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The 13 Best Summer-Blooming Shrubs

Add beautiful blooms without a lot of maintenance to your garden this summer with easy-growing, summer-blooming shrubs. Here are some of the best.

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    • Bluebeard Shrub

      This shrub is a treat in late summer when it bears its airy clusters of beautiful blue blooms. It's extra-easy to grow, too, laughing off all but the worst heat and drought. As an added bonus, birds and butterflies love it. Bluebeard shrub makes a great cut flower, too.

      Name: Caryopteris varieties

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Size: To 4 feet tall

      Zones: 5-9

    • Butterfly Bush

      Butterfly bush is like a summer-flowering lilac. The blooms appear in similar colors -- purple, lavender, blue, pink, and white -- and are deliciously fragrant. Happily, butterfly bushes offer a longer bloom season than lilacs: from summer into autumn, especially if you pinch off the old flower clusters as they start to fade.

      Name: Buddleia davidii

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Size: To 10 feet tall or more

      Zones: 5-9

    • Carolina Allspice

      This underused gem offers beautiful deep red flowers in summer. These flowers have a powerful, spicy fragrance you can enjoy throughout the yard. It's also a tough, low-care plant native to areas of North America.

      Name: Calycanthus floridus

      Growing Conditions: Full sun or partial shade and well-drained soil

      Size: To 8 feet tall

      Zones: 5-9

    • Hydrangea paniculata

      Hydrangea paniculata is the easiest hydrangea to grow. In late summer and autumn, this rugged shrub produces fluffy clusters of white flowers that fade to shades of pink and green. Many cultivars, such as 'Tardiva', can be successfully trained into a standard, or miniature tree form -- perfect for a large container or just about any landscape spot.

      Name: Hydrangea paniculata

      Growing Conditions: Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil

      Size: To 10 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 4-8

    • More on Hydrangeas

      Watch this quick video to learn more about beautiful hydrangeas.

    • Oleander

      An exceptionally easy-care subtropical shrub, oleander offers summertime flowers in shades of pink, red, purple, lilac, yellow, and white. In fact, it's so foolproof that in many areas it's grown along the sides of highways in warm-weather areas. Note, though: Oleander is extremely poisonous.

      Name: Nerium oleander

      Size: To 10 feet tall, depending on species

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Zones: 10-11

    • Potentilla

      Potentilla is one of the most common, and easiest shrubs to grow. It starts blooming in late spring and continues through autumn, bearing cheery yellow, orange, red, or white flowers that look like single roses (which attract butterflies). It has attractively divided foliage.

      Name: Potentilla fruticosa

      Size: To 3 feet tall

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Zones: 3-7

    • Reblooming Hydrangea

      While most bigleaf hydrangeas flower on branches from the last year (making them susceptible to injury from spring frosts or especially cold winter temperatures), reblooming varieties such as 'Endless Summer' produce flowers on fresh growth. This ensures lots of blooms throughout the summer.

      Name: Hydrangea macrophylla varieties

      Growing conditions: Part shade and moist, but well-drained soil

      Size: To 5 feet tall

      Zones: 5-9

    • Rock Rose

      Rock roses are easy to grow because they tolerate drought so well. They're beautiful, too, producing colorful roselike flowers throughout the summer. And they bloom in a wide range of colors, from pink to purple, lavender, and white.

      Name: Cistus varieties

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Size: To 5 feet tall

      Zones: 8-10

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      Rose of Sharon

      You can rely on rose of Sharon to provide lots of color during the hottest months. From midsummer to early autumn, the shrub erupts in tropical-looking blooms in shades of pink, lavender-blue, and white. Tip: When shopping for rose of Sharon, look for sterile varieties, such as 'Minerva', that won't fill your garden with a ton of weedy seedlings.

      Name: Hibiscus syriacus

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Size: To 10 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 5-9

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      Shrub Rose

      Not all roses are finicky, high-maintenance plants. Modern shrub roses offer beautiful blooms all summer and autumn on disease-resistant, easy-growing plants. Flower color differs by variety, but you'll most commonly see shrub roses in shades of pink, red, white, and yellow. Tip: Even modern shrub roses have thorns, so plant them away from sidewalks and pathways.

      Name: Rose varieties

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Size: To 6 feet tall and wide, depending on type

      Zones: 3-9, depending on type

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      Smoke Bush

      Smoke bush creates a dramatic shot of color in the landscape, but not because of its pink plumes in summer. It's the foliage that's really spectacular: Most common types have dark purple leaves that erupt into colorful shades of yellow, orange, and red in fall.

      Name: Cotinus coggygria

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Size: To 12 feet tall

      Zones: 5-8

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      Spirea

      There's a good reason spirea is a common sight in city plantings, at restaurants and even gas stations: It's a no-brainer to grow. And spirea is beautiful; in midsummer, it produces clusters of raspberry-rose flowers. Many varieties, such as 'Goldmound', also offer attractive golden or lime-green foliage.

      Name: Spiraea japonica

      Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

      Size: To 4 feet tall

      Zones: 4-9

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      Summersweet

      We like summersweet because it blooms in shady spots. We also love that its pink or white flowers have a wonderful fragrance. Add its golden fall leaf color and you have an ideal shrub. Note: Look for cultivars, such as 'Ruby Spice', that offer an extra-long bloom season.

      Name: Clethra alnifolia

      Growing Conditions: Part to full shade and moist soil

      Size: To 5 feet tall

      Zones: 3-9

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      Next Slideshow New Trees and Shrubs for 2016

      New Trees and Shrubs for 2016

      The 2016 crop of new trees and shrubs offers stylish, colorful alternatives for your next garden makeover.
      Begin Slideshow »

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