04 Sep

Best Flowering Shrub to Grow in Your Garden

Flowering shrubs make excellent ornaments in a garden or landscape design. They come in all sizes and shapes and offer a wide variety of foliage, flowers, colors, texture and structure. Besides their ornamental value, flowering shrubs are utility plants that can be used to make hedges, privacy screens, wind breakers, and interesting espalier or topiary designs.

Most flowering shrubs require little maintenance and make excellent choice for designing low-maintenance landscapes.

Following is a list of best flowering shrubs you can grow in your garden or landscape.

Best Evergreen Flowering Shrub

Tibouchina urvilleana

Tibouchina is a genus of excellent bloomers from tropical and sub-tropical climates, majorly from Brazil and Mexico. Most species are evergreen and produce attractive flowers of pink and purple colors. Tibouchina urvilleana is a nice evergreen flowering shrub that can grow up to 10 feet in its native climate. It is known for its silvery-green foliage and beautiful purple flowers that attract bees and butterflies.

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: Purple (summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 12 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Neutral to Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11
  • Special Care: Protect from frost and extreme cold
  • Other Names: Princess Flower, Glory Flower

Tibouchina urvilleana makes an excellent evergreen flowering shrub. It does not require much maintenance and blooms profusely in mid-summer. If you are looking for other options, I would recommend the following evergreen flowering shrubs:

Polygala myrtifolia 

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: Purple (all year)
  • Water: Drought tolerant; water when the soil is dry
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 6 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Neutral
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11
  • Special Care: Do not over water
  • Other Names: September Bush

Loropetalum chinense (Buy online)

  • Foliage: Evergreen; Colorful in winter
  • Flowers: Pink (early spring)
  • Water: Regular
  • Light: Full to partial sun; also grows in shaded spots
  • Size: Up to 6 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 7 to 10
  • Special Care: Do not over water
  • Other Names: Chinese fringe-flower

Streptosolen jamesonii (Buy online)

  • Foliage: Evergreen; Colorful in winter
  • Flowers: Orange (spring/summer)
  • Water: Regular
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 6 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Neutral
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11
  • Special Care: Do not over water
  • Other Names: Marmalade Bush

Best Flowering Shrub for Colorful Foliage

Breynia disticha (Buy online)

Breynia disticha is a nice flowering shrub better known for its colorful foliage. Originally from the tropical climates, Breynia disticha can be grown in colder climates when protected from frost and freeze. This attractive flowering shrub is characterized by wavy, red stem and variegated foliage of white and pink hues. Breynia disticha makes an excellent plant for containers, garden borders as well as a ground cover in landscape designs.

Best flowering shrub for colorful foliage: Breynia disticha

Breynia disticha/ Image by Forest & Kim Starr

  • Foliage: Evergreen colorful foliage
  • Flowers: Inconspicuous
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 6 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly alkaline
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11
  • Special Care: Protect from frost and extreme cold
  • Other Names: Snow Bush

Other flowering shrubs for colorful foliage include:

Coprosma repens

Coprosma 'Tequila Sunburst'

Coprosma ‘Tequila Sunburst’/ Image by Leonora Enking

  • Foliage: Evergreen colorful foliage
  • Flowers: Inconspicuous
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 5 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 10b
  • Special Care: Protect from frost and extreme cold
  • Other Names: Mirror Bush

Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’

Aucuba Japonica, The Gold Dust Plant

Aucuba japonica ‘Variegata’, Image by Kaustav Bhattacharya

  • Foliage: Evergreen colorful foliage
  • Flowers: Inconspicuous late winter flowers
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 10 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 6a to 10b
  • Special Care: Protect from frost and extreme cold
  • Other Names: Gold Dust

Iresine herbstii

Iresine Herbstii, The Bloodleaf Plant

Iresine Herbstii, The Bloodleaf Plant, Image by Leonora Enking (flickr)

  • Foliage: Evergreen colorful foliage
  • Flowers: Inconspicuous
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 6 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly alkaline
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11
  • Special Care: Protect from frost and extreme cold
  • Other Names: Snow Bush

Euonymus japonica

Euonymus Japonica, Evergreen Shrub

Euonymus Japonica, Spindle Tree, Image by John (Puzzler4879@flickr)

