Tired of battling large shrubs that threaten to overtake your windows and entry? Plan now to skip the chore of winter pruning by replacing the monsters with space-saving shrubs guaranteed not to outgrow their welcome.
Small lilacs such as 'Miss Kim', 'Palibin' and 'Tinkerbelle', for example, grow only half as tall as common lilacs. These well-behaved varieties don't spread by suckers, either, as common lilacs do. 'Snowmound' spirea grows only about half as big as the old-fashioned favorite, Vanhoutte spirea.
For pint-size versions of cardinal shrub (Weigela florida), look to the Dance series, ranging from 30-inch-tall 'Minuet' to 4-foot-tall 'Polka'.
Dwarf fothergilla only grows about 2 to 3 feet tall and wide. And the University of Minnesota's Northern Lights azalea series includes many well-behaved shrubs that seldom need pruning, such as 'Northern Hi-Lights' and 'Orchid Lights'.
Some other excellent small shrubs for Midwest landscapes include 'Little Henry' Virginia sweetspire (Itea), 'Hummingbird' summersweet (Clethra), and 'Red Sprite' winterberry (Ilex).