Last update:

Best Garden Shrubs and Trees. How to Choose Garden Plants?

Are you planning to plant some new trees and shrubs? Remember that choosing the right plants is not everything - it also requires a lot of work and commitment. Healthy garden plants can grow only in good conditions. But if well-tended, both shrubs and small trees can become unique, natural decorations. Learn what garden plants to add to your green collection and what small trees and shrubs are trending now.

Best Garden Shrubs and Trees. How to Choose Garden Plants?

Garden shrubs can completely transform any plot of land. Many homeowners wonder what garden plants to choose. The most popular ornamental garden shrubs amaze with their colors. They are, for instance:

  • Forsythia (Forsythia Vahl),
  • Hyndrangea (Hydrangea arborescens L.),
  • Rhodododendron (Rhododendron L.),
  • Lilac (Syringa vulgaris),
  • Weigela (Weigela florida).

The most popular garden shrubs and bushes

Source:eu.press-citizen.com/story/life/2020/02/21/spring-right-around-corner-and-it-planting-season/4808092002

Garden shrubs - hydrangea

Source:kb.pl/porady/4-ciekawe-odmiany-hortensji-bukietowej-najlepsze-do-ogrodu

Rhododendron garden plant

Source:wiejskomiejski.pl/rododendron

Lilac - ornamental garden shrubs

Source:fajnyogrod.pl/porady/bez-w-ogrodzie-lilak-odmiany-pielegnacja-porady

You might also decide to plant leafy ornamental shrubs in your garden. The most common types are:

  • Common box (Buxus sempervirens L.),
  • Shiny cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus),
  • Common ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius),
  • Golden privet (Ligustrum ‘Aureum),
  • Purple willow (Salix purpurea).

Remember that different garden shrubs require different care and conditions. Pay attention to the type of soil, fertilizing and the amount of light at the spot the garden shrub grows. So, not all shrubs are suitable for every garden. Make sure to check that before you decide to buy anything.

Decorative garden plants - leafy shrubs

Source:mandens.dk

Shiny cotoneaster - garden shrubs

Source:kwietnik.com.pl/pl/p/irga-blyszczaca-lac.-Cotoneaster-lucidus-kod-6341/11688

Purple willow - garden shrub

Source:ogrodowo.eu/pl/oferta/produkt/rosliny_lisciaste/wierzba-purpurowa-nana

How to take care of garden trees and shrubs?

Good conditions and proper care are crucial for garden plants to grow well and healthy. Each species is a different case. Every plant requires individual treatment, adequate to its needs. To make sure that you take a good care of your garden shrubs and trees, learn their features and needs first, e.g. by reading websites maintained by plant nurseries.

How to take care of garden trees and shrubs?

Source:turbosquid.com/pl/3d-models/mint-plant-3d-model-1576127

Are there any general tips on how to take care of garden shrubs and trees? What factors influence their proper growth?

Most shrubs and trees species require unlimited access to light. No plant can survive without a proper dose of sunlight. For this reason, make sure you have selected the right spot for your garden trees and shrubs, so that they get as much sunlight as they need.

{:.distinction.distinction-warning} Do not overdo the light exposure - too much sun is as harmful for garden plants as its lack.

What soil is best for garden plants?

Soil is a highly important factor that influences the growth of any garden plant. Most leafy shrubs and trees have similar substrate needs. Regardless, certain species require specific type of soil. For this reason, before choosing particular garden plants, make sure the soil in your garden aids their growth and blooming.

For instance:

  • purple willow, forsythia and golden privet like sandy soils,
  • shiny cotoneaster and hydrangea like rich soils.

What soil is best for garden plants?

Source:lovethegarden.com/pl-pl/artykul/gdy-rosliny-nie-chca-rosnac

How to take care of garden shrubs?

If you have already chosen and planted garden plants in the right spot, you should take a proper care of them. It is crucial - without the right amount of attention, your garden shrubs and trees cannot survive.

Crucial elements of garden plants care:

  • regular watering,
  • fertilizing,
  • shrubs and trees trimming,
  • protection against pests and diseases,
  • protection against frost.

How to take care of garden shrubs?