  • Foliage: Evergreen colorful foliage
  • Flowers: Inconspicuous
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 6 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly alkaline
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11
  • Special Care: Protect from frost and extreme cold
  • Other Names: Snow Bush

Dodonaea Viscosa ‘Purpurea’

Dodonaea Viscosa Purpurea

Dodonaea Viscosa ‘Purpurea’, Image by Suzette Hosken

  • Foliage: Evergreen colorful foliage
  • Flowers: Inconspicuous
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 6 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly alkaline
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11
  • Special Care: Protect from frost and extreme cold
  • Other Names: Snow Bush

Best Low-maintenance Flowering Shrub

Bougainvillea

Bougainville is a widely grown flowering shrub in many parts of the world. It is known for its attractive and colorful bracts. It is a hardy shrub that survives a range of climatic conditions and growing environment. A large number of varieties of Bougainville are commercially offered and are liked because of their colorful bracts and variegated foliage. Most varieties originate from four major species. Bougainville spectabilis (purple or rose-purple bracts), Bougainville glabra (magenta bracts and oblong, bright green leaves), Bougainville peruviana (smaller, mauve-pink bracts, yellowish flowers and large, smooth leaves), and Bougainville formosa (large clusters of pale magenta-pink flowers, usually bears variegated leaves).

Best low maintenance flowering shrub, Bougainvillea

Image by Tushar Pokle

  • Foliage: Evergreen colorful foliage
  • Flowers: Bracts of Red, Orange, Purple, Pink, Magenta, Apricot (Spring/ Summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 6 feet
  • Propagation: Hardwood cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Other low-maintenance flowering shrubs you should consider include:

Weigela florida

Weigela florida

Weigela florida

  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Flowers:  Pink, Mauve (Spring / Summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial sun
  • Size: Up to 12 feet
  • Propagation: Hardwood cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 5a to 8b

Pimelea ferruginea

Pimelea Ferruginea, Flowering Shrub

Pimelea Ferruginea, Image by Barry Michael

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: White (Spring / Early Summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Partial Sun
  • Size: Up to 15 cm
  • Propagation: Hardwood cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Tecoma capensis

Tecomaria capensis

Tecomaria capensis/ Image by James Gaither

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: Red, Orange (Late Summer / Early Fall)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial Sun
  • Size: Up to 8 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings, Layering
  • Soil pH: Neutral
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Lagerstroemia indica

Lagerstroemia Speciosa

  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Flowers: Pink, Magenta, Purple (Spring/ Summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial Sun
  • Size: Up to 12 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Neutral
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Best Shrubs for Attractive Flowers

Chaenomeles speciosa

Chaenomeles speciosa

Chaenomeles speciosa/ Image by Etringita (flickr)

  • Foliage: Deciduous
  • Flowers: Pink, Red, White (Winter/ Early Spring)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial Sun
  • Size: Up to 10 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings, layering
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 5a to 8b

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis

Nyctanthes arbor-tristis/ Image via flickr by Dinesh Valke

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: White (Summer / Fragrant flowers)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full to partial Sun
  • Size: Up to 12 feet
  • Propagation: Cuttings
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Melaleuca

Melaleuca

Melaleuca tree/ Image by Tatiana Gerus

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: Cream (Fragrant flowers)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Size: Up to 40 feet
  • Propagation: Seeds
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Holmskioldia sanguinea

Holmskioldia sanguinea

Holmskioldia sanguinea, Image by Douglas Sprott

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: Red, orange, yellow (Spring/ Summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full Sun to partial Sun
  • Size: Up to 10 feet
  • Propagation: Cutting, layering
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Best Flowering Shrub for Unusual Flowers

Clianthus puniceus

Clianthus puniceus

Clianthus puniceus/ Image by Tony Rodd

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: Red, pink (Spring/ Summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full Sun to partial Sun
  • Size: Up to 10 feet
  • Propagation: Cutting, seeds
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Leonotis leonurus

Leonotis leonurus

Leonotis leonurus, the Lion’s tail/ Image by Andy Carvin

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: Red, pink (Spring/ Summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full Sun to partial Sun
  • Size: Up to 10 feet
  • Propagation: Cutting, seeds
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 9a to 11

Crotalaria agatiflora

Crotalaria agatiflora

Crotalaria agatiflora/ Bird Bush/ Image by Erick Lux

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: Yellow (Spring/ Summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Size: Up to 4 feet
  • Propagation: Seeds
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 8a to 11

