- Zone 7 Bushes And Shrubs – Choosing Shrubs For Zone 7 Climates
- Zone 7 Bushes and Shrubs
- Popular Bushes for Zone 7
- Fall Planting of Trees and Shrubs
- The five most fragrant winter blooming shrubs
- 5 Top-Rated Shrubs for Easy Maintenance Landscapes
Zone 7 Bushes And Shrubs – Choosing Shrubs For Zone 7 Climates
Choosing shrubs for zone 7 gardens is only difficult because if the vast range of appropriate candidates. You’ll find zone 7 bushes and shrubs in all sizes, from groundcover to small trees. If you’d like some suggestions for popular bushes for zone 7 gardens, read on.
Zone 7 Bushes and Shrubs
You’ll find an abundance of riches if you are looking for zone 7 bushes and shrubs. Zone 7 is an area where average winter lows get to between 0 degrees and 10 degrees F. (-18 to -12 C.). This climate pleases both evergreens and deciduous shrubs.
When you are choosing shrubs for zone 7, you’ll face a number of preliminary decisions. First is the issue of whether you prefer the year-round texture evergreen shrubs offer or the autumn color some deciduous plants provide.
You’ll also need to think about size. Do you want dwarf plants that grow beyond a foot or two tall? Short shrubs or medium bushes for hedges? Another issue is whether to buy something exotic or stick with native bushes for zone 7?
Here are some ideas to get you started.
Popular Bushes for Zone 7
When you are growing shrubs in zone 7, you’ll definitely want to consider evergreens. These plants are often conifers with needles in deep shades of green and green blue.
Junipersthrive in zone 7, and will fill your evergreen needs, whether you are choosing shrubs for zone 7 for groundcover, specimens or hedges. Most junipers like sun and well-drained soil. The Juniperus chinensis is a good dwarf plant to consider. It usually stays around 3 feet (.9 m.) tall.
Or consider holly, a shrub that shouldn’t be relegated to decking the halls for holidays. These bushes for zone 7 are broad leafed evergreens and you can find hollies in various sizes. Their leaves are shiny and many hollies produce the bright berries beloved by wild birds.
Many bushes grow well in zone 7, but native shrubs will likely require less maintenance than imports. Native shrubs are plants that are already used to the habitat. American highbush cranberry, for example, not only offers lovely leaves and blossoms, but also edible berries all summer long. Even if you have a small garden, you’ll have room for “Alfredo.” It doesn’t grow any taller than 6 feet (2 m.). Plant these natives in well-drained soil.
If you want the frothy flowers but prefer taller zone 7 bushes, consider mountain laurel. Laurel dishes out generous clusters of pink blossoms through mid-summer. The shrubs are evergreen and like cool, acidic soil.
Azaleais a great choice for gardeners growing shrubs in zone 7. While some azalea are evergreen, flame azalea is deciduous, with an attractive, relaxed form. Its fiery-hued blooms are wildly fragrant and appear in late spring.
Or go for French mulberry, an outstanding pick for anyone choosing shrubs for zone 7. It lights up your fall garden with bright purple (edible!) berries on high, straight stems. Give these American natives a location with full sun or dappled shade.
Fall Planting of Trees and Shrubs
You’ve probably seen newspaper advertisements and attention-getting banners displayed at local nurseries and garden centers proclaiming “Fall is for Planting.” But is it really wise to plant trees and shrubs at the end of a growing season and so close to winter? The answer to this question is a qualified yes. Fall planting can be successful as long as the planting season is not extended too late into the fall, if difficult-to-establish species are avoided, and if proper care (watering, mulching, staking if needed, etc.) is administered after planting.
For good reason, most people think of spring as the preferred planting season. Landscape plants installed in March, April, and May benefit from generous rains and the long growing season that stretches ahead. But more often than not, we receive too much precipitation that makes planting difficult, especially on poorly drained sites. Furthermore, the sudden onset of hot, dry weather that typically displaces an often too-short spring, can injure tender new plantings. Because of these difficulties, increasing attention has been given to fall planting. During the period from mid-August to mid-October, moderate and relatively stable air temperatures prevail, and soil temperatures and moisture levels are usually in a range that promote rapid root development. But if the fall planting season is extended into November and December, or if slow-to-establish species are chosen, root growth may be poor and planting failures can occur.
Most container-grown and balled and burlapped deciduous trees and shrubs sold at garden centers are excellent candidates for fall planting. Because these plants usually possess well- developed root systems, and because the roots of many landscape plants are capable of growing even when soil temperatures cool to 45 F, the prospects for successful plant establishment are quite high throughout the fall season. Conifers, such as pine and spruce, benefit from a slightly earlier start, preferring the warmer soil temperatures (60 to 70 F) common in late summer to early fall (mid-August through September).
If plants from a nursery can be planted in the fall, what about moving or transplanting established trees and shrubs from one locale to another? As you might suspect, severing the roots of a plant (up to 95 percent in some cases), hauling it out of the ground, and moving it to a completely new site is a stressful operation, regardless of the season. Still, transplanting can be successfully carried out if it is restricted to those plants with a proven track record of surviving such a move in the fall.
