The Pesky Shrubs You Should Never Plant in Your Yard, According to Real Estate Pros

published Sep 4, 2022
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If you’re looking to add some curb appeal to your home, planting a shrub can definitely accomplish this. When choosing a shrub to plant, though, it’s important to choose wisely or you could end up wasting time and money on plants that aren’t worth the effort.

Landscaping and plant care can be expensive, especially if those plants develop issues that create more problems for your property. I spoke with a few real estate and professional landscaping experts about the pesky types of shrubs to avoid planting in your yard. 


Boxwoods are evergreen shrubs that tend to grow in warmer climates. You’ll need well-drained soil to grow this shrub, but this requires a lot of maintenance and patience that you may not have — particularly if you’re trying to sell a home. 

“Boxwoods are one of those plants that people love because they look great when they’re young, but then get old and boring,” says Melody Estes, a landscape design gardening supervisor and consultant at The Project Girl. “They also take a long time to grow, so if you plant one now, it may not have matured by the time you’re ready to sell your house.”


Azaleas are beautiful shrubs that range in size from one to 15-feet wide. These plants thrive in warm climates, and as a flowering plant, they produce foliage in an array of colors. Still, the beauty may not be worth the effort since this shrub is very sensitive to weather and soil changes, making it easily susceptible to disease and damage.

“Azaleas tend to die off after just two years,” says Estes. “That means every year you’ll need to replace them with new ones, which will cost more than just buying a different kind of flower altogether.”

Burning Bush

Burning Bush delivers incredible fall colors even from a distance. While this shrub may very well be the MVP of the fall season, a real estate expert claims that you won’t be able to watch much of your favorite teams during Sunday night football due to the rigorous maintenance requirements it has.

“Burning Bush grows fast, so it typically needs regular pruning,” says John Maxim, an expert house flipper and founder of four real estate companies. “I also like to think of the burning bush as the fall poinsettia, since it can be highly toxic to dogs and cats if ingested by them.”

Toxic Shrubs

Shrubs are an important part of a home’s landscaping, but you may want to avoid the toxic ones, especially if you’re selling a home to a family that may have small children. Jennifer Reddington, a licensed real estate advisor at Compass Real Estate, cautions against shrubs like wisteria, lily of the valley, and oleander. 

“They are all beautiful plants, especially when flowering, but they can be dangerous if ingested,” says Reddington. “Although it seems obvious that you wouldn’t eat a flower, you never know what a little kid or your pet might do.”

Privet Shrubs

Privet shrubs are often used as a filler to avoid empty space, but these plants can grow quickly, ranging from 4 to 15 feet.

“I recommend shying away from using this plant because these shrubs grow incredibly fast and require a lot of upkeep year-round,” says Beatrice de Jong, a real estate broker and Consumer Trends expert at Opendoor. “If you’re a busy homeowner, I suggest choosing a shrub that doesn’t require as much attention, like a hydrangea bush, which also adds a beautiful pop of color.” 

One Last Thing: Location Matters

Where you live, the weather, type of soil and yard size are all factors that can impact whether a planted shrub does well in the environment or not. 

“When it comes to finding the ideal shrub to plant, the elements to be considered when selecting the right species vary a lot,” says Jonathan Fargion, an Italian landscape designer. “Always consider the growing trajectory of the shrub because you don’t want to end up with a big tree that is casting shade all over your small yard.”

Fargion also recommends thinking about the fruits a certain species can produce, especially if the plant is close to a patio that can get stained by those fruits. 

“Avoid shrubs that will be hard to manage and won’t compliment your space,” adds Fargion. “Otherwise, plan away and have fun with colors, seasonality, scent, and more.”