Best Shrubs for Oklahoma: Discover Top Choices & Tips

When it comes to landscaping in Oklahoma, choosing the right shrubs is crucial. With its unique climate and soil conditions, not all shrubs thrive in this region. That’s why it’s essential to consider factors such as water availability, sunlight exposure, and soil type when selecting shrubs for Oklahoma landscapes.

In this article, we’ll explore the best shrubs for Oklahoma, including native varieties, drought-tolerant options, low-maintenance choices, evergreens for year-round interest, flowering shrubs for vibrant gardens, and hardy shrubs that can withstand Oklahoma’s challenging conditions. We’ll also provide tips on how to choose the right shrubs for your specific landscape and offer guidance on planting and caring for them.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a new homeowner looking to spruce up your outdoor space, this comprehensive guide has everything you need to know about shrubs for Oklahoma. So, let’s get started!

Native Shrubs for Oklahoma Landscapes

If you’re looking for shrubs that can thrive in Oklahoma, choosing native varieties is a smart choice. Native shrubs are well-adapted to the region’s climate and soil, and they can provide important benefits such as supporting local wildlife and preventing soil erosion. Here are some great native shrubs to consider:

Shrub Name Height (ft) Width (ft) Sun Exposure Soil Type
Eastern Redbud 20-30 25-35 Full sun to part shade Well-draining
Smooth Sumac 6-12 8-15 Full sun to part shade Well-draining
American Beautyberry 4-8 4-8 Full sun to part shade Moist to well-draining

The Eastern Redbud is a beautiful tree-like shrub with pink or purple flowers in the spring. The Smooth Sumac is a small shrub that displays bright red foliage in the fall. The American Beautyberry features clusters of bright purple berries in the fall, which attract birds and other wildlife.

Why Choose Native Shrubs?

“Native shrubs are important because they help maintain ecosystem balance by providing food and habitat for local wildlife, and they also help prevent soil erosion.”

In addition to their ability to thrive in Oklahoma’s unique environment, native shrubs have several other benefits. For one, they support local wildlife by providing food and habitat for birds, insects, and other animals. Additionally, since they are adapted to the local soil and climate, they require less maintenance and watering than non-native species. Finally, planting native shrubs can help prevent soil erosion and protect the local ecosystem.

  • Tip: When choosing native shrubs, look for varieties that are well-suited to the specific conditions of your landscape, such as sun exposure and soil type.

Drought Tolerant Shrubs for Oklahoma Gardens

Oklahoma is known for its dry climate and hot summers, making it important to choose shrubs that can withstand these conditions and require minimal watering once established. The following shrubs are great options for drought tolerance in Oklahoma gardens:

Shrub Benefits
Desert Willow This shrub produces beautiful pink or purple flowers in early summer and can tolerate hot and dry conditions.
Texas Sage Also known as cenizo, this shrub has silvery gray foliage and produces purple flowers that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. It is drought tolerant and low maintenance.
Sumac This shrub produces a beautiful fall color and is adapted to the dry conditions of Oklahoma. It can grow in a range of soil types and is a great option for erosion control.

When planting drought tolerant shrubs in Oklahoma, it’s important to give them plenty of space to grow and establish their roots. Water new shrubs deeply once a week for the first month, then gradually reduce watering to once a month or less, depending on the rainfall in your area. Mulching around the base of the shrub can also help retain moisture and keep roots cool.

Low Maintenance Shrubs for Oklahoma Landscapes

While shrubs can add a lot of character to a landscape, they can also be high-maintenance and require a lot of pruning and care. For busy homeowners who want to enjoy the benefits of shrubs without all the work, there are a number of low maintenance options available. Here are some of the best low maintenance shrubs for Oklahoma landscapes:

Shrub Name Description Care Instructions
Winterberry Holly A deciduous shrub that provides beautiful red berries in the winter months. Plant in well-drained soil and provide occasional watering in prolonged drought periods. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth appears.
Boxwood A classic evergreen shrub that adds a touch of elegance to any landscape. Plant in well-drained soil and provide occasional watering in prolonged drought periods. Prune in late winter or early spring before new growth appears.
Forsythia A deciduous shrub that produces vibrant yellow flowers in early spring. Plant in well-drained soil and provide occasional watering in prolonged drought periods. Prune after blooming to encourage new growth for the following year.

