21 Fast-Growing Shrubs for Anyone Who Needs to Boost Their Curb Appeal ASAP

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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 (hello, sunny-yellow forsythia blooms).

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). No sense wasting money on a plant that isn’t going to make it through winters where you live!

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

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

fast growing shrubs hydrangea
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1. Hydrangea

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
  • What it Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Profuse blooms until frost, papery flowers stay intact for winter interest

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.

fast growing shrubs butterfly bush
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2. Butterfly Bush

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Blooms for the entire season, attracts tons of pollinators, heat tolerant

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.

fast growing shrubs diervilla
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3. Diervilla

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 7
  • What It Needs: Full sun to full shade
  • Why We Love It: Extremely tough native plant that doesn’t need to be babied

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.

fast growing shrubs calycanthus
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4. Calycanthus

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
  • What It Needs: Part to full sun
  • Why We Love It: Fruity scent and unusual flowers

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.

fast growing shrubs chaste tree
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5. Chaste Tree

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Beautiful blue spikes of flowers that last a long time

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.

fast growing shrubs aronia
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6. Aronia

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
  • What It Needs: Part to full sun
  • Why We Love It: Tough in cold climates, pretty fall color

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.

fast growing shrubs forsythia
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7. Forsythia

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Gorgeous bright yellow color in early spring

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.

fast growing shrubs ninebark
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8. Ninebark

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Beautiful color all year, mid-spring flowers pollinators adore

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.

fast growing shrubs dappled willow
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9. Dappled Willow

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9
  • What It Needs: Part to full sun
  • Why We Love It: Elegant, arching branches emerge pink, super-fast grower

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.

fast growing shrubs arborvitae
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10. Arborvitae

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Reliable evergreen color, many different sizes and shapes available

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 tight spaces.

fast growing shrubs cotoneaster
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11. Cotoneaster

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 10
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Low-growing groundcover with pretty flowers and berries

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.

fast growing shrubs crapemyrtle
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12. Crepe Myrtle

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 9
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Huge selection of colors and sizes

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.

fast growing shrubs juniper
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13. Juniper

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Very low maintenance evergreen that doesn’t need pruning to retain its shape

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.

fast growing shrubs potentilla
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14. Potentilla

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 2 to 7
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Long bloom time, low maintenance shrub

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.

fast growing shrubs lilac
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15. Lilac

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Old-fashioned favorite with delightful spring fragrance

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.

fast growing shrubs korean spice viburnum
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16. Korean Spice Viburnum

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8
  • What It Needs: Part to Full Sun
  • Why We Love It: Sweetly scented, pretty berries in fall

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.

fast growing shrubs red twig dogwood
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17. Red Twig Dogwood

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 2 to 9
  • What It Needs: Part to Full Sun
  • Why We Love It: Gorgeous bare red stems add color to winter landscapes, super cold-hardy

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.

fast growing shrubs weigela
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18. Weigela

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
  • What It Needs: Full sun
  • Why We Love It: Beautiful, blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds

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.

fast growing shrubs wintercreeper
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19. Wintercreeper

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 8
  • What It Needs: Part to full sun
  • Why We Love It: Variegated foliage is especially eye-catching

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.

fast growing shrubs photinia
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20. Photinia

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 6 to 9
  • What It Needs: Part to Full Sun
  • Why We Love It: Pretty red hue on new growth, makes a great screening shrub

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

fast growing shrubs wax myrtle
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21. Wax Myrtle

  • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 11
  • What It Needs: Part to full sun
  • Why We Love It: Glossy foliage, interesting berries provide winter food for birds

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. There are also dwarf varieties if you need a low hedge.

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Arricca Elin SanSone

Freelance Gardening Editor

Arricca Elin SanSone is a gardener with more than 15 years of experience. In addition to PureWow, she writes for Prevention, Country Living, Veranda, The Spruce and many other...
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