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Top Categories of Shrubs that Will Thrive in Your Denver Landscape


August 19, 2016

The best shrubs for Denver landscaping provide privacy screens, block unwanted sounds, provide habitat for wildlife, and add visual interest.

The state's geography, high elevation and weather patterns combine to create gardening conditions that can challenge even the most seasoned gardener. Many regions of Colorado experience hot, sunny summers, cool nights, and short growing seasons.

When choosing shrubs for your Colorado landscape, take climactic characteristics into account, as well as soil conditions and elevation. Here are a few examples of different categories of shrubs: small deciduous, large deciduous, small evergreen, large evergreen, and shrubs for high elevations that you can choose for your Colorado landscape:


Small Deciduous
Deciduous shrubs lose their foliage during cooler months, but can provide flowers and fall color. Shrubs that grow to less than 6 feet tall include:
  • blue mist spirea (Caryopteris x clandonensis)
  • bog birch (Betula glandulosa)
  • cliff fendler bush (Fendlera rupicola)
  • false indigo (Amorpha fruticosa)
  • flowering quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)
  • golden currant (Ribes aureum)
  • golden vicary privet (Ligustrum x vicaryi)
  • Hancock coralberry (Symphoricarpos x chenaultii)
  • Kelsey dogwood (Cornus sericea),
  • eadplant (Amorpha canescens)
  • mountain ninebark (Physocarpus monogynus)
  • mountain spray (Holodiscus dumosus)
  • purpleleaf Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea)
Large Deciduous
Deciduous shrubs that grow to more than 6 feet tall and that are good choices for shrubs in Colorado include:
  • ash leaf spirea (Sorbaria sorbifolia)
  • burning bush (Euonymus alatus)
  • Cheyenne privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
  • mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus)
  • PeeGee hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata)
  • Peking cotoneaster (Cotoneaster acutifolia)
  • pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica)
  • redtwig dogwood (Cornus sericea)
  • Rocky Mountain maple (Acer glabrum )
  • serviceberry (Amelanchier alnifolia)
  • Siberian peashrub (Caragana arborescens)
  • smoketree (Cotinus coggygria)
  • smooth sumac (Rhus glabra)
  • spindletre (Euonymus europaeus)
Small Evergreen
Evergreen shrubs do not lose their foliage in winter, which means they are good choices for year-round privacy screening and color. Evergreen shrubs that grow to less than 6 feet tall include:
  • antelope bitterbrush (Antelope bitterbush)
  • 'Blue Girl' holly (Ilex x meserveae)
  • cliffrose (Cowania Mexicana)
  • common juniper (Juniperus communis montana)
  • creeping Oregon grape holly (Mahonia repens)
  • kinnikinnik (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi)
  • littleleaf boxwood (Buxus microphylla)
  • mentor barberry (Berberis xmentorensis)
  • rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.)
Large Evergreen
Evergreen shrubs that grow to more than 6 feet tall:
  • big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentate)
  • cut-leaf mountain mahogany (Cercocarpus ledifolius)
  • Japanese red pine (Pinus densiflora)
  • mugo pine (Pinus mugo)
  • Rocky Mountain juniper (Juniperus scopulorum)
  • Scotch pine 'pumila' (Pinus sylvestris)
  • spreading juniper (Juniperus x media)
  • Swiss stone pine (Pinus cembra)
  • white spruce (Picea glauca)
Shrubs for High Elevations
If your Colorado landscape is above 6,500 feet, choose shrubs that can thrive at higher altitudes. These include:
  • alpine currant (Ribes alpinum)
  • blueleaf honeysuckle (Lonicera korolkowii)
  • hedge cotoneaster (Cotoneaster lucidus)
  • forsythia (Forsythia x hybrida )
  • Lewis mockorange (Philadelphus lewisii)
  • purpleleaf sand cherry (Prunus x cistena)
  • red chokecherry (Aronia arbutifolia)
  • roses (osa spp.)
American Arbor Care offers professional tree, shrub, lawn, and landscape maintenance services across Colorado. Our services include shrub planting and pruning, insect and disease management, consultation, landscaping, free estimates and more. Call us today at 303-639-8584 if you have more questions about what shrubs would work best for your landscape and home environment and let the experts be your guide.
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