Justicia brandegeana

Justicia brandegeana, The Shrimp Plant

Justicia brandegeana, The Shrimp Plant

  • Foliage: Evergreen
  • Flowers: Pink(Spring/ Summer)
  • Water: Regular; do not over water
  • Light: Full Sun
  • Size: Up to 5 feet
  • Propagation: Cutting
  • Soil pH: Slightly acidic
  • USDA Zone: 8a to 11
22 May

Medinilla magnifica, the Philippines Orchid

Medinilla magnifica (Buy seeds online) is a tropical evergreen shrub known for its attractive and unusual flowers. The pendulous flowers grow in clusters surrounded by beautiful pink bracts making it a nice outdoor as well as indoor plant. Broad, shiny green leaves retain ornamental value of the plant when it is not blooming.

Medinilla magnifica

How to Grow Medinilla magnifica

Medinilla magnifica (Buy seeds online) comes from tropical regions of the Philippine where it prefers warm and humid climate. The same conditions should be provided to this lovely bloomer when growing in your garden. As a general rules, grow it in a well-drained and rich soil. You can use any orchid mix to grow your plant. Water it regularly during spring and summer and reduce it to minimum during winter. If you are growing it in colder climates, move your plant indoors where it receives bright sunlight. Mist leaves occasionally.
Philippines Orchid

Flowers appear in spring and last throughout the summer season. Flowers of Medinilla magnifica are small are grow in drooping clusters covered with large pink bracts.

Medinilla magnifica can grow up to 3 or 4 meters however you can contain its growth by keeping it in smaller pots, if required. You can also prune it back after each flowering season. Propagation is usually done from cuttings.

The plant is also known as Pink Lantern, Chandelier Tree or the Philippine Orchid.

14 May

Lovely Flowering Shrub: Potentilla fruticosa

Potentilla is a genus of lovely flowering shrubs and small perennials from the family of Rose. These summer flowering shrubs make excellent plants for beginners. Most species, such as Potentilla fruticosa,  grow in almost any soil and are resistant to pests.

Potentilla fruticosa (Buy online) grows from 1 to 3 feet in height and produces attractive yellow flowers in late spring. Flowering continues till early days of fall. Potentilla fruticosa can be used to border plants, cover the ground in mass plantation schemes or as an outdoor ornamental plant. The ornamental value of the plant is because of its compact silvery-green leaves and attractive yellow flowers.

Potentilla fruticosa 'Lovely Pink'

How to Grow Potentilla fruticosa

Potentilla fruticosa like other plants in its genus prefers bright sunlight, regular watering and a well-drained soil. To keep the plant in shape, it is advised to prune annually at the end of the flowering season. When grown in colder climates, reduce or stop watering during the freezing period. Most Potentillas can be grown from softwood cuttings or divisions. Popular varieties include:

P. fruticosa ‘Abbotswood’ is grown as a hardy flowering shrub that produces abundance of white flowers.

P. parvifolia ‘Goldfinger’ is known for its large and prominent yellow flowers.

P. fruticosa ‘Goldstar’ grows as a compact and low-growing flowering shrub. It is suitable for growing as a ground cover. Flowers are yellow.

P. fruticosa ‘McKay’s White’ produces very nice white flowers.

Potentilla fruticosa 'McKay's White'

P. fruticosa ‘Pink Beauty’ is the most beautiful flowering shrub in this genus. It is known for its lovely pink flowers.

P. fruticosa ‘Red Robin’ produces yellow flowers that gradually change their color to yellow-orange.

25 Feb

Aloe ferox: Flowering Succulent for Lovely Xeriscapes

Aloe ferox
Aloe ferox is a hardy and attractive succulent known for its lovely flowers and medicinal value of the gel extracted from its leaves. If you are planning to design a xeriscape, Aloe ferox should be on top of your plants list for many reasons. It is a hardy succulent that does not require much care. It produces very attractive flowers of red, orange, yellow-orange and scarlet colors in mid-winter. When grown in groups, spikes of attractive flowers on Aloe ferox add striking colors to the landscape.

Aloe ferox originates from rocky and tropical regions of South Africa where it receives marginal rainfall and plenty of sun. When growing it in your garden or xeriscape, you need to imitate the similar climate. You can plant this hardy Aloe in a spot where it receives good amount of sunlight in a loamy and slightly sandy soil. Aloe ferox does not require frequent watering and should survive long spells of drought.

