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Trees, Shrubs, and Vines for Low Maintenance Landscapes

Trees, shrubs and vines are integral parts of the landscape, providing wildlife habitat, beauty and shade to a property. Plants modify the immediate environment by altering the microclimate surrounding them, reducing noise and trapping air pollutants. In addition to their aesthetic and environmental value, woody ornamentals often represent a considerable financial investment in the landscape.

When choosing woody ornamentals for the landscape, it is important to look for characteristics that make a plant a " high value" selection. The ideal plant is one that is tolerant of environmental stress factors such as drought, poor soil conditions and air pollution. It would have few insect or disease problems that might require management. In addition, it would have good form and multi-seasonal interest. While no one plant can be considered ideal, plants that are structurally weak, short lived or intolerant of environmental stresses will require a higher degree of maintenance.

The axiom "the right plant for the right place" is particularly true for woody ornamentals. When selecting plants for the landscape, mature height and spread must be considered as well as the conditions and limitations of the planting site. A woody ornamental planted in the wrong location may fail to thrive, need increased maintenance or become an out-of-scale landscape feature, thus losing its value to the property.

The first step in ensuring good plant health is choosing a recommended low maintenance plant and planting it in the correct location. However, planting practices will also affect plant health. Improper planting techniques or inadequate site preparations usually cause woody plants to decline in vigor or fail. Some common practices that often result in plant failure are:

  • planting at the wrong depth (too deep/too shallow)
  • soil compaction from heavy equipment, etc.
  • insufficient removal of burlap, twine, etc.
  • deep mulching up to and against the bark
  • mower damage, string trimmer injury or herbicide damage as a result of turf growing up to the trunk
  • too much or too little water

The following list of woody ornamentals shares certain characteristics that make them deserving of increased use: reduced maintenance requirements, increased drought tolerance, non-invasive nature, winter hardiness and year round interest. Many are native to North America and would be useful alternatives for invasive species. Unless noted, they have no significant insect or disease problems.

Some may be difficult to locate but their desirable traits make the search worthwhile.

Deciduous Trees

Acer buergerianum

Trident Maple

20'- 25' H

Zone 5

  • width: 30'
  • slow to medium growth rate, rounded crown, usually multi-stemmed
  • new foliage reddish, maturing to dark green; yellow/orange/red fall color
  • prefers full sun and well-drained acid soils, tolerant of drought
  • excellent for use as a lawn specimen, patio or street tree

Acer campestre

Hedge Maple

35' H

Zone 5

  • width: 25' - 35'
  • slow growth rate; rounded, dense crown; low branching; winged, corky twigs
  • dark green leaves with rounded lobes, yellow fall color late in season
  • non-invasive roots, good in combination with shrubs
  • cv. Postelense has golden yellow foliage when young
  • very adaptable, tolerant of: dry soils, air pollution, soil compaction, pH
  • excellent small lawn specimen or pruned into a hedge, good substitute for privet and Euonymus alatus

Acer tataricum subsp. Ginnala (syn. Acer ginnala)

Amur Maple

20’ H

Zone 2

  • width: equal to height
  • variable growth rate: rapid when young, slow when mature
  • upright, rounded habit, usually multi-stemmed
  • glossy dark green leaves turn scarlet in fall, bright red samara in summer
  • prefers full sun to light shade, tolerant of wind and drought
  • cv. Flame has outstanding fall color
  • good small specimen tree, adaptable for patios and container planting

Acer griseum

Paperbark Maple

25’30’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 15'
  • slow growth rate with an open, rounded habit
  • bluish-green trifoliate leaves, deep red fall color late in season
  • exfoliating cinnamon colored bark is an outstanding feature, especially effective in winter
  • prefers full sun and well-drained soils, tolerant of pH, clay soil
  • excellent specimen tree

Acer rubrum

Red Maple

40’60’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 20' - 30'
  • medium growth rate, reaching 10' - 12' in 5-7 years
  • pyramidal habit when young, rounded crown at maturity
  • red flowers in dense clusters effective before the leaves appear
  • excellent fall color on most specimens; many cultivars available
  • prefers moist, acid soils but tolerant of many conditions; adaptable to wet soils
  • a good specimen or street tree; intolerant of urban conditions
  • North American native

Acer saccharum

Sugar Maple

60’75’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 45’ – 50’
  • medium growth rate in youth, slower with age
  • generally an upright, rounded habit with dense foliage
  • good green foliage with spectacular fall colors of orange, red and yellow
  • prefers a moist, well drained soil; pH tolerant, not tolerant of salt
  • North American native

Acer triflorum

Three Flower Maple

20’-30’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 20'‑30'
  • medium growth rate; upright open habit
  • dark green trifoliate leaves with yellow/red fall color
  • brown exfoliating bark with vertical fissures; year round interest
  • full sun, well-drained soil, acid conditions preferred
  • fine landscape specimen, patio tree or in the mixed border

Aesculus x carnea

Red Horsechestnut

30’40’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 30’-40’
  • medium growth rate; broadly rounded habit
  • dark green, palmately compound leaves with 5 (occasionally 7) leaflets
  • rose-red flowers borne on 8” panicles; cv ‘Briotii’ has larger, dark red flowers
  • less susceptible to leaf blotch the common horsechestnut
  • good landscape specimen tree

Betula nigra ‘Cully’

HeritageTM River Birch

40’-70’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 40'‑60
  • medium growth rate, will reach 40' in 20 years
  • off‑white to salmon/white exfoliating bark is an outstanding feature
  • pyramidal growth habit, rounded with maturity, single or multi‑stemmed
  • adapted to moist situations but will tolerate dry conditions
  • resistant to the Bronze birch borer; less susceptible to birch leaf miner
  • cv Dura-Heat™ is more compact, tolerates heat and drought
  • cv. ‘Little King’ (Fox Valley™) is a natural dwarf form 10’-12’H
  • North American native

Carpinus betulus

European Hornbeam

40’-60’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 30’-40’
  • slow to medium growth rate; rounded crown with maturity
  • ribbed nutlet in three-lobed, pendulous bract, 1 ½” – 3’ long
  • smooth, steel grey bark, “muscled” in appearance
  • clean, dark green foliage; yellow fall color
  • full sun to light shade, tolerant of various soil conditions
  • tolerates heavy pruning and is often used a hedge or screen
  • an excellent landscape plant for many different situations

Carpinus caroliniana

American Hornbeam Ironwood

30’ H

Zone 2

  • width: 20'‑30'
  • slow growth rate; spreading rounded crown
  • nutlets in leaf‑like, pendulous, three-lobed bracts, 3 1/2" long
  • smooth grey bark, "muscled" in appearance, frequently multi‑stemmed
  • dense green foliage with orange/red fall color
  • tolerates shade and damp soil, good as an understory tree or shady lawn specimen
  • container stock easily transplanted, established trees hard to move
  • North American native

