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Columnar Shrubs

Columnar Shrubs, also known as fastigiate shrubs are bushes that grow upright and tend to be narrow and uniform naturally. Like a column, they are taller than they are wide. These shrubs can be dwarf columnar trees or bushes of varying sizes and are usually evergreen plants. They are used in the home landscape for creating an elegant look and for landscaping tight spaces.

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Green Mountain Boxwood
52 reviews
Graham Blandy Boxwood

When to Plant Columnar Shrubs

The best time to plant these evergreen bushes is spring or fall, but this varies greatly depending on your location. In warmer locations avoid summer, but embrace winter planting! Cold climates should plant shrubs at least 6 weeks before the ground freezes or wait for spring.

How to Plant Columnar Shrubs

Dig a hole about twice the width of the root ball and not quite as deep as the root ball is tall. Place your Columnar Shrub level in the hole. This is especially important with narrow bushes so take a step back and ensure your shrub is straight. The top of the root ball should be slightly higher than the soil line. Backfill with the soil you dug out of the hole. Water deeply until the ground can no longer absorb water. Apply 1 to 2 inches of mulch to reduce weeds and watering needs and protect the roots.

How to Prune Columnar Shrubs

These narrow bushes are chosen for their natural shape so pruning usually isn’t necessary. Prune broken or dead branches when you notice them. Heavy pruning should generally be performed in late winter or early spring. A minor trim or shearing to keep your Columnar Shrub looking tidy can be done anytime except in mid to late fall (depending on your climate). Pruning often stimulates new growth which can be damaged by freezing temperatures.

Are There Any Columnar Shrubs for Shade?

Yes! The Green Mountain Boxwood and the Hicks Yew can grow in heavy shade. The Vokel’s Upright Hinoki Cypress and the Graham Blandy Boxwood tolerate part shade. For additional choices, be sure to browse our online garden center.

Featured Columnar Shrubs

Graham Blandy Boxwood

Buxus sempervirens 'Graham Blandy'
Growing Zones 5-9
Mature Size: 4 to 5 feet tall and 2 feet wide

This columnar boxwood is perfect for tight spaces in the home landscape. This low maintenance shrub tolerates drought and pollution and is deer resistant.

Green Mountain Boxwood

Buxus x 'Green Mountain'
Growing Zones 5-9
Mature Size: 4 to 5 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

This boxwood has a conical to columnar shape. In addition to tolerating heavy shade, the Green Mountain boxwood is pest, disease, and deer resistant.

Hicks Yew

Taxus x media 'Hicksii'
Growing Zones 3-7
Mature Size: 10 to 15 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

This columnar Yew is salt, pollution, and shade tolerant. The Hick’s Yew is a cold hardy plant that makes a nice privacy hedge or focal in a mixed bed.

Morgan Chinese

Thuja orientalis 'Morgan'
Growing Zones 5-9
Mature Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

This dwarf Arborvitae tree is our smallest columnar shrub. We think this adorable tiny columnar tree is certainly worth a mention. The Morgan Arborvitae has great color and is fabulous in containers.

October Magic Rose Camellia

Camellia sasanqua 'Green 98-009' PP20506
Growing Zones 7-9
Mature Size: 6 to 8 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide

This flowering columnar bush is evergreen and quite a looker! It is a fall blooming Camellia with loads of pink flowers that bloom in clusters. The October Magic Rose is easy to grow and deer and disease resistant.

Orange Rocket Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Orange Rocket'
Growing Zones 4-9
Mature Size: 4 to 5 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

This Barberry is an upright, columnar bush with outstanding color. New growth is vibrant coral orange and ages to a deep red. The hardy shrub is deer, disease, and pest resistant. The Orange Rocket is a thriller in containers!

Shenandoah Switch Grass

Panicum virgatum 'Shenandoah'
Growing Zones 4-9
Mature Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

This upright ornamental grass is a bit outside of the box as far as Columnar Shrubs go, but this native grass is upright and grows taller than it is wide. It is hardy, drought tolerant, deer and rabbit resistant, and adds fabulous color and texture.

Sky Pencil Holly

Ilex crenata 'Sky Pencil'
Growing Zones 5-9
Mature Size: 6 to 8 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide

These columnar holly shrubs are perfect for small spaces and containers. The Sky Pencil Holly is a low maintenance plant that offers an upscale look.

Sunjoy Gold Pillar Barberry

Berberis thunbergii 'Maria'
Growing Zones 4-8
Mature Size: 3 to 4 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

This compact columnar barberry bush had outstanding color. New growth is vibrant red orange and ages to golden yellow. The hardy Gold Pillar tolerates salt, drought, and pollution and is deer, disease, and pest resistant.

Vokel’s Upright Hinoki Cypress

Chamaecyparis obtusa 'Vokel's Upright'
Growing Zones 5-9
Mature Size: 4 to 5 feet tall and 1 to 2 feet wide

This columnar evergreen is funky and unique and great for a Zen or rock garden. This easy to grow dwarf tree is chic in containers.

Browse Columnar Trees for more options for tight spaces in the landscape.