10 Low Maintenance Shrubs in Michigan

Growing shrub borders in your backyard can be useful in order to add the layer and accent in your house. In Michigan, there are various low maintenance shrubs you can choose to beautify your yard easily. Since it is low maintenance shrubs in Michigan, you know there is no worry about growing it.

Here, we would like to offer you the best recommendations of Michigan shrubs you can have. There are flowering shrubs, fruit-bearing shrubs, and dense foliage ones you can grow in your garden. Although not all of them are native to Michigan, you can find them easily in the local nurseries. Interested? Let’s jump in!

1. Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

Lagerstroemia indica or Crapemyrtle is a flowering shrub or small tree that is easily spotted in Michigan. This deciduous shrub features showy pink flowers with red berry-like edible fruits. These fruits are flavor enhancers for meat, fish, and chicken cuisines. Besides humans, birds also feast on them.

In addition, it has dense green foliage that will turn yellow to red when autumn arrives.

low maintenance shrubs michigan
Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia indica)

This stunning plant will be happy if you place it under well drained or dry soils and full sun exposure. Hence, sunny locations will be their favorite. Also, these shrubs tolerate drought. There are various varieties for this shrub and you can choose it based on your favorite and let’s enjoy the spring and summer while it is time to bloom.

2. Beauty bush  (Kolkwitzia amabilis)

Having flowering shrubs is the best one, especially if the flowers emit lovely scents, just like Beauty Bush or Kolkwitzia amabilis. With such stunning and fragrant pale pink flowers, no wonder that they will attract butterflies, birds, and bees to come.

The blooms grow in clusters, adorned with green leaves that hide under the bell-shaped flowers. You can enjoy their beauty from late spring to early summer or around May to June.

Beauty Bush
Flowers of A Beauty Bush, Also Called Kolkwitzia Amabilis
Beauty Bush Flowers
Beauty Bush Flowers Close Up

To plant Beauty Bush, you must provide rich, moist but well-drained, sandy, loamy, or silty soils. It also favors acidic to neutral soil pH. Moreover, the deciduous shrub loves to soak in the full sun, unfiltered light for around 4 hours per day to produce flowers.

Since it requires moist soil, regular watering is crucial. But mind you, over-watering is not recommended as the plant is susceptible to fungal disease and root rot.

3. Forsythia (Forsythia viridissima)

If you have Forsythia, you will be pampered by its beauty in early spring as the yellow flowers fully bloom during this time, covering the stems from tips to the bottoms. For this reason, people refer to the stunning shrub as a sign of entering spring.

In addition to the flowers, the stems also bear unique characteristics, with gray-brown color and emerging growth.

low maintenance shrubs michigan
Yellow Flowers Of A Forsythia Shrub,
Yellow Border Forsythia Shrubs
Yellow Border Forsythia Shrubs Growing on A Lawn

This fast-growing Michigan shrub can grow around two feet tall per year under the specific growing conditions. It thrives in a wide range of soil types as long as they are not soggy and waterlogged. And for the light intensity, it is not fussy! The forsythia loves sun, but tolerates partial shade. However, you cannot expect more flowers in the shade.

4. American Witch Hazel

Hamamelis virginiana or American Witch Hazel is one of Michigan’s unique deciduous shrubs. It bears fragrant ribbon-shaped, yellow flowers with a hint of brown color that looks so bright at daylight.

Not only do the blooms emit a nice scent, the twigs and barks also have the same smell. No wonder that these shrubs are often one of the important raw materials in the cosmetic industry.

low maintenance shrubs michigan
Witch Hazel
Hamamelis Virginiana Fresh Leaves
Hamamelis Virginiana Branch with Fresh Leaves

With such amazing features, people are interested in growing one in their backyard. It thrives in the full sun areas, yet prefers filtered ones in the hotter climates. Moreover, this deciduous shrub requires light, moist, well-drained soil rich in organic matter.

Hence, add manure or compost to increase the soil nutrients if necessary. Another great feature of this shrub is it is generally pests and diseases resistant.

5. Red chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)

Another easy to grow and it means low maintenance shrubs in Michigan you can start planting. It is Red Chokeberry or Aronia arbutifolia. It is native to Chicago, yet you still can own it in your yard. This plant is usually used for landscape in commercial housing.

low maintenance shrubs michigan
Red Chokeberry Plant
Aronia Arbutifolia Flowers
Aronia Arbutifolia Flowers, Called The Red Chokeberry

Flowering shrubs are the best since you can have the best background for your backyard and see it blooms during spring to mid summer. Planting shrubs like this, you just need well drained soil, prefer moist, place it under the full sun for higher production of edible red berry.

However, if you wanna have stunning autumn foliage, intense sun exposure will be necessary.

