Skip to Content Skip to Navigation





Though Stacey Hirvela is the Proven Winners shrub specialist, she’s an equal opportunity plant geek who loves to grow a little bit of everything (and a lot of edibles and ferns!).  She works at Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Shrubs administering their Facebook page, taking photos in the trial gardens, running the Invincibelle Spirit® hydrangea campaign for a cure, and doing everything she can to help people be more successful in their gardens. A graduate of the New York Botanical Garden School of Professional Horticulture, Stacey formerly served as the horticulturist for the former Tavern on the Green restaurant in New York’s Central Park and a garden editor at Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Top 10 shrubs for containers and small spaces



Lo & Behold® 'Blue Chip' Butterfly Bush

Buddleia hybrid

Lo & Behold ‘Blue Chip Jr.’ has all the great qualities of the original ‘Blue Chip’ – non-invasive, dwarf habit, non-stop fragrant blooms – but with some major improvements. First, it blooms earlier, giving you a better show for longer. Next, it’s bluer, with flowers approaching a true-blue color. The foliage has a lovely silver tone, giving it a distinctive look and providing nice contrast with the flowers.


Gem Box® inkberry holly

Ilex glabra

Every garden needs a neat, classic evergreen for year-round color and structure. May we suggest Gem Box? This unique variety of our native inkberry holly grows into a tidy ball that will add just the right touch of formality to containers or small gardens. Plant it with white flowers for a truly sophisticated combination.





We discovered the Cityline series of bigleaf hydrangea in Germany where it was being grown as a gift plant – its super strong stems, compact habit, and insanely bright flowers made it perfect for this, and it also happens to be an outstanding garden plant as well. There are six varieties in the series –and since Cityline hydrangeas only get to be 2’ tall, you’ll never have to worry about pruning them and removing those fabulous flowers.


Bobo® Hardy Hydrangea

Hydrangea paniculata

It has a silly name –but this hardy hydrangea is no joke!  Bobo stays just 3’ tall and is absolutely smothered in lacy flowers that reach nearly the size of a football. They start out white and fade to a delicate pink as they age, extending the floral display into fall. Really, anyone can grow Bobo hydrangea – it’s hardy all the way down to zone 3 and heat tolerant all the way up to zone 9, and its small size makes it easy to work into flower beds or landscaping.  Grow it in a container with Supertunias as we did and prepare to rake in the compliments!




Tuff Stuff Reblooming Mountain Hydrangea

Hydrangea serrata

Tuff Stuff is a type of mountain hydrangea, which comes from colder regions than its relative the bigleaf hydrangea, so it blooms much more reliably, even in zone 5. It reblooms, too, so you’ll have blooms from mid-summer through autumn. This beautiful plant is bound to become one of your favorites!


Bloom-A-Thon® Pink Double Reblooming Azalea


We offer so many reblooming shrubs because, really, who can have enough flowers? Bloom-a-Thon azaleas provide up to 20 weeks – that’s five months! – of flowers. The show begins in spring, when they bloom at normal azalea time, but after they take a short rest to put on some new growth, they begin again in mid-late July and continue until frost.



Tiny Wine Ninebark


Ninebark is a perfect low-maintenance landscape plant: it looks fabulous while asking almost nothing from you. Dark purple foliage keeps it interesting for months instead of just weeks, and clusters of pale pink flowers in late spring give way to interesting seed pods in summer. Tiny Wine ninebark is dainty, reaching 3’ height with a narrow, columnar spread of just 18-24”. The plant is smaller, the leaves are smaller, but the impact in the garden is still huge!


Oso Easy® Paprika Rose


Roses aren’t typically plants that you think about just tucking into your beds here and there – but Oso Easy roses are not at all typical! We worked with a team of talented breeders in England to create this series of disease-free, long-blooming landscape roses that grow no taller than 3’. In fact, Oso Easy Paprika reaches just 2’ tall and forms a neat and tidy mound, and its spicy orange-yellow flowers appear nearly non-stop from June until frost, all while remaining untouched by typical rose enemies like powdery mildew and black spot.


Oso Happy® Petit Pink


Looking for a low-maintenance, disease-free landscape rose that doesn’t take the romance out of roses? Try Oso Happy Petit Pink: Hundreds of petal-packed pink flowers cover this plant all summer long for an old-fashioned look without the old-fashioned care regimens. It’s my personal favorite out of the roses we offer, and I’m not alone – the American Rose Society gave it an esteemed Award Of Excellence in 2011! If you love the floriferous look of an English cottage garden, or you simply can’t get enough of powder puff pink, you’ll think this hardy, Minnesota-bred beauty is too good to be true, too.




If you love lilacs (and really, who doesn’t?!) but don’t have space for these normally 8’ tall shrubs, Scent and Sensibility lilac! This incredibly fragrant lilac is sized for any garden or even a container – it reaches just 2-3’ tall and 3’ wide without any pruning or special care. Very disease-resistant and with a very handsome, neat habit, Scent & Sensibility blazes a new trail for this old-fashioned favorite. I’ll let you in on a little secret, too – it reblooms throughout the summer, just not quite as prolifically as our Bloomerang series, but with an even more complex, intoxicating fragrance.

Dr. Rick's- Top 10 Plants That Will Bring Color All Summer Long in the South

Sandy's- Top 10 Plants That Will Bring Color All Summer Long in the Midwest

Laura's - Top 10 Pink Plants

Tabatha - Putting the "Thriller in containers and the landscape"

Back to Top

Find plants you love and create idea boards for all your projects.

To create an idea board, sign in or create an account.