Some of The Best Shrubs that Stay Under 5 Feet

A selection of the top short shrubs available at a nearby garden center or socal nursery.

Written by David S.

Shrubs are an essential part of any landscape design. They offer a variety of positives that add to the quality of outdoor living. Keep reading as we go over a few of the many types of shrubs that stay under five feet in height. These shrubs are the perfect size for small hedges, centerpieces in more extensive beds, line walkways, and placement under windows.  

Dwarf Strawberry Tree — Arbutus unedo compacta 

The dwarf strawberry tree is a versatile shrub. It is evergreen, so it will add lovely green foliage to the landscape, making it an attractive background plant. You can grow it as a shrub or prune it into a small multi-trunk free. The tree is perfect for in-ground planting or in a larger container. 

Dwarf Strawberry Tree Care 

Soil: Well-draining soil with a bit of aggregate worked into the mix. It is not overly fussy about soil quality and will do just fine in poor soils that are acidic or alkaline. 

Watering — this is one of those trees that does not need a lot of water. 1-2 inches per month for most locations, A little extra water during days when the temperature is over 100°F. 

Uses — for the Dwarf Strawberry Tree include beautiful evergreen hedges, end placement at corners of walkways or buildings, and an under window plant. 

Dwarf Yesterday Today and Tomorrow — Brunfelsia pauciflora “Floribunda compacta.” 

It is a beautiful purple flowering shrub that thrives when it sits where it gets morning and early afternoon sun and late afternoon shade. The Dwarf Yesterday Today and Tomorrow is another of the fringe plants that grow on the edge of forests or structures where the afternoon sun is dappled. As such, it needs consistent watering and soil that remains moist. It is a bit extra thought, but the payoff is the beautiful flowers. 

Care of the Dwarf Yesterday Today and Tomorrow 

Soil — that is slightly acidic and consistently moist is ideal. If planting the shrub in the ground, amend the soil to increase the amount of aggregates in the soil mix. You can buy bagged products, such as FoxFarms’ 70/30 mix — 70 percent perlite with 30 percent coconut coir. It is an excellent addition to the bottom of the hole when planting larger bushes and an ingredient to the soil mix. 

Soil pH — 6.5-7.0 is an ideal soil pH for Yesterday Today and Tomorrow shrubs. 

Watering — needs of the Yesterday Today and Tomorrow shrub is essential. The soil should not dry out but remain moist throughout the day. Water deeply and slowly in the early morning and then top off the soil moisture in the afternoon. Give it enough afternoon water so that that plant can recover from the heat of the day. 

Green Beauty Boxwood — Buxus “Green Beauty”

The Green Beauty Boxwood is a beautiful small-leaf boxwood that will do excellent in dappled shade with a hint of full sun. So, if you are looking for a shrub that will fill in those shady spaces in your landscape, consider the Green Beauty Boxwood. One of the lovely aspects of boxwood shrubs is that you can prune them to the desired height. Other species of boxwood stay relatively small and make lovely mini-hedges along walkways. 

Care of the Green Beauty Boxwood

Soil — requirements for the Green Beauty Boxwood is a medium soil is a balance between sand and clay. Good, loamy-bagged soil will do this plant just fine. Black Gold compost, FoxFarms products, and EB Stone’s potting soil should be just what this plant needs so long as the soil drains and holds moisture. 

Soil pH — for the Green Beauty Boxwood is right around neutral. Aim for a soil pH that is 6.8-7.5. 

Watering: The soil must be consistently moist for the plant to thrive. The combination of part-shade and consistently moist is ideal for this variety of boxwood to thrive. 

Yuletide Camellia — Camellia sasanqua “Yuletide” 

They are thusly named for the dark, glossy foliage and the beautiful bright red flowers, which add a pop of color to the landscape. These make beautiful hedges, centerpieces for larger pots, under-window plants, and plants that sit in corners. Camellia flowers are lovely as floating blooms. However, be careful not to touch the petals as they turn black with the slightest of touches. 

Care for the Yuletide Camellia 

Soil: The Yuletide Camellia likes slightly acidic soil. It must be well-draining. If planting in the ground, amend the soil with compost to bring up the bioavailability of nutrients and beneficial organisms. You can add bagged products such as Black Gold Compost or FoxFarms Cultivation Nation. A little extra aggregate added to the mix is handy if the soil is not overly sandy. 

Soil pH — 6.0-6.5 is perfect for most camellia shrubs. 

Water: Once established, Camellia shrubs do not require a lot of water. 1-2 waterings per week when the water is applied slowly and saturates the ground’s deeper areas is perfect. When newly planted, water as needed to keep the soil around the root ball from drying out. A good rule of thumb is to water the Yuletide Camellia when the top 1/2 inch of the soil is dry. 

Shorter shrubs and trees have a wonderful place in landscape design. The partial list, discussed here, offers a variety of full-sun and part shade plants. Their care is also close with a few differences, such as soil pH or watering requirements. All of these shrubs like well-draining soil. They also like soil that holds moisture but is never soggy. Most of these plants will do well as in-ground plants or in a container. 

Be sure to stop in one of our five Southern California Green Thumb Nurseries and shop the fantastic collection of pots. You can also take advantage of our plant experts, who will happily show you shrubs, products and answer your questions. In addition, we have a large selection of shrubs and trees that make beautiful additions to landscaping. 

Because our inventory changes every day, give us a call if you are shopping for something specific. We will check our plant and product inventory and let you know if what you need is in stock, or we can order it for you. 

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