Source:rolmarket.pl/Najwazniejsze-prace-w-czerwcu-ogrod-ozdobny-i-warzywny-blog-pol-1561380460.html

Seasonal garden plants

There are many ways to classify garden plants, trees and shrubs. One of them is seasonality - division regarding the blooming season. It is a very important information, as it allows to arrange the garden to one’s liking. This way you can choose plants that bloom the whole year or plan the garden by the season.

Spring and summer garden shrubs

Most of decorative trees and shrubs, or rather nearly all of them, bloom in spring and early summer. Hence, it’s the best time to plant new garden plants. Spring is a unique season for gardens - this is when flowers and garden shrubs wake up, gain beautiful colours and grow first buds. No matter what plants you are going to pick, you can be sure that with ornamental shrubs and trees, your garden is going to look great in spring.

Spring and summer garden shrubs

Source:pixabay.com/pl/photos/%C5%9Bliwkowy-kwiat-kwiat-%C5%9Bliwa-4927895

There are also some garden plants that bloom in the middle of summer. They are, for instance:

  • Hydrangea (Hydrangea L.),
  • Syrian ketmia, also referred to as hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus L.)
  • Summer lilac, commonly known as butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii).

Plants that bloom in summer are precious to a garden. They are an accent of freshness, as opposed to spring plants that don’t look that well anymore. Regarding seasonal garden plants, spring shrubs might become a nice background for flowers blooming in summer.

Syrian ketmia, hibiscus - garden shrubs

Source:e-ogrodek.pl/a/ketmia-syryjska-czyli-hibiskus-do-ogrodu-uprawa-pielegnacja-przycinanie-20278.html

Garden plants for Indian summer

While selecting garden shrubs and trees for your garden, do not rely solely on the species that look great in spring and summer. It is good to pick several garden plants, shrubs and trees that bloom in autumn. This way, your garden will look lovely all year long.

There are many species that bloom in autumn. You can choose, for instance:

  • Azalea, also known as rhododendron (Rhododendron L.)
  • Maple (Acer L.),
  • Viburnum (Viburnum L.),
  • Birch (Betula L.),
  • Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba L.).

Garden plants - maple tree

Source:e-ogrodek.pl/a/klon-palmowy-w-ogrodzie-piekny-krzew-o-barwnych-lisciach-7106.html

Ginkgo biloba

Source:medonet.pl/leki-od-a-do-z,ginkgo-biloba---dzialanie--opinie,artykul,1726431.html

Those and other autumn garden plants might form unique arrangements, especially when combined with autumn flowers such as:

  • Chrysantemums (Chrysanthemum),
  • Asters (Aster L.),
  • Autumn crocuses (Colchicum L.),
  • Japanese anemones (Anemone scabiosa).

Autumn crocuses - garden plants

Source:ogrodpodlasem.pl/zimowit-jesienny-wiosenny-czar-urok

There are also several shrubs species you might find among seasonal garden plants. Their berries can become a colorful decoration when the plants lose all their leaves. You might choose, for instance:

  • Japanese quince (Chaenomeles ×superba),
  • Sea buckthorn (Hippophaë L.),
  • Spindle tree (Euonymus L.),
  • Barberry (Berberis L.)

Some species of apple trees are also noteworthy autumn plants. They look really impressive, and you might get fruits from them.

Garden shrubs - azalea

Source:thespruce.com/cattleya-orchids-overview-1902861

Ornamental shrubs - Viburnum

Source:krzewyozdobne.net/product-pol-5235-Kalina-koralowa-Roseum-Viburnum-opulus.html

Garden trees - Birch

Source:imatra.fi/hiilineutraali-yrityspuisto

{:.distinction.distinction-information} It is important to pay attention to the leaves and habit of the plants when choosing a garden plant. Too many shrubs with colourful, yellow, red or orange leaves might overwhelm your garden and give it a chaotic look.

Indian summer garden plants

Source:herbapis.pl/owoc-berberysu-berberys-owoc-berberys-vulgaris

Interesting garden plants for winter

Some gardeners might wonder: how to make my garden look beautiful and lively during the season in which most of the plants are simply asleep? Winter is a difficult season to maintain an elegant garden. Don’t worry - it is not impossible. Garden shrubs of unique shapes and habits can be an easy substitute for colourful flowers.

An example of such plant is hazel with its characteristic, twisted branches.

