- Some shrubs only thrive in specific types of soil, but other, more adaptable species can grow in a range of soils. The cranberry cotoneaster (Cotoneaster apiculatus) has lustrous, deep-green leaves that turn red, bronze and purple in winter. Cranberry cotoneasters bloom with small, pink flowers in early summer, followed by red fall fruits. This evergreen grows to 3 feet tall with a wide spread up to 6 feet. The cranberry cotoneaster grows in sun to partial shade and tolerates a range of soils with the exception of wet, poorly drained sites.
The glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora) has shiny foliage and blooms with white to pink, funnel-shaped flowers from early summer through fall. A semievergreen, this dense shrub grows to 6 feet with an equal spread. Glossy abelia prefers sun to partial shade and tolerates a range of soils, from clay to dry.
- If you live in a region that experiences drought, choose shrubs that tolerate dry soils.
The Chinese holly (Ilex cornuta) produces white flowers in spring followed by red berries. This shrub has shiny, evergreen leaves with spines at the base and tip. Chinese hollies tolerate heat and drought and thrive in a range of soils. Plant this 15-foot-tall, 7-foot-wide shrub in light shade.
The William Penn barberry (Berberis x gladwynensis "William Penn") has lustrous evergreen foliage and blooms in spring with bright yellow blossoms. This dense, mounding shrub grows to 4 feet tall with a 5-foot spread. The William Penn barberry tolerates drought and thrives in sun to partial shade and a range of soils.
- Some shrubs produce aromatic flowers and have pleasant-smelling foliage. The Mexican orange (Choisya ternate) has glossy, aromatic foliage that turns yellow in fall. This evergreen produces fragrant white blossoms from spring to late summer. The Mexican orange grows to 10 feet tall with an 8-foot spread and thrives in sites with acidic, moist soil and sun to partial shade. This shrub tolerates clay soils.
The Florida anise tree (Illicum floridanum) grows to 8 feet tall and 8 feet wide. An upright, branching evergreen, the Florida anise tree has shiny, fragrant, dark-green leaves that grow up to 6 inches long. In late spring, the anise tree blooms with dark-red, star-shaped blossoms. Plant this shrub in sites with partial shade to shade and rich, well-drained soil.
- Unlike evergreens, deciduous shrubs lose most or all of their leaves in the fall and winter.
The glossy buckthorn (Rhamnus fragula) produces small, green flowers near new growth and has 3-inch-long, dark-green, shiny foliage. A drought-tolerant deciduous shrub, the glossy buckthorn thrives in sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. This shrub grows to 12 feet tall with a similar spread.
The glossy adina (Adina rubella) has shiny, dark-green foliage and blooms from summer through fall with white, aromatic blossoms. A deciduous shrub, the glossy adina grows to 10 feet tall with an equal spread. This highly adaptable shrub tolerates dry, wet and heavy soils and shady sites, but grows best in sun to partial shade and well-drained, acidic soil.