13 of the Best New Shrubs For 2020

This list of the best new shrubs for 2020 has some bushes that grow in the shade, some that have gorgeous foliage and some that have beautiful blooms all season long. Regardless of your growing conditions, you’re sure to find some plants that will work in your garden.

The best new shrubs for 2020

A couple of weeks ago I talked about the new perennials that are coming out in 2020.

This week. I’m taking that one step further by talking about the best shrubs of 2020.

Bushes are the backbone of any garden so I’m always excited to find out the new varieties I can use to add some more interest to my yard.

This list of the best shrubs for 2020 are the ones I’ll be looking for in the spring.

Barberry ‘Sunjoy Sequins‘ (Berberis thunbergii)

Barberry 'Sunjoy Sequins™' (Berberis thunbergii)

Exposure: Part Sun to Full Sun
Bloom Time: Spring
Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 24″ to 36″
Width: 36″ to 48″

Barberry ‘Sunjoy Sequins‘ is a small shrub that will make a big impact in your garden.

It has yellow flowers in spring, but what you’ll really be growing it for is its foliage.

The variegated foliage of the new 2020 shrub Barberry 'Sunjoy Sequins™'

The new growth is white, pink and light green which matures to a brilliant emerald green.

It does have some prickly thorns so you won’t want to plant it close to where people could walk into it. But it rarely requires pruning so they shouldn’t be much of an issue there.

It’s also a really tough plant that’s drought tolerant, easy to grow and resists deer (those thorns are good for something!)


Dogwood ‘Golden Shadows®(Cornus alternifolia)

Dogwood 'Golden Shadows®'

Exposure: Part Sun to Full Sun
Bloom Time: Spring
Zones: 3 to 8
Height: 10′ to 12′
Width: 10′ to 12′

Dogwood ‘Golden Shadows®‘ is another new shrub for 2020 that you’ll likely be growing more for its beautiful foliage than its lacy white flowers.

The leaves are a bright yellow color with a splotch of emerald green in the center and the new growth can take on pink tones in cool weather.

Its strong horizontal branching adds an architectural element to your garden that looks beautiful even in the winter.

Like most dogwoods, this variety does well in light shade. The further south you live, the more shade it will require.

It’s also a native plant that is easy to grow, doesn’t require pruning and resists deer.


Smokebush ‘Winecraft Gold®‘ (Cotinus coggygria)

Smokebush 'Winecraft Gold®'

Exposure: Part Sun to Full Sun
Bloom Time: Summer
Zones: 5 to 8
Height: 4′ to 6′
Width: 4′ to 6′

Beautiful foliage seems to be a trend in the new 2020 shrub selections.

And Smokebush ‘Winecraft Gold®‘ is no exception.

It has Chartreuse colored leaves that really stand out in the garden.

As with other Smokebush varieties, this shrub develops memorable smoke-like seedheads in summer. And although I haven’t seen them, ‘Winecraft Gold®‘ is supposed to have pink ones, which would look really stunning against the bright colored leaves.

And this variety grows smaller and denser than conventional Cotinus shrubs so it’s easier to find a spot for it in your garden.

Avoid pruning smokebush regularly. It blooms on old wood so too much pruning will prevent the smoke-like blooms from forming.


Forsythia ‘Flying Machine®(Forsythia koreana)

Forsythia 'Flying Machine®'

Exposure: Part Sun to Full Sun
Bloom Time: Early Spring
Zones: 6 to 8
Height: 5′ to 8′
Width: 4′ to 6′

Forsythia ‘Flying Machine®‘ is one of the earliest shrubs to bloom in the spring. It’s a large shrub that will be covered in yellow flowers.

And who wouldn’t want to look out their window to see these extra large golden-orange flowers brightening their garden?

Forsythia 'Flying Machine®' blossoms on the ground

Even when the flowers are done, they stay in tact when they fall to the ground forming a gold carpet under the plant.

This variety of Forsythia is easy to grow, shade tolerant (although it will bloom more heavily in the sun) and deer resistant

It blooms on old wood, so prune immediately after flowering to prevent cutting off next year’s flowers.


