:  7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  shade
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  upright rounded
HEIGHT:  2-3'
SPREAD:  3-4'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:   Excellent shade-loving dwarf plant     

BOTANICAL NAME:  Berberis thunbergii var. 'Atropurpurea'
COMMON NAME:  RED JAPANESE BARBERRY
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: medium 
EXPOSURE: sun 
TEXTURE:  medium-fine
FORM:  rounded
HEIGHT:  3-6'
SPREAD:  4-6'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Crimson Pygmy'
                                   
BOTANICAL NAME:  Buxus microphylla
COMMON NAME:  LITTLELEAF BOXWOOD             
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8     
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE:  semi-shade
TEXTURE:  medium-fine
FORM: compact rounded 
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3-4'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Compacta', useful for low hedges  

BOTANICAL NAME:  Buxus sempervirens
COMMON NAME:  TRUE DWARF BOXWOOD
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  very slow
EXPOSURE:  semi-shade
TEXTURE:  medium-fine
FORM:  rounded
HEIGHT:  3-4' 
SPREAD:  4-5'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  True dwarf English Boxwood, requires excellent 
  drainage
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME:  Chaenomeles japonica
COMMON NAME:   JAPANESE FLOWERING QUINCE
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  medium
EXPOSURE:  sun-part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  rounded
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3-4'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: Low growing, densely branched  

BOTANICAL NAME: Cotoneaster dammeri 
COMMON NAME:  BEARBERRY COTONEASTER          
HARDINESS ZONE:6,7,8  
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: medium 
EXPOSURE: sun  
TEXTURE: fine
FORM: spreading
HEIGHT:  1-2'  
SPREAD:  3-5'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  White flowers/red fruit.  Good for groundcover 
  effect as branches take root.    

BOTANICAL NAME:Cotoneaster horizontalis
COMMON NAME:   ROCKSPRAY COTONEASTER
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  spreading
HEIGHT:  2-3' 
SPREAD:  4-7'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: Good rock garden plant
                                        
BOTANICAL NAME:  Daphne odora
COMMON NAME:  WINTER DAPHNE        
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP: E  
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE  : semi-shade 
TEXTURE: fine-medium 
FORM:  rounded
HEIGHT:  2-3'
SPREAD:  2-3'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  Flowers in winter. Very aromatic.  
  'Alba'-white flowers   

BOTANICAL NAME:  Deutzia gracilis
COMMON NAME: SLENDER DEUTZIA 
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE:  sun, semi-shade
TEXTURE:  medium-fine
FORM:  rounded
HEIGHT:  2-3’
SPREAD:  3-4'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  Very adaptable to adverse conditions    

BOTANICAL NAME: Euonymus japonicus 
COMMON NAME:  DWARF JAPANESE EUONYMUS   
HARDINESS ZONE:  7,8  
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  fast  
EXPOSURE:  sun or shade
TEXTURE:  fine-medium
FORM:  oval
HEIGHT:  1-3'
SPREAD:  2-3'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: Small-leaved form, dwarf sized
                                   
BOTANICAL NAME: Gardenia radicans 
COMMON NAME:  CREEPING GARDENIA
HARDINESS ZONE: 8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE: semi- 
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  spreading
HEIGHT:  1-2'
SPREAD:  2-3'       
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  White, fragrant flowers
  
BOTANICAL NAME: Hypericum patulum 
COMMON NAME: ST. JOHN'S WORT   
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  spreading
HEIGHT: 3' 
SPREAD: 3' 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: Many varieties available  
                              
BOTANICAL NAME:  Ilex cornuta 
COMMON NAME: (DWARF) CHINESE HOLLY  
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE: sun, semi-shade 
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  rounded and spreading
HEIGHT: 3-4' 
SPREAD: 3-4' 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:'Burfordi nana', 'Rotunda', 'Carissa'-medium 
  texture 

BOTANICAL NAME:  Ilex crenata
COMMON NAME:  JAPANESE HOLLY  
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  slow  
EXPOSURE:  sun or shade
TEXTURE:  mediume-fine
FORM: dense rounded 
HEIGHT: 3-4' 
SPREAD: 3-4' 
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:'Compacta', 'Helleri'      

BOTANICAL NAME:  Ilex vomitora 'Nana'
COMMON NAME: DWARF YAUPON HOLLY     
HARDINESS ZONE: 7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  slow  
EXPOSURE:  sun, semi-shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  rounded
HEIGHT: 3-4' 
SPREAD: 4-5'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  Excellent for eastern N.C.

