Shrubs for UK Gardens

Shrubs are the backbone of any garden and if chosen carefully, can provide all year round interest. They are much less trouble to look after than many other plants.

Once established they usually only require a little maintenance pruning now and then and a good feed once a year. There is a huge variety of shrubs available, with a wide range of characteristics that can be used to suit virtually any aspect in the garden.

Shrubs can be used to add interest throughout the year with different flowering seasons. Shrubs also provide attractive leaves as well as flowers (which can be highly scented). Deciduous shrubs provide contrasting backgrounds in summer and colour variations in autumn. Evergreen shrubs can be used to give much needed structure in the winter. Shrubs are also very good at providing shelter and privacy and many shrubs make good hedges.


The following selection of shrubs are suitable for domestic gardens in Great Britain (England/Scotland/Ireland).

Deciduous shrubs suitable for domestic UK gardens

Chaenomeles

Chaenomeles
Flowering quince

Cornus alba Sibirica

Cornus alba
Dogwood

Broom

Genista
Broom

witch hazel yellow tasles

Hamamelis mollis
Chinese witch hazel

hydrangea white flowers

Hydrangea
Hortensia

Kerria japonica

Kerria japonica
Jew's Mallow

philadelphus white flowers

Philadelphus
Mock Orange

Ribes (flowering currant)

Ribes
Ornamental Currant

Magnolia stellata

Magnolia
Magnolia

Spiraea prunifolia

Spiraea
 

tamarix pink flowers

Tamarix
 


Evergreen shrubs suitable for domestic UK gardens

variegated Aucuba Japonica

Aucuba Japonica
Spotted Laurel

skimmia with red berries

Skimmia japonica
 

Camellia

Camellia
 

Ceanothus repens

Ceanothus
Californian lilac

erica heather

Erica
Heather

escallonia pink flowers

Escallonia
 

Fatsia japonica flower

Fatsia japonica
False Caster Oil Plant

Garrya elliptica

Garrya elliptica
Silk tassel bush

hebe purple flower

Hebe
Veronica

Ilex aquifolium

Ilex aquifolium
Common holly

mahonia japonica

Mahonia japonica
 

Berberis linearifolia

Berberis
Barberry

Nandina domestica

Nandina domestica
Heavenly Bamboo

Pyracantha

Pyracantha
Firethorn


Evergreen shrubs are of great value in the garden because they create form in the garden and all year round interest. However, if you plants too many evergreen varieties they can overpower the planting scheme. The ideal is to select a mixture of deciduous and evergreen shrubs to create all year round interest and provide subtle changes each month. Most flowering shrubs bloom for a short time (around 2 to 4 weeks), after which the leaves will still form a useful backdrop. If you have a very small garden you can train some shrubs to take the place of trees and provide interesting focal points.