Kennebec County Soil & Water Conservation District

to protect and enhance Maine's soil and water resources by providing educational programs, conservation information and technical assistance to municipalities, schools, landowners and residents of Kennebec County."

SMALL SHRUBS

1 TO 6 FEET IN HEIGHT

  For more information on any of these plants use this link: PLANTS DATABASE

 

DECIDUOUS

 Annabelle Hydrangea  (Hydrangea arborescens)  Grows 3 to 5 feet.  A spreading shrub with numerous upright stems.  Large, rounded, white flower heads in late summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  An excellent shrub with best performance if treated as a perennial and cut to the ground in late fall or early spring.  Zone 4

 Bristly Locust  (Robinia fertilis)  Grows to 6 feet and forms thickets.  Has light-green, pea-like foliage with attractive pink flowers in late spring, followed by bristly seedpods.  Full sun.  Dry, sandy, poor soil.  Drought tolerant.  Excellent for stabilizing steep, gravelly areas.  Zone 4 

 Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus, divaricata, horizontalis, microphylla)  Numerous forms available.  Grow 2 to 3 feet high spreading to 6 feet in some cases.  Small, often shiny, green leaves and small, pink flowers in spring followed by red fruits.  Red fall color.  Sun to part-sun.  Adaptable to many soils.  Some varieties are salt tolerant.  Used as ground or bank covers.  May require extra attention the first year but do well once established.  Zone 4

 Cutleaf Stephanandra (Stephanandra incisa var. ‘Crispa’)  Grows to 2 feet high with a 3 to 6 foot spread. A low, spreading, mounded shrub with small, white flowers in summer.  Sun to part-sun.  Does best in moist, acid, well-drained soil but tolerates wetter soils.  Good on banks and as a ground cover.  Zone 3

 Dwarf Arctic Willow  (Salix purpurea var. ‘Nana’)  Grows  3 to 6 feet with equal spread.  (Non-dwarf variety grows to 18 feet.)  Dense, low shrub with arching branches and fine, powdery, blue-green foliage.  Sun to part-sun.  Wet soil.  Flood tolerant.  Good for streambanks and pond edges and for low hedges.  Not salt tolerant.  Good for birds and wildlife.  Zone 3 

 Dwarf Bush Honeysuckle  (Diervilla lonicera)  Grows 1 to 4 feet with a mounded habit.  Yellow trumpet-shaped flowers and insignificant fruit.  Part-sun to shade.  Dry soil.  Drought tolerant.  Found in open, rocky woods and field edges.  Zone 3  N

 Dwarf Fothergilla  (Fothergilla gardenii)  Grows 2 to 3 feet with similar spread.  Attractive, small shrub with deep-green leaves and early, white, fragrant, ‘bottle-brush’ flowers.  Excellent red to yellow fall color.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist, well-drained, acid soil best.  Good in groups.  Zone 4

 Dwarf Honeysuckle  (Lonicera canadensis)  Also called American Fly Honeysuckle.  (Do not confuse with European Fly Honeysuckle which can be invasive.).  Grows 2 to 5 feet high.  A straggling shrub with handsome red berries.  Sun to part-sun.  Sandy, dry soil.  Drought tolerant.  Found in cool, rocky woods.  Zone 3  N

 Flowering Almond  (Prunus glandulosa)  Grows 4 to 5 feet high with a 3 to 4 foot spread.  Small, spreading shrub with showy, pink flowers in early spring.  Used ornamentally.  Full sun.  Moist, fertile soil.  Check local hardiness.  Some varieties are not long-lived.  Zone 4

Flowering Quince  (Chaenomeles speciosa)  Several varieties available.  Grows from 2 to 6 feet high, depending on variety, with a similar spread.  Attractive, upright or spreading shrub with spiny branches (most varieties).  Spring blossoms range from white to peach to pink to red.  Irregular, apple-shaped fruit is used in preserves.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Occasional pruning keeps plant vigorous.  Many uses.  Zones 4 to 5

 Fragrant Sumac  (Rhus aromatica)  Available in standard and dwarf (Gro-Low) varieties.  Standard form grows 2 to 6 feet with a 6 to 10 foot spread and the dwarf grows 2 to 3 feet with a 6 to 8 foot spread.  A low, upright or straggling shrub with compound leaves and small ,fragrant, yellow flowers in spring, followed by red fruit.  Good orange to red fall color.  Leaves are aromatic when crushed.  Full sun.  Dry, sandy or rocky soil.  Good as bank covers and in mass plantings.  Dwarf variety used as a ground cover.  Found in dry, rocky, open woods.  Zone 4  N

