Shrubs That Don't Require Trimming

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Boxwood shrubs were used in ancient times as ornamentals.

In today's fast-paced lifestyle, many home owners seek shrubs that require very little care or pruning to thrive. The gardener simply wishes to plant the shrub, water it, perhaps fertilize it a bit, and nothing more. They want a low-maintenance plant the requires minimal to no pruning. Certain shrubs can fit this requirement once established.

Inkberry Holly

The evergreen 'Inkberry' holly (Ilex glabra) grows to 8 feet tall and 10 feet wide. The shrub is either male or female. In the summer months, the female species produces tiny bluish-black berries that remain on the shrub into the winter months. One of the many cultivars of the species, the 'Ivory Queen,' produces white berries, according to University of Arkansas Extension.

The 'Inkberry' holly will thrive U.S. Department of Agriculture planting zones 4 to 9. It can also survive down to a zone 3 with heavy mulching around its root system. The shrub requires no pruning to maintain its look, but it can be severely cut back with no adverse effects.


The boxwood shrub has been used as a landscape specimen and hedge plant since Colonial times. Approximately, 30 species of boxwoods exist, according to the Virginia Cooperative Extension. They range in size from 3 to 20 feet, depending on the variety. They require very little care once established unless they are being grown as a hedge. For the first three years they can benefit from shearing to make them bushier, but after that they require no pruning unless desired. Exceptionally large and old boxwoods often benefit from having older branches removed to allow air circulation and light to reach the other branches.

The shrub tolerates a wide range of soils. They enjoy being planted in full sunlight or partial shade. When establishing a boxwood keep the soil moist for the first year. After that they do not tolerate drought well but enjoy a thorough once a week watering. The boxwood is winter hardy to a USDA zone 5.

Russian Arborvitae

The Russian arborvitae is a low-growing shrub that rarely stands more than 12 inches in height, but it spreads over 15 feet, according to the University of Rhode Island Extension. A low-maintenance shrub, it requires virtually no care or pruning to thrive. It grows well in USDA zones 3 to 7. Plant the Russian arborvitae in full sunlight or partial shade. It prefers constantly moist soil to truly thrive. It has no serious pests problems.

Japanese Pieris

The Japanese pieris grows to a height of 12 feet and is approximately 10 feet wide. In the late winter and early spring it produces fragrant panicles of bell shaped white or pink flowers. An evergreen shrub, it does well in partial shade. It requires no pruning and very little care to thrive. It thrives in USDA zones 4 to 8.

The shrub grows best in acidic soil with a high peat content, according to online plant resource Floridata. Late-season frosts can damage the shrub, but it will quickly recover with no seriously adverse effects. Plant away from livestock because the foliage is toxic if consumed.

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Kimberly Sharpe

Based in Oregon, Kimberly Sharpe has been a writer since 2006. She writes for numerous online publications. Her writing has a strong focus on home improvement, gardening, parenting, pets and travel. She has traveled extensively to such places as India and Sri Lanka to widen and enhance her writing and knowledge base.