Cercidiphyllum japonicum


60’100’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 20'‑30', occasionally equal to height
  • moderate to fast growth rate; wide spreading, usually multi‑stemmed; can be trained to a single stem
  • heart-shaped rounded leaves; clear golden fall color with sweet fragrance
  • considered pest free
  • sun or part shade; tolerant of wind but not drought
  • graceful specimen year round
  • cv.’s ‘Pendula’ and ‘Amazing Grace’ are weeping in habit

Cladrastis kentukea

American Yellowood

50’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 40'
  • moderate growth rate; open, arching dome‑shaped tree
  • pinnately compound leaves with 5‑7 leaflets,
  • yellow fall color and smooth silver‑grey bark, nice framework branches in winter
  • white wisteria‑like fragrant flower clusters in June
  • likes sun and well drained, moist sandy soils
  • good underutilized shade tree
  • North American native

Cornus kousa

Kousa Dogwood

30’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 20'‑30'
  • medium growth rate; vase‑shaped habit when young, horizontal branching when mature
  • sun or part shade, likes acid well‑drained soil, more drought tolerant than C. florida
  • blooms in June after C. florida, the four 1"‑ 2" pointed bracts persist 4‑6 weeks, some turn pinkish with age
  • raspberry‑like fruit in late August through October, purple/red fall foliage
  • tolerant of dogwood anthracnose; resistant to dogwood borer
  • an excellent small tree for most landscapes; works well as a specimen tree, patio tree or in combination with small shrubs.
  • good winter interest with the branching pattern and exfoliating bark.

Special note: hybrids of C. florida x C. kousa (the “Stellar” series) are available; these six interspecific hybrids show characteristics midway between the two parents, most notably increased resistance to dogwood anthracnose and dogwood borer as evidenced by twenty years of field testing by Dr. Elwin Orton of Rutgers University, NJ. New hybrids of C. kousa x C. nuttalli (the “Jersey Star” series) are also resistant to dogwood anthracnose as well as powdery mildew; check for hardiness. C. florida ‘Appalachian Spring’ is reputed to be resistant to dogwood anthracnose.

Cornus mas

Cornelian Cherry Dogwood

20’-25’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 15‑20'
  • moderate growth rate, rounded to oval habit
  • multi‑stemmed, low‑branched shrub or small tree; can be grown with a single trunk
  • small clusters of yellow flowers with drooping yellow bracts appear early spring (March) before leaves
  • clusters of shiny red berries effective in the fall
  • exfoliating bark with maturity
  • prefers sun, tolerant of part shade, wind, adaptable to all soils
  • Cary Award winner
  • pleasant early flowering tree; useful as patio specimen, good winter interest
  • C. officinalis, Japanese Cornel, is very similar to C. mas and may be used interchangeably

Cotinus obovatus

American Smoketree

25’-35’ H

Zone 5

  • width: often equal to height
  • slow growing tree with rounded habit
  • dark blue‑green leaves 6" long turning reddish purple to orange, red and yellow in fall
  • fuzzy smoke‑like masses of greenish flowers in June and July
  • sun or part shade, pH 5‑7, tolerant of wind, drought, soil compaction
  • good small tree with excellent fall color
  • North American native

Crataegus phaenopyrum

Washington Hawthorn

25’-35’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 20'‑25'
  • medium growth rate; rounded oval habit; thorns
  • dark green, lobed leaves, excellent orange/scarlet fall coloration
  • white flowers in clusters in June; bright glossy red, persistent fruit from fall into winter
  • full sun, well-drained soils, tolerant of urban conditions
  • less susceptible to leaf blight than other Crataegus; is susceptible to rust
  • use as specimen tree, near buildings, street tree
  • several cultivars available; ‘Princeton Sentry’ is almost thornless
  • North American native

Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’

Winter King Hawthorn

20’-25’ H

Zone 4

  • width: equal or greater than height
  • medium growth rate; densely rounded habit, vase‑shaped branching; thorns
  • medium green foliage, purple/scarlet fall color
  • white flowers in May, persistent red fruit, 2" in diameter
  • less susceptible to leaf blight than other Crataegus; is susceptible to rust
  • good specimen tree, fruiting characteristics are outstanding
  • North American native

Ginkgo biloba


50’-80’ H

Zone 4

  • width: variable, 30' to equal or greater than height
  • slow to medium growth rate; pyramidal when young, becoming broad with spreading branches
  • bright green fan‑shaped leaves, turning yellow in fall
  • full sun, sandy, moderately moist soil; pH adaptable, salt and pollution tolerant
  • male cultivars preferred as fruit of female trees has unpleasant odor
  • cv.'s Autumn Gold, Lakeview, and Santa Cruz are male

Halesia tetraptera (H. carolina

Carolina Silverbell

30’-40’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 20'‑35'
  • fast growth rate with central leader, conical habit
  • bell‑shaped white flowers drooping in clusters late April/early May
  • smooth bluish‑grey bark, becoming ridged with maturity
  • sun or part shade, acid soil, tolerant of urban conditions
  • graceful tree for the landscape
  • North American native

Liquidambar styraciflua

American Sweetgum

60’-75’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 2/3’s or equal to the height
  • medium to fast growth rate; distinct pyramidal habit when young, rounded crown at maturity
  • alternate, simple, star-shaped leaves; dark green above, light green underneath; outstanding fall color
  • rounded fruit capsule, remains on tree into the winter; can be messy
  • prefers full sun and moist soil; has fleshy roots and takes time to establish after transplanting
  • useful for lawns, parks, or a specimen trees; many cultivars available
  • No. American native

Magnolia x loebneri

Loebner Magnolia hybrids

25’ H

Zone 5

  • width: often as wide as tall
  • medium to fast growth rate; broadly rounded habit
  • flowers generally with 12 or more petals, fragrant, mid to late April
  • silvery-grey furry buds provide winter interest
  • cv. Ballerina: up to 30 petals, fragrant, white with pinkish blush; escapes spring frosts
  • cv. Leonard Messel: 12 petals, dark pink in bud opening to pinkish white, yellow fall color; Cary Award Winner
  • cv. Merrill: 15 white petals, 3"‑3 1/2" across, late April, fragrant; cucumber‑like pods with red seeds in fall
  • excellent specimen trees

Magnolia stellata

Star Magnolia

15’-25’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 10’ to 15’
  • slow growth rate; oval to rounded habit
  • white flowers with 12 to 18 petals, 3” to 4” in diameter, fragrant, in April
  • prefers a moist, well-drained soil high in organic material; full sun for best flowering
  • cv. Centennial vigorous, upright habit, originated at the Arnold Arboretum
  • cv. Royal Star has large flowers 4” to 5” across
  • excellent specimen tree for residential and commercial landscapes

