Compact Burning Bush
Characteristics & Cultural Requirements
Height: 8-10’ Spread: 8-10’
Habit/Form: Dense, mounding, spreading
Hardiness Zone: 4-8
Exposure: Full Sun to part shade
Soil: Medium, well-drained
A popular shrub for ornamental use since its introduction around 1860 from its native home of Northeastern Asia, Burning Bush offers a number of valuable features to the suburban landscape. Although ‘compact’ or ‘dwarf’ is in the name, this shrub is anything but. Burning Bush will grow to a large dense shrub in the landscape making it a great screening plant. It does tolerate shearing however and is maintained this way in most landscapes. In the summer months, the bright green simple leaves cover the shrub, making it a great backdrop to other summer blooming plants. Burning Bush does flower during the summer months, but the yellow-green flowers are mostly inconspicuous. This low-maintenance shrub is a favorite of our Office Secretary, Katie Nelson. She recalls this staple plant growing in her childhood home and this brings back many nostalgic memories for her. The most sought after feature of Burning Bush is in the name, when fall arrives the green leaves transform to brilliant red making for a beautiful fall display. The shrub looks as though it is “on fire”! It is important to note: Burning Bush has made the list of invasive plants in many states, including Illinois. This is valuable information to the thoughtful gardener who desires their garden to live cohesively with the surrounding natural world. The seeds will become dispersed and can grow into dense thickets, outcompeting nearby loca flora. There are many non-invasive alternatives that display just as beautiful fall color.
Burning Bush works well in a variety of situations. It makes a great specimen, planted in groupings to provide height in a border or island planting, and as a hedge or screening plant.