Top Native Shrubs for Year-Round Interest

We just love incorporating natives into the home landscape, and it’s easier to do than many gardeners realize. Including native plants is an important part of sustaining local pollinators and wildlife. Furthermore, native plants are naturally lower maintenance and pest-resistant, and wow, are they beautiful!

Favorite Native Shrubs

It’s easy to find native shrubs to provide interest in the garden the whole year through, from fresh spring growth to brilliant summer blooms to outrageous autumn foliage to stunning winter structure. Our list offers outstanding selections that will do well in a variety of moisture levels, soil types and sun exposures. Cultivars of these species offer variations in size, form, leaf color and shape as well as flower colors.

  • Sweet Pepperbush (Clethra alnifolia)
    Deciduous shrub, 3-8 feet high x 4-6 feet wide. Fragrant white blooms in July to August. Full sun to part shade, but will tolerate heavy shade. Moist to wet soil, tolerates erosion and clay soil. Use as a hedge, to naturalize or in rain garden. Attracts butterflies.
  • Sweetfern (Comptonia peregrina)
    Deciduous shrub, 2-5 feet high x 4-8 feet wide. Insignificant flower, ornamental and fragrant leaf. Full sun to part shade. Medium moist soil preferred, but also drought tolerant. Use to naturalize or in rain gardens.
  • Silky Dogwood (Cornus amomum)
    Deciduous shrub, 6-12 feet high x 6-12 feet wide. Yellowish-white flowers in May to June followed by showy fruit. Full sun to part shade. Medium to wet soil. Deer tolerant. Good for erosion control. Use as a hedge or in a rain garden. Attracts birds.
  • Winterberry (Ilex verticillata)
    Deciduous shrub, 3-12 feet high x 3-12 feet wide. Showy red fruit in the winter. Full sun to part shade. Medium to wet soil and tolerates clay soil. Tolerates air pollution. Controls erosion. Use as a hedge or in a rain garden. Attracts birds.
  • Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)
    Broadleaf evergreen, 5-15 feet high x 5-15 feet wide. May-blooming with rose to white flowers with purple markings. Sun to part shade. Medium moist soil. Deer and rabbit tolerant.
  • Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
    Deciduous shrub, 6-12 feet high x 6-12 feet wide. Fragrant greenish-yellow, flowers and showy fruit. Part shade but can tolerate heavy shade. Medium soil moisture and drought tolerant. Deer tolerant. Can grow in clay soil. Attracts birds and butterflies.
  • Northern Bayberry (Myrica pensylvanica)
    Deciduous shrub, 5-10 feet high x 5-10 feet wide. Showy fruit in the winter. Full sun to part shade. Dry to medium soil moisture. Use as a hedge, naturalize or in a rain garden. Attracts birds.
  • Pinxterbloom Azalea (Rhododendron viscosum)
    Deciduous shrub, 3-5 feet high x 3-5 feet wide. Blooms white to pale pink in May to July. Part shade. Medium to wet soil moisture. Very ornamental and good as a cut flower. Tolerant of rabbits. Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies.
  • American Cranberry Bush (Viburnum opulus ‘americanum’)
    Deciduous shrub, 8-12 feet high x 8-12 feet wide. White lacecap flowers in April to May. Edible fruit. Full sun to part shade. Medium soil moisture. Use as a hedge or in the shrub border. Attracts birds and butterflies.

If none of these suggestions quite meet your preferences for a year-round native shrub, stop in to see our experts for more tips and options – new species and cultivars are always arriving!

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Please note: Our Garden Center might not carry all items listed in the above article!