The Best Low Growing Shrubs for Full Sun and How To Really Enjoy Them

Low-growing shrubs, sometimes known as dwarf shrubs, are a great way to create a natural low-clearance barrier. Also, the variety of flower colors with these slow-growing shrubs can enhance a garden’s beauty. But what are the best low growing shrubs for full sun and how to really enjoy them.

Dwarf shrubs you can select depend heavily on your current zone. Thankfully, many of the below shrubs are incredibly hardy, so here’s a shortlist of our favorite:

Hypericum Inodorum Red Star

Green Mountain Boxwood

Dwarf Blueberry Bush

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) 

Knowing the best variety of dwarf shrubs gives you a good start. Still, what about how to enjoy them. Below, we will get into some aspects of caring for dwarf shrubs and how to use them to enhance your garden appearance.

What Makes a Shrub a “Dwarf?”

A dwarf shrub, or any plant under the same category, earns this name from the more diminutive stature than other plants. Dwarfing occurs in both animals and plants. Sometimes it is non-purposeful dwarfing (such as a genetic mutation). Other times it is done for a purpose

When it comes to gardening, the purpose can be any of the following:

  • To take advantage of limited space
  • To create a unique design 
  • To put commonly large plants into small pots 

Regular plants are too tall and wide for many smaller applications. For example, it can be challenging to fit a large tree into a small front yard. 

If you are thinking about investing in dwarf plants, be aware that they only grow at a fraction of regular plants’ size. As a result, they are a bit less demanding than their large counterparts but still require a great deal of care. 

How To Maintain Dwarf Plants 

Photo of dwart plants of The Best Low Growing Shrubs for Full Sun and How To Really Enjoy Them

Even though your dwarf plant only reaches a fraction of your standard plant’s height and spread, you still need to be aware of the unique care needs of this item. Whether it be a blue star flowering shrub or an evergreen shrub, each of them has unique (albeit similar) needs. Shrub growing doesn’t change too much from dwarf to big; the same concepts still apply. 

Below are some tips to keep in mind when maintaining dwarf plants:

Be Aware of Your Dwarf Plant’s Acceptable USDA Zones

Your first step in maintaining that beautiful green foliage is an awareness of zones. We discuss the topic in many plant articles here. For example, the “what evergreen shrubs grow well in the shade” article details this. Use the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map for details. 

If your micro-plant doesn’t fit your zone’s demands, you will have to bring your plant indoors.

Be Aware of Your Plant’s Approved Exposure

The shrubs listed above are “full sun,” meaning that they expect at least six hours of sun per day. The result is a healthy chunk of green leaves or beautiful pink flowers (depending on what you are growing). Depending on what micro plant you buy,  be aware of it as full sun or part shade. 

If you plan on putting your plant into an indoor rock garden setup, even part shade plants will require a minimum of four hours of sunlight. Be sure to have some room open in sunny windows.

Be Sure You Have the Right Soil

The soil in a pot and dirt in your vegetable garden has different needs. In either case, the earth has to be loose enough to allow roots to grow but not too lax in retaining moisture. Ensure your soil is rated for how you use it (potted, in a garden, in a raised bed, etc.)

Have a Defined Watering Schedule

Dwarf plants require about as much watering as most other standard plants. That means more watering in the early stages of growth with about an inch of water each week . To see how thirsty your plants are, check the first two inches to see if the soil has dried out. If the ground feels dry, water the plants. 

Do not stick with light watering. Water deeply so that your roots will be able to benefit from the watering.

Other Quick Tips for Dwarf Shrubs and Plants

dwarf shrub plants

Planting a dwarf shrub has the potential for many unique design elements. Here are some ideas that you can use for your dwarf shrub and plant arrangement.  

Consider them for Foundation Planting 

Foundation planting is the process of planting trees and shrubs around your home’s foundation. This style of planting is typical with your classic evergreen shrubs.

However, dwarf plants provide a low-clearance version of this. That means you could give natural layers of fencing and defined garden locations with dwarf shrubs wrapping around. Foundational gardening enhances the natural geometry around your home with vibrant greens and other colors of your choice.

Use Their Natural Colors

Dwarf shrubs have the chance to produce a variety of colors. These can include blue flowers and red berries. All of these are great potential additions to provide color enhancement to your home.

Have Unique Pots Around Your Home

Good design doesn’t have to be limited to the plant itself. You can also create modern features by accenting the pot. Larger plants tend to overpower the pots beneath; dwarf plants tend to accent the containers below.  Even if they are only three or four feet tall, they can draw a lot of attention!

Final Thoughts

While dwarf shrubs only cover a few feet in height, they have great potential to be the most exciting part of your garden. With a bit of effort and awareness, they can accentuate gardens both big and small. Just don’t confuse baby plants and dwarf plants, and you will be good!

Dwarf shrubs can also work to divide your yard from your vegetable garden. If you need help finding a good soil mix for your vegetable garden, we’ve got you covered. Thanks for reading!

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