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New This Week

October 10, 2022

Select Trees & Shrubs

Including some of our favorite natives for fall color!


Red Maple 'Brandywine' (pictured above)

Acer rubrum 'Brandywine'

'Brandywine' is a cross between 'October Glory' and 'Autumn Flame' resulting in a more intense and consistent scarlet fall foliage than any other variety! This variety is also smaller than most maples and makes a great choice for those needing a shade tree on the small side. The current selection of 'Brandywine' at Painters Greenhouse is already over 6 feet tall - this is a great deal! 'Brandywine' does not form samaras and is considered a seedless variety - you won't need to worry about seedlings emerging in your landscape.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 4-8

  • Height: 35-50'

  • Spread: 25-40'

  • Sun Exposure: Full Sun

  • Soil Preference: Moist, well-drained, acidic soil

Redtwig Dogwood

Cornus sericea

This native shrub is known mostly for the bright red twigs, which are more apparent in winter months after leaf fall. Commonly found growing in low, wet areas in the wild. This shrub works well in areas where winter interest is needed, along stream banks (helps prevent erosion), and in areas where a natural, bird friendly thicket/hedge is desired. While not necessarily known for showy blooms like its relative the Flowering Dogwood, the shrub does produce tightly packed clusters of white blooms which attract butterflies, and produces small white berries for birds in fall/winter! Tip: If bright stem color is preferred then prune back 20-25% of shrub in early spring to promote new stem growth as this is where the brightest reds occur - some gardeners even prune their red twigs down to ~8" (coppice technique) every 2-3 years to promote new colorful growth.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3-8

  • Height: 8-10'

  • Spread: 10'

  • Sun Exposure: full sun to part shade

  • Soil Preference: moist, well-drained, rich soils - tolerant of wet soils, and clay soils

Smooth Sumac

Rhus glabra

Here's another native shrub that is bird-friendly and thicket forming! Smooth sumac has a large, irregular, open form and long compound leaves that turn a fiery red in autumn! Female plants produce red, hairy clusters of berries. Growing this shrub is extremely easy for the gardener and rewarding for wildlife! Very tolerant of many soil conditions and is often used for naturalizing on difficult slopes, banks or large areas and can help outcompete unwanted woody vegetation.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 3-9

  • Height: 10-15'

  • Spread: spreading/colonizing, can eventually spread to a width considerably wider than height

  • Sun Exposure: full sun to part shade

  • Soil Preference: Adaptable and can grow in many types of soil: prefers rich, fertile, well-drained soils, but can adapt to poor soil and drought conditions!

Winterberry 'Southern Gentleman' + 'Winter Red'

Ilex verticillata cultivars

Winterberry is a beautiful native deciduous shrub in the holly family! Both varieties currently on sale are Nativars and both are needed to produce the desirable winter berries. 'Southern Gentleman' is a late-blooming male that also pollinates other late-blooming females of Winterberry (i.e. 'Winter Gold', 'Sparkleberry', 'Winter Red', etc.). This shrub works well as a hedge, planted in masses, as a foundation plant or along wet areas (stream banks). The bright red berries cling to the twigs through winter and are a great source of food for birds.

Tip: plant one 'Southern Gentleman' for up to 10 'Winter Red' females. Male needs to be planted within 40-50' from females. Many gardeners tuck the non-berry producing male at the back of a planting area.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 6-8

  • Height: 6-8'

  • Spread: 6-8'

  • Sun Exposure: full sun to part shade

  • Soil Preference: Adaptable to well-draining soils, to clay soils, and even wet soils!

Pussy Willow

Salix discolor

A native, deciduous shrub or small tree known for late winter's showy, silky, pearl-blue catkins (resembling a cat's paws, hence the name). Leafless late winter twigs are great in arrangements, as dried cut flowers, or forced in a warm room in a vase of water - a wonderful way to bring the first bursts of spring into your home. Planting a Pussy Willow is a great way to bring benefits to wildlife: native bees feed on pollen and nectar (which is some of the first available in the season!), Mourning Cloak and Viceroy Butterfly larvae feed on the foliage, hummingbirds line their nests with the fuzzy outer bud layer of the catkins, and songbirds feed on all the insects attracted to the willow. Plant Pussy Willow in a moist location, such as a rain garden, along streams, or in slow-draining areas of your yard - note that willows often have aggressive roots to seek out water, so plant far enough away from septic systems, foundations, sidewalks, etc.

Tip: Plants can be cut close to the ground every 3-5 years to maintain a smaller shrub shape

  • USDA Growing Zones: 2-7

  • Height: 6-15'

  • Spread: 4-12'

  • Sun Exposure: Prefers full sun, can tolerate part shade

  • Soil Preference: average, medium to wet, well-drained soils - thrives in moist conditions, but tolerate drier soils better than most willows


Lilac Chaste Tree

Vitex agnus-castus Most often grown as a small tree, it can reach up to 20 feet tall and wide, but is often seen growing as a large shrub if it's allowed to grow several trunks. Native to the Mediterranean region, it prefers full sun and can tolerate dry, hot conditions, which makes Vitex a great addition to a xeric garden. Upright clusters of fragrant, lavender blooms in mid-summer attract butterflies. It was first introduced to the South in the late 1600s as an alternative to lilacs, which prefer cooler weather. The leaves are grayish-green and aromatic, which deters deer browsing. Another common name is "Hemp Tree'' due to the similar shaped palmate leaves. Vitex is a fast growing tree and can put on 24" of growth in one growing season. Don't be alarmed if it leafs out later than all your other shrubs and trees - it is one of the last trees to do so. Herbal and medicinal uses pertaining to the male and female reproductive system have been reported in the leaves, seeds, and berries of the tree.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5-9

  • Height: 6-10', but can mature to up to 20'!

  • Spread: 5-8'

  • Sun Exposure: full sun

  • Soil Preference: Adaptable - prefers good drainage, but can handle occasionally dry or moist soils

Himalayan Honeysuckle
Himalayan Honeysuckle

Himalayan Honeysuckle

Leycesteria formosa A deciduous shrub that is not invasive (despite its common name) and provides a pop of color along a shady edge! This multi-stemmed shrub from Tibet and China provides much interest to wildlife with flowers and fruit. In summer its chartreuse green leaves give way to trailing clusters of white flowers with dark red bracts that attract bees, and every autumn its ripe berries attract many bird species. Bright burgundy leaves in fall - a truly special addition to the landscape, especially in mass plantings!

Tip: prune in winter to keep a tidy shape!

  • USDA Growing Zones: 7-10

  • Height: 4-8'

  • Spread: 4-8'

  • Sun Exposure: full sun to part shade

  • Soil Preference: moist, well-drained

Dappled Willow

Salix integra

A deciduous shrub known for its striking pink stems and mottled foliage with white, green and pink highlights. Young foliage is highly ornamental and brightly colored - the rounded shrub looks like it's glowing in spring! Tolerant of damp conditions, use along water features, streams, ponds, or in mass plantings as a hedge/border. Can be trained to be a small tree. Most gardeners prune heavily in late winter/early spring to encourage vigorous growth and promote colorful foliage.

  • USDA Growing Zones: 5-7

  • Height: 4-6' - often pruned to maintain size

  • Spread: 5-7' - often pruned to maintain size

  • Sun Exposure: prefers full sun, afternoon shade is welcome in hot summer areas

  • Soil Preference: performs best in fertile, moist, well-drained soilsTree & shrub markdowns


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