Why is it that some plants can be planted at almost any time of the year while others are saddled with much narrower windows of opportunity? Reasons for these differences are a subject for debate, but the commonly held belief is that plants with shallow, fibrous roots can usually be planted with greater ease than those with fewer, larger roots. Prime examples of difficult-to-plant trees are magnolia and tulip tree; both have thick, fleshy roots. Other slow-to-establish species that are better planted in spring include fir, birch, American hornbeam, American yellowwood, ginkgo, larch, sweetgum, hophornbeam, oak, willow, bald cypress, and hemlock.
Notable tree species that can be successfully planted in the fall include maple, buckeye or horsechestnut, alder, catalpa, hackberry, hawthorn, ash, honeylocust, Kentucky coffeetree, crabapple, Amur corktree, spruce, pine, sycamore, linden, and elm. Most deciduous shrubs are easily planted in fall; however, broad-leaved evergreens like rhododendron and narrow-leaved evergreens like yew prefer to be planted in the spring.
Fall planting (mid-August to mid-October) takes advantage of favorable soil temperatures and moisture conditions that promote the root growth needed to sustain plants through their critical first year in the landscape. Unfortunately, our midwestern climate is unpredictable, and even the toughest plants may die if fall or early winter weather is severe or erratic. But if healthy, vigorous plants are chosen, if proper post-planting care is given, and if slow-to-establish species are avoided, fall planting of trees and shrubs can be as successful as spring planting.
This article originally appeared in the August 22, 1997 issue, pp. 131-132.
The five most fragrant winter blooming shrubs
Zone 7 has it pretty good, I think. We have enough cold to know we had winter (zone 4 gardeners, feel free to rant amongst yourselves), but it rarely lasts very long. Most of what we call winter is simply chilly and dreary. Temperatures are mostly tolerable for a garden stroll. These walks in winter, though, are boring to the eyes. A few buds here, a daffodil sprout there…there’s just not that much to see in January in the “mild winter” zones. Plants won’t spend energy on big, delicate petals only to have them shredded by wind and ice.
One highlight of a winter walk here could be sweet floral scent. Gardeners can choose from a variety of shrubs that offer strong fragrance from flowers blooming in winter. Those treasured milder winter days can find some of us caught by a drifting perfume, and awed by those brave bees that venture out to visit flowers in February.
The first single bud on my young Wintersweet last year hinted at the fragrance bouquet I’ll enjoy for many winters to come.
Choose from these five shrubs for winter bloom with the ultimate sweet scent. Always consider several traits of the plant under consideration. Cold hardiness is a major deiciding factor, but remember the microclimate effect in your garden. Think in terms of form, whether a chosen spot can accommodate a large rangy shrub, or is better suited to a tidy, compact choice. Consider soil situations and your willingness to actively care for a plant given less than ideal conditions.
Wintersweet (Chimonanthes praecox) Zones 6-9
Wintersweet blooms on bare stems in midwinter. I can attest to the powerful fragrance pumped out by the pale yellow, bell-shaped blooms. If you have a place that can hold a large rangy bush, this is for you. In late fall, the leaves turn a subtle golden green and hang on until the bitter end. Then you can count the fat buds and watch them open in mid-winter. You won’t miss them, the smell will draw you from across the yard.
Winter Daphne (Daphne odora) Zones 7-9
Winter Daphne bears what many call the very finest fragrance, on what many say is the most finicky garden specimen. Daphne must have perfectly drained soil, or it will suffer sudden and fatal root rot. It also prefers a more narrow range of conditions than many shrubs. Winter Daphne should bloom in January or February for zone 8 to 9 gardeners; for zone 7, the bloom may wait until March. Daphne’s evergreen foliage highlights its clusters of deep pink buds and barely-pink flowers. Cultivar ‘Aureo-marginata’ has white leaf edges, and is said to be more cold hardy by Missouri Botanical Garden.
Paper Bush (Edgeworthia) Zones 7-9
Edgeworthia is gaining in popularity as a relative newbie to the American nursery trade. This deciduous large shrub blooms on bare wood in late winter. Edgeworthia glows when the clusters of fragrant flowers light up the tips of the branches. This shrub likes dappled shade and ample water. Foliage is long and narrow, turning yellow in fall.
Winter Honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima) Zones 4-8
The common names say it all about this choice: winter honeysuckle, fragrant honeysuckle or “sweet breath of spring.” Winter honeysuckle blooms on bare stems in late winter to early spring. This shrub is easy to grow in a wide range of conditions. Like many shrubs, it blooms its best with full or nearly full sun. Tiny berries draw songbirds to the summer garden. Sadly, this shrub has few other attractive traits. Please be aware that this species s invasive in southern forests-see Invasives.org for more information.
