colorful shrubs all year round???

chueh(7B)April 1, 2008

I am looking for shrubs for the border between my house and the neighbor's. I like colorful shrubs such as forsythia that bear leaves with different colors all year round. Most shrubs or trees shed their leaves in winter, except evergreen. I prefer more colors than just green. Are there other shrubs bearing leaves all year round with different colors? Thanks

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Some evergreen or nearly so broadleaf shrubs with variegated cultivars:

Euonymus fortunei, japonicus
Prunus laurocerasus, lusitanica
Viburnum tinus

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 10:55PM
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Thank you very much. That's helpful

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 6:41PM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

There are any number of variegated, evergreen shrubs (both conifers and broadleaf) that will grow to 5-12' - try Chamarcyparis/false cypress selections, variegated holly (may be slow), variegated osmanthus, Loropetalum (purple leaves and pink flowers), or Golden or Goldspot euonymus (am mass planting might be boring). There are also variegated arborvitae. If you have a mixed planting, then if one gets sick, or is damaged, and has to be taken out, the look of the entire row won't be destroyed, and there is a lot more variation in shape and color, year-round.

Photinia, in this area, is prone to disease, so you might want to check if that is the case in your area.

Of the plants bboy lists, some will grow taller than others, so you need to check on heights as well. Look in the Southern Living Garden Book for other suggestions that will do well in your area - if you don't want to buy your own copy, the library should have it

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 7:17PM
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Thank you too dibbit. wow I learn so much by posting here

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 11:42AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

As nice as variegated leaf shrubs are, I think you will be unhappy with a border made up of entirely variegated leaf shrubs. It will look very, very busy, and none of the shrubs will show to their best advantage. Variegated leaf plants are best set off by plants with solid leaf colors.

Consider some variegated, many green and some with purple, blue, or yellow foliage.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 6:02AM
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luis_pr(7b/8a Hurst, TX)

laceyvail, can you elaborate some more on what do you have in mind? Are you suggesting a border with all those colors (mostly green but with variegated/purple/blue/yellow foliage? If yes, does anyone have a sample picture of what would this look like? Sorry for all the questions. I am a visual person and have to "see" in order to understand. I have an awful time with landscapers for that reason. Thanks for your help, Luis

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 6:19AM
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laceyvail(6A, WV)

I'm suggesting that for a shrub border, you mix shrubs that have normal green foliage with others--some with variegated foliage (but not too many) and some shrubs that have purple foliage (like Physocarpus 'Diablo' or 'Summer Wine'), some that have yellow foliage (like P. 'Darts Golden' or yellow barberry), and some that have bluish foliage, like certain conifers or fothergillas. You would need a very large border to use all these colors effectively.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 6:26AM
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Dibbit(z7b SC)

Luis, if you google for tapestry hedge, you should be able to get photos of hedges made up of a number of different plants. The hedges may be sheared and have straight sides, or they may have been left to grow naturally.

Laceyvail is right, too much variegation can be very busy looking, while some is an accent. I wouldn't have a border made up of a plain shrub, a variegated shrub, a colored shrub, a plain shrub, a variegated shrub, etc., etc., but would rather plant a plain green (which might flower or have berries), maybe another plain green with a different texture of leaf or color of flower or time of flower, a variegated, a plain, a colored, a plain with some interest, another plain, or a not-too-busy variegated, a colored, etc., etc. No regimentation, no clashing colors or overpowering shapes.

Despite my mentioning a tapestry hedge, I would plant the shrubs far enough apart that they can grow and "show" off their shapes, colors and forms.

Chueh, how much room can you give to this project in width, and how long is it? And how much sun does it get, at what times of the day, winter and summer? Knowing these things, we can offer suggestions as to what of the shrubs mentioned can work. I STRONGLY advise you to look around your neighborhood at what you like that is growing well there, both in private homes and in public areas, then look around and see what the local nurseries have, so you know you can get then easily. I would also look up on the various websites and in garden books the various shrubs mentioned here, so you know what they look like and if you like the looks. One suggestion - take nursery advice with a bit of caution - come back here and ask if it is good before acting on it as some nurseries, and their advice, are better than others. And take the hang-tag's - attached to a plant in nurseries - statements as to the mature height and width of a plant with a large grain of salt - frequently the height/width mentioned is what to expect after 10 years in the ground, not the ultimate height/width.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2008 at 10:28AM
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Great thread--dibbit--that advice is exactly what I'm looking for.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 12:20AM
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leslies(z7 No VA)

chueh, although many shrubs will not show colored foliage in the winter (which was, I think, part of your question), some will show colored branches and stems (consider red and yellow twig dogwoods).

Others will hold brightly colored fruit at least for part of the winter (nandina, snowberry).

Another way to create visual interest is not to plant shrubs in a straight line or to a uniform depth. Your mixed border could be extra deep in, say, two places, which would create from one to three spaces between with a sense of enclosure.

Also consider including a couple of trees in your border. Varying heights is another way to keep things looking interesting.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2008 at 3:07PM
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i am interested in placing a low-cost, low-maintenance, small (round perferably), colorful as we have our primary color of green already ... & wanted to add some eye catching color creativity shrubs to our front walkway. We would be planting them down the wall of our front garden in full sunlight ... hoping I am able to get some ideas before going out to purchase in near future!
Thank you in advance,

    Bookmark   May 28, 2011 at 5:34PM
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