Aloe ferox (Buy seeds online) can grow up to 3 meters though it takes many years to attain this size. The plant produces fleshy leaves of dull green color. The leaves are arranged around the stem to form a rosette. Young leaves have prominent spines along the leaf margins and smaller spines on leaf surface. As the plant matures, older leaves dry up to expose main stem of the plant. The Greek name ‘ferox’ meaning ‘fierce’ is probably because of prominent spines on the leaves.

Aloe ferox is also known as Cape Aloe.

Winter Aloe Spectacle

Flowers of Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox produces abundant flowers that attract birds and bees as pollinating agents. Mid-winter is the time when this lovely Aloe begins to send out orange, scarlet, yellow-orange and red flowers giving the plant its common name, Red Aloe.

Medicinal Benefits of Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox is grown commercially for its medicinal value. The gel derived from its succulent leaves is used in cosmetics. The hard, brown excretions obtained from the plan are used for their laxative properties.

How to grow Aloe ferox from seeds

Aloe ferox can be propagated from seeds (Buy seeds online) that easily germinate when sown in a well-drained but slightly moist soil. Young seedlings should be kept lightly moist until they are 4- 6 cm in size.

15 Feb

Lovely Ground Cover: Moss Phlox

Phlox subulata (Buy online), also known as Moss Phlox, is an excellent ground cover for low-maintenance landscapes. Known for its ability to survive under various conditions, Moss Phlox makes an excellent plant for covering unsightly patches. It can be grown as a bordering plant, as a ground cover in rock gardens, as cascading plant against walls, or as a charming creeper in gardens and landscapes.

Moss Phlox

How to Grow Moss Phlox

Consider Moss Phlox when you are looking for a ground cover that does not require much care and performs well in a sandy, rocky or low-fertility soil. Phlox subulata is propagated from seeds, layering or stem cuttings (cuttings especially shorter ones root quickly).

Young plants require moderate watering in a well-drained soil. They also benefit from a little application of fertilizer in early spring. Once established they do not require much maintenance. Except for annual pruning (preferably in winter to encourage better growth in the following season), this lovely ground cover will thrive under full sun and require occasional watering.It usually spreads 1 meter across and gain a height of up to 10 cm. Depending on the climatic conditions, a young plant may require 2 to 5 years to reach this size.

Moss Phlox bears flowers of magenta pink-purple, red, fuchsia, violet, cream and white colors appear in mid-spring.

Popular varieties include: Phlox subulata ‘Candy Stripes’, Phlox subulata ‘Snowflake’, Phlox subulata ‘Red Wings’, Phlox subulata ‘Drummonds Pink’, and Phlox subulata ‘Emerald Cushion’. Buy Moss Phlox online.

Moss phlox

17 Jan

Lovely Flowering Shrub: Cuphea

Cuphea is a genus of evergreen and perennial flowering shrubs. These lovely flowering shrubs are useful for growing in garden borders where they keep blooming almost all through the year. Native to Mexico and tropical regions of Central America, these flowering shrubs produce flowers of green, purple, pink and white. Most species start blooming as soon as winter days are gone and continue to bloom until late summer.

Cuphea cyanea "Pink Cigar Plant"

How to Grow Cuphea

Most species of Cuphea require a well-drained soil and indirect sun, and grow up to 1 feet. In colder regions, Cupheas will freeze to ground in winter but will emerge in early spring. Being excellent flowering shrubs, most species are used in garden borders, mixed with seasonal bloomers in a mixed flowering bed or grown as small container plants.

Several hybrids and cultivars of Cuphea are easily available at commercial nurseries. Most of them are easily propagated from seeds (buy seeds online).

Popular species include:

C. ignea: Also known as ‘Cigarette Bush’, Cuphea ignea grows as a small flowering shrub and produces bright red flowers in spring and summer.

C. hyssopifolia: Also known as ‘False Heather’, this small flowering shrub produces flowers of varying shades including white, green, pink and purple.
Cuphea hyssopifolia
C. micropetala is known for its bright summer flowers.