Rose of Sharon ‘Magenta Chiffon®(Hibiscus syriacus)

Rose of Sharon 'Magenta Chiffon®'

Exposure: Full Sun
Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
Zones: 6 to 8
Height: 8′ to 12′
Width: 6′ to 10′

Hibiscus is one of my favorite plants. I already have about 10 of them in my garden, but I think it’s about to become 11.

A magenta flower from the 2020 new shrub Rose of Sharon 'Magenta Chiffon®'

Rose of Sharon ‘Magenta Chiffon®‘ has brightly colored magenta flowers that bloom all summer long.

And it has a low seed set so it’s not invasive like some Hibiscus varieties can be.

Like other Rose of Sharons, this variety attracts hummingbirds, can be late to leaf out in the spring (don’t worry, it’s not dead!) and blooms on new wood. Which means you can prune it in the early spring without affecting the flowers.


Crapemyrtle ‘Rikki Tikki Pink’ (Lagerstroemia indica)

Crapemyrtle 'Rikki Tikki™ Pink'

Exposure: Full Sun
Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
Zones: 6 to 10
Height: 3′ to 5′
Width: 3′ to 5′

Here in SC Crapemyrtles are everywhere! So it’s not a plant that I would normally include in my new plant list.

However Crapemyrtle ‘Rikki Tikki Pink’ is a bit different than your standard run of the mill variety.

First off, it’s a dwarf version. It only grows to about 5 feet high and works well as a border plant.

Second, it has deep purple new growth in the spring that turns to a silvery green color as it matures. 

And third, it has the beautiful flowers that bloom all summer and into the fall which Crapemyrtles are known for. ‘Rikki Tikki‘ will have a bright pink and a red variety available in 2020. 

In cooler climates, this Lagerstroemia may die back to the ground, but it will grow up from the roots and flower the same summer.


Mockorange ‘Illuminati Tiny Tower™’ (Philadelphus coronarius)

Mockorange 'Illuminati Tiny Tower™'

Exposure: Part Sun to Full Sun
Bloom Time: Late Spring
Zones: 4 to 7
Height: 3′ to 4′
Width: 18″ to 24″

Mockorange is another bush that I wouldn’t normally be including in a “best new plants” list. The couple of times I have grown them in the past, the bushes grew so large and messy that I ended up taking them out of my garden. 

However, Mockorange ‘Illuminati Tiny Tower™’ seems to have solved that problem.

It’s a dwarf variety that only grows to 4′ high and 2′ wide. Perfect for any garden border.

Yet, it still has all of the good qualities of a regular Mockorange bush. It’s deer resistant, drought tolerant and has very fragrant white flowers that resemble orange blossoms.


Lily of the Valley shrub ‘Interstella®(Pieris japonica)

Lily of the Valley shrub 'Interstella®'

Exposure: Full Shade to Part Shade
Bloom Time: Early Spring
Zones: 5 to 8
Height: 3′ to 4′
Width: 3′ to 4′

For everyone that has a really shady spot in their garden, Lily of the Valley shrub ‘Interstella’ may be the new 2020 shrub for you.

It has pinkish-red flowers that start blooming in very early spring and last for 2 months or more.

And it is one of the best shrubs for shade. Pieris japonica isn’t just shade tolerant. It LOVES to grow in the shade.

As with most Pieris varieties, it grows in acidic soil, has evergreen leaves and doesn’t like to pruned. So it’s very low maintenance to boot.

Find out more about growing Pieris japonica HERE.


Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man Color Wheel®

Rhododendron 'Dandy Man Color Wheel®'

Exposure: Part Sun
Bloom Time: Early Spring
Zones: 5 to 9
Height: 4′ to 8′
Width: 4′ to 8′

I love Rhododendrons! So whenever I hear about a new variety coming out, I’m always interested to see what it has to offer.

And Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man Color Wheel®‘ does not disappoint.

As the name suggests, it’s claim to fame is the number of colors the bloom cycle produces.

The buds start red.

Then open to multi-tone pink flowers.

