7 Tall and Slender Shrubs for Tight Spaces

By Kimberly Toscano

Looking to make a big impression in a small space? The Southern Living Plant Collection has you covered with modern cultivars for today’s landscapes. Try these compact varieties on the patio, in courtyards or as specimens in narrow gardens. Set them at the back of beds for space-saving walls and backdrops. Or pot them up for container magic on the porch.

1. ‘Orange Rocket’ Barberry 

Slim and sleek, ‘Orange Rocket’ brings dramatic color and height to even the smallest garden nooks. Perfect for containers or as an accent in beds and borders, ‘Orange Rocket’ is widely adaptable and a good choice for water-wise landscapes.

Slim and sleek, ‘Orange Rocket’ brings dramatic color and height to even the smallest garden nooks. Perfect for containers or as an accent in beds and borders, ‘Orange Rocket’ is widely adaptable and a good choice for water-wise landscapes.

Mature Size: 4’ tall x 1.5’ wide

USDA Hardiness: 5 to 9

Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade

2. Roman Candle™Podocarpus

The ultimate in low maintenance greenery, Roman Candle™ Podocarpus takes Mother Nature at her worst, from high heat to pesky deer. White variegation offers a unique color accent, while the tall profile offers structure and privacy.

The ultimate in low maintenance greenery, Roman Candle™Podocarpus takes Mother Nature at her worst, from high heat to pesky deer. White variegation offers a unique color accent, while the tall profile offers structure and privacy.

Mature Size: 10-15' tall x 4-6' wide

USDA Hardiness: 7 to 10

Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade

3. ‘Scarlet’s Peak’ Holly

With vibrant red winter berries and bright evergreen foliage, ‘Scarlet’s Peak’ provides a stunning, vertical accent for small gardens. A wildlife friendly selection – attracting birds but not the deer.

With vibrant red winter berries and bright evergreen foliage, ‘Scarlet’s Peak’ provides a stunning, vertical accent for small gardens. A wildlife friendly selection – attracting birds but not the deer.

Mature Size: 20' tall x 3' wide

USDA Hardiness: 8 to 10

Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade

4. Early Bird™Crapemyrtles 

Every garden has room for blooms with the compact habit of Early Bird™ Crapemyrtles. Selected for their dwarf size and long-bloom season, the Early Bird™ series begins flowering as early as Mother's Day and continues through fall for more than 100 days of color.

Every garden has room for blooms with the compact habit of Early Bird™Crapemyrtles. Selected for their dwarf size and long-bloom season, the Early Bird™ series begins flowering as early as Mother's Day and continues through fall for more than 100 days of color. 

Mature Size: 6’ tall x 3-4’ wide

USDA Hardiness: 7 to 10

Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade

Varieties: Purple, Lavender, and White

5. ‘Blue Point’ Juniper

A stately specimen or slender screen, ‘Blue Point’ Juniper maintains a dense, pyramidal form with no pruning. Prized for lush blue-green foliage, ‘Blue Point’ looks as much at home in formal gardens as naturalistic landscapes.

A stately specimen or slender screen, ‘Blue Point’ Juniper maintains a dense, pyramidal form with no pruning. Prized for lush blue-green foliage, ‘Blue Point’ looks as much at home in formal gardens as naturalistic landscapes.  

Mature Size: 15' H x 3–5' W

USDA Hardiness: 4 to 9

Exposure: Full Sun

6. ‘Little Miss Figgy’ Dwarf Fig

This little fig is almost too good to be true – abundant fruit set, heat and drought tolerance, compact growth, and gorgeous foliage all in one plant! What’s not to love? Deeply lobed, blue-green leaves and an upright form make a lovely specimen that just so happens to bear delicious, dark purple fruits. 

Mature Size: 4–6' H x 3–4' W

USDA Hardiness: 7 to 10

Exposure: Full Sun

7. October Magic®Bride™Camellia

Classic Southern charm in an upright conical form, October Magic® Bride™ introduces camellias to the tightest of gardens without sacrificing style. Elegant deep green foliage shines year-round, offering a stunning platform for an abundance of pure white blooms.

Classic Southern charm in an upright conical form, October Magic®Bride™introduces camellias to the tightest of gardens without sacrificing style. Elegant deep green foliage shines year-round, offering a stunning platform for an abundance of pure white blooms.

Mature Size: 4–5' H x 3–4' W

USDA Hardiness: 7 to 9

Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade

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