12 Jan

Lovely Flowering Shrub:Buddleja

Butterfly bush, Buddleja davidii, flowering head in IN rest area
Buddleja is a large genus of flowering shrubs and small trees known for their fragrant flowers. Most species in the genus of Buddleja produce lush green foliage with silvery-white underside. The attractive foliage is contrasted by colorful and fragrant spring or summer flowers that attract wild birds and butterflies to the garden.

Also See: How to attract birds and butterflies to your garden

Most species of Buddleja are fast growing shrubs or small trees ranging from 4 to meters in height. Propagation can be done from seeds or hardwood cuttings. Being low-maintenance plants, Buddleja are suitable for xeriscapes or low-maintenance gardens.

Also See: How to design a low maintenance garden landscape
 
Buddleja and Roses
A large number of Buddleja hybrids and cultivars are available easily and can be grown in most tropical and sub-tropical climates where are provided with moderate watering and protected from heavy frost.

22 Dec

Lovely Flowering Vine: Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens is a fast-growing vine from the famous Honeysuckle family. Also known as Carol honeysuckle and sometimes as Trumpet honeysuckle because of its trumpet shaped flowers, this lovely vine can be used as a nice climber for pergolas and trellis.

Also see:

Lonicera sempervirens 06 3325

How to Grow Lonicera sempervirens

Lonicera sempervirens (Buy online) grows up to 5 feet and produces showy trumpet-shaped flowers of scarlet or red-orange color. Summer flowers are followed by red berries. Both flowers and berries attract wild birds. The vine grows in a well-drained soil under full sun. Though it can grow in shade, Lonicera sempervirens is primarily a sun loving vine. Brighter sunlight encourages abundance of ornamental flowers.

Lonicera sempervirens is a vigorous growing vine and might require annual pruning. It is evergreen in warm climates but sheds most of its foliage is colder climates. It can be propagated from layering or softwood cuttings.

11 Nov

Beautiful Winter Flowering Shrub: Brunia

Brunia is a small genus of flowering shrubs known for their unusual flowers. These evergreen shrubs can grow upright up to 2 meters and produce dark-green foliage that resembles the foliage of a pine tree. Tiny silvery-white or pink flowers appear in tight and fluffy pompom-like flower heads. Attractive flowers heads of Brunia are produced from autumn to winter in abundance making them stand out in a garden. Tiny flowers start blooming after the first winter rain.
Brunia albiflora

Brunia is usually a slow growing shrub that requires bright sunlight and moderate watering in a well-drained soil. Most species of Brunia are sensitive to frost and require protection from long spell of frost and cold. You can propagate Brunia from cuttings planted in autumn or spring. You can also grow Brunia from seeds planted in autumn. Brunia makes a nice plant for filling empty spaces in landscapes. Flowers are usually used in fresh and dry flower arrangements.

Brunia albiflora

Popular species of Brunia include Brunia nodiflora (known for its pink flower heads), Brunia stokoei (velvety red flowers), Brunia albiflora (white flowers), and B. neglecta (silvery-white flower heads).

12 Aug

Hellebore: Beautiful Winter and Early Spring Bloomer

Hellebore is a small genus of winter-hardy perennials. They are loved by gardeners for their ability to grow in shady spots and produce flowers in late winter when very few plants can bloom. The flowers are actually colorful sepals that assume the shape of star-shaped flowers. These attractive ‘flowers’ bloom in various shades of purple, white, yellow, pink and red. These lovely flowers can last for two to three months thus making these plants a good choice for late winter or early spring interest.
Hellebore 'Peppermint Ice'

Hellebores can be grown easily from divisions. They prefer a rich and well-drained soil in a shady or partially sunny spot. Avoid over-watering and water only when the soil is dry. Most Hellebores are not fussy about growing conditions and can be easily mixed with common ground covers and evergreen plants in a garden bed. Mature plants will only require occasional cleaning up of withered leaves. A general purpose fertilizer can be applied to encourage healthier blooms to plants grown in containers.

Watlington Hellebore

Popular varieties of Hellebore include:

Helleborus x ericsmithii `Pirouette’ (rose flowers), Helleborus  x ericsmithii `Ruby Glow’ (rose-pink flowers, Helleborus  x ericsmithii `Winter Sunshine’ (cream flowers), Helleborus atrorubens (dark violet flowers), and Helleborus x ballardiae (burgundy flowers).

Hellebores are also sold as Lenten Rose or Christmas Rose.