What kind of perennial plant -- not a shrub -- can I put here?

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I have two red tip shrubs that were on each side of my front stoop when I moved here over 30 yrs ago. (N. Metro Atlanta) They've never looked great but now look really bad. They don't get much sun so maybe that's why, but I've heard from many people that these plants often just don't do well. I'm thinking of cutting them both to the ground and replacing them with something that's not a shrub but would maybe be about 18 inches tall and colorful, preferably reddish or something that will be very green and pretty. Keep in mind I have many trees in my yard so this area isn't super sunny. I don't want anything that will be really full at the ground because that always makes me think snakes would find safe haven there.


I have a water line on the right side of the stoop so I don't want to do any serious digging there to dig up the shrub so that's why I'm thinking of cutting them down and just keeping them cut down. Or, is there another solution to not damaging my water line and digging them up?

q what kind of perennial plant not a shrub can i put here

This shows the shrub at the left of the stoop and you can see the spindly appearance.

q what kind of perennial plant not a shrub can i put here

This photo is included to show the space I want to fill. The shrub would be cut down so from the dark green leaves on the left to the concrete on the right would be the space for something new. I don't want anything delicate because some community cats hang out in my yard and sometimes like to sleep next to the house behind the dark green leaves.

  8 answers
  • Ok, if you want to plant something else, these need to be dug out first. And if you worry about snakes, this is the perfect setting for them. The area needs to be cleaned out regularly. If you wish, add landscape fabric and mulch. To replace, you will need a plant or shrub that will survive in filtered light and compatible with your planting zone. How about small hydrangeas? Easy to keep trimmed and will bloom throughout the spring, summer and fall?

    • Amanda Amanda on Nov 05, 2018

      Hydrangeas need water, by the looks of it, they will not receive it there. I would suggest dwarf camellia or encore azalea.

  • Patty Patty on Nov 04, 2018

    There are some beautiful coral bells (heuchura) in every shade from reds to corals. They are only about 10-12"tall and are evergreen. Small flower stalks in spring. Hosta go well in the shade,too. Another shade plant in reds is astilbe. Google these and see if you like them. Good luck

  • Rod Rod on Nov 04, 2018

    I would either plant St. John’s Wart or Spider Web (from Japan). Either will make you fall in love with those areas. HAVE FUN!

  • Bitsy426 Bitsy426 on Nov 04, 2018

    Red tips can be cut back to 6" and will rejuvenate nicely. Do this in the spring or summer. Be sure to clean up around the pruned plant so as to prevent various diseases on the new growth. Once you see how much room you have I agree with Patty about the types of plants that will work in front of these shrubs.

  • Stephen Capella Stephen Capella on Nov 04, 2018

    I'm fond of rhododendrons, and Azaleas. They come in many colors.I mix a little Miracle Grow in a watering can once a month, and they will thrive.The foliage is also interesting when they are not blooming.

  • Dar Dar on Nov 04, 2018

    Miniature nandina would also be pretty there. Do not mistake it for drawf bamboo. Nandina is about 18" tall and give you nice grenn color spring and summer and red leaves and berries in the fall and winter.

  • Joy30150932 Joy30150932 on Nov 04, 2018

    HAVE YOU THOUGHT ABOUT CLEMATIS? YOU MAY HAVE TO ADD A NICE TRELLIS BUT IT WOULD BE SHOWY AND THEY COME IN DIFFERENT COLORS.

  • Seana Ames Seana Ames on Nov 04, 2018

    How about a mixture of Heuchera, Ferns, reblooming Bleeding Heart, Foxglove and Astilbe?

    Heuchera come in many colors. Some change color with colder weather.

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