Whether the garden is small or large, its floral design is never complete without a few shrubs. They can be evergreen or fill the outside area with breathtaking blooms. Aside from their purely aesthetic benefits, shrubs also serve a variety of very practical purposes. They offer privacy, noise and wind protection, their neighboring plants shade and the local wildlife hiding and nesting place, as well as food. Many shrubs attract pollinating insects with their flowering, then birds with their fruit. However, few gardeners want to wait too many years for a shrub to reach satisfactory heights. The popular boxwood, for example, only grows about 10 to a maximum of 20 cm a year. This can be ideal for topiary as it doesn’t need to be trimmed as often. However, if you want a tall and opulent plant, you need fast-growing shrubs. In today’s post, we’ll show you some of the most beautiful species that don’t require much maintenance either.
Fast growing shrubs galore
Leyland cypress (Cupressus × leylandii)
Let’s start our list with a popular evergreen hybrid hedge plant that’s a master of rapid growth – the Leyland cypress. If you are trying to create a high and impenetrable barrier between your garden area and the outside world then this is the perfect plant for you.
The Leyland cypress produces branches that are about 1 meter long, thick and compact every year. Of course, this can also have some disadvantages. Due to the extremely fast growth, this hedge needs to be trimmed regularly to keep it in good shape. If left to its own devices, it can grow to around 20 meters in height and spread to around 6 m.
In terms of care needs, not much is asked of you. This hedge is very hardy and can grow equally well in both rich and nutrient-poor soils. It does best in full sun and does not tolerate much shade. Young plants benefit from a layer of mulch in winter. However, once established, Leyland cypress can easily withstand -20 degrees.
Despite being categorized as a softwood, cypress has soft, scaly leaves
Above a certain height, this shrub becomes difficult to trim
Forsythia (Forsythia × intermedia)
Forsythia is the best herald of spring when it comes to shrubs. It is one of the first to wake up from its hibernation and fills the often bare spring garden with a cheerful sun-yellow bloom. As the flowers begin to wither, they are replaced by glossy and lush green foliage. This, in turn, turns copper yellow again in autumn.
To be suitable as a showy ornamental for the garden, two species of forsythia were mated to create the hybrid Forsythia × intermedia. It grows between 40 and 60 cm a year and can reach a maximum height and width of 3-4 m. Forsythia tolerates heavy pruning well and can make a stunning addition to many spring floral arrangements.
All this shrub needs is plenty of sunshine and moist but well-drained soil to thrive. It can benefit from an annual fertilization with compost, but can also thrive without any special care or attention.
In the language of flowers, forsythia means anticipation
This shrub does not necessarily have to look wild all the time
It is actually quite good for taming topiary
Garden hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)
Hydrangeas are well known and loved for their large, magnificent flower heads that come in every color of the rainbow and can be easily altered depending on the pH of the soil. They are pleasing to the eye from June to September, and the leaves fall off in winter. Hydrangeas grow by about one meter in height and width every year and can thus reach their maximum size of up to 3-4 m in a short time.
A downside to these flowering shrubs is that they can be a bit finicky to care for. They need partial shade, soil rich in nutrients and particularly humus, and regular fertilization. If you’re willing to invest a little more time in caring for them, these shrubs will reward you with stunning blooms year after year.
Hydrangeas are larger than they appear in photos
Most hydrangea varieties are fast-growing shrubs
Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii)
If you want to invite bees, butterflies and other pollinators into your garden and at the same time enjoy a magnificent spectacle of colors and scents, then the Buddleia is the right place for you. This shrub surprises with large, white, pink or purple cone-shaped flowers that fill your garden with a honeyed aroma. The butterfly bush blooms non-stop from June to October.
The shrub itself grows one meter per year and can reach a maximum height of 3.5 meters. It prefers a sunny spot in the garden, protected from strong winds. Annual fertilization immediately after winter pruning is sufficient to nourish the plant for the following season. Only young plants need regular watering. The soil must always be well drained.
The butterfly bush smells pretty intense and acts as a pollinator magnet
It always makes sense to choose flowers that not only look pretty but also feed pollinators
Bay-leaved viburnum (Viburnum tinus)
As the name suggests, laurel viburnum has large, round, white flower heads and dark green leaves similar to those of true bay laurel. However, the two plants are not related. Interestingly, the buds of the flower heads are a delicate pink color, but the aromatic petals are snow white. After pollination, blueberry-like fruits form, which the songbirds like to eat.
Bay-leaved viburnum is a shrub that can reach an impressive height of around 7 meters and a width of 3.5 meters in good conditions. Every year it puts out stalks up to 45 cm long. It requires a lot of sun and a soil rich in hummus. If winter temperatures in your region fall below -10 degrees, the shrub can benefit from a warm layer of mulch.
Pink buds and white flowers stand out against the dark green background
You are guaranteed privacy, noise and wind protection with such a shrub
Kolkwitzia (Kolkwitzia amabilis)
The Kolkwitzia, also known as the mother-of-pearl shrub, is a real eye-catcher in the garden, but at the same time offers a dense privacy screen. From May to June, gracefully arching twigs sprout sweetly scented flowers, the pink color of which resembles that of mother-of-pearl. These attract all sorts of useful pollinating insects into the garden and also delight all of the gardener’s senses. Even in autumn, the Kolkwitzia has one last trick up its sleeve, because its green foliage then turns an intense copper red.
This ornamental shrub grows about 60 cm per year until it reaches a maximum size of 3 meters. It feels best in partial shade and in nutrient-rich soil. If you cannot provide the latter, the Kolkwitzia can benefit from mature compost once or twice a year. It tolerates high temperatures and short periods of drought, but requires protection from the cold in winter.
The bell-shaped flowers of the Kolkwitzia enchant with their appearance and aroma
The mother of pearl bush in bloom is a sight to behold
Fast-growing shrubs delight the senses and perform their decorative and practical functions in the shortest possible time. What are your favourites?
Fast-growing shrubs are often very easy to care for