Magnolia virginiana

Sweetbay Magnolia

20’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 10'‑20'
  • moderate growth rate; multi‑stemmed spreading habit
  • dark green leaves, 3"‑5" long, silvery underneath, evergreen in mild winters
  • fragrant creamy-white 3" flowers in May/June
  • bright red seeds in 2" pods effective in the fall
  • likes full sun, tolerant of shade, wet soils
  • small specimen or patio tree
  • North American native

Malus ‘Donald Wyman’

Donald Wyman Crabapple


Zone 5

  • width: 25'
  • moderate growth rate; spreading, rounded form
  • deep pink buds open to white flowers, bright red fruits, 1/8” in diameter, effective in fall and persist through winter
  • full sun, well-drained soil; tolerant of drought, salt, air pollution
  • resistant to apple scab and cedar apple rust
  • one of the best ornamental Crabs, can be used as a specimen or in massed plantings
  • many lovely crabapples are available; be sure to select only disease resistant cultivars
  • Cary Award Winner

Nyssa sylvatica

Tupelo, Black Gum

30’-50’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 20'‑30'
  • medium growth rate; pyramidal form when young, distinct horizontal branching when mature
  • dark green lustrous leave, exceptional burgundy/ scarlet fall foliage
  • prefers moist, well-drained soils, pH 5.5 ‑6.5
  • full sun or part shade, tolerant of wind and wet conditions, moderately drought tolerant
  • excellent winter aspect with horizontal branching, good for naturalizing
  • container stock easily planted, established tree hard to move
  • North American native

Ostrya virginiana

American Hornbeam Ironwood

25’40’ H

Zone 4

  • width: two thirds the height
  • fairly slow growth rate; good small tree with pendulous or horizontal branching habit
  • grows in full sun to partial shade, very drought tolerant once established
  • fruit is a small nut enclosed in wafer-like, papery structure resembling hops, 1 ½” - 2 ½” long
  • nice grey bark flaking into narrow dark stripes
  • great small tree for the landscape, tolerant of urban conditions
  • No. American native

Oxydendrum arboreum

Sourwood Sorrel Tree

40’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 20'
  • slow growth rate; narrow tree with drooping branches
  • small, lily‑of‑the‑valley shaped flowers in hanging clusters in July
  • rich green leaves, scarlet fall color, smooth grey bark
  • full sun or part shade, moist well-drained soil, pH 4.0‑6.0
  • beautiful flowering tree; excellent fall color in combination with persistent fruiting capsules
  • best used as a specimen plant
  • North American native

Ptelea trifoliata


15’20’ H

Zone 3

  • width: equal to height
  • slow growth rate; small, rounded habit, may be shrub-like
  • small, inconspicuous fragrant flowers followed by showy, wafer-like papery fruit
  • dark green summer foliage with yellow fall color
  • adaptable to most soils, sun or light shade; understory tree in native woodlands
  • interesting small tree for the landscape; golden leaved cultivar available
  • North American native

Styphnolobium japonicum (formerly Sophora japonica)

Japanese Pagoda Tree

50’-75’ H

Zone 4

  • width: variable, may equal height
  • slow growth rate when young, more rapid with maturity
  • upright with spreading habit and broad crown
  • compound leaves, 6"‑10" long
  • pea-like fragrant flowers in drooping panicles in mid to late summer, persistent yellow fruit pods may be messy
  • full sun or part shade, well-drained soil, tolerates heat, drought, and urban conditions
  • lovely leguminous tree, good as a specimen or as a shade tree, excellent for showy late bloom

Sorbus alnifolia

Korean Mountain-ash


Zone 4

  • width: 20'‑30'
  • medium to fast growth rate; pyramidal habit when young, rounded with maturity
  • alternate simple leaves, bright green aging to dark green, orange/red fall foliage
  • smooth, grey beech‑like bark, good winter interest
  • white flowers in 2"‑3" clusters in May
  • persistent pinkish red fruit, very ornamental
  • more disease resistant than other Sorbus species
  • specimen tree, parks, golf courses

Stewartia pseudocamellia

Japanese Stewartia

20’-40’ H

Zone 5

  • width: variable
  • slow growth rate; single stem or multi stemmed, pyramidal habit
  • camellia like flowers in July, white with yellow stamens, 2 2" diameter
  • excellent bark, flaking off to reveal grey, brown, tan and olive coloration
  • full sun or part shade, moist well-drained soil, pH 4.5 5.5
  • handsome small tree with year round interest, best shown as a specimen
  • Cary Award Winner

Styrax japonicus

Japanese Snowbell

20’-30’ H

Zone 5

  • width: equal to height
  • medium growth rate; broadly rounded crown with horizontal branching
  • fragrant bell-shaped pendulous white flowers in May/June
  • full sun or part shade, light loamy soil, pH 5.0‑7.0
  • cv. Pink Chimes has pink blossoms; weeping forms available
  • lovely small tree for patio or lawn specimen

Syringa reticulata

Japanese Tree Lilac

30' H

Zone 4

  • width: 15'‑25'
  • moderate growth rate; upright spreading habit
  • creamy white fragrant flowers in large upright panicles, up to 12" in June; cherry‑like bark
  • resistant to powdery mildew
  • full sun, pH adaptable, well-drained soil
  • excellent specimen tree, may be used as a street tree, good for parks, golf courses
  • cv. Ivory Silk compact, heavy flowering
  • Cary Award winner

Ulmus parvifolia

Chinese or Lacebark Elm

40’-50’ H

Zone 4 (5)

  • width: 40'
  • medium to fast growth rate; variable habit, some are rounded, some are vase shaped
  • dark green leaves, yellow/purple fall color
  • mottled bark, in tones of grey, green, orange and brown, is an excellent feature
  • sun, moist well-drained soil, tolerant of urban conditions
  • resistant to Dutch elm disease, elm leaf beetle and Japanese beetle
  • tough tree for the landscape, many cultivars available, not to be confused with U. pumila (Siberian Elm) which is a brittle, inferior tree.


