Types of Ornamental Shrubs
Ornamental shrubs can do wonders for home gardens, office landscaping and indoor decorating. A wide variety of shrubs, such as hibiscus and ixora plants, are cultivated for decorative use. Many produce showy, fragrant flowers that bloom for months at a time. Different ornamental shrubs thrive in differing climates.
Even though more than 400 species of ixora exist, just a few of this thick evergreen shrub are grown for decorative purposes. Ixora shrubs are multi-branched and do well in warm climates, such as its native Southeast Asia and in U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zones 9 through 11. Ixora plants usually grow 4 to 6 feet tall, but can grow up to 12 feet. These plants have colorful flower clusters and glossy green leaves.
Mussaenda is a type of tropical ornamental shrub that ranges from 10 to 15 feet in height and is often used in cityscaping. About 200 species of mussaenda exist, but only about 10 are cultivated for ornamental use, such as the Dona Luz and Dhobi tree. Small tubular flowers bloom in clusters and are followed by small berries. Its leaves are elliptical and rounded and range from light to dark green.
Another type of ornamental shrub is the dark-green penta, a native of Africa. This plant grows best in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11 and grows up to 3 feet tall and sprawls along the ground. Abundant clusters of tiny, star-shaped flowers range from white to purple. This shrub is perennial where winters are mild and attracts butterflies and hummingbirds.
You can find tropical and perennial varieties of hibiscus, a showy ornamental shrub that varies widely in color, flower type, hardiness, growth rate and leaf shape. Tropical hibiscus shrubs produce pink, orange and red flowers that live for one to two days only, though the plant is in constant bloom. Tropical hibiscus shrubs range from inches to several feet in height. Perennial hibiscus plants have woody stalks and can grow up to 6 feet tall.
Another popular type of ornamental shrub is the lantana plant, which is native to many tropical areas in the world. This low-maintenance shrub can grow up to 5 feet tall and 8 feet wide in USDA hardiness zones 8 through 11. Two- to 5-inch leaves are covered by prolific clusters of red, pink, white and yellow flowers that change color as the plant matures. In colder climates, lantana shrubs die after one season. They bloom year-round in tropical climates.