The Q&A Archives: Shrub for western exposure

Question: What is good to plant on the west side of a house? Preferrably low growing because our windows are low.

Answer: Here are suggestions for three flowering shrubs. Hope one of them is just right for your landscape!

For an easy-to-grow shrub or small tree that is extremely cold hardy, consider one of the many peashrubs (Caragana sp.). These durable shrubs or small trees tolerate a wide range of soils, drought, alkalinity, salt and high winds. They have bright, yellow pea-like flowers in mid to late spring. Size ranges from 3 to 15 feet tall depending on species and cultivars. Siberian peashrub (Caragana abrorescens) is a small tree while Russian peashrub (Caragana frutex) is more shrub-like. Peashrubs prefer full sun for best flowering but will tolerate partial shade as well.

Vanhoutte spirea (Spirea vanhouttei), sometimes referred to as bridal wreath spirea, is another sign of spring. This 4- to 8-foot-tall shrub is literally blanketed in tiny, pure-white flowers on arching, fountain-like stems in mid-spring. The blooms last for only a couple of weeks in spring but are usually worth it. This spirea performs well in full sun to partial shade with a well-drained soil. There are many other durable spirea species that offer pink or white flowers later in summer.

Old fashioned weigela (Weigela florida) is another one-season shrub wonder in the garden. This 6- to 9-foot-tall shrub has showy, trumpet-shaped blooms that cover the plants in late spring. Flower color variety includes white, yellow, red and pink shades. 'White Knight' is a 5- to 6-foot-tall shrub with lovely white flowers. 'Minuet' is a dwarf variety with reddish-pink flowers on 2- to 3-foot-tall plants. Several variegated leaf cultivars offer summer interest in addition to their flowers with green and yellow or creamy white leaves.

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