Aibes concolor

Concolor or White Fir

50’-100’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 15'‑30'
  • medium growth rate; pyramidal habit with horizontal branching
  • fragrant bluish‑green needles, 1 1/2"‑2" long, cones green when young, purple/brown at maturity
  • full sun, moist well drained sandy loam, will tolerate light shade, heat, drought; dislikes clay soil
  • a good substitute for pest-prone spruce
  • cv. Candicans, with blue needles, is a good substitute for Colorado Blue Spruce
  • suitable for large landscapes
  • North American native

Cedrus atlantica ‘Glauca”

Blue Atlas Cedar

120’ H (40-60 in landscape)

Zone 6

  • width: 30'‑40'
  • rapid growth rate when young
  • stiff erect growth habit when young, flat topped when mature; not for the small area
  • evergreen needles in bunches, silvery‑blue in color, upright cones 3"x 2"
  • tolerates sun or part shade, likes moist conditions but tolerant of dry soils
  • will not tolerate exposed sites or wet areas
  • best used as a specimen tree, needs a spacious location

Cedrus libani

Cedar of Lebanon

120’ H (40-60 in landscape)

Zone 5

  • width: 80'
  • slow growth rate; pyramidal in habit, maturing to flat topped with horizontal branching
  • dark green needles with upright cones
  • full sun, moist well-drained soils, intolerant of shade or pollution
  • best used as a specimen tree, needs a spacious location

Cephalotaxus harringtonia

Japanese Plum Yew

5’-10’ H

Zone 6

  • width: variable, spreading
  • dark green, yew‑like needles, evergreen
  • prefers moist, well-drained soils; very drought tolerant once established
  • shade and heat tolerant evergreen, may be used as a substitute for Taxus (Yew)
  • thought to be deer resistant

Xanthocyparis nootkatensis

Alaska Falsecypress

45’-60’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 20'‑30'
  • medium growth rate; conical habit with drooping branches
  • dense, dark blue‑green, scalelike needles
  • full sun, requires moist soil and atmosphere
  • cv. Pendula has graceful hanging branches
  • best used as a specimen
  • Cary Award Winner
  • North American native

Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Nana Gracillus’

Hinoki Falsecypress

6’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 3'‑4'
  • handsome evergreen foliage ranging from dark green to gold, somewhat drooping branches, graceful
  • sun or light shade, moist, well-drained soils; some protection from wind
  • useful as specimen, foundation shrub, mixed border
  • many cultivars available, ranging in height from 9" to 50' and color from deep green, bluish silver to gold

Chamaecyparis pisifera

Sawara Falsecypress

50’-70’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 10'‑20'
  • medium growth rate; pyramidal open habit
  • evergreen, scale-like needles, brownish red shedding bark
  • full sun, tolerant of wind, salt air, acid well-drained soils
  • many cultivars are available with different needle formation and coloration
  • best used as a specimen

Chamaecyparis thyoides

Atlantic White Cedar

40' - 50' H

Zone 4

  • width: 10' - 20'
  • medium growth rate; narrow spire-like habit when mature
  • green to bluish-green foliage, with silvery-like resin glands on the back
  • reddish-brown to grayish colored ridged bark
  • prefers moist, sandy soil in full sun; tolerates wet soils and salt spray
  • excellent evergreen for low, wet sites and coastal planting
  • North American native

Juniperus virginiana

Eastern Red Cedar

40' - 50' H

Zone 3

  • width: 8' - 20', very variable
  • medium growth rate; pyramidal growth habit
  • medium green foliage color, may become bronzed in winter
  • female Aberries@ green to blue in color; shaggy reddish-brown bark
  • prefers moist, sandy soil in full sun; tolerant of drought, salt spray, gravelly soils
  • good choice for open, exposed areas, coastal planting, windbreaks
  • North American native

Metasequoia glyptostroboides

Dawn Redwood

70’100’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 25'
  • fast growth rate: 50' in 15 - 20 years, pyramidal in habit
  • bright green foliage turning red-orange-brown in fall; deciduous
  • reddish-brown bark , becomes exfoliating with age; trunk forms buttresses when mature
  • easy to transplant; likes well-drained soils in full sun; tolerant of wet soils
  • excellent specimen tree or planted in groves; good for parks, golf courses or other spacious areas

Microbiota decussata

Russian Arborvitae

12” H

Zone 3

  • arching branches with scale like needles, feathery texture
  • dark green in summer, purple/copper in winter
  • prefers moist, well-drained soil; sun or light shade; very cold tolerant and a vigorous grower
  • especially useful as an evergreen for light shade; good ground cover


Many two and three needled pines (Pinus species) are commonly used in the landscape. While ornamentally useful, these pines have a complement of insects and diseases that make them high maintenance trees due to the need for annual and timely applications of pesticides. Pines such as the Austrian pine (Pinus nigra), Red pine (P. resinosa), Mugo pine (P. mugo) and Japanese Black pine (P. thunbergii) are subject to shoot blight (Sphaeropsis/Diplodia), pine shoot moths, scale insects and borers such as the black turpentine beetle; all of which may disfigure or kill these pines. The following five needle pines, while not entirely pest free, may be subject to insects that cause damage that is mainly aesthetic and not usually fatal. The primary insect pest of five needle pines is the white pine weevil, which attacks the central leader, causing it to die back to a lower set of lateral branches. While temporarily disfiguring, a new leader may be established by bracing one of the lateral branches into an upright position or, if left alone, will often produce a new leader from a lateral on its own.

Pinus cembra

Swiss Stone Pine

30’-40’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 15'‑20'
  • slow growth rate; densely columnar when young
  • needles in clusters of 5, 2 1/2" ‑ 5" long, very dense foliage
  • egg-shaped cone, 2" - 3" long, purple‑green changing to purple‑brown with maturity
  • full sun, well-drained soil; tolerant of wind
  • well-proportioned small pine, slow growing, good for the small landscape

Pinus parviflora

Japanese White Pine

25'‑50' H

Zone 5

  • width: 25'
  • variable growth rate; wide spreading, casts medium shade
  • slender needles in clusters of 5, 2"‑3" long, bluish‑green with a silvery band on the underside
  • purplish bark with an open branching pattern, graceful winter aspect
  • full sun, moist, well-drained soil, tolerant of most soil conditions, salt air, wind, and drought
  • good substitute for pest prone Japanese Black pine (Pinus thunbergii)
  • -excellent specimen pine; graceful with attractive cones, good for coastal areas

Pinus strobus

Eastern White Pine

50’-120’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 20' - 40'
  • fast growth rate; pyramidal habit when young; open horizontal branching with maturity
  • needles in clusters of five, 2" - 4" long, bluish-green and pliable; smooth grayish-green bark when young,
  • dark brown and furrowed with age
  • prefers moist, acid well-drained soils; prefers full sun; tolerates light shade when young, intolerant of high
  • winds and salt
  • good evergreen for large properties
  • North American native

Sciadopitys verticillata

Japanese Umbrella Pine

30’-60’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 15‑20'
  • extremely slow growing; variable habit, often broadly pyramidal, very dense
  • Dark-green needles 2"‑5" long in whorls around the stem giving an "umbrella" appearance
  • cones 3" ‑ 5" long
  • sun, moist well-drained soils, protection from wind
  • useful as a specimen or in a mixed border