 Hancock Coralberry  (Symphoricarpos X Chenaultii)  Grows 2 to 4 feet with a 6 foot spread.  A small, open shrub with graceful arching branches.  May spread by suckering.  Pink spring flowers, followed by pink to red fruits in fall.  Sun to part-sun.  Tolerates a variety of soils.  Good bank cover.  Zone 4

 Indiancurrant Coralberry  (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)  Similar to above.  Grows 3 to 6 feet and spreads to form thickets.  Has white to pink flowers and red fruits.  Shade.  Dry soil.  Zone 3

 Mapleleaf Viburnum  (Viburnum acerifolium)  Grows 3 to 6 feet.  A slender, branched shrub with clusters of white flowers in late spring; blue-black fruit and large, downy, 3-lobed leaves that turn purple in the fall.  Sun to shade.  Moist soil.  Found as an understory shrub in dry woods.  Good for birds.    Zone 3  N

 Potentilla  (Potentilla fruticosa)  Also called Bush Cinquefoil.  Native and cultivated.  Many varieties available.  Grows 2 to 4 feet with equal spread.  Compact to spreading habits.  Small leaves from silver-green to light-green to blue-green to dark-green.  Flowers occur in shades of white, yellow, pink and orange that bloom from early summer through to frost.  Full sun best.  Moist soil, although several varieties are very drought tolerant once established.  Naturally found in wet to dry meadows, along lake shores and in open areas.   Zone 3  N

 Rhodora  (Rhododendron canadense)  A deciduous rhododendron growing from 1 to 3 feet tall with many branches and showy, rose to purple flowers in spring.  Full sun.  Wet, cold, peaty soil.  Often seen in large colonies in bogs and old, wet pastures.  Zone 3  N

 Rose  (Rosa sp.)  Many species and varieties available in all forms and shapes.  Some native and many cultivated or introduced.  Most grow from 2 to 6 feet, although some arching and climbing types grow to 10 feet.  All require full sun.  Soil requirements range from moist to dry and most need fertile, well-drained soil.  Check with local nurseries for hardy varieties and low-maintenance roses. Zones 3 to 5  N

 St. Johnswort  (Hypericum sp.)  Naturally-occurring and cultivated species and varieties available.  Most grow 2 to 3 feet high with similar spread.  Compact plants with blue-green foliage and bright-yellow flowers with different bloom times and lengths.  Sun to part-sun.  Check specific variety for soil preferences; some grow in wet areas, some in dry, sandy soil.  Found along shores, in wet meadows, old fields and pastures.  Zones 3 to 5  N

 Silver Creeping Willow  (Salix repens var. nitida)  Grows to 2 feet high and spreads.  Silvery foliage, insignificant flowers and fruits.  Rapid growth.  Sun.  Moist to wet soil.  Zone 4 

 Snowberry  (Symphoricarpos albus)  Grows 3 to 6 feet high with similar spread.  Spreads by suckering so will form thickets, if allowed.  Good for erosion control.  Blue-green foliage, pink spring flowers and ornamental, white berries in fall.  Rapid growth.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist to wet soil.  Adaptable to a variety of soil conditions.  Good for birds.  Zone 3  N

 Summersweet  (Clethra alnifolia)  Also called Hummingbird Clethra or Sweet Pepperbush.  Grows 3 to 8 feet high with a 4 to 6 foot spread.  Attractive, deep-green foliage and very fragrant, white or pink flowers in summer.  Sun to shade.  Moist to wet soil.  Salt tolerant.  Zone 3   N

 Sweet Fern  (Comptonia peregrina)  Grows 2 to 4 feet high with similar spread.  Not a true fern but has somewhat leathery fern-like foliage which has a nice, pungent, spicy smell.  Brown catkins in early spring and a bur-like nut in the fall.  Full sun.  Moist to dry soil.  Grows well on poor, sandy, rocky soil.  Deep, good root system.  Good for roadbanks and steep, dry areas.  Zone 3  N

Sweet Gale  (Myrica gale)  Grows 2 to 4 feet high and spreads 4 to 8 feet.  A many-branched shrub with dark-green, aromatic foliage.  Insignificant brown flowers and fruits.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist to wet soil.  Found along lake and stream edges.  Good for shore-dwelling birds and wildlife.  Zone 3  N

 Weigela  (Weigela sp.)  Many species and varieties have been cultivated.  Grows 2 to 6 feet high with equal spread.  Growth varies from compact to open, depending on variety.  Many-branched shrubs with pink to red, showy, tubular flowers that attract hummingbirds.  Easy to grow. Full sun. Moist soil.  Zone 4

 

