The Q&A Archives: Zone 4 shrubs

Question: Hello! I am looking for ideas on planting shrubs at the front of my house. At this time, the site receives sun in the mid-day to afternoon. I am trying to find ones that can thrive in zone 4. I love evergreens and flowering shrubs and would appreciate any help! thank you!

Answer: Here are a few of my favorite flowering shrubs, followed by some evergreen shrubs you might consider for your landscape:
Hardy Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) A carefree shrub, with sweet smelling summer blooms of pink, white, or deep-rose, Summersweet is pest and disease free. Prefers slightly acid, sandy soil and full sun, but tolerates clay soils and dense shade. Late summer/early fall bloom. Zone: 3-9. Height: 4-6 feet.

Mophead Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla): has huge, leathery leaves and an abundance of showy flowers, the big leaf hydrangea is a sight to behold in the heat of summer. From early blooming 'Forever Pink' to unbelievably hardy (to zone 4) 'Endless Summer,' the blooms of this breathtaking shrub keep on cranking out all summer long. Hydrangeas love acid, moist, loamy soil which will produce deep blue flowers; however the mophead will also grow well in alkaline soil, producing pink flowers. White blooms remain white, no matter the soil pH. There are also new cultivars, such as 'Lemon Daddy' which sports leaves of bright chartreuse, and 'Little Honey' bursts from the ground with radiant gold leaves in summer, which turn scarlet in fall. Hydrangea macrophylla comes in a variety of sizes from 3 feet, for the little garden, all the way up to 6 feet for the larger garden. Disease free and lovely. Zone: 4-9.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia): Nothing Often called the 'summer lilac' buddleia's honey-scented, long bloom panicles are a source of enjoyment, for the vase, or simply for the never-ending show of hummingbirds and butterflies, which find this shrub irresistible. From the new 'Strawberry Lemonade' (to zone 4) with its variegated foliage and deep, strawberry shaded blooms, to the much loved 'Black Knight,' with its foot-long, blue-black, heavenly scented panicles, no garden should be without at least one Butterfly Bush. Cut back to the ground in late winter for a flush of healthy foliage that will shoot out from the roots, giving more lush blooms year after year. Full sun. Zone: 4-9.

Blue Mist Shrub (Caryopteris): This small, aromatic, deciduous (dropping leaves in winter) shrub is perfect for visual impact, when planted in groups. The breathtaking varieties of the blue mist shrub include 'Summer Sorbet' with variegated foliage, 'Sunshine Blue' with a deeper blue bloom and golden foliage, and even a pink called 'Pink Chablis.' Blue mist shrub is heat and drought tolerant, once established, and it blooms from summer through fall in full sun to part-shade. Not fussy about soil, this breathtaking shrub is a magnet to butterflies. Height 2-3 feet with late summer to fall blooms. Zone varies: 4-8

Royal Purple Smoke Bush (Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'): This fast growing, disease free, is without peer. Its foliage starts out burgundy and warms to a deep purple in summer, ending with a blazing orange in fall. In mid-summer 'Royal Purple' Smoke Bush bursts forth with feathery purple blooms that eclipse the leaves and hang on for weeks. Zone: 4-8

Evergreen shrubs to consider include Arborvitae (Thuja), Boxwood, Juniper, Spruce and Yew.

Hope this information is helpful.

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