The Q&A Archives: Shrubs for South Dakota

Question: I would like to plant shrubs on the south side of my home. It gets almost full sun and the soil has some clay (gumbo) in it. Would need to be 3' to 4', and really hardy. Our winters are cold. I would like some that would bloom most of the summer. (Wouldn't we all!)

Answer: One possibility is sweet pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia). It has fragrant white flowers in mid-summer, and is rated to USDA zone 3. It needs a consistently moist soil, so the clay in your soil may help hold the necessary moisture. Winterberry, a deciduous holly, has bright red berries (like most hollies, the berries form on the female plant, and only if a male is nearby to pollinate.) It is hardy to zone 3. Rosa rugosa is another good, hardy shrub. It usually flowers in early summer, then may continue to flower sporadically all summer. It responds well to pruning, so can be kept in bounds. There are some dwarf lilacs that might also suit your needs. You might find that planting a variety of different types of shrubs will give you at least some color all summer long.

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