Dwarf flowering shrubs are a great addition to any landscape.

Dwarf flowering shrubs for small gardens and landscapes

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Gardens in suburbia seem to be shrinking. As houses grow bigger, yards grow smaller and there’s less and less room to garden. Combine that limited space with shrinking free time and narrowing gardening budgets, and you have the perfect recipe for an overgrown landscape. Smaller gardens quickly become overrun by full-size shrubs when the homeowner doesn’t have the time to be constantly pruning them to a suitable size. Thankfully, plant breeders are coming to the rescue by selecting and developing many new varieties of dwarf flowering shrubs for small gardens that stay naturally petite without a lot of fuss.

Today, we’ve teamed up with the good folks at Bloomin’ Easy® to introduce you to a handful of beautiful dwarf flowering shrubs for small gardens and tell you why these plants are such a good fit for your backyard (or front!).

The many benefits of small shrubs

Dwarf flowering shrubs, such as those listed below, are ideal choices for both urban and suburban gardeners with limited space, or for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time pruning, deadheading, and otherwise maintaining their landscape. With their ease of care, prolific flower production, and minimal pest and disease problems, small shrubs like these are a sure bet for just about any landscape setting.

Compact shrubs for small yards and low-maintenance landscapes. (AD)

Compact flowering shrubs like this spirea are great for small yards and low-maintenance landscapes.

In addition to all of those perks, small shrubs are generally easier to plant than most larger shrubs, too. One- to two-gallon-sized containers are the norm for dwarf flowering shrubs, so there’s no need to wrestle with a massive balled-and-burlapped root ball or an enormous five-gallon container that weighs a hundred-plus pounds. Simply dig a hole twice as wide as the pot but no deeper, loosen the shrub’s roots once it’s popped out of the container, and settle the root mass into the planting hole. Use the soil you dug out of the hole to backfill and water the shrub well. A layer of one to two inches of shredded bark mulch spread around the shrub’s root zone (but not right against the base of the trunk) helps retain soil moisture and restrict weed competition. As you can see, the process of planting dwarf flowering shrubs is far easier than planting larger specimens. There’s no need to call in a tractor or forklift!

5 beautiful dwarf flowering shrubs for small gardens

Once you recognize the many benefits of using smaller shrub varieties, it’s time to pick out a few favorites and get planting. Here are some excellent choices from the Bloomin’ Easy line of flowering shrubs. When selecting plants for this line, their breeders focus on compact, tidy size and form, as well as flower power and winter hardiness.

1. Flare™ Hydrangea
A compact panicle hydrangea that maxes out at just two to three feet tall and equally as wide, this compact flowering shrub is perfect for small yards or for gardeners who don’t want to fuss with having to prune their hydrangeas “just right” in order to get them to bloom. Plus, panicle hydrangeas flower on new wood, so there’s no chance of bud freeze. The cone-shaped flowers are white when they open, but they age to bright red-pink. Give this dwarf hydrangea four to six hours of full sun each day and it will bloom its head off every year. Hardy down to -40 degrees F, Flare™ is a must when it comes to dwarf flowering shrubs for small gardens.

Small flowering shrubs for the shade garden include Flare™ hydrangeas. (AD)

Flare panicle hydrangea is an excellent small flowering shrub for the garden.

2. Nightglow™ Diervilla
A tiny little powerhouse of a shrub, this compact cultivar of the bush honeysuckle has so much to offer. The deep burgundy foliage reaches just two to three feet tall and wide at maturity which, of course, means no pruning is necessary! The clusters of canary-yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers occur from spring through summer and are a welcome sight to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Winter hardy to -30 degrees F, Nightglow™ requires at least six hours of full sun per day to perform its best.

Compact shrubs for small gardens (AD)

Dwarf bush honeysuckle Nightglow is a great choice for smaller yards and gardens.

3. Bella Bellissima™ Potentilla
A personal favorite of mine, this dwarf flowering shrub is not only beautiful and low maintenance, it’s also packed with shocking pink blooms. Potentilla is a great plant for supporting beneficial insects of all sorts, and with the compact growth habit of Bella Bellissima™, gardeners can lend a hand to “good” bugs without having to dedicate a ton of space to their efforts. Maturing at just two to three feet tall and wide, this mounding shrub is smothered in blooms from spring to summer. An occasional deadheading or shearing does keep this shrub a bit “cleaner” looking, but it isn’t necessary for continual flower production. With a winter hardiness of -50 degrees F (!), there’s nothing to stop you from adding this beauty to your must-have list of dwarf flowering shrubs for small gardens.

