Asked on Oct 02, 2014

Front bushes

Liliana Wells
by Liliana Wells
ADVICE PLEASE - When we bought the house, these bushes wherealready here. I don’t know how long agothey were planted. They are azaleas andboxwoods (alternating). As you can see,they are bunched up against each other. The way they were trimmed make the house and bed look boxy. The azaleas don’t get enough light so theybloom only in front and a little at the top.

I am debating whether to remove the boxwoods and leave theazaleas so they can get more sun and/or prune the azaleas drastically so whenthey grow they have a more natural appearance. Is that even an option at this point?
Also, the picture at the right shows two lobelias. They sees to have sprouted several tall branches. I thought the bush was supposed to be mounded. Should I just trim those off to return to a mound?
front bushes, gardening
front bushes, gardening
  17 answers
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Oct 02, 2014
    You can drastically prune azaleas. It will take them a couple of years to recover, but it can be done. If you can, however, I would dig out the azaleas and move them to a shadier, more open spot.

  • Stacy Stacy on Oct 02, 2014
    You can also cut the boxwood way down in fall or spring to give more space. I do it every spring and fall to keep them under control!

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Oct 02, 2014
    Thank you, Douglas - if I were to take out the bushes, the base of the house would show. Then I would be faced with the problem of showing a bare wall (I don't know if you can see behind the bushes). What else could I or should put there?

    • See 1 previous
    • Sheryll S Sheryll S on Oct 05, 2014
      @Douglas Hunt I agree with you Douglas. Take out the Azaleas and move them to another spot. I have found that Miracle Gro does wonders to fill out such.

  • Leona G Leona G on Oct 05, 2014
    A couple of questions. How much sun do the plants get? If the plants are in full sun I agree with Douglas to move the azaleas but if they get morning sun and just lots of light then I would move the boxwood's as you suggested. You can shape the Lobelia to make it look good.

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Oct 05, 2014
    That spot gets lots of sun throughout the day. The first year I was here, the azaleas bloomed very nicely. I hardly has any blooms the second year. I thought it was because all the bushes are crowded against each other - not my doing. I will have to make a decision soon.

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Oct 05, 2014
    Thanks everyone for your advice.

  • Suzette Trimmer Suzette Trimmer on Oct 05, 2014
    If and when you dig up your azaleas be sure to protect first years transplants with free insulation that will actually do double duty.Provide new transplants with protection of harsh winter conditions as well as provide the plant with excellent nutrition during the cold winter .....all one needs to is rake up a lot of pine needles (FREE) and put all around top sides and bottom of plant. Brush way first thing come spring they will be thankful and you'll have wonderful blossoms.Good Luck.

  • Petunia Petunia on Oct 05, 2014
    I would move the azaleas as suggested, leave the boxwood and replace azaleas with a plant that has a boldly contrasting leaf texture or plant form -- spiky, mounding/round, or one with bold colored leaves if you want some color, like cordelyne, thi plants or crotons. Having a bed with all small leaf plants is so boring. If you choose colored leaves, compliment the color with flowers in the hanging baskets or containers on your porch. Low maintenance and gorgeous!

  • Rita H Rita H on Oct 05, 2014
    I would pull out the overgrown bushes, perhaps put in some small mini barberry where you can keep them small. Bigger bushes outdate your house. This goes for houses that have been bushes around it.

  • Darlene Darlene on Oct 05, 2014
    Douglas is right. Remove the Azaleas and replant near some nice oaks if you have them. The Boxwood will fill in the space nicely and not look crowded. If you are worried about the wall showing, plant some tall annuals to fill the space until the boxwoods do. Keep the boxwoods short as the wall will allow, and organize the plantings in front of them, so you have a layered look. A boxwood hedge is always nice and will not date your house if you keep it short and well groomed.

  • Jane R. Jane R. on Oct 05, 2014
    Way too many bushes. Eliminate or transplant some of them. Too many plants crowded together look trashy not a good look.

  • Emm Emm on Oct 05, 2014
    we had boxwoods and bridal veil spirea in our front area between the driveway and the front porch. the bushes all took a hit during the last few winters, and it ruined their shapes. we pulled out the boxwoods, left the spirea for height and bloom but cut it waaay back, leveled the space and laid 16x16 bricklike pavers over the entire area. we added two small wrought iron chairs and a small side table, and have a great place to put plants and a birdbath. in your case, you can paint the showing foundation to lessen attention, or line the area with planter boxes which you can fill with containers of seasonal plants/flowers of your choice. its great to have such versatility! (our space is currently set up for autumn. :) )

  • Sharon Johnson Littles Sharon Johnson Littles on Oct 05, 2014
    Too busy. Pull out the bushes. I like the idea of putting the azaleas somewhere else in the shade. Flower bed looks small and less is better ! Use heavy mulch..some rocks..or a bench...with a little seasonal color. Keep it simple!

  • Sharon Johnson Littles Sharon Johnson Littles on Oct 05, 2014
    Too busy. Pull out the bushes. I like the idea of putting the azaleas somewhere else in the shade. Flower bed looks small and less is better ! Use heavy mulch..some rocks..or a bench...with a little seasonal color. Keep it simple!

  • Ruth Wolery Ruth Wolery on Oct 05, 2014
    @No search results.Sharon,I would definitely use an electric hedge trimmer to make the boxwoods shorter and trimmed on both sides. Yes, I would move the Azaleas to at least semi-shade and a protected area to highlight them. Yes, mulch and use a small amount of medium sized rocks. Rocks are very interesting landscape helpers.

  • Yvonne Moore Yvonne Moore on Oct 06, 2014
    I would remove the boxwood and plant some climbing roses or mid- height plants, bulbs or possibly some type of tall grasses like fountain grass to hide space next too house, it's less dense and will give you some nice contrasting colors. Also add a ground cover that like ground cover roses or walk on me Thyme in pink or Snow in Summer.

  • Liliana Wells Liliana Wells on Oct 10, 2014
    Thanks again everyone.