Woody plants such as shrubs, perennial vines, and trees add year-round structure to a landscape. They’re a wise investment that keeps giving season after season. Here are a dozen beauties to consider.
1) ‘Nelly Moser’ clematis
A compact climbing perennial vine, ‘Nelly Moser’ quickly reaches 10–15 feet in height. Light-pink flowers are streaked in dark pink in late spring and early summer. A bright, well-behaved climber for a trellis or fence. Partial sun/Zones 4–9/Monrovia.
2) ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ dappled willow
A brightly colored compact willow (Salix integra), it features mottled foliage in hues of green, white, and pink. ‘Hakuro Nishiki’ grows 15–20 feet tall but can be pruned to a smaller size. Partial to full sun/Zones 4–9/Monrovia.
3) Emerald Spreader Japanese yew
This short, spreading Japanese yew (Taxus cuspidata ‘Monloo’) grows slowly to 2 1/2 feet tall and 8 feet wide. It has attractive dark green foliage year round and can be grown as a shrub or small tree. Sun to partial sun/Zones 4–7/Monrovia.
4) Emerald Gaiety wintercreeper
Emerald Gaiety wintercreeper (Euonymus fortunei) has dense, deep- green foliage edged in bright white. It grows 4–5 feet tall and 3 feet wide and is great for foundations. Sun/Zones 5–9/Monrovia.
5) Wine & Roses weigela
An award-winning shrub with season-long color, Wine & Roses offers rosy pink flowers in late spring and rich dark-purple foliage all summer. It’s great in shrub borders or as a specimen plant, growing 4–5 feet tall. Sun/Zones 4–8/Proven Winners.
6) ‘Helmond Pillar’ barberry
With its upright habit and deep purplish red foliage, this Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is a hit in the landscape. Its slow growth and compact size (3–4 feet tall) make it perfect for smaller gardens. Sun/Zones 4–8/Monrovia.
7) ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae
A narrow, dense arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis), ‘Emerald Green’ makes an excellent screening plant. It grows 15 feet tall, 3–4 feet wide, and never needs trimming. The disease-resistant foliage retains its color even in winter. Sun/Zones 4–8/Berry Nurseries.
8) Star Showers Virginia creeper
This fast-growing perennial vine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia ‘Monham’) clings to walls for quick cover. The deciduous green foliage is splattered in white for greater interest. Sun to partial sun/Zones 4–9/Monrovia.
9) ‘Blushing Bride’ Rose of Sharon
An upright flowering shrub, Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) boasts large pink double flowers in late summer. Growing 10 feet tall and 6 feet wide, it makes a good screening plant or focal point. Sun to partial sun/Zones 5–9/Monrovia.
10) Forever & Ever hydrangea
These bigleaf hydrangeas (H. macrophylla) bloom from late spring to fall and feature white, blue, pink, red, apricot, or bicolor flowers. Plants grow 4 feet tall, 3 feet wide. Partial sun/Zones 5–9/Berry Nurseries.
11) Green Showers Boston ivy
Reaching 30–50 feet in length, this vigorous vine features large maplelike leaves that turn burgundy in fall. It clings happily to walls or scampers over rocks and logs. Sun to partial sun/Zones 4–9/Monrovia.
12) Knock Out rose
This disease-resistant shrub rose is decorated by a mass of blooms spring through fall. It grows 3–4 feet and comes in a range of colors, including pink, coral, yellow, and this double-flowered red. Sun/Zones 5–11/Monrovia.