Low-maintenance shrubs include witch hazel, forsythia, butterfly bush and several dwarf spruce species. Some hydrangea species are also easy to care for in certain climate zones.
Witch hazel is native to the United States, which means that it can thrive in many areas of the country. It is tolerant to both cold and drought, and it is flexible when it comes to sunlight. It blooms in November and December, offering a pop of color in the colder months. Asian witch hazel varieties bloom in February and March and can handle temperatures as cold as -20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Forsythia is a hardy plant that blooms with bright yellow flowers in early spring. It grows quickly, which means that it does not need a lot of maintenance. It is also easy to start from cuttings, letting gardeners on a budget quickly add bushes to garden spaces. However, forsythias are not always appropriate for small spaces, as maintaining smaller sizes can require lots of pruning.
The butterfly bush does well in full sun with well drained soil. It has attractive purple flowers that draw in butterflies. Although it requires pruning in the winter, it does not require a lot of additional care. However, the plant is invasive in some areas of the mid-west and west, so gardeners should check their state's invasive species list before planting it.
Dwarf spruce trees such as the dwarf globe blue spruce and the dwarf Norway spruce are fairly tolerant to frost and can handle cooler climates such as those found in hardiness zone three. Other than regular watering and shelter from strong winds and heavy direct sunlight, these species require fairly minimal care.
In warmer climate zones such as Georgia and Florida, native hydrangea species such as the oakleaf hydrangea can make good shrub choices. These plants have large blossoms in the summer and the foliage turns an attractive red color in the winter.