17 Types of Shrubs in Wisconsin

Types Of Shrubs In Wisconsin
Photo by Hans

Wisconsin gets plenty of snow during the winter, and that snow can really take its toll on your yard or garden.

If you’re looking to add variety and unique beauty to your yard without breaking the bank or spending hours on research and care, listed below are some of Wisconsin’s best types of shrubs to choose from.

Meanwhile, if you’re unsure which type of shrub will be best in your climate or area, talk to an arborist or landscaper before buying any shrubs.

They will help you make an informed decision based on your needs, preferences, budget, and other considerations.

To add color to your yard in the spring, use these types of shrubs in Wisconsin, ideally for its winters and springs. 

1. Alternateleaf Dogwood

The alternateleaf dogwood is the first on our list of the types of shrubs in Wisconsin. It is a deciduous shrub that grows in the eastern part of North America.

It flowers from early April to late May with white blossoms and goes dormant during the summer. Further, this shrub can grow up to 12 feet in height but generally stays around five feet tall.

The alternate leaf dogwood does well in areas with moist soil and tolerates shade. This makes it an ideal plant for people who don’t have a lot of space or want something low-maintenance.

2. Staghorn Sumac

A genus in the family Rhus, Staghorn Sumac is an evergreen shrub and is the second on our list of the types of shrubs in Wisconsin.

The plant produces a dense growth of branches that are covered with short hairs. It has five-petaled white, red, or yellow flowers and produces a round fruit that measures three inches in diameter.

Moreso, it likes full sun and dry soil and will grow up to five feet in height with a width of up to six feet. The leaves change from green to orange and red during autumn before falling off during winter.

3. Sumac

The sumac shrub is native to North America and Europe. The leaves are a deep green color with an orange-red tint in the summer.

This shrub has small clusters of flowers that grow in clusters called panicles from April until June. These flowers give off a sweet smell and are often used as perfume ingredients in their dried form.

The leaves turn red or yellow before they fall off, which adds a stunning splash of color to your garden during the fall months.

The sumac shrub can be grown as either a bush or as a tree but typically will only grow up to 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide.

They do best when planted in full sunlight because they cannot survive in the shade. But they are very tolerant of both dry and wet soil conditions.

4. Nannyberry

Another type of shrub in Wisconsin is the Nannyberry. It is a deciduous shrub with oval-shaped leaves and purple fruit in the fall.

Also, it adapts well to many different landscapes, withstanding heat, cold, drought, and salt. It produces fragrant flowers in the spring before the leaves come out, which are white or pink in color.

The nannyberry can grow up to 18 feet tall with a similar width. Consequently, this makes it an excellent option for large gardens or for those looking for privacy.

5. Roundleaf Dogwood

And now, on our list of the different types of shrubs in Wisconsin, we have the Roundleaf Dogwood. It is a deciduous, flowering tree or shrub that can grow up to 15 feet. It has oval leaves with smooth edges and clusters of white flowers that bloom in early spring. 

Plus, you can find this type of shrub in woods, along streams and roadsides, and at the edges of forests. It’s usually found more inland than other types of shrubs because it prefers moist soil.

6. Chokecherry

This shrub is a deciduous plant and blooms in late spring with pink, white, or purple flowers. The leaves are small and oval-shaped.

This bush can grow up to 8 feet tall and wide but will only grow about 3 feet yearly. It does well in moist soil but can also tolerate dry conditions as long as it has access to some water regularly.

The fruit from this bush is edible for humans, though it may be toxic for animals such as cows if they eat too many. Nonetheless, Chokecherry is one of Wisconsin’s most adorable types of shrubs.

7. Black Chokeberry

Like some types of shrubs in Wisconsin, it has round leaves with serrated edges and white flowers that bloom in the spring.

The berries are dark purple when ripe and have a sour taste. This shrub does best in moist, acidic soil and will do well in partial shade or full sun exposure. 

Furthermore, you can grow black chokeberry from seed or transplant. Transplanting should be done by early summer if you want the plant to return next year.

However, it can also be done at any time during the growing season if you want it as an annual plant. Transplants should be planted 1 foot apart with 6 feet between rows.

8. Gray Dogwood

Gray Dogwood is one of the types of shrubs in Wisconsin. Gray Dogwood is most often used in gardens for its ability to provide good spring color.

It can be planted as a single tree or as a group. And it provides great year-round interest with its beautiful white flowers and fall color.