Bodnant viburnum (Viburnum bodnantense) Zones 5-7
‘Dawn’ is the widely available, go-to cultivar of V. bodnantense. This deciduous shrub succeeds in gardens on the colder side of zone 7. Lovely pink flowers bloom on the bare stems, making ‘Dawn’ possibly the showiest of these candidates. This large shrub also brings nice form, attractive berries, and deep red fall foliage color to the landscape. Plant ‘Dawn’ in full to nearly full sun on average soil.
Well, I’ve done it again: added more shrubs to my wish list after researching them. Follow the higlighted links in the article to read more detailed descriptions of these specimens, along with “reviews” from Dave’s Garden members.
5 Top-Rated Shrubs for Easy Maintenance Landscapes
Whether you’ve inherited a high maintenance landscape in your new home or chosen plants that require too much of your time, you can make a change to an easier lifestyle. When you swap the most time-consuming plants in your garden out for those that are easier to maintain, you’ll have more time to enjoy the garden rather than seeing it as a chore.
1. Double Play® Gold Spiraea
Double Play® Gold spirea shines in the landscape from spring to fall with little to no pruning needed.
The Double Play® series of spirea offers eight different varieties, including those with red, pink, and white flowers and a multitude of foliage colors. They range from 1 ½-3 feet tall and are commonly used in mass plantings, foundation plantings, and even as short hedges. Plant them in full sun to part shade in zones 3-8.
Varieties in the Double Play® series were selected for their outstanding foliage and flower colors that make these shrubs showy from spring through fall. Deer tend to stay clear but hummingbirds enjoy their vibrant blooms. See all eight colors here.
2. Gatsby Gal® Hydrangea
Native oakleaf hydrangeas like Gatsby Gal® are easy to grow in sun or part shade.
Hydrangeas don’t need to be fussy plants, and some don’t require any pruning at all. When you choose native oakleaf hydrangeas, you won’t need to worry about having perfectly acidic soil that stays moist all the time, and you won’t need to worry about when to prune because they don’t require it.
Gatsby oakleaf hydrangeas typically grow 5-8 feet tall with green, oak leaf-shaped leaves and large panicles of white flowers that begin to appear in early summer. Cooler fall temperatures draw out purple tones in the foliage and make the flowers blush. Try growing them as a background for your perennial border in full sun or at the woodland’s edge in part shade in zones 5-9.
3. Oso Easy® Cherry Pie Rosa
Oso Easy® Cherry Pie is one of the taller members of this series, growing 2-4 feet tall and wide. It is especially stunning when planted en masse.
Roses are probably not the first plants that come to mind when thinking of easy maintenance shrubs, but today’s modern landscape roses are far easier to grow than traditional long-stemmed types. Their exceptionally disease resistant foliage, tidier habits and summer-long blooms make them as easy to grow as any other shrub in your landscape.
The Oso Easy® series of roses truly live up to their name. Ten vibrant varieties in this series range from 1-4 feet tall and typically grow a bit wider than they are tall. While most landscape roses are hardy in zones 4-9, this series includes several varieties that are cold hardy all the way down to frigid zone 3. They are oh-so easy to grow in sunny landscapes and containers with very little maintenance required.
4. North Pole® Arborvitae
Native evergreen North Pole® arborvitaes make an excellent living screen or focal point in the landscape.
You’ll enjoy the rich green, evergreen foliage of North Pole® arborvitae and the privacy it provides all year round. This zone 3 hardy, columnar, native shrub was developed in Minnesota. It is fast-growing and more narrow than common varieties like Emerald Green, maturing to just 3-5 feet wide and 10-15 feet tall. And since it is more resistant to winter burn, its foliage keeps its dark green color even through the coldest months. Plant it in a sunny to partly sunny location and let it go to work for you, providing a screen along your back fence, acting as a living “fence”, or plant a matching pair by your front entrance.
5. Spilled Wine® Weigela
Surround your patio with low-growing, easy maintenance color using Spilled Wine® weigela shrubs.
If you’re looking for a mass of no-maintenance, season-long color for your landscape beds in sun or part sun, look no further than Spilled Wine® weigela. This low growing shrub reaches just 2-3 feet tall and 3 feet wide in zones 4-8, shorter than its popular cousin, Wine & Roses® weigela. It requires no pruning to keep its deep wine-red foliage in bounds, and hot magenta pink flowers appear every spring. Deer tend to leave weigela alone, but butterflies and hummingbirds enjoy its plentiful blooms.
Want to learn more about easy maintenance plants?
- Discover more easy maintenance plants for your landscape and containers here.
- Find out which Proven Winners annuals were rated the top 10 easiest to maintain here.
- Explore a Pinterest board of Easy Garden Plants.
Patent Info: Double Play® Gold Spiraea japonica USPP21615 CanPRB4074; Gatsby Gal® Hydrangea quercifolia USPP25106 CanPBR5304; Oso Easy® Cherry Pie Rosa USPP19258 CanPBR4870; North Pole® Thuja occidentalis USPP22174 CanPBR3912; Spilled Wine® Weigela florida USPP23781 CanPBR4655
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