Mature white flowers of the new 2020 shrub Rhododendron 'Dandy Man Color Wheel®'

And finally mature to pure white.

How awesome is that?

This plant has leathery evergreen foliage (as do many Rhododendrons), is disease resistant and does not require pruning or deadheading.

Learn more about caring for Rhododendrons HERE.


Azalea ‘Perfecto Mundo® Double Pink’ (Rhododendron)

Azalea 'Perfecto Mundo® Double Pink'

Exposure: Part Shade to Sun
Bloom Time: Early Spring
Zones: 6 to 9
Height: 4′ to 8′
Width: 4′ to 8′

Azaleas are another plant that you see everywhere in my neck of the woods. They grow in the wild here, so I literally mean they’re everywhere.

So what makes Azalea ‘Perfecto Mundo® Double Pink’ so special?

It reblooms.

As in, it produces the standard spring bloom that most Azaleas have.

Then after a brief break, it starts blooming again in mid summer and continues all the way through to the first frost.

The first round of flowers is produced on old wood, while the second round blooms on new wood.

Give it a quick pruning after the first flowers are finished to encourage new growth and even more flowers. But don’t prune later in the season since you’ll cut off next year’s spring flower buds.

To encourage as many of those beautiful flowers as possible, fertilize with a rose fertilizer in the early spring, and then again after the first round of flowers is finished.


Rose ‘Ringo(Rosa)

Rose 'Ringo™'

Exposure: Full Sun
Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 3′ to 4′
Width: 3′ to 4′

Normally when I grow roses, I look for the traditional full flowers that have a beautiful scent. And this plant has neither of those.

So why is it on my best new shrubs list for 2020?

I just couldn’t resist those flower colors. They start out yellow with a red center. Then fade to white with a pink center.

Add in the fact that this plant is disease resistant, blooms continuously all summer and doesn’t require deadheading, and it’s a pretty perfect rose plant. (Yes, you read that right, you don’t have to cut off the spent flowers for it to keep blooming!)

To encourage a bushier rose bush, cut the plant back by about half in the early spring.


Lilac ‘Scentara Pura’ (Syringa hyacinthiflora)

Lilac 'Scentara Pura'

Exposure: Full Sun
Bloom Time: Spring
Zones: 2 to 8
Height: 4′ to 6′
Width: 4′ to 6′

Lilacs are another bush that are near and dear to my heart. I love the smell of the beautiful scent and the look of the gorgeous flowers.

However, they are really hard to grow here in South Carolina.

Which is why I’m excited to try out Lilac ‘Scentara Pura’.

It has the class lilac fragrance and the pure purple flowers but requires less chilling than other lilacs so it performs better in warmer climates.

While it does better in the South than most lilacs, it performs equally well in cold climates so this is a very versatile Lilac variety.


Weigela ‘My Monet Purple Effect®(Weigela florida)

Weigela 'My Monet Purple Effect®'

Exposure: Part Sun to Full Sun
Bloom Time: Late Spring
Zones: 4 to 6
Height: 18″ to 30″
Width: 18″ to 30″

The last entry on my best new shrubs for 2020 list is one that I can only grow as an annual here in South Carolina. Our summers are just too hot for it.

However, it looks so pretty I had to include it on the list for those of you who live in cooler areas.

Like the original ‘My Monet’ Weigela, Weigela ‘My Monet Purple Effect®‘ is a dwarf variety that is more shade tolerant than most Weigela and has variegated cream and green leaves.

Unlike the original, this variety withstands cold and heat better. 

The variegated leaves and purple flowers of the new 2020 shrub Weigela 'My Monet Purple Effect®'

And, as the name suggests, it has purple tones on the leaves and in the flowers which will make a beautiful addition to any garden border.

Well, that’s it for my list of the best new shrubs for 2020.

All of these varieties should be available in your local nurseries in the spring.

Hopefully, you’ve found some new bushes to add to your spring shopping list. I know I have!

Other Plants You Might Be Interested In:

Have comments or questions about our best new shrubs for 2020? Tell us in the section below.

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