Some shrubs can take a while to establish, so if you’re impatient, need an area to look good in a hurry, or are creating a new border or garden from scratch, you might want to choose some fast-growing shrubs.
Fast-growing shrubs are vigorous growers and should produce flowers early on. They’ll create an impact while slower-growing shrubs catch up.
Shrubs will establish quicker if they are planted right, getting them off to the best possible start. Find out how to plant a shrub.
There are many different hydrangeas to choose from and over the last decade, many new varieties have been introduced. They’re easy to grow and quick to establish, making an impact in just a few seasons. Discover nine of the best hydrangeas to grow.
Lavatera (tree mallows or shrubby mallows) can put on a lot of growth in one season, and should produce masses of hollyhock-like flowers in their first year. Grow in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun, in a sheltered spot. Cut back in spring. Pictured is Lavatera maritima.
Bamboos are vigorous growers but be warned – they can grow outwards as well as upwards. Some varieties are more prone to this than others, but to be on the safe side, it’s best to put a barrier around the roots to restrict the plant’s spread. Generally, Phyllostachys species are more likely to spread, whereas Fargesia are more well-behaved, remaining in clumps.
Buddlejas are vigorous, easy shrubs. Their mostly pink, magenta and purple flowers are very attractive to butterflies – hence their common name, the butterfly bush. Cut back hard in spring. Buddleja davidii ‘Summer Beauty’, pictured, is a compact variety.
5. Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’
Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’ looks great as a standalone evergreen plant but can also be planted as a quick-growing hedge. The young leaves are tinted red as they unfold. Plant in sun or partial shade in fertile, well-drained soil.
6. Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfennii
Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii is an evergreen shrub with a naturally rounded shape and acid-yellow flowers in spring. It’s fast growing, drought-tolerant and low maintenance – simply cut off the flowers when they have faded (wear gloves, as they have irritant sap).
7. Rosa ‘Rambling Rector’
As its name suggests, Rosa ‘Rambling Rector’ is a rambling rose. It’s a rampant grower, so make sure you have plenty of space for it, as it can reach a spread of 6m. Great for covering a wall or shed, it’s more tolerant of shade than many roses.
8. Cornus alba
Cornus alba is a speedy grower and is mostly grown for its colourful, bare red stems in winter. It can grow very large, so needs a fair amount of space, but its growth can be restricted by pruning in early spring. Plant in full sun in any kind of soil. The various cultivars are less vigorous.
Willows are also grown for their attractive winter stems. Salix alba var. vitellina ‘Yelverton’ has vivid orange stems and is suitable for any soil, including wet soils, in full sun. Coppice in spring for brilliant stems the following winter.
10. Prunus lusitanica
Portuguese laurel, or Prunus lusitanica, is a fast-growing evergreen with red stems. It can reach quite a size and will become a small tree, but is easily kept in bounds by pruning. It is an excellent candidate for topiary or hedging. Grow in a sheltered spot in sun or part shade.