By choosing low maintenance shrubs, homeowners can enjoy the beauty and character of shrubs without the added work. These shrubs require minimal pruning and care, making them a great option for those with busy schedules or limited time for yard work.

Evergreen Shrubs for Year-Round Interest in Oklahoma

When it comes to achieving a beautiful landscape all year round in Oklahoma, planting evergreen shrubs is key. Evergreens provide color and texture to your garden even during the cold winter months. Here are some top choices of evergreen shrubs to consider:

Shrub Name Description
Boxwood A popular choice for hedges and borders, boxwood shrubs are easy to care for and can handle full sun to partial shade conditions. They come in various sizes and shapes, so you can choose the perfect fit for your landscape.
Holly Holly shrubs are known for their glossy, green leaves and bright red berries, which often last through the winter months. These shrubs can be pruned for shape and size, and there are many varieties to choose from.
Juniper Junipers come in many shapes and sizes, from small groundcovers to larger shrubs. They are drought-tolerant and require minimal maintenance, making them a popular choice for busy homeowners. Some varieties even have colorful foliage in addition to their evergreen needles.
Yew Yew shrubs have dark green needles, and some varieties produce a bright red fruit. They can be pruned into desirable shapes, making them a versatile choice for landscaping. Yews prefer partial to full shade conditions and well-draining soil.

When planting evergreen shrubs, it’s important to choose the right spot. Most evergreens prefer well-draining soil and partial to full sun conditions, but some varieties can tolerate shade. Make sure to water your new shrubs deeply and regularly to ensure they establish properly.

Flowering Shrubs for Vibrant Oklahoma Gardens

Flowering shrubs can add a burst of color and vibrancy to any Oklahoma garden. Here are some top choices for your landscape:

Shrub Name Bloom Time Color
Butterfly Bush Summer to Fall Purple, Pink, White
Hydrangea Summer to Fall Pink, Blue, White
Lilac Spring Purple, Pink, White

When planting flowering shrubs, it’s important to choose the right location. Most flowering shrubs prefer full sun, but some can tolerate partial shade.

Proper pruning is essential for these shrubs to thrive and produce abundant blooms. Prune them in late winter or early spring, before new growth appears. The amount of pruning will depend on the specific variety of shrub, so it’s important to research the needs of your chosen shrub before pruning.

Regular fertilization with a balanced fertilizer can also help flowering shrubs grow and thrive. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

Tip: Deadheading the spent blooms on your flowering shrubs can encourage more blooms to appear.

Overall, flowering shrubs can bring a lively and colorful addition to any Oklahoma garden. With proper care and maintenance, they can provide years of enjoyment for you and your family.

Hardy Shrubs for Challenging Oklahoma Conditions

Oklahoma is known for its extreme weather conditions, ranging from cold winters to hot summers. As such, it can be challenging to find shrubs that can withstand these conditions. However, there are several hardy shrubs that can thrive in Oklahoma’s climate, with proper care and maintenance.

Shrub Name Type Hardiness Zone
Redtwig Dogwood Deciduous Zones 2-8
Winterberry Deciduous Zones 3-9
Japanese Yew Evergreen Zones 4-7
Siberian Peashrub Deciduous Zones 2-6

Redtwig Dogwood is a deciduous shrub with bright red stems, adding a pop of color to winter landscapes. Winterberry is another deciduous shrub that produces red berries in the winter months, providing food for birds. Japanese Yew is an evergreen shrub that can tolerate shade and is a great option for landscaping. Siberian Peashrub is a drought-tolerant plant that adapts well to Oklahoma’s dry conditions.

To ensure these shrubs have the best chance of survival in Oklahoma’s weather conditions, it is important to plant them in well-draining soil and provide adequate water during establishment. Additionally, mulching around the base of the shrubs can help retain moisture and provide insulation during extreme weather conditions.

When selecting hardy shrubs for Oklahoma landscapes, it is important to research their hardiness zones to ensure they are suitable for the region’s climate. Proper care and maintenance, including regular pruning and fertilizing, can help ensure the longevity and health of these hardy shrubs.

