Category Archives: Small Shrubs

Douglas Spirea

Douglas spirea (Spiraea douglasii)
Spiraea douglasii

Commonly known as Douglas’s spiraea, hardhack or steeplebush. Large clusters of small pink flowers form spires in early summer, later turning dark and persisting. This erect shrub can be thicket-forming in marshy areas.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist, Seasonally Wet
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: No
  • Mature Height: 6ft
  • Mature Width: 3-7ft

Snowberry

Common snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus)
Symphoricarpos albus

Few plants are as aptly named as snowberry. Small tubular pink flowers give way to scattered clusters of white berries in late summer, which hover on the delicate, arching branches through the fall and much of winter. The small oval leaves are pale green, turning yellow in the fall.

Snowberries are at their best in the landscape when combined with other plants. They bring an airy lightness to the understory that contrasts well with the thick evergreen leaves of salal and low Oregon grape, the red stems of red osier dogwoods, and the feathery green foliage of hemlock and western red cedar.

The berries are eaten by birds when other food is scarce, and the flowers attract pollinators and hummingbirds. It is tolerant of a wide variety of growing conditions and makes an excellent addition to any native garden.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Dry, Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Fast
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Pest-eating Insects, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: No
  • Mature Height: 3-6ft
  • Mature Width: 2-4ft

Evergreen Huckleberry

Evergreen huckleberry (Vaccinium ovatum)
Vaccinium ovatum

Evergreen Huckleberry is a small to medium sized evergreen shrub native to the Pacific Northwest regions of the United States and British Columbia. In the Willamette Valley, it prefers full to partial shade, but will tolerate full sun in coastal areas. It grows slowly and prefers acidic soils.

The shiny, alternately arranged leaves are 2-3.0cm long and 1-1.5cm wide with finely serrated edges. In mid-summer, the plant produces round, edible black berries about 0.5 – 1.0cm in diameter. The berries are a valuable traditional food for many Native American cultures in the Pacific Northwest.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade, Full Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Slow
  • Spreads: Yes
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: Yes
  • Mature Height: 4-8ft
  • Mature Width: 3-6ft

Black Twinberry

Black twinberry (Lonicera involucrata)
Lonicera involucrata

Black twinberry (Lonicera involucrata) is also known as “twinberry honeysuckle”. Named for its twin-forming flower and fruit, this is a fast-growing, attractive shrub reaching 10 feet or more. Pairs of tubular-shaped yellow to orange flowers bloom mid-spring to early summer, followed by very showy red bracts surrounding dark purple berries. The flowers provide nectar for hummingbirds and the berries are eaten by numerous birds. Twinberry likes sun or partial shade and moist soil.


  • Light Requirements: Full Sun, Part Shade
  • Water Requirements: Moist, Seasonally Wet
  • Ease of Growing: Easy to grow
  • Growth Rate: Moderate
  • Spreads: No
  • Wildlife Support: Pollinators, Hummingbirds, Birds or Mammals
  • Edible: No
  • Mature Height: 8-10ft
  • Mature Width: 4-10ft
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