BOTANICAL NAME:  Jasminium floridum     
COMMON NAME:  SHOWY JASMINE
HARDINESS ZONE: 7,8           
GROUP:  semi-evergreen
GROWTH RATE:  slow-medium
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  weeping
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3-4'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: Yellow flowers in spring, deep green foliage  

BOTANICAL NAME:  Juniperus conferta
COMMON NAME:  SHORE JUNIPER   
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  spreading
HEIGHT:  1-2' 
SPREAD:  4-5'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Emerald Sea', 'Blue Pacific’

BOTANICAL NAME: Juniperus horizontalis  
COMMON NAME:  CREEPING JUNIPER
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  medium-rapid
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  upright spreading
HEIGHT:  1-2'
SPREAD:  3-4'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: 'Plumosa Compacta', 'P.C. Youngstown'

BOTANICAL NAME:  Juniperus procumbens   
COMMON NAME:  JAPGARDEN JUNIPER
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  very slow  
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  spreading
HEIGHT:  1-2'
SPREAD:  6-8'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Nana',   'Varigata'     

BOTANICAL NAME: Leucothoe fontanesiana 
COMMON NAME:  DROOPING LEUCOTHOE
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE:  shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  spreading
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: Graceful drooping branches, 'Nana'-very dwarf 
  form

BOTANICAL NAME:  Ligustrum japonicum     'Rotundifolium'    
COMMON NAME:  CURLYLEAF LIGUSTRUM  
HARDINESS ZONE:  7,8     
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE:  sun to part shade
TEXTURE:  medium
FORM:  upright columnar
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  Lustrous dark green foliage
                                        
BOTANICAL NAME:  Mahonia aquifolium
COMMON NAME:  OREGON GRAPE HOLLY   
HARDINESS ZONE:     6,7  
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE:  part shade, shade
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  upright stems, broadly clumped
HEIGHT:  2-3'
SPREAD:  2-3'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Mayhan Strain', 'Compactum'
                                             
BOTANICAL NAME:  Nandina domestica*
COMMON NAME: DWARF NANDINA                    
HARDINESS ZONE: 7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  slow
EXPOSURE:  sun, part shade
TEXTURE:  medium-fine
FORM:  upright
HEIGHT:  1-2'
SPREAD:  1-2'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Atropurpea',  'Nana', 'Harbour Dwarf'  

BOTANICAL NAME: Pinus mugo 'Compacta' 
COMMON NAME:  DWARF MUGO PINE
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE:  sun
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  globe-shaped
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3-4'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  Use grafted plants for truedwarf form   

BOTANICAL NAME: Prunus laurocerasus      
COMMON NAME:  DWARF ENGLISH LAUREL
HARDINESS ZONE: 6,7,8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: moderate 
EXPOSURE:  sun or shade
TEXTURE:  medium-fine
FORM:  upright spreading
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3-4'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Otto Luyken', 'Zabeliana'    

BOTANICAL NAME:  Raphiolepis indica
COMMON NAME:     INDIA HAWTHORN                   
HARDINESS ZONE: 8 
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: slow 
EXPOSURE:  sun or shade
TEXTURE:  coarse-medium
FORM:  open spreading
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3-5'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: Excellent coastal landscape plant.  Several 
  varieties available.   

BOTANICAL NAME: Rhododendron eriocarpum  
COMMON NAME:  DWARF INDICA AZALEAS
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: slow-moderate 
EXPOSURE:  semi-shade
TEXTURE:  fine
FORM:  rounded
HEIGHT:  1-2'
SPREAD:  1-2'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  'Gumpo'
               
               
BOTANICAL NAME:  Spirea thunbergii
COMMON NAME:  THUNBERG SPIREA 
HARDINESS ZONE: 7,8 
GROUP:  D
GROWTH RATE:  moderate
EXPOSURE: sun, part shade
TEXTURE: fine
FORM:  spreading
HEIGHT:  3-4' 
SPREAD:  3-5'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  Very early blooming spirea. Requires    pruning 
  to maintain neat appearance.

BOTANICAL NAME:  Viburnum davidii  
COMMON NAME: DAVID VIBURNUM   
HARDINESS ZONE:  7,8  
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE:  moderate  
EXPOSURE:  sun or part shade
TEXTURE:  coarse, medium
FORM:  rounded, compact
HEIGHT:  3-4'
SPREAD:  3-5'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS:  Good dwarf viburnum used in eastern N.C.     

BOTANICAL NAME: Yucca filamentosa 
COMMON NAME:  ADAM'S NEEDLE YUCCA  
HARDINESS ZONE:  6,7,8
GROUP:  E
GROWTH RATE: moderate 
EXPOSURE:  sun or part shade
TEXTURE:  coarse
FORM:  open, erect, stiff
HEIGHT:  1-4'
SPREAD:  2-4'
LANDSCAPE REMARKS: Sword-like foliage.  Very limited landscape 
   uses.


Published by
North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service


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