Choosing the Right Shrubs for Your Oklahoma Landscape

Choosing the right shrubs for your Oklahoma landscape is crucial for a healthy and visually appealing garden. Factors such as soil type, sunlight exposure, and aesthetic preferences all play a role in determining which shrubs are suitable for your landscape.

Here are some tips to help you choose the right shrubs for your Oklahoma garden:

  • Consider the soil type: Oklahoma has a range of soil types, including clay, loam, and sand. Before selecting shrubs, it’s important to determine your soil type and choose shrubs that are well-adapted to it.
  • Think about sun exposure: Some shrubs prefer full sun, while others thrive in partial or full shade. Be sure to choose shrubs that are appropriate for the amount of sunlight in your chosen planting location.
  • Consider the size and growth habits: Shrubs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from low-growing ground covers to tall privacy screens. Consider how much room you have and choose shrubs that will fit appropriately in your space.
  • Choose shrubs that suit your aesthetic: Shrubs come in a variety of colors, textures, and shapes. Consider the overall aesthetic of your landscape and choose shrubs that complement it.

By considering these factors, you can choose shrubs that are well-suited to your Oklahoma landscape and will thrive in your garden for years to come.

Planting and Caring for Shrubs in Oklahoma

Planting shrubs in Oklahoma can be a rewarding experience, but it’s important to know how to properly care for them to ensure they thrive in your landscape. Here are some tips for planting and caring for shrubs in Oklahoma:

Soil Preparation

Before planting your shrubs, it’s essential to properly prepare the soil. Oklahoma soil can be thick and heavy, so start by mixing in some organic matter like compost or aged manure to improve drainage. If your soil is too alkaline, you may need to adjust the pH level by adding some sulfur or peat moss. Testing your soil before planting is always a good idea.

Planting Techniques

When planting shrubs in Oklahoma, it’s best to do so in the spring or fall when the temperatures are mild. Dig a hole that is two times wider and deeper than the root ball and gently loosen the roots before placing the shrub into the hole. Make sure the top of the root ball is level with the soil surface and backfill with the amended soil. Water the shrub thoroughly after planting.

Watering and Fertilizing

Proper watering is crucial when caring for shrubs in Oklahoma. Water deeply and regularly, especially during the hot and dry summer months. Newly planted shrubs may need to be watered more frequently until they are established. Fertilizing is also important to ensure healthy growth. Use a slow-release fertilizer in the spring and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


Pruning is necessary to maintain the shape and size of your shrubs, but it’s important to do so at the right time. Shrubs that bloom in the spring should be pruned right after they finish blooming, while those that bloom in the summer should be pruned in late winter or early spring. Always use clean and sharp equipment to avoid damaging the shrub.

Winter Protection

Oklahoma winters can be harsh, so it’s important to protect your shrubs from freezing temperatures and strong winds. Apply a layer of mulch around the base of the shrub to insulate the roots and wrap burlap around the shrub to shield it from windburn. Avoid using plastic as it can trap moisture and damage the shrub.

By following these tips for planting and caring for shrubs in Oklahoma, you can ensure that your landscape stays healthy and beautiful for years to come.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Growing Shrubs in Oklahoma

While shrubs can add beauty and value to Oklahoma landscapes, they require proper care and maintenance to thrive. Below are some common mistakes to avoid when growing shrubs in Oklahoma:

  • Planting the wrong shrubs: Choosing shrubs that are not well-suited to Oklahoma’s soil and climate can lead to poor growth and higher maintenance. Be sure to research and select shrubs that are native to Oklahoma or can tolerate its conditions.
  • Overwatering: Shrubs in Oklahoma do not require excessive watering, especially once they are established. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other diseases. Water only when necessary and aim to keep the soil moist, but not waterlogged.
  • Improper pruning: Pruning shrubs at the wrong time of year or with improper techniques can damage the plant and affect its growth. Be sure to research the proper pruning methods for each shrub variety and prune at the appropriate time.
  • Ignoring pests and diseases: Shrubs in Oklahoma can be susceptible to pests and diseases, especially if they are not properly cared for. Be sure to regularly check for signs of infestations or diseases and take appropriate action to prevent or treat them.
  • Not fertilizing: Shrubs in Oklahoma can benefit from periodic fertilization, especially during the growing season. Be sure to use a fertilizer that is appropriate for the shrub variety and follow the recommended application rates.