One drawback to the Gray Dogwood is that it does not grow well in dry soil. This means if you live in an area with low water content, this may not be the best option for your garden.

However, if you live in an area where there are plenty of rainstorms or when you have access to irrigation systems, this shrub will thrive beautifully.

9. Lilac Bush

The lilac bush is a beautiful, fragrant plant of the types of shrubs in Wisconsin that will add life and color to any garden. It’s a versatile plant that can grow in either sun or shade and be trimmed into any shape you want. 

Coupled with that, you can even use it as an informal hedge. Just make sure the roots are well-drained and don’t water them.

10. Downy Arrowwood

Downy Arrowwood (Viburnum trilobum) is a fast-growing, deciduous flowering shrub. It can reach 15 feet in height and width but is often pruned into a bush or hedge.

The Downy Arrowwood has rounded leaves that are dark green on the top and lighter on the underside. 

These leaves turn a deep orange-red in autumn before falling off in winter. It produces clusters of white flowers with yellow centers from late spring until early summer.

The Downy Arrowwood is best planted in full sun or partial shade. Also, it does well in moist soils like some other types of shrubs in Wisconsin.

11. Hydrangeas

Regarding types of shrubs in Wisconsin that add beauty to any garden, Hydrangeas aren’t left out. They come in many different colors, with pink being the most common color. Moreso, they can grow up to six feet tall and will bloom from July until October.

12. Azaleas

Azaleas are a type of shrub that can be found in Wisconsin. They bloom in the spring and come in various colors, including red, pink, and purple. 

Many people grow them as decoration for their gardens or as part of the foundation planting for their landscaping. 

Additionally, they grow best in areas with full sun exposure and moist soil conditions. This plant can be classified as one of the types of easygoing shrubs in Wisconsin.

13. Spirea

Spirea, a type of shrub, is a deciduous shrub that produces purple flowers in the summer. It also attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. The foliage is glossy, dark green, and has serrated edges on the leaves. 

With that being said, Spirea grows 3-6 feet tall with a spread of 2-3 feet wide. It blooms in late spring or early summer and can be pruned at any time.

However, it is advised not to prune when it’s actively growing to have the best shape for your garden.

14. Viburnums

Of the different types of shrubs in Wisconsin, Viburnums are a type that can be found in many gardens across the country. This is due, in large part, to their ability to grow in diverse climates and soil conditions. 

For example, some types can be quite cold tolerant while others will do better in warmer climates. Also, these plants come in a variety of flower colors.

As a result, they are perfect for those looking for something a little bit more cheerful than your average green shrub.

15. Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bushes are perennial shrubs with the scientific name Buddleia. They thrive in moist, acidic soil and grow in woodland habitats.

The plant flowers in late spring and summer with large clusters of butterfly-shaped flowers that are often white or light purple.

Butterfly bushes come in many varieties, but one popular variety is the common orange butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii). There are many reasons why this plant, out of the different types of shrubs in Wisconsin, can brighten up your garden. 

For example, it provides nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds during pollination season and seeds for birds to eat during wintertime.

Butterflies will also flock to these plants. This is because they release sulfur compounds that mimic the smell of rotting fruit which attracts them.

16. Honeysuckle Bush

Honeysuckle bushes are one of the most popular types of shrubs in Wisconsin. They grow quickly and have a beautiful fragrant smell. You will need a sunny location with well-drained soil to plant this type. 

Plus, Honeysuckle is not picky about soil pH levels, so if you are having trouble growing other plants in your yard, this might be the right choice for you! Make sure to keep it trimmed regularly, as these bushes can grow up to six feet tall!

17. Holly

Shrubbery with holly can be pruned at any time during the year but after bloom, because it is one of the few types that hold their shape without losing their leaves.

Also, Holly is renowned for its ability to tolerate poor soil conditions and urban environments. In addition, its resistance to pests like termites, aphids, and scale insects makes it one of the best types of shrubs in Wisconsin!


Landscaping your garden is a labor of love, and it can be hard to know where to start. Moreso, with over 5,000 varieties of shrubs available, selecting the best shrubs for your yard in Wisconsin can seem quite daunting.

Luckily, landscapers and gardeners have narrowed their choices to what they consider the most common shrubs grown in the state.

We hope this list of types of shrubs in Wisconsin has been helpful and that you’ll enjoy which type of shrubs you finally decide on!

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