Broadleaf Evergreens

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi


6”-12” H

Zone 2

  • width: 2' - 4'
  • slow growth rate; low growing spreading habit forms an evergreen ground cover
  • shiny dark green leaves turn reddish bronze in fall and winter
  • small pinkish-white flowers followed by bright red berries in fall
  • difficult to transplant, use container-grown plants; requires full sun and well-drained acid soil; tolerant of salt and sandy, infertile soils
  • excellent ground cover for open, exposed areas and coastal planting
  • Cary Award Winner
  • North American native

Ilex crenata

Japanese Holly

Height varies with cultivar

Zone 5-6

  • width: 15"‑10'
  • alternate, simple, evergreen leaves closely spaced on the twigs
  • generally compact, multi branched growth habit
  • moist, well-drained soils; full sun to light shade
  • subject to mite infestations under hot, dry conditions; white fly may pose a problem
  • useful in the border, foundation, hedges, rock gardens
  • many cultivars available; a good substitute for Boxwood (Buxus species)

Ilex glabra


6’-8’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 8'‑ 10'
  • alternate, shiny, dark green leaves, evergreen; upright stems
  • suckering growth habit; tends to lose lower leaves with age
  • prefers moist, acid soils; tolerant of shade and adaptable to wet areas; also drought tolerant
  • cv. Shamrock has better form and color, more compact growth
  • useful for wet areas or naturalizing; 'Shamrock' useful for foundations
  • North American native

Ilex x meserveae

Meserve Hybrid Hollies

8’-15’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 8'‑10'
  • these "blue hollies", hybrids between I. rugosa and I. aquifolium, have alternate blue‑green, spiny leaves
  • and bright red berries
  • generally slow growing and shrubby in habit
  • male and female forms required for berry production
  • prefer well-drained soil supplemented with organic matter; sun to light shade
  • specimen or mixed border
  • cultivars ‘Blue Princess’ and ‘Blue Prince’ are Cary Award Winners

Ilex pedunculosa

Longstalk Holly

25’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 2'‑6'
  • alternate, simple evergreen leaves; appear whorled around the stem
  • creamy white, bell-shaped flowers in upright panicles in April‑May; yellow‑green flower buds prominent in winter
  • somewhat stiffly branched, rounded growth habit
  • prefers: moist, acid soils, full sun to light shade
  • resistant to the andromeda lace bug, excellent substitute for Pieris japonica
  • useful for foundations, borders, with other broadleaf evergreens
  • North American native

Pieris floribunda

Mountain Pieris

2’-6’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 2'‑6'
  • alternate, simple evergreen leaves; appear whorled around the stem
  • creamy white, bell-shaped flowers in upright panicles in April‑May; yellow‑green flower buds prominent in winter
  • somewhat stiffly branched, rounded growth habit
  • prefers: moist, acid soils, full sun to light shade
  • resistant to the andromeda lace bug, excellent substitute for Pieris japonica
  • useful for foundations, borders, with other broadleaf evergreens
  • North American native

Rhododendron ‘P.J.M.’

P.J.M. Hybrid Rhododendrons

3’-6’ H

Zone 4

  • width: variable
  • small, alternate, evergreen leaves; often turning a mahogany‑purple in winter
  • vivid lavender to pale pink flower trusses, depending on the cultivar; flowering in late April
  • rounded, compact growth habit; usually mounded and neat
  • moist, acid soil, full sun to partial shade; very cold tolerant, reliably bud hardy
  • useful for foundations, borders, plantings with other broadleaf evergreens


Aesculus parviflora

Bottlebrush Buckeye


Zone 4

  • width: 8'‑ 15'
  • palmately compound leaves, light yellow fall coloration
  • large panicles of white flowers in June‑July.
  • full sun to partial shade, moist, well-drained soils
  • wide‑spreading suckering habit makes this an excellent specimen shrub or for mass planting
  • North American native

Callicarpa dichotoma

Purple Beautyberry

3’-4’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 3'
  • medium green, opposite leaves on arching branches
  • small pinkish flowers in July/August followed by clusters of bright purple berries which persist to fall
  • full sun to light shade; moist, well-drained soil
  • may be pruned back each spring for improved fruiting effect
  • useful in the mixed border or as a specimen plant
  • outstanding purple berries for fall color

Calycanthus floridus

Carolina Allspice

6’-9’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 6'‑ 12'
  • dark green foliage, aromatic when crushed, yellow fall color
  • cinnamon‑red fragrant flowers in late spring; interesting seed capsules in fall
  • adaptable to many soil and pH conditions; sun or light shade
  • useful in the shrub border or for naturalizing
  • cv. Athens has fragrant, yellow flowers
  • North American native

Chionanthus virginicus

White Fringetree

12’-20’ H

Zone 4

  • width: up to 20'
  • simple, opposite leaves appear in late spring
  • white, fringe-like blossoms in late May‑early June, fragrant
  • blue‑black fruit on female plants in September
  • adaptable to many soil conditions; prefers a moist, organic soil and full sun
  • best used as a specimen plant; careful siting required due to eventual width of plant
  • North American native
  • C. retusus, Chinese Fringetree, is a related species, may be multi‑stemmed and shrub‑like or tree form

Clethra alnifolia

Summersweet Sweet Pepperbush

3’-8’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 4'‑6'
  • alternate, simple leaves with good green color; fall color golden yellow
  • fragrant white flowers in upright racemes, effective for several weeks in July and August
  • adaptable to most soil conditions, prefers moist, acidic types; very tolerant of wet soils
  • sun or light shade; tolerant of seaside conditions and drought
  • useful in the shrub border, for naturalizing, in the fragrant garden
  • pink flowered cultivars are available, cv. Ruby Spice is a Cary Award Winner
  • North American native
  • C. acuminate, Cinnamon Clethra, is native to the mountains of Virginia and No. Caorlina
  • C. barbinervis, Japanese Clethra, is a large shrub or small tree 18'‑20', with dark green, whorled leaves, larger flowers and exfoliating bark; hardy to Zone 5

Comptonia peregrina


2’-4’ H

Zone 2

  • width: 4' - 8'
  • medium growth rate; upright stoloniferous shrub, forms large colonies
  • alternate, simple dark green leaves resemble the frond of a fern, aromatic; yellow fall color
  • grows well in poor, acid soils in full sun or partial shade; tolerant of drought, capable of nitrogen-fixing
  • difficult to transplant, use container grown stock or propagate from root cuttings
  • useful for tough areas on infertile soil, naturalized landscapes
  • North American native

Cotinus coggygria

Smoke Bush

10’-15’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 10'‑ 15'
  • alternate, simple bluish‑green leaves; some cultivars have purple foliage
  • small, insignificant flowers surrounded by pinkish, fuzzy hairs which give a smoky appearance in July
  • "bloom" period extends through August by the persistence of the hairy panicles
  • adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions; sun to light shade
  • many cultivars available; ‘Velvet Cloak’ and ‘Royal Purple’ are good purple leaf cultivars
  • cv. Golden Spirit has bright golden foliage
  • useful as a specimen, in a shrub border, for massing

