Many people refer to their plants as “shrubs” and “bushes.” So, what’s the difference? In the end, everything comes down to personal choice and regional language.
Horticultural Point of View
In traditional gardening, a bush refers to the form that a plant takes rather than the sort of plant it is. You may say something like ‘forming a bush’ when discussing a plant (instead of being tree-like or growing straight up). In traditional gardening, a shrub is a plant that keeps its structure above the ground throughout the year. Because there is just one set of roots at the base of the whole plant, it cannot be split or divided. Shrubs may be evergreen, but they don’t have to be, and some shrubs are tiny trees that are nevertheless classified as shrubs.
Another technique to distinguish between the two plants is to evaluate the plant’s environment. For example, some gardeners consider examples that are grown in a garden to be shrubs. On the other hand, bushes are plants that fulfill the description of shrubs in the wild.
While this is excellent advice, it is not necessarily a firm rule. Take a look at both rose and butterfly (pictured below) bushes. These are often seen in gardens and are not recognized as rose or butterfly shrubs, even though they are shrubs according to a location-based definition.
Others disagree on the distinction between shrubs and bushes. According to the Oxford Dictionary, a bush may be a single shrub or a whole clump (thicket) of shrubs or shrub-like trees. Others could suggest that a shrub is more petite and grows wild.
There’s a Difference in the Foliage
Another common technique to tell the difference between bushes and shrubs is by looking at their leaves. A shrub is defined as having stems and leaves that are almost touching the ground. It may be found in the wild, growing and intertwining with other shrubs, natural plants, and grasses. A shrub may be higher than a bush but not as tall as a tree and has fuller leaves. A bush usually grows wild, whereas a shrub may be maintained, trimmed, and sculpted.