By avoiding these common mistakes and providing proper care, your shrubs can thrive in Oklahoma’s unique environment and add value to your landscape.

Oklahoma Shrubs: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are you still unsure about which shrubs are best for your Oklahoma landscape? Here are some frequently asked questions that may help you in your decision-making process:

Q: How often do I need to water my shrubs?

A: It depends on the shrub variety and the time of year. Generally, newly planted shrubs will require more frequent watering until they are established. Once established, most shrubs in Oklahoma will only need to be watered during periods of drought.

Q: When is the best time to plant shrubs in Oklahoma?

A: Fall and spring are the best times to plant shrubs in Oklahoma. Fall planting allows shrubs to establish roots before winter, while spring planting gives them a full growing season to establish before the following winter.

Q: How often should I prune my shrubs?

A: Again, it depends on the shrub variety. Some shrubs require regular pruning to maintain their shape and size, while others only need to be pruned occasionally. Always research your specific shrub variety before pruning.

Q: What is the best way to fertilize my shrubs?

A: Slow-release fertilizers are recommended for most shrubs in Oklahoma. These fertilizers will be released over time, providing your shrubs with the necessary nutrients without overloading them with chemicals.

Q: How do I protect my shrubs from winter damage?

A: Providing a thick layer of mulch around the base of your shrubs can help protect them from the harsh Oklahoma winter. You can also cover your shrubs with burlap if they are particularly vulnerable.

Q: What shrubs are best for attracting pollinators?

A: Native shrubs such as American beautyberry, Redbud, and serviceberry are great options for attracting pollinators in Oklahoma.

With these answers to common questions, you can make informed decisions about the shrubs that will thrive in your Oklahoma landscape.


Choosing the right shrubs for your Oklahoma landscape is crucial to achieving a beautiful and thriving garden. By selecting native, drought-tolerant, low-maintenance, evergreen, flowering, and hardy shrubs, you can create a landscape that is both visually appealing and environmentally sustainable.

Remember to take into consideration important factors such as soil type, sunlight exposure, and desired aesthetic when choosing your shrubs. Proper planting and care are also essential to ensure your shrubs thrive in Oklahoma’s unique climate.

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insight and recommendations on shrubs for Oklahoma. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new varieties, and always be mindful of common mistakes to avoid. With the right shrubs and care, your Oklahoma landscape can be a stunning and enjoyable space for years to come.

Oklahoma Shrubs: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: When is the best time to prune shrubs in Oklahoma?

A: The ideal time to prune shrubs in Oklahoma is during late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. However, some shrubs may have specific pruning requirements, so it’s best to consult specific care instructions for each shrub variety.

Q: How often should I fertilize my shrubs in Oklahoma?

A: Shrubs in Oklahoma generally benefit from a slow-release fertilizer application in early spring, as well as a second application in late summer. Be sure to follow the recommended dosage instructions on the fertilizer package and avoid over-fertilization, which can harm the shrubs.

Q: How do I protect my shrubs from freezing temperatures in Oklahoma winters?

A: To protect shrubs from freezing temperatures, consider using a layer of mulch around the base of the plants to insulate the roots. Additionally, you can cover the shrubs with burlap or a frost cloth during extreme cold snaps. Avoid using plastic, as it can trap moisture and cause damage.

Q: Can I plant shrubs in Oklahoma during the hot summer months?

A: It’s generally best to avoid planting shrubs in Oklahoma during the hot summer months. Instead, aim to plant in the spring or fall when the temperatures are milder and the soil is easier to work with. If you must plant during the summer, be sure to provide ample water and shade to help the shrubs establish.

Q: How do I control pests and diseases on my shrubs in Oklahoma?

A: Regular inspection is key to preventing and managing pests and diseases on shrubs in Oklahoma. If you notice any signs of infestation or disease, promptly remove affected plant parts and consider using organic pest control methods or contacting a professional for assistance. Proper watering and care practices can also help minimize the risk of pests and diseases.