Disanthus cercidifolius


60’-10’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 5' - 8'
  • medium growth rate; slender branches with a zigzag pattern form a broadly rounded shrub; interesting branching pattern creates winter interest
  • new growth reddish in color, maturing to bluish-green heart-shaped leaves; outstanding fall colors of red, purple and orange; small inconspicuous purple flowers in October
  • prefers a moist fertile soil high in organic matter, light to moderate shade; intolerant of wind and drought; will tolerate full sun if adequate moisture is present
  • an interesting addition to the shade garden; provides excellent fall color and winter interest; relatively new to the trade

Enkianthus campanulatus

Redvein Enkianthus

12'‑15' H

Zone 4

  • width: 5'‑6'
  • bright green whorled leaves with red-orange to yellow fall color
  • dainty bell‑shaped creamy-white flowers veined with red in drooping clusters in May
  • prefers a moist, acid soil supplemented with organic matter, full sun to partial shade; culture similar to Rhododendron
  • Cary Award Winner
  • useful in plantings with other ericaceous plants or as a specimen

Exochorda racemosa

Common Pearlbush

9’-15’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 9'‑ 15'
  • opposite, simple leaves on upright, arching branches; older trunks develop exfoliating bark
  • flower buds are grouped like pearls along the terminal branches, opening into white flowers in late April
  • adaptable to many soil conditions; drought tolerant once established
  • tough plant for the shrub border

Fothergilla major

Large Fothergilla

6'‑10' H

Zone 4

  • width: 6‑10'
  • alternate, simple leaves on erect stems, usually multi-stemmed
  • outstanding fall color of yellow/orange/scarlet
  • white, bottlebrush‑shaped flowers in late April‑early May, fragrant
  • prefers a moist, acid soil supplemented with organic matter; full sun to partial shade
  • Cary Award Winner; useful for naturalizing, for the border or as a specimen; good substitute for Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)
  • North American native
  • F. gardenii is a smaller version, rarely more than three feet high, hardy to Zone 5

Witch Hazels

The witch hazels (Hamamelis species) are a group of hardy shrubs that deserve greater use in the landscape. These shrubs are generally problem free and offer color in the garden at a time of year when little else is of interest. The following species are listed in sequence of bloom from January, February, March and November. Each is in bloom for an extended period of time as the ribbon-like petals curl up during freezing weather.

Hamamelis vernalis

Vernal Witch Hazel

6’-10’ H

Zone 4

H. mollis

Chinese Witch Hazel

10’-15’ H

Zone 5

H. x intermedia

Hybrid Witch Hazel

15’-20’ H

Zone 5

H. virginiana

Common Witch Hazel

15’-20’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 15'
  • fragrant blossoms have four ribbon‑like petals in shades of yellow and red, bloom period extends for three to four weeks
  • alternate, simple leaves, somewhat coarse in texture; outstanding fall color
  • prefer moist, acid soils supplemented with organic matter; sun to light shade
  • excellent plants for winter interest, naturalizing, for borders
  • H. x intermedia has several cultivars which have flowers ranging from red to yellow, ‘Arnold Promise’, with yellow petals, is one of the better-known hybrids
  • H. mollis ‘Pallida’, with soft sulfur-yellow petals, is a Cary Award Winner
  • H. vernalis and H. virginiana are native to North America

Heptacodium miconioides

Seven‑Son Flower

20’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 12'‑ 15'
  • introduced to the U.S. in 1980 by the Arnold Arboretum; forms a large shrub or small tree
  • clusters of white, fragrant flowers appear in late August to September; red seed capsules appear in late September to October
  • flaking, light tan bark offers winter interest
  • adaptable to varied soil conditions, sun to light shade, tolerant of coastal conditions and wind.
  • useful as a specimen or in the border

Hydrangea paniculata

Panicle Hydrangea

10'‑15' H

Zone 3

  • width: 6'‑ 10'
  • opposite, somewhat whorled leaves; insignificant fall color
  • large panicles of white flowers in late July to August, turning a pinkish color by fall, persistent
  • upright, arching stems, flowers on new wood
  • prefers moist, well-drained soils; pH adaptable; sun to light shade
  • ‘Grandiflora’, ‘Tardiva’, and ‘Limelight’ are improved selections
  • useful as a specimen or in the border

Hydrangea. quercifolia

Oakleaf Hydrangea

4’-6’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 4'‑6' or wider; suckering habit
  • large, deep green oak‑shaped leaves; good russet red fall color
  • large, upright panicles of white flowers in June to July, persistent; flowers on new wood
  • prefers moist, well-drained soils, pH adaptable, sun to light shade
  • useful for massing, in the border or for naturalizing
  • needs a protected, warm location in zone 5; many cultivars available
  • cv. Pee Wee is a compact form
  • North American native

Ilex verticillata


6’-10’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 6'‑ 10'
  • alternate, simple deciduous green leaves, yellow fall color; male and female plants
  • bright red berries ripen in September, persist until January
  • grows in moist, acidic soils; tolerant of wet conditions, intolerant of drought; sun to light shade
  • both male and female plants required for berry production
  • useful for: naturalizing, winter effect, wet areas, shrub borders
  • many cultivars and hybrids available; cv. Red Sprite is a Cary Award Winner
  • ‘Winter Red and ‘Winter Gold’ are heavy fruit bearers
  • good substitute for Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii)
  • North American native

Itea virginica ‘Henry's Garnet

Virginia Sweetspire

3’-4’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 6'; can form large colonies
  • alternate, simple, semi‑evergreen leaves; scarlet to crimson fall color
  • abundant 6" long upright spikes of lightly fragrant, white flowers in June‑July
  • densely branched shrub, rounded in habit
  • moist, fertile soils preferred; tolerant of wet conditions; full sun to light shade
  • useful for naturalizing, shrub border
  • North American native
  • good substitute for Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii) and Burning Bush (Euonymus alatus)

Kolkwitzia amabilis


6’-10’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 8'
  • alternate, simple leaves on arching branches, yellowish fall color
  • pink, bell‑shaped flowers hanging in clusters in May‑June
  • overall habit is fountain shaped; may become leggy with age and require regular pruning to retain graceful form
  • very adaptable to soil conditions, full sun, pH adaptable
  • useful in the shrub border, spectacular in flower; considered an old-fashioned shrub

Lindera benzoin


6’-12’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 6'‑ 12'
  • alternate, simple leaves with golden yellow fall color
  • small yellowish green flowers in April before foliage appears
  • bright scarlet berries on female plants in fall
  • all parts of the plant are aromatic if bruised; spicy fragrant flowers
  • prefers moist soils high in organic matter, full sun to light shade
  • good for naturalizing, shrub border, woodland plantings
  • North American native