6. Michigan holly (Ilex verticillata)

Michigan holly might be the favorite one for people who want to have fruit-bearing shrubs. It offers a colorful display in winter as the non-edible, red berry-like fruits will be covered in white snow.

While they may cause food poisoning to humans, the fruits are tasty snacks for wildlife, such as robins, birds, and other pollinators 

low maintenance shrubs michigan
Winterberry Plants
Clusters of Common Winterberries by A Trail in Negwegon State Park

Suppose you are curious about growing a Michigan holly to have a stunning winter landscape. In that case, you must check whether you live in the US hardiness zone 4 to 8 or not. And if you are, then you will need moist and acidic soil conditions to plant this large shrub.

Additionally, prepare full sun or partial shade area in your garden to ensure it thrives

7. Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius)

Looking for hardy flowering shrubs? Then you can consider this Common Ninebark or Physocarpus opulifolius. Common ninebark has glossy green foliage which is in contrast to its fluffy, cotton-like flowers which will later turn into pink shades from May to June. And in the winter, they will turn brown until the spring comes again.

Meanwhile, the berries will start to appear in early fall for the birds.

low maintenance shrubs michigan
Common Ninebark Flowers
Flowering Ninebark Shrub
Flowering Ninebark Shrub Close Up

But despite the flowers, the shrub itself grows all season, thus offering you with year-round interest in the landscape. Moreover, this dense plant thrives happily if you place it under the full sun or partial shade. As for the soil, it loves moist but well-drained soil with a slightly acidic pH.

Luckily, the Common Ninebark tolerates various soil types, making it easy to care for. Dare to try?

8. Button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Compared to other shrubs, this evergreen shrub is pretty unique. It produces flowers with cotton ball shapes but somehow also looks like viruses, thanks to the emerging pistils. The glossy green foliage color is also the iconic one for these flowering shrubs.

Also, bumblebees and honeybees will come to this shrub for food. You can enjoy their weirdly beautiful blooms from late summer to fall, around August to September.

low maintenance shrubs michigan
Button Bush
Buttonbush Blooming
Buttonbush Blooming in Summer

Not only do the flower shapes are distinctive, but the soil type is also uncommon. While other shrubs hate soggy soil, button bush loves wet ground to thrive.

Hence, constant watering is crucial to keep the soil moisture and maintain the damp areas. The roots can be submerged with three feet tall water. What a feature! Moreover, place it under full sun for better flowering.

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9. Bush honeysuckle (Lonisera tatarica)

This honeysuckle is native to Northwest Michigan. It bears yellow flowers that will later turn red to purple in the summer months. And as fall approaches, you can see the foliage turn yellow to orange beautifully.

In addition, the berries are food sources for wildlife, especially birds. They also spread the seeds, making the bush honeysuckle grow massively.

Bush honeysuckle
Honeysuckle Flowering Season is From May to July

As a fast-growing shrub that can grow to 6 to 16 feet tall per year, this shrub needs proper growing conditions to support nutrients intake for their growth. Despite coping well under the shade, it prefers full sun as it can produce more flowers under such lighting levels.

Furthermore, it is relatively drought-tolerant and pests and diseases resistant, making the shrub easier to take care of.

10. Boxwood (Buxus)

Buxus or Boxwood is one of the most popular shrubs in the US, including Michigan. Unlike other shrubs that bear fruits or flowers, this evergreen shrub has lush, waxy, dark green, oval-shaped foliage that adds a touch of greenery to the landscape it grows.

Generally, Boxwood grew up in a formal setting or as a garden hedge that provides year-round privacy to the homeowners.

low maintenance shrubs michigan
Green Decorative Boxwood,
Boxwood Bush
A Freshly Trimmed Boxwood Bush in The Shape of A Ball

This hardy shrub is cold and winter tolerant, making it worth planting as a garden border. It prefers partial, dappled shade than full sun. However, the shrub still needs a few hours of morning sun to keep the green leaves in shape.

In accordance with the soil conditions, it tolerates diverse soil types and conditions, unless they are soggy. This kind of soil will make the Boxwood susceptible to root rot and diseases.

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FAQ ( Frequently Asked Questions)

What is the easiest shrub to maintain?

Crepe Myrtle is one of the easiest and low maintenance plants for gardeners. It is a fast growing shrub and loves sunny locations. Dry soils are their favorite and you can see the blooming time around spring and summer.

What shrubs grow well in Michigan?

Various shrub species can grow well in Michigan. For instance, Witch Hazels, Red chokeberry (Aronios arbutifolia), Michigan Hollies – 6-8 ft. Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) – 3 – 6 inches.

They not only grow well but also low maintenance plants for you.

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