7 Fast-Growing Shrubs
By Arbor Day Foundation | September 4, 2018
Bushes and shrubs tie a landscape together. Bushes like the Golden Globe Arborvitae provide a short hedge or screen, protecting wildlife and giving areas of your landscape privacy. Shrubs like the fast-growing Forsythia provide beautiful color in the spring or the fall. Whatever bush or shrub you choose, your woody plants will help clean the air, protect the soil, and beautify your home.
Check out these 7 fast-growing shrubs that will transform your landscape from bland to glam.
Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Nikko’
The blue hydrangea is the image most of us conger up in our heads when we think of hydrangeas in general. It is a timeless landscape plant beloved by many, including Martha Stewart.
Giant, long-lasting, mophead blooms appear in the summer, adding lovely color to the landscape. These shrubs work well as stand-alone specimens or as a hedge.
Hardiness zones 6-9.
2. North Privet
Ligustrum x ibolium
This deciduous or semi-evergreen shrub is America’s fasting-growing hedge, growing up to 3′ per year. The shrub’s dense, dark, glossy green foliage makes it an excellent choice for hedges and privacy screens.
If you’re interested in a hedge with a formal appearance, this privet tolerates shearing well. When you grow it as a hedge, shearing it early and often helps to develop thick layers of branches for year-round privacy.
Hardiness zones 4-8.
Forsythia x intermedia
There’s no better way to welcome the coming of spring than with the profusion of yellow blooms covering graceful, arching branches. The forsythia is a fast-growing, hardy shrub that blooms early—providing a sunny sight before the rest of the landscape greens up.
Forsythias make an excellent choice for those wanting a fast-growing flowering hedge. For best results, plant forsythia 4-6 feet apart when creating your hedge.
Hardiness zones 5-8.
The crapemyrtle is often referred to as the “lilac of the South.” With its striking flowers, handsome bark and attractive foliage, this species is a favorite for landscapes. It can be grown as either a shrub or small tree and is often used in groupings, containers, hedges and screens. You can even find the common crapemyrtle used as small street trees in urban settings.
Hardiness zones 7-10.
An easy-to-grow, fast-growing flowering shrub, the beautybush impresses with a fountain-like spray of pink blossoms befitting its name. Blooming later than many others (from late spring into summer—as far as June in some areas), it’s a perfect landscape piece to keep colorful interest in your yard. Striking deep green foliage continues into summer, then turns reddish for great fall interest.
This old-fashioned shrub is perfect for use as a specimen or as a flowering hedge.
Hardiness zones 4-8.
6. American Hazelnut
The American hazelnut (also known as the American filbert) is a native shrub of the eastern United States. The tasty nuts are highly prized by cooks for their easy-to-crack shells and small, sweet kernel. Squirrels love them as well … most likely for the same reasons. Hazelnut hedges can be used as windbreaks, visual screens, and to attract wildlife.
If you’re interested in planting hazelnuts for their nuts, be sure you have a bit of space. You’ll need to plant 2 or more shrubs to ensure a good crop.
Hardiness zones 4-9.
7. Pee Gee Hydrangea
Hydrangea paniculata ‘Grandiflora’
This is the most common H. paniculata form. It can be grown either as a large shrub or small tree, and it is known for its large panicles of white flowers. In fact, with some good pruning, this shrub can produce flower clusters measuring up to 12-18″ in length.
Hardiness zones 3-8.
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