Tips for Flowering Shrubs in Your Border

Tips for Designing Shrub Borders

  • Create a tiered effect in your border by using shrubs of different heights.
  • Plant low growing types at the base and later flowering ground cover.
  • Select flowering shrubs who’s colour will lead the eye from one plant to the next.
  • Only bother to prune to take out dead wood or if the shrubs become unruly or too high.
  • Grow flowering shrubs to make a partially shaded plot for delicate flowers.
  • Plant larger trees or shrubs off-center to avoid a too formal appearance.

Plant selection for an Acid Soil Border

  • Camellia japonica can be planted at the back as it will grow 6-12 feet tall but only spread 3-5 feet. Red, white and pink are the most common colours to buy and the thick leathery leaves are evergreen.
  • Azalea Knap Hill hybrids or Mollis are very floriferous decidious plants that flower in spring before the leaves grow. Mine are now 4 feet tall after 5 years. Depending on the size of you border I would use 3, 5 or 7 of these great plants in various colours.
  • Callicarpa bodinieri produces stunning purple berries in Autumn 3-6 feet tall and wide.
  • At the front you may need some shade loving plants like Epimedium with copper tinted leaves. Trillium sessile has ivy like leaves and white, red or brown springtime flowers.
  • For shape it may be appropriate to add some Box (Boxus Sempervirens) near the front. 12-36″ tall.

Other Selections

  • The scheme above is strongly spring flowering and Mahonia x media ‘ Charity’ or Pieris japonica could also be incorporated into the planting.
  • For summer interest you may substitute or add Escallonia ‘Apple Blossom’, Hydrangea macrophylla or a hardy Fuchsia magellancia.
  • Ceanothus ‘Autumn Blue’ will fit in a sunny spot and a variegated Ilex aquifolium at up to 12 feet adds berry interest late in the year.
  • For general all year round cover the Elaegnus pungens Maculata has good colour in the leaves, Euonymus can grow to 10 feet and Skimmia has cream flowers in spring followed by red berries.


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