Unusual Shrubs

Distylium racemosum – Evergreen Witch Hazel or Isu Tree is a native of Japan and grows as a spreading shrub. The small lance-shaped leaves are glossy green and form a dense canopy. The spidery burgundy-red flowers appear along the branch stems from late winter into early spring. Grows 3-4′ high and 4-6′ wide. Hardy to zone 7-8.

Kalmia latifolia ‘Carousel’ – While Mountain Laurel is hardly rare, it is not widely planted. ‘Carousel’ features white blooms with a contrasting purplish-cinnamon band emerging from pink buds (from late spring to midsummer) that look like bonbons. This slow growing evergreen shrub prefers part to full sun with some protection from winds. Grows 4′ tall and hardy to zone 6.

Tamarix ramosissima ‘Pink Cascade’ – Salt Cedar or Tamarisk is a tall multistem deciduous shrub with wispy, juniper-like foliage. The feathery pink flowers appear late summer on this drought and seaside tolerant plant. This shrub is considered an aggressive weed species in some locales, but not here in coastal BC. ‘Pink Cascade’ grows 10 to 15′ high. Hardy to zone 3.

Enkianthus campanulatus ‘Red Bells’ – Pagoda Shrub is an easy to grow deciduous species with a distinctly tiered growth habit and whorled branches. ‘Red Bells’ features late spring to early summer clusters of pendulous creamy-white flowers with reddish veining and tips. This Enkianthus also shifts to yellow, orange or even burgundy-red autumn tones. Grows 8-12′ tall. Hardy to zone 5.

Rhododendron stenopetalum ‘Linearifolium’ (syn. R. macrosepalum ‘Linearifolium’) – The semi-evergreen Spider Azalea features thin lavender pink to rose-lilac fragrant blooms in May-June. The strap-like leaves are slightly crinkled and prefer some protection from cold winter winds. This shrub is normally a bit leggy and only grows 3-4′ high. Hardy to zone 7.

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