What are Some Fast Growing Shrubs?

N. Phipps

When looking for fast growing shrubs to place in the landscape, there are many to choose from. The best type of shrub for quick growth, however, should always be compatible with its surroundings. Plants grown in the wrong setting will not perform well. Therefore, careful consideration should be given beforehand as to the area’s soil conditions, available light and space, and other important growing requirements.

Lilacs are highly fragrant and easy to grow.
Lilacs are highly fragrant and easy to grow.

Some types of fast growing shrubs can also come in tree varieties, such as with lilacs and viburnums, so make sure the type selected is appropriate for the space in which it’s planted. Lilacs are most popular for their highly fragrant blooms. However, they’re also easy to grow and maintain. Viburnums are popular for their quick growth as well as their spring blooms, which are followed by attractive berries and fall foliage.

Butterflies are attracted to Rhododendrons, azaleas and butterfly bushes, all types of fast-growing shrubs.
Butterflies are attracted to Rhododendrons, azaleas and butterfly bushes, all types of fast-growing shrubs.

Like lilacs, viburnums are easy-care plants with many varieties and a wide range of growing conditions to accommodate nearly any landscape. Another great candidate that tolerates many conditions is the forsythia bush. Forsythias are one of the first to bloom in early spring with bright yellow flowers. These are also extremely fast growing shrubs, growing up to two feet per year. This makes them ideal for use as screening or hedges.

Rhododendrons, azaleas, and butterfly bushes are among some of the most commonly seen landscape shrubs as well. Both rhododendrons and azaleas make excellent additions. Use them as foundation plantings, specimens, or shrub borders. These fast growing shrubs tolerate numerous growing conditions but prefer well-drained acidic soil. For stunning summer color and quick growth, butterfly bushes fit the bill, growing about a foot or two each year. These attractive shrubs suffer from few problems, are easy to grow and attract wildlife, such as butterflies and hummingbirds.

Well-known for its amazing bright red stems in winter, the red-twig dogwood is also notable for its fast growth. This easy-care, deciduous shrub provides year-round interest and is suitable for use in the shrub border. Also known for year-round interest is the Leland cypress. This evergreen shrub can grow nearly anywhere with annual growth up to four feet. This rate of growth makes it one of the top choices when choosing fast growing shrubs for the landscape.

Fast growing shrubs are especially useful as screening or hedges. They also make excellent choices for filling in empty areas of the landscape. All of these fast growing shrubs are suitable for accomplishing these purposes. However, for best results, their individual growing needs should be matched to your particular region and landscape.

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Discussion Comments


Is there a downside to using fast growing shrubs? I was wondering if they were more vulnerable to disease and such since they shoot up so quickly. I’ve got a few of the shrubs mentioned above planted in my yard, and some have done great while others look pretty rough.

I’m not a genius when it comes to landscaping, but I’m not a moron at it either. Am I doing something wrong with fast growing hedges, or should I try my hand with slower growing plants instead?


Fast growing shrubs are great, in my opinion! At least, they are great for people like me who want to see some sort of proof of their effort quickly. In shrubs, this could mean a year or two, but it sure is fun to watch those shrubs shoot up and out.

I love to tally up on my fingers how long I’ve had a shrub and share with my children how tall they were when I got them and then compare that to how big they are currently. They always think it’s pretty cool to see how much they’ve grown, too.

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