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Ten Dwarf Shrubs That Will Change the Way You Garden

I’ve always said that perennials are the easiest way to garden, but I’ve changed my tune since I’ve tried out some of the new, dwarf shrubs being offered by Proven Winners®. Versatile, well-mannered and low maintenance are good words to describe the latest generation of shrubs that are showing up in garden centers this spring. These varieties offer multiple seasons of interest, extended bloom times and they are suited for both containers and in-ground flower beds. These shrubs promise more beauty with less effort on your part. Here are ten that I recommend.




Fragrant and magnificent, SUNNY ANNIVERSARY® Abelia is one of my favorite deer-resistant flowering shrubs for the landscape and containers combinations.  Sprinkled with creamy yellow and pink blooms, it brings not only a whimsical element to the garden, but also hummingbirds, butterflies and especially me.

  • Fragrant
  • Large, plentiful blooms appear on arching stems from midsummer through early fall
  • Mid-sized shrub, 3-4’ tall, used for landscapes, foundation plantings and containers
  • Deer resistant, attracts butterflies
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Hardiness zones 6 – 9


LO & BEHOLD® ‘Lilac Chip’ Buddleia

LO & BEHOLD® ‘Lilac Chip’ Buddleia is my small space alternative that packs a lot of blooms and always produces beautiful clusters of fragrant, soft lavender-pink flowers which are butterfly magnets.

  • Award winning, seedless butterfly bush that won’t sow its seed around the garden
  • Flowers from midsummer to frost without deadheading
  • Dwarf, compact habit grows only 1 ½-2’ tall
  • Perfectly sized for containers and small-scale urban landscapes
  • Full sun
  • Hardiness zones 5 – 9


LO & BEHOLD® ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ Buddleia

LO & BEHOLD® ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ is ‘Lilac Chip’s’ younger cousin. The combination of silver-green foliage and purple flowers is gorgeous in containers and flower beds. I like this variety because it’s reblooming, non-invasive and drought-tolerant. The beneficial insects in my garden love it too.

  • Dwarf, maxes out at 1 ½ – 2’ tall
  • Rebloomer
  • Drought resistant
  • Fragrant
  • Suitable for mass plantings, containers or mixed into perennial gardens
  • Award winning
  • Full sun
  • Hardiness zones 5 – 9




TINY WINE® Physocarpus

Sun-loving native flowering shrub TINY WINE® Physocarpus performs as a rich dark backdrop for other neighboring blossoms in my garden as well as yielding clusters of dainty white flowers.

  • A smaller, extra bushy selection that grows just 3-5’ tall
  • Flowers bloom all up and down the stems for a showy display in late spring
  • Smaller, refined dark bronze-maroon leaves take on rich red tones in fall
  • Provides great color for smaller, low maintenance spaces
  • Mildew resistant
  • Full sun
  • Hardiness zones 3 – 7


MY MONET® ‘Sunset’ Weigela

I adore the myriad of colors in an evening sunset. This is why I plant MY MONET® ‘Sunset’ Weigela in the garden for its foliage and soft rosy blooms. The range and layers of sunset tones from summer to fall are the perfect support for other garden favorites.

  • Grown mostly for its season-long colorful foliage, variegated green and gold with striking red tones in fall
  • Occasionally produces soft rosy pink flowers
  • Dwarf size, 1-1 ½’ tall, makes this shrub ideal for the front of the border and containers
  • Deer resistant
  • Full sun
  • Hardiness zones 5 – 7


BOBO® Hardy Hydrangea

This is a good selection for those of you who garden in cold winter climates because it is so cold hardy. The form is exceptional with large, conical blooms on strong, upright stems.

  • Abundant white flowers that turn pink in autumn
  • Cold hardy
  • Dwarf size, 2 ½ – 3’ tall, a good choice for containers and small gardens
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Hardiness zones 3 – 8


TINY TUFF STUFF™ Mountain Hydrangea

Lacecap hydrangeas are a favorite of mine for their delicate flat flower heads. This shrub may appear dainty, but it is a continuous powerhouse of blooms all summer and into fall. Blooms grow on both new and old wood to create an incredible display of dense color.

  • Hardier buds, more reliable flowering performance
  • Abundant pink lacecap flowers, blue in acidic soil
  • Reblooms through the summer
  • Dwarf size, 1 ½ – 2’ tall
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Hardiness zones 5 – 9


SHOW OFF® Sugar Baby Forsythia

You know it’s spring when the forsythia is in bloom. SHOW OFF® SUGAR BABY offers more blooms than older varieties in a compact, upright form. I love to use the branches in flower arrangements.

  • One of the first blooms of spring
  • Bright yellow flowers
  • Dwarf habit, 1 ½ – 2 ½’ tall, upright habit makes it a great thriller in containers or planted en masse in flower beds
  • Deer resistant
  • Full sun
  • Hardiness zones 4 – 8



Any size garden benefits from good bone structure and evergreens are a great plant to use to create a framework. ANNA’S MAGIC BALL™ has bright color and a round form that make it striking shrub to use as punctuation in flower beds. The tiny stature is ideal for containers.

  • Evergreen that holds its color in winter
  • Four seasons of interest
  • Bright gold foliage
  • Dwarf habit, 10 – 15” tall
  • Full sun to part shade
  • Hardiness zones 3 – 7



When the vitex at Moss Mountain Farm are in bloom, they are in the spotlight. The spires of lavender blue flowers dominate the garden. BLUE DIDDLEY® makes it possible for anyone to grow this amazing shrub, no matter what the garden size.

  • Vibrant blue flowers
  • Heat tolerant
  • Dwarf habit, 3 – 6’
  • Deer resistant
  • Grows like a perennial in the north and a shrub or small tree in the south
  • Full sun
  • Hardiness zones 5 – 9


Photos provided by Proven Winners®.