The Q&A Archives: Air Conditioner Camoflage

Question: I am looking to cover up my A/C unit. What would be good? I love pieris Japonica for the spot but would it grow well in this area? I like the ones with red new growth. What else do you recommend?

Answer: Pieris japonica 'Mountain Fire' is hardy enough to grow well in your gardening region. This one has exceptionally attractive red foliage. You might also consider plant viburnum. Here are a few recommended for Ohio:
V. burkwoodi - Burkwood Viburnum
Upright in habit, thi species matures at 6 feet, with semi-snowball, fragrant, pink to white flowers in early spring. The fruits turn from red to black and the foliage, which is glossy, holds late into winter.

V. carlesi 'Compacta' - Compact Koreanspice Viburnum
This cultivar is compact and rounded in form, reaching 4 to 5 feet at maturity. The flowers are small, fragrant, semi-snowball, changing from pink in bud to white blossoms in early spring. The leaves are velvety-grey, and the fruit is blue-black.

V. dentatum - Arrowwood Viburnum
This is a native species that will mature in an upright rounded shape at 12 to 15 feet. It will withstand heavy shade and moist soil conditions. The flowers are flat, white clusters in mid-spring, and the fruit is blue- black.

V. dilatatum - Linden Viburnum
This species matures at 8 to 9 feet, with flowers occurring in late spring in flat, white clusters. It's one of the best of the fruiting types with numerous, colorful, small red berries. Cultivars 'Erie' and 'Oneida' are improved forms.

V. juddi - Judd Viburnum
Maturing at about 8 feet, this cultivar is spreading and rounded in habit. The flowers in early spring are semi-snowball, changing from pink in bud to white. The fruit is black.

Best wishes with your new shrub!

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