Small-space flowering shrubs for small gardens.

Small-space flowering shrubs like Bella Bellissima potentilla are a great fit for gardens.

4. Rainbow Fizz™ Spirea
A blend of copper, yellow, and red foliage graces this compact flowering shrub throughout the season, making the name Rainbow Fizz™ more than appropriate. Though it gets a tad taller than the rest of the compact shrubs on this list, topping out at three to four feet tall and wide, it’s still far smaller than most other spirea varieties on the market. Flat-topped clusters of red flower buds open to a fuzzy pink off and on all summer long. Give this dwarf shrub full sun and it can handle whatever winter throws at it down to about -40 degrees F.

Small flowering shrubs for small landscapes and gardens. (AD)

Rainbow Fizz spirea is a compact flowering shrub that reaches just two to three feet tall and wide.

5. Peach Lemonade™ Rose
We’ve written about this multi-colored rose variety before on Savvy Gardening, but we have to mention it again. The young flowers are a sunny yellow, but as each bloom ages, it turns to a bright shade of pink. And no, we aren’t kidding! Peach Lemonade™ is in continual bloom from late spring through fall, so there’s often pink and yellow flowers on the plant at the same time. And, because it’s on a list of dwarf flowering shrubs for small gardens, it’s important to note that this rose reaches just three feet tall and wide. Requiring little more than full sun and an occasional top-dressing of an organic, granulated rose fertilizer, this variety withstands winters down to -30 degrees F.

Compact shrubs for small yards include dwarf roses like Peach Lemonade™. (AD)

Peach Lemonade rose is a compact variety that has bi-colored flowers and a small stature.

We hope you enjoyed discovering the many perks of dwarf flowering shrubs and learning about why they’re such a good fit for modern gardens. We’d like to give a big thank you to Bloomin’ Easy® for sponsoring this post and allowing us to introduce our readers to a few great dwarf shrub varieties to get them started. To find a source for these plants, please visit one of the nurseries or online retailers you’ll find on the “Find a Retailer” feature on the Bloomin’ Easy website.

Gardener's Guide to Compact Plants

Want to learn about more great shrubs for your garden? Check out the following posts:

Flowering shrubs for your garden: 5 beauties for full sun
Evergreens to create privacy
Panicle hydrangeas: 3 no-fail choices for reliable blooms

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Dwarf Flowering Shrubs for Small Gardens: 5 Favorites (AD)


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11 Responses to Dwarf flowering shrubs for small gardens and landscapes

  1. Patricia says:

    I love your sight. I am looking for a hedging plant for around my rose garden That will not grow to more, or can be trimmed to no more than 18inches tall. Thank you. Patricia B.

    • Linda Masterman says:

      Lavender makes a fabulous small hedge,it smells fabulous,is lovely in a vase in doors,attracts bees & butterflies & can be dried & used in little fabric bags to perfume waldrobes,drawers etc

  2. Jay B says:

    I am constructing my Eagle Scout project this summer in August. Do you think the flare hydrangeas could be planted in a 2 foot by 12 foot strip of mulch? If so, how many of these bushes could be planted next to each other? Thank you.

  3. Karen Johnston says:

    Regarding the dwarf flowering shrubs highlighted, are they compatible with southern California weather?

  4. Dawn says:

    Is Lavender and Mexican heather ok for zone 8. Will they come back every year. I heard they die down in the winter and come back in the spring. Another thing we just pulled up our box woods and azaleas in front of our house and porch. We planted them in 1992 and now they are out of style. I really want to use the box woods in our new bed but stagger them toward the back and keep them trimmed lows. Do you suggest using the box woods. I know I want to use dwarf roses, golden euonymus. I love Abailia and anything g that is compact and low. Thanks

    • Hi Dawn. Yes, lavender and Mexican heather both have varieties that are fully hardy in zone 8 and even in much colder climates. They may not have winter dieback that far south so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. Personally, I really like boxwoods and have them planted underneath our front picture window, but unless you want to be pruning them every year to keep them smaller, choose a more compact variety. I like Morris Dwarf (which is said to be resistant to boxwood blight — bonus!) and Sprinter.

  5. LIsa Dorman says:

    Looking for a flowering shrub for my landscape that’s on a hill. I have lots of green need some color to look at. One that’s easy to grow and maintain

  6. Maureen Hemming says:

    Are these dwarf shrubs suitable for the UK please as I need some for my front garden, near the wall. I also need a small one for a shady area.
    Many thanks,

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