Beautiful, Easy to Grow Flowering Shrubs

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Flowering Shrubs

Flowering shrubs are an important part of a well-designed landscape.

Easy-to-grow flowering shrubs can turn a landscape into a retreat!

Landscape designers use shrubs to bring structure and substance to a space.

Shrubs also provide visual scale to homes, sheds, and garages.

However, you don’t have to be a landscape designer to have a beautiful yard.

There are quite a few new flowering shrub varieties that are improvements from the “old standards.” these make it easy to have a gorgeous landscape.

Many of the new varieties work well in smaller spaces and require less care and maintenance.


I have included these varieties as an option to consider, but note that there are many other outstanding varieties available at your local garden center and online.

Spring and fall are the best time to plant shrubs.

Temperatures tend to be cooler and rain is more plentiful.

Flowering shrubs can be planted in the summer, but regular, deep watering will be needed to maintain the plant’s health through the hot and dry spells.

The list below will help you get started.

I hope you are inspired to select flowering shrubs that will add beauty to your landscape and outdoor living space.

Flowering shrub- Clethra Shrub with white flowers
’Sugartina® ‘Crystalina’ Clethra, Photo courtesy of Proven Winners –

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)

Summersweet (aka Clethra or Pepper Bush) is a little-known flowering shrub that is one of my favorites.

It has fragrant, profuse flowers that cover the shrub each summer.

The fragrance makes any outdoor living area more enjoyable.

It is ideal near a window so the breeze can carry the fragrance inside your home.

Most summersweet shrubs grow to a height of 5-7 feet.

However, Proven Winners® has a variety, ’Sugartina® ‘Crystalina’ that stays shorter at 30-36 inches.

This is perfect for smaller spaces or along a deck or patio.

  • Fragrant, white, or pink flowers
  • Dark green foliage
  • Grows well in full sun or part shade
  • Beautiful yellow fall color
  • Great for pollinators; attracts bees, hummingbirds, and butterflies
  • Grows well in zones 4-9


Flowering shrub- Caryopteris with deep blue flowers
Beyond Midnight® Caryopteris, Photo courtesy of Proven Winners –

Bluebeard (Caryopteris x clandonensis)

Blue and purple flowers are not common.

Bluebeard (aka Blue Mist or Blue Spirea) has varieties in both.

This is another underused flowering shrub that can add dramatic color to the summer landscape.

Most varieties grow to a height of 2-3 feet.

The variety Beyond Midnight® by Proven Winners® only grows 24-36 inches tall.

This makes it a great option for smaller spaces.

This shrub can also be treated as a large perennial as it can die back to the ground each winter.

This is common and doesn’t affect the plant’s performance.

  • Blue/purple flowers attract pollinators and butterflies
  • Grows best in full sun
  • Will tolerate dry periods, does not like to be in wet soil
  • Deer resistant
  • Hardy in zones 5-9


Flowering shrub- White rose of sharon flower with pink center
Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

An old standby in the gardening world is Rose of Sharon (aka Hardy Hibiscus).

And for good reason, it is a tough flowering shrub that tolerates different soil conditions and will bloom consistently year after year.

It is available in a wide range of flower colors- white, pink, rose, violet, purple, and bi-colors.

Rose of Sharon is notoriously tall (6-12 feet).

Plant breeders are realizing that most new homes have smaller yards.

So work is being done to provide varieties with the same great qualities in a smaller plant.

Pollypetite® and Lil Kim® by Proven Winners® are smaller varieties that grow to 3-4 feet and 4-5 feet respectively.

These are great updates to the old standard.

  • Blooms best in full sun
  • Deer resistant
  • Attracts hummingbirds and butterflies
  • Larger varieties can be used to create a flowering hedge
  • Extremely easy to grow



Flowering shrub- Ornamental Flowering Cherry with pink blooms
Zuzu® Ornamental Cherry, Photo courtesy of Proven Winners –

Ornamental Flowering Cherry (Prunus incisa)

Ornamental (non-fruit-bearing) flowering cherries are breathtaking in the spring.

The clear, almost electric pink color is dramatic.

Most people know about cherry trees but don’t realize that there are ornamental cherry shrubs too.

I recommend checking with your local garden center for varieties that perform well in your area.

Ornamental cherries have a reputation for disease problems, but most of the new varieties are disease resistant.

Zuzu® is a new introduction from Proven Winners® that is disease resistant and stays more compact than most ornament cherry shrubs.

  • Stunning, showy pink flowers
  • Full sun to part shade locations
  • Grows in zones 5-9


Kolkwitzia Beautybush with pink flowers

Beautybush (Kolkwitzia amabilis)

Beautybush is another underused flowering shrub that doesn’t get a lot of attention.

It grows 6-10 feet tall so it is ideal as a background plant to create privacy or to camouflage any unsightly views.

