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Everyday Gardeners

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Don’t Forget Flowering Shrubs

Hibiscus syriacus 'Blue Chiffon'When we think about planting flowers in the garden, most gardeners gravitate toward annuals (the ones you plant every year) and perennials (the ones that come back on their own). But there’s another group of great plants that are often overlooked: flowering shrubs.

And that’s a shame, because there are many wonderful, easy-care shrubs that have attractive blooms. Take rose of Sharon, for example. The variety Blue Chiffon is shown here; it offers 3.5-inch-wide flowers from July to September here in Iowa. The shrub itself can get 12 feet tall, but you can keep it smaller by cutting it back in early spring. Its size makes it a good backdrop plant or even a delightful flowering hedge or spring/summer privacy.

Do a little research and you can find a plethora of flowering shrubs for just about any season, in sun or shade. Smaller varieties, such as caryopteris and dwarf weigela, are compact enough you can even plant them in among your low-growing perennials.

Here’s a quick calendar-type list of some of the flowering shrubs I use in my landscape to show how you can enjoy spring-to-fall color in your own yard.

May

Beautybush (Kolkwitzia)

Deutzia

Lilac (Syringa)

Rhododendron


June

Mock orange (Philadelphus)

Hydrangea (Endless Summer types)

Mountain laurel (Kalmia)


July

Butterfly bush (Buddleja)

Hydrangea (Endless Summer types)

Hydrangea (oakleaf types)

Hydrangea (paniculata types)

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus)

Summersweet (Clethra)


August

Butterfly bush (Buddleja)

Caryopteris

Hydrangea (Endless Summer types)

Hydrangea (paniculata types)

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus)


September

Butterfly bush (Buddleja)

Hydrangea (paniculata types)

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus)

Witch hazel (Hamamelis)




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