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Best high-impact, fast-growing shrubs for all zones

Best high-impact, fast-growing shrubs for all zones

Best high-impact, fast-growing shrubs for all zones
fast-growing pink and white rose shrub in front of evergreens

Photos by Monrovia: Doreen Wynja

Whether you’re starting a garden from scratch, ripping out underperformers, or have a place where you need a bit of eye candy, there’s no shame in planting for a bit of immediate gratification. Bringing home larger, healthier plants (Monrovia craftsmen take great pride in growing them) is one way to speed up the process of adding quick color and structure to a space. No matter how quickly the plants you choose grow, you can get started on the right foot by finding large, healthy Monrovia plants at your local Monrovia retailer. But what if you need big blooms, color, foundational structure, screening, or privacy ASAP? Then it's time to look to dependable, beautiful, and fast-growing shrubs.

Yes, a mature garden takes time and is so worth the wait, but that doesn’t mean you can’t slip in a few shrubs that grow more quickly and add instant excitement to the landscape. Here are a few of our favorite shrubs that are known to be quick growers. All of them put on a show in their first year, and by year three, they’re a house on fire! Note that many overlap zones, so be sure to check out all choices when making your shopping list.

How to Use Fast-Growing Shrubs in Garden Design

  • Create quick privacy screens with dense, quick-growing shrubs.
  • Form "green walls" around outdoor rooms
  • Use mass plantings of colorfully blooming, quick-growing shrubs to create swaths of color and structure in the landscape. 
  • Provide erosion control on slopes.
  • Use evergreen shrubs or shrubs with unique forms or colorful branches to provide winter interest in cold-zone gardens. 
  • Make a big visual impact in a newly planted landscape while you wait for other, slower-growing plants to get established. 

Favorite Fast-Growing Shrubs
for Zones 3 - 8

Seaside Serenade®
Cape Cod Hydrangea

A hardy, repeat-blooming hydrangea with long-lasting blooms that are perfect for cut floral arrangements. This compact hydrangea grows quickly without getting leggy or out of control. Quickly reaches up to 4 ft. tall and wide. Zones 4–9.

Grace
Smoke Tree

Again with the smoke tree? Hey, when you put on this kind of show and grow this fast, you deserve the huzzahs. Plum-red foliage, big feathery blooms, orange in fall. Quickly reaches up to15 ft. tall and wide. Zones 4- 8.

Double Flowered
Japanese Rose

Three seasons of wonder: Green branches provide winter color followed by brilliant, rose-like yellow spring flowers, and yellow foliage in fall. Quickly reaches up to 10 ft. tall and wide. Zones 5–9.

Black Knight
Butterfly Bush

Spectacular dark violet-purple flower spikes are fragrant and eye-catching. Quickly grows to create a colorful hedge, foundation shrub, accent plant, or background in borders. Quickly reaches up to 8' tall and 6' wide. Zones 5–9.

Lavender Lady
Lilac

Plant at back of the border, where it will burst with traffic-stopping, fragrant spring flowers, then recedes while other later blooming plants take over. Quickly reaches up to 12 ft. tall, 6 ft. wide. Zones 3–8.

Flamingo
Dappled Willow

A sophisticated garden has plenty of colorful foliage. Weeping branches load in striking pink stems and buds, surrounded by white, green, and pink foliage. Partial to full sun. Quickly reaches up to 10 ft. tall and wide; smaller with pruning. Zones 4–9.

Prairie Fire
Dogwood

A very cold-hardy and colorful accent shrub with bright golden foliage that fades to a soft yellow in summer and turns a brilliant red in fall. Creamy white spring flowers yield ornamental berries in midsummer. Quickly reaches 7' tall and wide, can be maintained at 5' with pruning. Zones 2-7.

Summertime Blues™
Chaste Tree

Large lavender-purple flower spikes and black stems make this easy-care, sterile, and drought-tolerant hybrid a favorite from colder climates all the way down to the deep south. Quickly reaches up to 6' tall and 5' wide. Zones 5-9.

Grace N' Grit™ Pink
BiColor Shrub Rose

Every garden needs a few roses. This outstanding, exclusive disease-resistant variety is a beauty that not everyone has. Continuous, abundant bicolor pink and white blooms endure heat, humidity, and dry summers. While it may not be a superspeed grower, it does grow steadily and offer colorful impact instantly. Moderately reaches 5' tall and 4' wide. Zones 4–9.

Favorite Fast-Growing Shrubs
for Zones 7 - 11

This is a tall, hot-natured bloomer that makes an exceptional privacy screen hedge whether sheared or left natural to bloom.

Compact Spicy
Jatropha

Don’t let “compact” fool you. This is a tall, hot-natured bloomer that makes an exceptional privacy screen hedge whether sheared or left natural to bloom. Fast, up to 6 ft. tall, 5 ft. wide; taller with age. Zones 10–11.

Royal Cape®
Plumbago

Huge clusters of vivid deep-blue flowers cover this fast-growing, sprawling, vine-like shrub throughout most of the year. Also provides reliable evergreen color as a ground cover. Up to 5' tall, 8' wide. Zones 9-11. 

On the small side and very dense, this gold broom can stand alone or in a mass to create a color display that ‘pops’ even from far away.

Allgold Broom

On the small side and very dense, this gold broom can stand-alone or in a mass to create a color display that ‘pops’ even from far away. Waterwise. Quickly reaches up to 6 ft. tall and wide. Zones 6–9.

Purple
Hopseed Bush

A great show of color with bronze-green foliage that turns a deep purple-red in fall. Pink fruit adorns the plant in summer. Dense branches can be trimmed as hedge or espalier and make a great evergreen privacy screen when unpruned. Quickly reaches up to 12' tall and 8' wide. Zones 8–11.

red hibiscus flower

Brilliant
Hibiscus

We know it’s only for the warmest zones where it blooms nearly year-round, but potted ones can come inside where frost is an issue. Ideal for large pots or to cover blank walls. Quickly reaches up to 10' tall and 6' wide. Zones 10–11

Tuscan Blue
Rosemary

Create an aromatic, evergreen, colorful, and edible hedge fast with this upright rosemary variety. Great for screening and looks great pruned or left in natural form. Quickly reaches up to 6' tall, 4' wide. Zones 8-11.

Waxleaf
Privet

Form an informal hedge, screen, or windbreak quickly with this versatile evergreen. Glossy green foliage responds well to regular pruning. A profusion of fragrant, white blooms emerge in spring. Quickly reaches 10' tall, 6' wide. Zones 7-11.

Red Dynamo
Photinia

A handsome shrub that is pest- and disease-resistant and perfect for a quick hedge or privacy screen. Low-maintenance, dense, and upright, with lustrous burgundy-red new foliage. Perfect for southern gardens. Quickly reaches 10' tall, 7' wide. Zones 7–11.

Bonsai Blue
Jacaranda

A gorgeous fast-growing shrub with huge clusters of rich purple flowers. Dwarf of the beloved tree; remarkably tolerant of heat and drought when established.  Quickly reaches up to 12' tall, 8'. wide. Zones 9–11.

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