Pink, bell-shaped flowers are clustered on arching branches in late spring and summer.

This creates a showy, massive display of color.

  • Full to partial sun
  • Grows quickly
  • Prune after the flowers fade
  • Deer resistant
  • Grows in zones 5-9


Butterfly bush with purple blooms
Lo & Behold Butterfly Bush, Photo courtesy of Proven Winners –

Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

If you love butterflies and hummingbirds, then this is a must-have flowering shrub in your landscape!

There are quite a few different varieties to choose from.

There is a butterfly bush for every landscape.

Some grow quite tall, while others stay shorter and more compact.

There are many different flower color options: white, pink, purple, and red.

The butterfly bush is known for being tolerant of various climates and conditions.

It has few insects or diseases- they are tough!

  • Plant in sunny locations for the best flowering
  • Plant in an area where you can view to enjoy butterflies and hummingbirds
  • Select varieties that grow best in your hardiness zone


Yuki Snowflake Deutzia Proven Winners
Yuki Snowflake Deutzia, Photo courtesy of Proven Winners –

Deutzia (Deutzia gracilis)

Deutzia is a group of easy-to-grow flowering shrubs that tolerate a wide range of soil and light conditions.

They are one of the few shrubs that will tolerate shade and still bloom.

Fragrant flowers appear in mid to late spring.

Most varieties have white, bell-shaped flowers, some with pink tones.

Slender Deutzia (Deutzia gracilis) is one of the most popular types.

It grows 2-4 feet tall.

Proven Winners® has several varieties (Yuki Cherry Blossom® and Yuki Snowflake®) that only grow 12-24 inches tall.

These are ideal for borders, along walkways, or toward the front of a landscape bed.

  • Prune after blooms have faded to keep it looking its best
  • Leaves turn red in fall for added interest
  • Few diseases or pests



Forsythia shrub with yellow flowers
Show Off Sugar Baby Forsythia, Photo courtesy of Proven Winners –


Forsythia is one of the most recognizable shrubs in early spring.

The bright yellow blooms announce the change of the seasons.

However, the old-fashioned Forsythia can get quite large and isn’t ideal for small yards.

Newer varieties have changed that!

Show Off® Sugar Baby® from Proven Winners® is one example.

It only grows to a height of 2-3 feet but is packed with yellow flowers for a dramatic display of color.

This is definitely not your grandma’s Forsythia!

  • Check out newer varieties that are more suitable for smaller spaces
  • Easy to grow, very tolerant of different soil conditions
  • Full sun to part shade



White Dwarf Fothergilla flowers
Dwarf Fothergilla

Dwarf Bottlebrush (Fothergilla gardenii)

The fuzzy, white, fragrant bottlebrush-shaped flowers cover this shrub in spring.

It is a hardy, easy-to-grow shrub that is under-used in landscape design.

There are many varieties, but most garden centers carry a dwarf version that grows 2-3 feet.

  • Blue-green leaves provide color and contrast all summer
  • Leaves turn shades of yellow, orange, and red in fall for added landscape interest
  • Few diseases and pests
  • Partial to full sun



Purple Blooming Lilac
Blooming Lilac

Lilac (Syringa hybrids)

The lilac is the granddaddy of all flowering shrubs.

The fragrant flowers can be smelled before they are seen.

It has a reputation for being an old-fashioned, large shrub that can grow to tree status.

Fortunately, as with many other shrubs, plant breeders have developed new varieties.

Not only are the new varieties shorter and more compact (considered dwarf lilacs), but some are repeat bloomers.

Definitely consult your local garden center as they will carry the best varieties for your location.

  • Perform best in full sun
  • Plant near a window or sitting area to enjoy the fragrance
  • Flowers can be cut and placed in a vase for indoor enjoyment
  • Prune after the flowers fade



Mock Orange Shrub with white blooms
Mock Orange Shrub

Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius)

I vividly remember visiting Tucson, Arizona, and noticing an amazing smell in the air.

It was the fragrance of orange blossoms. There is nothing like it.

For those of us that live in cold climates where orange trees can’t grow, mock orange is a great alternative.

It has a fresh scent similar to the orange tree.

The beautiful, simple white blossoms are a welcome sight in any backyard.

Traditional varieties can grow quite tall (6-8 feet).

There are quite a few new varieties that are available that grow 3-4 feet tall or less.

  • Needs full sun to bloom profusely
  • Single and double-flowering varieties are available
  • Plant near a window or sitting area to enjoy the fragrance
  • Flowers can be cut and placed in a vase for indoor enjoyment




Yellow blooming Potentilla Shrub
Happy Face Potentilla, Photo courtesy of Proven Winners –

Potentilla (Potentilla hybrids)

Potentilla (aka Cinquefoil) is well-known as an ideal flowering shrub for dry, hot locations.

