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Sometimes you just need your plants to grow up in a hurry. Whether you’re trying to hide an unsightly view of your garbage cans (or your neighbor’s!) or want to add some curb appeal to the front of your house, fast-growing shrubs can solve the problem. Many fast growers also serve as great foundation plantings or groundcovers to prevent erosion on hillsides. And spring-blooming shrubs offer color when you need it most after a long, dark winter (thank you, forsythia).

Fair warning, though: While many shrubs are considered fast-growing, “fast” is a relative term. Some shrubs grow like crazy in warm climates and are slower to take off in cold regions of the country. Environmental conditions, such as unseasonably cold weather or too little or too much rain, also can take a toll on a shrub’s growth rate.

To give your shrub its best start in life, make sure it’s sited correctly, according to the plant tag or description. For example, most flowering shrubs need full sun, which is considered 6 or more hours per day. You’ll also want to choose a shrub that’s suited to survive winters in your USDA Hardiness zone (find yours here).

RELATED: The 15 Best Foundation Shrubs to Plant in Front of Your House

Ahead, our top picks for fast-growing shrubs for your garden:

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1. Hydrangea

There are hundreds of varieties of hydrangeas, and most are moderate to fast growers. Make sure the read the tag to know what type you’re buying. Most need some sun to flower best, but they appreciate afternoon shade in hot climates.

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2. Butterfly Bush

If you want to attract beneficial pollinators, this is a lovely pick. Butterfly Bush blooms all season long, providing nectar for—you guessed it—butterflies and birds. Look for non-invasive types (they’ll be identified), which won’t take over your landscape.

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3. Diervilla

Beautiful orange fall foliage and clusters of flowers that attract pollinators make this native shrub a lovely addition to your garden. It’s also more shade tolerant than many other flowering shrubs.

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4. Calycanthus

This shrub, also called sweet shrub for its delightful fragrance, is a lesser-known native that makes a striking accent plant in the landscape. Its elegant, velvety blooms resemble magnolias.

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5. Chaste Tree

You may not have heard of this shrub, but once you see its pretty blue flowers—and witness them last for months in the summertime—you’ll realize it’s one of the gardening world’s best-kept secrets. Look for dwarf varieties, which max out at 3 to 6 feet tall and wide.

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6. Aronia

White spring flowers and vibrant fall color make this an excellent hedge specimen. It’s a tough shrub that does well in all types of soils and is extremely cold-hardy. It’s available in several heights, so read the tag to know its mature size.

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7. Forsythia

When the forsythia blooms, it’s a sure sign spring has arrived finally! The bright yellow flowers appear before the foliage. Look for smaller varieties that will fit in any landscape.

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8. Ninebark

Ninebarks have elegant, arching branches and tiny clusters of fragrant white or pink flowers in mid-spring. Their foliage ranges from coppery orange to deepest burgundy. Look for dwarf varieties if you’re tight on space; you don’t want to prune this one or it will interfere with its attractive form.

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9. Dappled Willow

Dappled willows have lovely pale green and white foliage that emerges pink. It makes an amazing hedge or accent plant—but give it plenty of room. It’s typically one of the fastest growers.

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10. Arborvitae

Arbs range in size from gigantic and columnar to short and squat round shrubs, which are trending this year. These look especially good in foundation plantings or groups of three. Look for dwarf types for smaller spaces.

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11. Cotoneaster

If you need a fast-growing groundcover shrub, cotoneaster grows 1 to 2 feet tall with a 6-foot spread. It’s ideal for slopes and banks for erosion control. White flowers in spring are followed by summer berries.

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12. Crepe Myrtle

These beautiful shrubs are southern favorites. They can become quite large, so read the tag to know the mature height and width, and look for dwarf varieties if you have a smaller garden. They have lovely pink, white or red summer blooms.

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13. Juniper

Some junipers are upright, while others are ground-hugging, making them excellent groundcovers for sloping sites. Look for types with blue-green foliage as a nice contrast to the other plants in your garden.

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14. Potentilla

This landscape staple offers a long bloom time with white, pink or white flowers from late spring to frost. It’s extremely cold-hardy and deer resistant. New varieties have a more attractive, less leggy form.

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15. Lilac

Nothing says spring like the scented pale pink or purple blooms of lilacs framed by its heart-shaped leaves. Many older types become quite large, but new varieties stay petite and rebloom later in the season.

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16. Korean Spice Viburnum

Beautiful pink flowers on this deciduous shrub fade to white and its bright red berries turn black in fall, making for an eye-catching metamorphosis through the seasons. Plant this where you can enjoy its fragrant blooms.

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17. Red Twig Dogwood

This deciduous shrub has showy white blooms in spring, but plant it for its winter show. Its bright red stems are stunning against a background of snow.

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18. Weigela

Intense red, hot pink or white blooms pop against bright green or burgundy foliage. These spring bloomers may flower sporadically the rest of the season. They require almost no maintenance.

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19. Wintercreeper

This low-growing evergreen can be grown as a shrub or groundcover. You’ll find it in green, white and green variegated, as well as yellow and green variegated types.

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20. Photinia

This is a handsome, medium-sized shrub that makes an excellent hedge. Its dense growth, which has a beautiful reddish caste, make this fast-grower ideal for screening views.

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21. Wax Myrtle

This is a great choice for a fast-growing hedge or privacy screen in warm climates. Its glossy, dense foliage and berries offer shelter and winter food for birds.

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RELATED: The 10 Prettiest Plants that Will Attract All the Butterflies, Hummingbirds and Bees to Your Yard

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