Top 5: Deciduous Shrubs For Small Spaces

In part two of the Top 5 Shrubs For Small Spaces we will take a look at five deciduous or leafy shrubs that are not only small but can tough it out in our zone

In part two of the Top 5 Shrubs For Small Spaces we will take a look at five deciduous or leafy shrubs that are not only small but can tough it out in our zone (3b).  Most of the five have beautiful blooms, leaf color(s), or berries produced in late summer and fall that look like pink bubble gum balls . 

Like the evergreens, these leafy colorful shrubs are reliable and excellent for filling in those small spaces that need a few permanent residents! The following five shrubs are easy to plant, maintain and grow. Most will attract bees and other beneficial insects. Plant them as a single specimen or in odd numbered groups for an extra punch of color in your landscape. 


  1. Morden Snow Potentilla -  (Potentilla fruticose ‘Morden Snow’) – Zone 2a

2 ½ ft x 3 ft. – Full Sun to Part Sun  

This potentilla is a very hardy and tough shrub with large double white flowers that begin in June and bloom through to early fall.  The fine-textured foliage creates a rounded form.   The foliage remains green into the fall. 

Morden Snow is not fussy as to soil type or soil pH.  Once established it is drought resistant which makes it an ideal candidate for xeriscape and rock gardens.   If it needs pruning at all, it should be lightly pruned in late winter or very early spring.  Fertilize in early spring with either a compost mulch or a water-soluble flowering tree and shrub fertilizer. 

Bonus: Attracts butterflies; deer resistant; very few pests.

Photo Courtesy of www.provenwinners.com

  1. Little Quick Fire Hydrangea – (Hydrangea paniculate ‘Little Quick Fire’)

Zone 3a  -   3-6’ x 3-6’  -  Sun – Part Sun

Little Quick Fire is a beautiful panicle hydrangea which blooms about a month before other hydrangeas.  Over the summer the white flowers turn to pink red.  I am doubtful that it will reach 6 feet in our climate but if you have one that has reached taller than 3-4 feet, please let me know! 

Provide Little Quick Fire with a rich soil in your garden or in a container.  Amend the soil with compost and provide a two- inch layer of compost around the shrub in preparation for winter.

Soil pH will not affect flower color.  Prune in late winter/early spring.  Panicle hydrangeas bloom on new wood so cut back all stems and branches to 6-12 inches in early spring.  The new growth will form the flower buds.  Fertilize first thing in spring with an all-purpose tree and shrub water-soluble fertilizer.    

Bonus:  Attracts bees and butterflies.  Great as a cut flower or for drying.


Photo Courtesy of www.provenwinners.com

  1. Double Play Doozie Spirea - ( Spiraea ‘Double Play Doozie’)  -  Zone 3a                             

2-3 feet x 2-3 feet  -  Sun – Part Sun

This is a gorgeous spirea!  Early in spring the new foliage comes out in a deep red color followed by a non-stop display of purple-red flowers that is absolutely stunning.  Double Play Doozie flowers all summer long and does not produce seed!  Like all spireas, it is drought tolerant once established.  Use it in borders, as an edging shrub, or even in a container.  

Remove old wood stems in early spring to keep growth fresh and new.  Otherwise there is no need to prune.  Think about planting odd numbers in groups for an extra blast of color in your landscape.

Plant in a compost amended soil.  The second season fertilize in spring with an all-purpose water-soluble tree and flowering shrub fertilizer.  Double Play Doozie will be a favorite for many years to come!

Bonus:  Everything about this shrub!  Deer resistant.  Does not produce seed.


 Photo Courtesy of First Editions

  1. Campfire Shrub Rose  -  (Rosa ‘Campfire’)  –  Zone 3  -  3 feet x 3 feet  -  Full Sun

Part of the Canadian Artists Series  -  Named after a Tom Thomson painting called ‘Campfire’ in 1916.

A Top Five deciduous small shrub list would not be complete without the addition of a

shrub rose.  Campfire is a beauty!  It will bloom all summer long.  Yellow/red buds open to semi-double blooms of yellow edged with pink.  Over the summer the flower edges become  darker pink and along with the yellow put on a display that can be seen a mile away!

The leaves are glossy green and very disease resistant.  Amend the well-drained planting area with compost or a top - quality bagged amendment.   Fertilize with an all-purpose, water-soluble flowering shrub fertilizer the beginning of spring and mid July.  Do not fertilize past mid August.  Deep water once a week the first season.  This may vary with changing weather conditions.  Prune in early spring.

Bonus:  Almost thornless.  Excellent resistance to blackspot.  Cut flower.  Attracts bees and butterflies. Propagated on its own roots.


  1. Pinky Promise Snowberry -  (Symphoricarpos doorenbosii ‘Kolmpica’)  -  Zone 3  -  

2-3 feet x 2-3 feet  -  Full Sun – Part Sun

Pinky Promise Snowberry is another tiny tough shrub that can tolerate up to minus 40 C. 

This shrub is grown primarily for its display of gumball pink berries that form in the latter part of summer into fall.  Small, bell-shaped white-pink flowers appear in spring followed by the bright pink berries in late summer.  Do not prune after flowering or you will lose some of the berries. 

This shrub can be planted anywhere you have full or part sun.  It is not particular as to soil and even prefers a soil with some clay and good drainage.  The first season after planting deep water this plant weekly.  Once established, it will tolerate some drought.  In the second season fertilize in early spring with a water- soluble fertilizer such as 15-30-15 or 5-10-5. 

Bonus:  Cut flower/berries.  Flowers attract bees.  Drought tolerant once established.

Please note that the berries are toxic to humans and dogs if ingested.

*This blog is for information purposes only.  Floral Acres shrub inventory will vary daily.

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