EVERGREEN 

American Yew  (Taxus canadensis)  Grows 2 to 3 feet high with a 6 to 8 foot spread.  A low, straggling shrub often growing in clumps.  Dark-green needles; red, berry-like fruit with poisonous seeds.  Part-sun to shade.  Cool, moist soil.  Found in shady, cool, damp, rocky woods under other evergreens.  Good as a ground cover.  Does not tolerate heat or drought.  Good for birds.  Zone 3  N

 Bearberry  (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)  Grows to 1 foot and spreads 2 to 4 feet.  A trailing shrub, good as a ground cover.  Small, dark-green, shiny leaves; small, white to pink flowers in spring, followed by red berries in late summer.  Red fall color.  Slow growth but reliable once established.  Sun to part-sun.  Poor, sandy, acid, dry soil.  Drought and salt tolerant.  Zone 3  N

 Bog Rosemary  (Andromeda glaucophylla or polifolia)  Grows 1 to 3 feet with similar spread.  Forms large clumps.  Each plant is sparsely branched with leathery, deep-blue-green leaves and small, white to pink flowers in spring.  An interesting and beautiful plant, especially good for naturalizing.  Sun to part-sun.  Cool, moist, peaty soil.  Found in bogs and along lake shores.  Zone 3  N

Creeping Juniper  (Juniperus sp.)  Many species and varieties available.  Grows 6 inches to 4 feet with 2 to 10 foot spreads.  Upright to prostrate forms; variable foliage, from coarse and prickly to fine and lacy, and from yellow-bronze to light-green to dark-green to blue-green, depending on variety.  Several produce small, bluish to silver, aromatic fruits.  Slow to rapid growth but all are sturdy and long-lived once established.  Most require full sun.  Wide range of soil tolerances; most do well in poor, dry soil but some tolerate wetter soils.  A juniper can be found for just about every sunny situation.  Many are drought, heat and salt tolerant.  Most are good for birds and wildlife.  Zones 3 to 5  N

 Dwarf Balsam Fir  (Abies balsamea)  Similar to standard fir but much smaller.  Grows 1 to 2 feet high with a 1 to 2 foot spread.  Rounded shrub with dark-green needles.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Used ornamentally.  Zone 3

 Dwarf Cedar  (Thuja occidentalis)  Several dwarf varieties are available.  Grows 1 to 4 feet high with variable spreads, depending on variety.  Dense shrubs with rounded or pyramidal forms.  Rich, dark-green foliage.  A golden-needled form is also available.  Full sun.  Moist soil.  Used ornamentally and for low hedges.  Zones 3 to 4

 Dwarf Hemlock  (Tsuga canadensis)  Several varieties; some with pendulous, spreading branches.  Grow from 1 to 3 feet high with 2 to 5 foot spreads.  Attractive, lacy, green needles.  Sun to shade.  Cool, moist soil is best.  Must be well-drained.  Used ornamentally.  Zones 3 to 4

 Leucothoe  (Leucothoe fontanesiana)  Grows 3 to 5 feet high and 5 or more feet wide.  A graceful, broad-leafed evergreen with dark, lustrous foliage and small, delicate, fragrant, white flowers in spring.  Nice, purple winter color.  Good in woodland settings and as a high ground cover on shady slopes.  Low-maintenance, reliable plant as long as it has shade and is not allowed to dry out.  Shade.  Moist, acid, well-drained soil, high in organic matter.  Zone 5  (N)

 Lingonberry  (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)  Also called Crowberry or Mountain Cranberry.  Grows to 7 inches and spreads.  Small, glossy-green, leathery foliage and small pink or white flowers, followed by small, red fruit, sour but edible.  Found in bogs and wet or dry, rocky, mossy slopes.  Sun to shade.  Dry to moist soil.  Zone 4  N 

Sheep Laurel  (Kalmia angustifolia)  Grows to 3 feet with slightly narrower spread.  Slender, dense, low-growing shrub with upright stems; shiny, leathery, deep-green leaves with pale undersides; and showy clusters of deep-pink, saucer-shaped flowers in early summer.  Poisonous to livestock, hence, the alternate name, Lambkill.  Sun to part-sun.  Poor, acid soil; wet to dry.  Tolerates occasional flooding.  Found in moist, open swamps, pastures and rocky slopes.  Zone 3  N

 Siberian Carpet Cypress  (Microbiota decussata)  Grows to 12 inches high and can spread up to 10 feet.  Densely branched with soft-green needles that turn bronze in winter.  Rapid growth.  Good as an evergreen ground cover.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist soil.  Tolerates adverse conditions.  Zone 3

 Spreading Yew  (Taxus X media var Densiformis)  Grows to 4 feet with an 8 foot spread.  Compact shrub with dark-green needles.  Slow growth.  Sun to part-sun.  Moist to dry soil.  Good for hedges and mass plantings.  Zone 3