low maintenance shrubs for ohio

10 Low Maintenance Shrubs For Ohio Home Landscape

Ohio is home to various native plants, starting from trees, and flowers, including low-maintenance shrubs for Ohio. These shrubs have distinctive characteristics that make them look attractive.

Generally, they are drought-resistant, free from severe pests and diseases, and adaptive to a wide range of soil types and local climates. Some do not even need pruning and much watering, making them easier to take care of.

Moreover, most of them produce flowers and even fruits that add beauty to your landscape. Suppose you are a resident of Ohio who is looking for nice, easy-to-grow shrubs.

In that case, you have come to the right place! We’ve prepared a great list of low-maintenance shrubs for the Ohio home landscape you must try planting. They grow effortlessly, and thus will not bother you with any complicated maintenance. Interested? Let’s take a look!

1. Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)

Our amazing collection of low-maintenance shrubs for Ohio landscaping will be started with Arrowwood Viburnum or Viburnum dentatum. It is a deciduous shrub popular for its lovely clusters of petite white flowers that beautifully bloom from spring to mid-summer.

Though they emit slightly unpleasant scents, the flowers are attractive to birds and butterflies. Another notable feature is its sweet, edible dark blackberries that you can consume raw or cooked.

Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum)
Arrowwood Viburnum (Viburnum dentatum),(image credit: gairid1791/Flickr)

As a low-maintenance shrub, Viburnum dentatum is adaptable to most soil types. However, it prefers moist, dry to wet, acid sandy soil. It also grows well in sun, partial shade, or shade light levels. Additionally, it is a flood, insect, disease tolerant, and pest-free shrub, making it truly deserves to be planted in your Ohio home landscape.

2. Birchleaf Spirea (Spirea betulifolia)

Having a similar appearance to Arrowwood Viburnum, Birchleaf Spirea bears compact, rounded, flat-head white flowers clusters that look enchanting, especially in their blooming period during late spring to early summer.

They produce pollen and nectar that lure butterflies and bees to visit. Not only are the stunning blooms, but the red fall color of the Birchleaf Spirea’s leaves is also captivating.

Birchleaf Spirea (Spirea betulifolia)
Birchleaf Spirea (Spirea betulifolia)

Although it is not a native shrub to Ohio, the state’s climate provides proper growing conditions for Birchleaf Spirea. It loves to grow on medium moist, well-drained soil under the full sun. Nonetheless, this shrub can generally tolerate a wide range of soil conditions.

In addition, cutting off the plant in winter to early spring is optional to encourage fresh flowers in new woods. Considering these aspects, it is worth saying that Birchleaf is one of the most low-maintenance shrubs for the Ohio home landscape.

3. Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)

Growing shrubs can indeed be tricky since some of the species can become invasive. But, don’t worry! Diervilla lonicera is not among those difficult shrubs to care for.

It is a deciduous shrub with green to yellow flowers that will turn into alluring red to purplish color as they fully bloom in summer. Meanwhile, the foliage will showcase its charm in fall when they turn yellow to red shade, creating a fantastic sight in any landscape it grows.

Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera)
Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera),(image credit: john hagstrom/Flickr)

Belonging to low-maintenance shrubs for Ohio, Bush Honeysuckle can tolerate light shade but produce more flowers under full sun exposure. It is generally pest and disease-free also drought-tolerant shrub once established. For the soils, the shrub stands in various kinds of soils yet favors dry to medium moist, acidic, well-drained soil.

4. Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

Buddleia davidii or Butterfly Bush is a deciduous, fast-growing shrub famous in Northeast Ohio since it provides food for pollinators. It grows long and heavy head clusters of purple flowers that display its beauty through summer and early fall. The plant can grow up to 6 feet tall, creating a center point to the landscape.

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

Some important considerations need to be taken before planting Butterfly Bush. Besides needing 8 hours of full sun exposure, it needs some afternoon shade in the southern area.

In addition, it tolerates many soil types as long as they are acidic, moist, and well-drained. This hardy plant also requires hard pruning in late spring to ensure the flowers grow just as the peak butterfly period in August.

5. Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

Similar to Butterfly Bush, Common Lilac or Syringa vulgaris has clusters of purple flowers, only with medium-sized heads and branched flower stalks. They are fragrant and may appear in different shades depending on the cultivar. Its exquisite flowers bloom in spring and last for 3-4 weeks, making it the longest blooming period plant within the species.

Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)
Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

Contrary to other previously mentioned shrubs, Common Lilac grows well on alkaline to neutral soil pH with humus-rich, dry to medium, and well-drained conditions.

It performs best under the full sun yet tolerates light shade. Unfortunately, this flowering shrub cannot live properly in southern areas with a warm climate. It perfectly suits the North regions, like Northeast Ohio, with cold temperatures.

6. Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)

Thanks to its wide-spreading habit, Juniperus horizontalis is one of the native evergreen shrubs’ ideals for ground cover in Ohio.

Despite not producing flowers and fruits, this native plant offers you another beauty of dark green needle-like foliage that will refresh any place it grows. In addition, people also grow Creeping Juniper to suppress the growth of common lawn weeds.

Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)
Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis)

As a native evergreen shrub, Juniperus horizontalis grows through all seasons, even in winter, making it one of the hardy plants worth planting. It can add great winter interest to your front yard, especially when covered in thin snow.

Other than that, it loves full sun and quickly adapts to various soil conditions, including poor and dry soils. It also does not need pruning, proving itself as a low-maintenance shrub for Ohio landscape or garden.

7. Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)

Known for its dramatic red fall foliage, fragrant foliage, and unique hairy fruits make Fragrant Sumac an interesting shrub to plant in Ohio. The flowers appear before the foliage in spring, covering up the brownish stems with yellow blooms.

They are a nectar source for bees and butterflies, while birds take advantage of the red-hairy fruits in winter. Meanwhile, the splendid foliage will offer you a breathtaking view of your landscape or garden.

Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica)
Fragrant Sumac (Rhus aromatica),(image credit: andrey zharkikh/Flickr)

Following the other low-maintenance shrubs for the Ohio home landscape, Fragrant Sumac is an easy-growing shrub that will not disappoint you. It withstands drought, is pest and disease-free, and is salt-tolerant once established.

This sun lover’s shrub is highly adaptable to many kinds of soil with circumneutral pH and dry to moist conditions. Despite thriving best in the sun, it still copes part shade and shade well.

8. Inkberry (Ilex glabra)

Like Arrowwood Viburnum, Inkberry is also one of the evergreen shrubs native to Ohio that produces blackberry fruits, attracting birds to eat them.

Unlike other holly families with thorns on their leaves, this colony-forming shrub only has dark green foliage with teeth on the tips thick enough to hide the fruit. Additionally, it grows to medium-sized, very rarely grows large.

Inkberry (Ilex glabra)
Inkberry (Ilex glabra),(image credit: will stuart,claytonsnatives/Flickr)

To obtain fruits, male and female plants of the same species and having the same blooming season must be planted close together. They must also be provided with proper growing conditions, such as regular watering, humid soil, and partial shade planting.

In addition, it is hardy to cold; thus, growing the plant in a cold climate is not an issue. Since it is toxic to humans and animals, planting them away from children and pets is necessary to avoid any harm.

9. Northern Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)

Despite not being so inviting as other flowering shrubs, Northern Spicebush is a perfect shrub for landscaping because almost all essential plant parts are useful for humans and wildlife.

The leaves, berries, twigs, and barks contain essential oils you can use in your kitchen. Meanwhile, the aromatic leaves and twigs can further be utilized to create herbal teas. Moreover, you can have powder spices similar to cloves and cinnamon from the dried-crushed drupes. What a plant it is!

Northern Spicebush (Lindera benzoin)
Northern Spicebush (Lindera benzoin),(image credit: claytonsnatives/Flickr)

Suppose you are interested in planting Northern Spicebush. In that case, you should not be worried about the planting location as it can handle sun, part shade, and shade. However, it is better to plant this shrub where it gets the proper amount of sun to stimulate fruits production.

Make sure you have both male and female shrubs to have berries! Furthermore, it also thrives in a wide range of soil types with dry, moist, and wet soil. Generally, no serious pests and diseases during its growth.

10. Pinxterbloom Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

This moist-loving deciduous shrub highlights spectacular funnel-shaped pink or white flowers with emerging stamens from the center that stands out, filling up the reddish-brown stems in spring.

Their alluring appeal attracts hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies to visit. However, this beauty will be handed over to the yellow foliage once fall comes.

Pinxterbloom Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)
Pinxterbloom Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides)

Despite being an appealing native plant, it is toxic for humans and animals, so grow them away from children and pets. However, Pinxterbloom Azalea has better resistance to pests and diseases than other commercially cultivated hybrid Azaleas and relatively tolerates dry sites.

You just need to provide what the plant needs: high organic, moist, acidic soil and full sun. Give the plant shelter from frost as it can damage the flowers. Also, pruning spent flowers is necessary after flowering.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What small shrubs look good all year round?

There are several evergreen small shrubs that will offer you year-round interest, such as Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis), Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana), and Canadian Yew (Taxus canadensis). 

However, if you are looking for a low-maintenance shrub for your Ohio home landscape, we have Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis) on our list. It can cope with Ohio’s cold winter and hot summer.

This sun-loving shrub also quickly adapts to various soil conditions, including poor and dry soils. It also does not need pruning, proving itself as a low-maintenance shrub for Ohio home landscapes or gardens.

How do I choose a landscaping shrub?

First, get familiar with your climate because it will help you decide which plant you will grow in your landscape.

After knowing your climate, it is time to choose the plant! We suggest you pick low-growing shrubs that generally need little to no pruning, like Creeping Juniper (Juniperus horizontalis).

Then, you can also choose one that can tolerate both sun and shade also, drought and cold. It is crucial considering the climate in Ohio. If necessary, look for one that has good resistance to pests and diseases, so you don’t have to bother to keep your eyes on the shrub.

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