Morella pensylvanica (formerly Myrica pensylvanica)

Northern Bayberry

5’-12’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 5'‑ 12'
  • alternate, simple, semi‑evergreen leaves; leathery and very aromatic when bruised
  • upright growth habit; suckers and forms colonies
  • small grey berries in clusters on the stems effective in fall; fruit only on female plants
  • adaptable to many soil types, drought and salt tolerant, full sun to light shade
  • useful for poor, sterile soils, naturalizing, coastal plantings
  • North American native

Physocarpus opulifolius

Common Ninebark

5’-10’ H

Zone 2

  • width: 6 - 10'
  • medium growth rate; upright, rounded habit; somewhat coarse appearance in winter
  • alternate leaves 1" - 3" long, lobed, whitish flowers borne in flat-topped clusters in May and June, similar to Spirea
  • tolerant of most soil conditions, acid or alkaline, dry; full sun to light shade
  • a tough shrub for difficult sites; ‘Dart's Gold’ has good yellow foliage and is more compact than the species; ‘Diablo’ has purple foliage
  • North American native

Rhododendron vaseyi

Pinkshell Azalea

5’-10’ H

Zone 4

  • width: equal to height
  • medium growth rate; multiple stems grow in an irregular upright habit
  • glossy green leaves clustered at the branch tips, deciduous, good red fall color
  • bell-shaped rose-colored flowers in clusters of 5-8 effective in May
  • prefers moist, well-drained soils in full sun to light shade
  • good choice for stream banks or pond sides
  • Cary Award Winner
  • North American native

Rhododendron viscosum

Swamp Azalea

1’-8’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 3' ‑8' alternate, simple deciduous leaves, orange/bronze fall color
  • white, highly fragrant flowers in June‑early July
  • upright, open growth habit; forms small thickets in the wild
  • tolerant of wet soils, low pH, sun to light shade; intolerant of drought
  • useful for naturalizing, especially on pond shores, etc., may be used in the border
  • North American native


The Sumacs (Rhus species) are a group of durable shrubs that can form large colonies as they sucker freely from the base. Many of the best species for landscape application are native to North America. Excellent for massing on embankments or for naturalized areas, they should be sited with care due to suckering.

Rhus aromatica ‘Gro‑low’

Gro‑low Sumac

2’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 6‑8'
  • alternate, trifoliate bluish‑green leaves, often glossy; yellow/orange to scarlet fall color
  • small, pale yellow flowers appear before the foliage in spring followed by bright red berries in late summer
  • suckering growth habit makes this a wide-spreading ground cover; may become invasive
  • adaptable to many soil conditions, prefers acidic soils; full sun to light shade; drought tolerant
  • useful for embankments, areas with poor soils, wide-scale ground cover
  • foliage resembles poison ivy but doesn't cause a reaction
  • the species, Fragrant Sumac, is a larger plant in all respects; useful for slopes and banks

Rhus copallina

Flameleaf (Shining) Sumac

20’-30’ H

Zone 4

  • width: equal to spread
  • medium growth rate; dense and compact habit when young, more open and irregular when mature
  • alternate compound leaves with 9 -21 leaflets, shiny dark green with a winged mid-vein, bright scarlet fall color
  • pale yellowish-green flowers in erect terminal clusters in late summer; fruits are fuzzy crimson berries on female plants, effective fall into winter
  • prefers full sun and well-drained soils; tolerant of dry, rocky soils or infertile soils
  • excellent for naturalizing, on embankments or waste areas

Rhus typhina

Staghorn Sumac

15’-25’ H

Zone 4

  • width: equal or greater than height
  • medium to fast growth rate; open spreading shrub with a flat-topped appearance, forms wide spread colonies
  • alternate compound leaves with 13 to 27 leaflets; bright green leaves turn scarlet and orange in fall; stems covered with velvety hairs that in winter resemble furry antlers
  • greenish-yellow flowers in erect clusters in June; bright crimson fruit in hairy clusters effective August into winter; fruit favored by birds
  • will grow in almost any soil except wet; full sun, tolerant of urban conditions
  • excellent for massing, for exposed or waste areas; careful siting required in ornamental landscapes
  • cv. Laciniata offers a finer cut-leaf texture and has excellent fall color; cv. Tiger Eyes has golden foliage


Lilacs (Syringa species) have always been favored for their fragrant bloom in May. However, most lilacs are plagued by powdery mildew as well as bacterial blight. The following lilacs have shown greater resistance to these diseases and therefore deserve greater use in the landscape.

Syringa meyeri

Meyer Lilac

4'‑8' H

Zone 4

  • width: 6'‑ 12'
  • opposite, simple leaves 3/4" - 1 3/4" long; medium green with no fall color
  • small pinkish‑purple flowers in 4" long particles, mildly fragrant; very floriferous
  • dense, mounded growth habit; some suckering
  • full sun, moist well-drained soils
  • easy, low maintenance lilac for the border or foundation
  • often incorrectly referred to in the trade as S. palibiniana
  • cv. Palibin is more compact than the species

Syringa microphylla

Littleleaf Lilac

6' - 9' H

Zone 4

  • width: 6' - 12'
  • broadly rounded shrub, wider than tall; opposite, simple leaves 2" - 2" long
  • fragrant rose-pink flowers in May and early June with sporadic repeat bloom in September
  • cv. Superba is a deeper pink with abundant blooms
  • full sun and well-drained soil, adaptable and tough
  • good as a specimen, along a foundation or in a border

Syringa pubescens subsp. patula ‘Miss Kim

Miss Kim Korean Lilac

4’-8’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 4'‑5'
  • opposite, simple leaves 2" -5" long, develop reddish purple fall color
  • paired flower clusters with pale pinkish-purple, fragrant flowers in May
  • full sun and well-drained soil; adaptable
  • dense, compact growth habit
  • easy, low maintenance lilac for the foundation or border


Noted plantsman Michael Dirr has said that “a garden without a viburnum is akin to life without music and art”. These versatile shrubs are adaptable and tolerant of most growing conditions. Little pruning is required and they have few insect or disease problems. The following selections are readily available.