{:.distinction.distinction-information} Other interesting plants for a winter garden are: Japanese marigold, white dogwood, birch tree, but also gerbera daisies, eustoma and hyacinths.

Garden shrubs - Hazel

Source:kraut-und-kochen.de/2020/07/13/kraeuterwanderung-auf-dem-muellerweg

Perennial garden shrubs - keep your garden beautiful for years

Garden shops offer a wide variety of perennial garden plants. Contrary to seasonal and annual plants, perennial shrubs and small trees can grow in a garden for a long time. Before choosing this type of garden plants, you should think what kind of garden design you desire. Perhaps you dream of small flowering trees or maybe you wish to plant some decorative garden shrubs.

Blooming perennial garden shrubs

The most popular garden plants that bloom every year, producing beautiful flowers are: roses, lilacs and forsythias. Choosing those three species is a guarantee of a magnificent, fragrant and colourful garden for a long time.

Blooming perennial garden shrubs

Source:ogrodnikleszek.pl/porady-ogrodnicze/jakie-gatunki-drzew-sadzic-w-malych-ogrodach

There are also some less popular, but equally impressive perennial garden shrubs with colourful flowers. One of them is summer lilac, which can grow up to 3 metres. It has very interesting flowers of various colours, depending on the type. You might choose from red, violet, pink, white and blue. Summer lilacs release a pleasant scent.

Ornamental garden shrubs Summer lilac

Source:ecocatservice.it/disinfestazione-calabroni-napoli-eliminare-infestazione

{:.distinction.distinction-information} Mock orange is another shrub of an intense smell that can lure flying insects to your garden. It reaches up to 3 metres and has beautiful white flowers. It’s frost resistant and it blooms every year between spring and summer, pleasing the eyes of the owners.

Because of their resilience against frost, perennial garden shrubs are perfect for creating a hedge. Guelder rose is a good species for this purpose. It blooms in late spring, producing large round white flowers. Another great plant is golden chain with its long leaves and yellow flowers.

Perennial short garden shrubs

When choosing the right perennial garden shrubs, you should pay attention to their height. Garden plants of various sizes introduce a variety, for arrangements made of both leafy and flowery plants.

If you are interested in short perennial garden plants, you might choose hydrangeas in form of small trees or shrubs, which are very easy to grow. Trimmed regularly, they might reach up to one metre. Because of this, they can be a part of small garden arrangements. They are also great for stairs or patio decoration.

Their big round flowers have various colours. Depending on soil acidification they might be white, pink, purple or blue.

Deutzia is yet another, quite an interesting garden shrub. It’s a lush and thick plant, it can grow up to one metre tall. It has gorgeous, white flowers that bloom between spring and summer. Ornamental quince (japonica) is an equally beautiful garden shrub. Its flowers are white, red or pink-red and it bears sweet yellow edible fruit. You might also consider choosing other ornamental garden plants, such as rockspray cotoneaster and japanese meadowsweet.

Decorative shrubs - Japanese quince

Source:pixabay.com/pl/photos/pigwowiec-ro%C5%9Blina-czerwony-krzew-4159788

Ornamental shrubs - Japanese meadowsweet

Source:food.unl.edu/free-resources/newsletters/food-fun-young-children/spring-contrasts

Perennial ornamental fruit trees for a garden

Fruit trees constitute for a large group of ornamental plants. The most common species grown in European gardens are elders and dog roses. Other options are bird cherry and cornelian cherry. The latter is a large, over 5 metres tall tree with shiny leaves and small, yellow flowers. Once per year it bears red edible fruit.

Perennial ornamental fruit trees for a garden

Source:pixabay.com/pl/photos/krzew-ozdobny-jagody-pomara%C5%84czowy-2743310

If you are looking for ornamental garden trees, consider the following species: dogwood, spindle, scarlet firethorn, yew or common holly. All of them bear fruit, although it is just a decorative element. You could also choose yucca or pampas grass.

{:.distinction.distinction-warning} You should refrain from planting ornamental fruit trees in your garden if children and animals spend their time in it every day. If they eat the fruits, it might harm their health and cause poisoning.

📍 What garden plants should I choose?

You should decide what kind of result you wish to achieve. There are many species of garden plants to choose from - both seasonal and perennial. The most common blooming garden plants are roses and forsythias. Popular garden shrubs with fruit are holly, bird cherry and elder.