It will bloom and grow in less-than-ideal growing conditions.

Most Potentilla varieties have yellow flowers.

There are pink, white, and orange flowering types, but they aren’t as widely available.

Potentilla is a blooming powerhouse.

It starts blooming in summer and will continue to bloom into the fall.

Very few shrubs bloom for this length of time.

Potentilla is versatile in the landscape.

Because most varieties stay under 3 feet, it can be used as a border or foundation plant.

There are also varieties that are considered ground covers as they only grow to 12-16 inches tall.

These are ideal for planting in mass.

  • Strong disease and insect resistance
  • Very cold hardy grows in zones 2-7
  • Deer resistant
  • Salt tolerant




Prunus cistena Purple Leaf Plum with pink flowers
Purple Leaf Plum

Purple Leaf Plum (Prunus cistena)

One of the elements of a well-designed landscape is incorporating contrasting colors and textures.

The purple leaf plum (aka sandcherry) makes this easy.

It has purple-maroon foliage that is striking against a white house or fence.

It also makes other green-leaved shrubs “pop” in the landscape.

I particularly like to plant it off a corner of a building.

Its soft, graceful branching softens harsh angles.

In addition to its beautiful foliage, the purple-leaf plum has beautiful pink flowers in spring before the leaves emerge.

  • Best in full to partial sun
  • Most varieties grow 5 feet tall
  • Cold hardy, grows in zones 3-9




Bridal Wreath Spirea Shrub with white flowers
Bridal Wreath Spirea

Spirea (Spiraea hybrids)

Spirea is a large category of shrubs.

There are many varieties- all with different heights, flower and leaf colors, and shapes.

It can be overwhelming when deciding, but well worth the effort.

They are extremely adaptable and tolerant of different growing conditions.

Their flowers are reliable and profuse.

Here are a few of my suggestions for a smaller yard:

  • Double Play® Pink by Proven Winners®: pink flowers, mature height is 24-36 inches
  • Goldflame Spirea: yellow-green foliage makes for great contrast and garden interest, pink-rose flowers, mature height is 3-4 feet
  • Full to partial sun
  • Flowers attract pollinators- bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds
  • Deer resistant
  • Overall easy-to-grow and very reliable shrubs




White Viburnum Korean Spice Flower
Viburnum Korean Spice

Viburnum (Viburnum hybrids)

Viburnum is another large category of shrubs.

Overall, they are extremely easy to grow and are a welcome addition to any landscape.

The flowers are known for being large, and showy and creating a dramatic display.

Some are fragrant as well.

Viburnum also can provide fall and winter interest with colorful berries and leaves.

Your local garden center will be a valuable resource to provide guidance for the best varieties for your area.

  • Easy-to-grow
  • Adaptable and tolerant of various growing conditions
  • Full to partial sun
  • Most grow in zones 4-9




Snippet Dark Pink Weigela Shrub with pink blooms
Snippet Dark Pink Weigela, Photo courtesy of Proven Winners –

Weigela (Weigela hybrids)

Weigela is another category of flowering shrubs that plant breeders improved tremendously.

Traditionally, Weigelia is known for being a large, unruly shrub that requires a lot of trimming to keep in check.

There are newer varieties that solve this issue as they are bred to be smaller and compact, needing less maintenance.

Weigela has showy, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of pink, red, and purple.

They cover the arching branches making a dramatic statement in the early summer landscape.

There are also new varieties that re-bloom throughout the summer and fall.

A definite asset to any backyard!

  • Attracts hummingbirds
  • Deer resistant
  • Full to partial sun
  • Adaptable to different soil conditions

9 thoughts on “Beautiful, Easy to Grow Flowering Shrubs”

  1. zone 6 i need front yard slope 12 ft high 45ft wide not to high plants schrubs groundcover mix any ideAS

  2. I’ve begun using the dwarf fothergilla more often in my planting jobs. They seem to be a very versatile plant. No issues with disease or pests, they’ve grown well under wet conditions, and in zone 4b -5 where I’m at, they have 3 seasons interest. The fall color rivals that of burning bush, in fact it may even be more fun to watch it change colors.

  3. I’m looking for something that flowers, but the leaves stay green throughout the winter. I’m in Maine. And I’m tired of ewes!

    • Hi Kim, I recommend azaleas and rhododendron. You can go to the USDA zone map to find out what zone you live in to find varieties that will grow in your area. Or check with your local garden center to see which varieties are hardy in your area as there are a lot of different hardiness zones in Maine. Best wishes, Shannon

      • Yes, I have quite a few azaleas and rhodies, but those seem to be the best option. Thank you 😊

    • Lenten rose are beautiful and stay green in the winter and I get cold winters


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