Viburnum plicatum

Japanese Snowball Viburnum

15’ H

Zone 6

  • width: 10'
  • upright growth habit with arching branches; dark green, deeply furrowed leaves turn a dull red in fall
  • rounded, snowball-type white flower clusters in late May, 2" -3 2" in diameter
  • prefers sun and a moist, well-drained soil; not drought tolerant
  • many cultivars available; useful in the shrub border or as a specimen

Viburnum plicatum var. tomentosum

Doublefile Viburnum

8’-10’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 9' 12'
  • opposite, simple leaves; veins appear furrowed into the leaf, reddish purple fall color
  • white, flat topped clusters of flowers appear in May; red berries change to black in fall
  • flowers are ranked in a "double file" along the strongly horizontal branches
  • prefers moist, well-drained soils, not very drought tolerant; full sun
  • ‘Mariesii’ and ‘Shasta’ are excellent cultivars
  • useful for the shrub border or as specimens

Viburnum x rhytidophylloides

Lantanaphyllum Viburnum

8’-15’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 8'‑ 15'
  • opposite, leathery, semi‑evergreen leaves with hairy brown undersurface
  • creamy white, flat‑topped clusters of flowers in May; red berries maturing to black in September and October
  • adaptable to many soil conditions,
  • full sun to light shade, benefits from some winter protection
  • ‘Allegheny’ is a cultivar with superior brilliant red fruit

Viburnum sargentii

Sargent Viburnum

12’-15’ H

Zone 4

  • width: 12'‑ 15'
  • opposite, lobed simple leaves; reddish‑yellow fall color
  • white, flat‑topped clusters of flowers in May; scarlet fruit effective in fall
  • adaptable to many soil conditions and pH; sun to light shade
  • ‘Onondaga’ and ‘Susquehanna’ are outstanding cultivars; 'Flavum' has yellow fruit

Viburnum sieboldii

Siebold Viburnum

15’-20’ H

Zone 5

  • width 10'‑ 15'
  • opposite, simple dark green leaves with prominent veins, strong odor when crushed
  • creamy white, flat‑topped clusters of flowers in May; red berries changing to black in fall
  • large shrub or small tree with a stiff growth habit
  • adaptable to many soil conditions; sun to light shade
  • ‘Seneca’ has persistent red fruit on red pedicels

Viburnum trilobum

American Cranberrybush

8’-12’ H

Zone 3

  • width: 8' 10'
  • opposite, maple shaped leaves; yellow to red fall color
  • white clusters of flowers in May; bright red, persistent berries effective through winter
  • prefers moist, well-drained soils; sun to light shade
  • useful for screening, hedges, border, winter interest
  • a good substitute for V. opulus; compact cultivars are available; cv. Wentworth noted for fruit production
  • North American native

Other native Viburnums worthy of inclusion in the landscape include V. cassinoides (Witherod), V. dentatum (Arrowwood), V. lentago (Nannyberry), V. nudum (Smooth witherod), and V. prunifolium (Blackhaw).

Weigela florida

Old Fashioned Weigela

6’-9’ H

Zone 5

  • width: 9'‑ 12'
  • opposite, simple leaves, no fall color
  • pink, funnel-shaped flowers in May and June
  • adaptable to many soil conditions; full sun
  • many improved cultivars available
  • an old fashioned flowering shrub for the border
  • cvs. Summer Wine and Midnight Wine are good substitutes for Japanese Barberry (Berberis thunbergii)


Actinidia kolomikta

Kolomikta Actinidia

15’-20 H

Zone 4

  • climbs by twining; medium growth rate
  • alternate, simple leaves, 5" long; foliage maroon as it emerges from the bud, variegation appears as the leaves mature, with a white to pink blotch forming on the tips of the leaves
  • small white flowers in May followed by small, edible green fruit maturing in October
  • full sun to light shade with variegation showing best with full sun; well-drained soil
  • cv. Arctic Beauty noted for cold hardiness and bright variegation

Aristolochia macrophylla

Dutchman's Pipe

20’-30’ H

Zone 4

  • climbs by twining; slow growth rate when young, vigorous once established
  • alternate, simple leaves, heart shape, up to 10" long; dark green in color; deciduous
  • small, pipe-shaped flowers appear in May and are mostly obscured by the foliage
  • full sun to partial shade; adaptable to most soil conditions
  • an excellent vine for screening purposes
  • North American native

Clematis montana

Anemone Clematis

20’-30’ H

Zone 5

  • climbs by clasping petioles; rapid growth rate
  • medium green, pinnately compound leaves
  • fragrant white flowers are 2” in diameter with four petals and many golden stamens
  • blooms on old wood in late May to early June; prune after bloom if needed
  • prefers moderately moist, well-drained soils with a slightly acid to neutral pH; full sun to light shade; mulch to
  • keep soil cool
  • var. rubens has mauve-pink flowers; several cultivars available
  • a vigorous vine for walls, trellises or other structures

Clematis tangutica

Golden Clematis


Zone 5

  • climbs by clasping petioles; moderate growth rate
  • pinnately compound leaves; somewhat finer in texture than other Clematis
  • soft yellow bell-shaped flowers 3" to 4" in diameter appear in June; re-blooms sporadically during the summer
  • and heavily in fall; followed by seed heads with long silky hairs
  • blooms on new wood; may be cut back in late winter or early spring
  • prefers moderately moist, well-drained soils; performs best in full sun; mulch to keep soil cool
  • excellent as a specimen vine

Hydrangea anomela subsp. petiolaris

Climbing Hydrangea


Zone 4

  • climbs by aerial root-like holdfasts; slow growth rate when young, vigorous once established
  • lateral branches protrude outwards from the vine, giving it a three-dimensional effect
  • opposite, simple leaves; a good dark green turning yellow in fall
  • white, lace-cap type flowers, 6" to 10" across, in June; very showy against the foliage
  • prefers a rich, moist soil in full sun to light shade
  • excellent for growing along brick walls, on arbors, up into trees, along stone walls; needs strong support
  • Schizophragma hydrangeoides (Japanese Hydrangea-vine), another excellent vine, is closely related and sometimes confused with Climbing Hydrangea. It can be told apart by the coarser leaves and by having only a single large sepal on the margin of the flower cluster (Climbing Hydrangea has 4 or 5).

Lonicera sempervirens

Trumpet Honeysuckle


Zone 4

  • climbs by twining; rapid growth rate
  • opposite, semi-evergreen leaves; new growth reddish maturing to bluish-green; terminal leaves are fused into a single leaf surrounding the stem
  • scarlet trumpet-shaped flowers with a yellow throat produced in showy clusters in late spring; attracts hummingbirds
  • prefers moist, well-drained soils in full sun; tolerates dense shade but will not flower as well
  • excellent for growing on a trellis or as a fence cover; occasional aphid infestations
  • North American native
  • excellent substitute for Japanese honeysuckle

Parthenocissus quinquefolia

Virginia Creeper


Zone 4

  • climbs by tendrils with adhesive discs; fast growth rate
  • alternate, palmately compound leaves, 3 – 5 leaflets
  • dark green deciduous leaves followed by bright scarlet fall foliage; bluish-black berries only effective after the leaves fall, excellent scarlet fall color
  • full sun or light shade; tolerant of most soil conditions, air pollution, urban conditions
  • very drought and salt tolerant; good for coastal locations
  • good for covering walls, trellises