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.

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.

19 Dec

Ornamental Shrub: Cotinus coggygria

Cotinus coggygria 'Royal Purple'
Cotinus coggygria or Purple Smoke tree as it commonly known is a wonderful ornamental shrub. I love it for its colors, and ability to grow in almost any soil and survive drought or a little neglect.

Cotinus coggygria is recognized by its purple leaves that change many colors throughout the fall season. While the season changes from summer to fall, you can spot purple, red-orange and scarlet colors in foliage. The beauty of this wonderful shrub is enhanced when its flowers pop to produce plum-like clusters of seeds. These plumes give this beautiful shrub a hazy look (and of course the common name, Purple Smoke Tree) that adds charm to its colorful foliage.
Smoke Bush

How to Grow Cotinus coggygria

Cotinus coggygria can be grown as a hedging plant or a specimen plant in garden. It is usually propagated from softwood cuttings taken in summer or seeds sown in fall. The plant does not require much care and only requires a regular or slightly fertile soil under bright sunlight. It is a drought-tolerant plant and can easily survive long spells of drought making it a good choice when you are designing a xeriscape.

Cotinus coggygria usually grows up to 4 meters but it can be easily pruned in early spring to keep it in desired shape and size. To encourage flowering, it is advised that you prune it in late spring.

Popular varieties of Cotinus coggygria include C. coggygria ‘Royal Purple’ and C. coggygria ‘Velvet Cloak’. A number of other hybrids varying in size and foliage colors are also sold commercially.

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).

10 Apr

Winter Flowering Bush: Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’

Rhododendron

Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ flowers / Image by Peter Stevens

Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ is an easy-to-grow, winter flowering bush known for its glorious pink flowers. When in full swing, you can spot this lovely bush laden with abundant of pink flowers that make it centre of attention in the garden.

Unlike other  Rhododendrons, ‘Christmas Cheer’ is a rather slow growing bush and can be grown in containers or gardens with limited space. The bush grows up to 4 feet in height and spreads 4 feet across. If you planning to grow this bush in the ground, select a spot where it gets sufficient room to grow and establish its shallow roots. When growing in containers, select a container that is as wide as the spread of the bush.

Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ is usually grown for its winter flowers. The funnel-shaped flowers can be 2 inches across. These attractive pink flowers start blooming as early as in January and continue to bloom throughout the winter.

Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ can be grown from cuttings. The bush require a rich, slightly acidic and well-drained soil. Provide this lovely bush with sufficient light and regular watering.

Rhododendron 'Christmas Cheer'

Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’/ Image by peganum

A mature specimen of Rhododendron ‘Christmas Cheer’ is characterized by evergreen foliage of dark-green matt finish, medium height (up to 4 feet), and plenty of pink to pale-pink flowers growing through out the winter.

10 Mar

Kalanchoe beharensis, the Feltbush Plant

Kalanchoe beharensis is an evergreen bush known for its distinct looks and unusual foliage. Gardeners and horticulturists like this plant because of its ability to grow in poor and sandy soil where it can be grown as an ornamental plant.

Kalanchoe beharensis

Kalanchoe beharensis / Image by Far Out Flora

This lovely bush is characterized by knotted stem that bears large foliage of olive-green color. Each leaf is covered by velvety brown ‘hair’ underneath that make its felt-like surface. These succulent leaves assume triangular shape with crumpled edges. Because of their shape and furry shape, Kalanchoe beharensis is also known as Feltbush or Velvet Elephant Ear.

How to Grow Kalanchoe beharensis

Kalanchoe beharensis is native to Madagascar where it grows in warm and humid climate therefore it should be provided similar conditions to thrive well. In cold climates, it requires protection from frost and long spells of freeze. If you are growing it in areas that get a lot of frost, it is advised to move your plant in a greenhouse, or to a spot where it gets sufficient light but protection from frost and extremely cold conditions in winter.

Kalanchoe beharensis can be propagated from stem or leaf cutting. A mature plant can transform from a bush to a small succulent tree of 4 to 5 meters. Generally it is an easy plant to grown and maintain. Whether grown in a planter or ground, make sure that you water it only when the soil is completely dry.

04 Mar

Spring Flowering Shrub: Loropetalum chinense

Loropetalum chinense

Loropetalum chinense / Image by tk78000u

Loropetalum chinense is an evergreen shrub from the family of Witch Hazel. It is also known as Chinese fringe-flowers because of its fringe-like flowers that appear in spring and summer.

Loropetalum chinense is grown for its colorful foliage and prominent but unusual flowers. Commonly available species include a green-leafed variety that produced white flowers and burgundy-leafed variety that bears pink blossoms. Loropetalum chinense is a low-maintenance plant that does not require much attention. All it needs is a rich but slightly acidic soil, moderate watering and protection from extreme cold. Generally it would grow well in USDA zone 7 – 10. In colder climates, Loropetalum chinense should be moved to a greenhouse or provided with an indoor spot where it receives sufficient sunlight and hydrated only when the soil is completely dry.

Chinese fringe-flowers

Chinese fringe-flowers / Image by Scott Zona

Gardeners and horticulturist use Loropetalum chinense as a colorful hedge that produces abundance of nice and colorful foliage. It can also be used to build privacy screen or to fill empty spots in large landscapes. With proper pruning, Loropetalum chinense can be grown into a small ornamental tree.

Flowering season begins as early as mid-March and lasts till summer. During this season, you can see Loropetalum chinense laden with eye-catching flowers that appear in small clusters. Each flower consists of ribbon-like, wavy petals that give it an unusual formation.

Besides popular green and burgundy-leafed varieties, a number of cultivars are easily available in market. These cultivars vary in flower size, and colors of leaves and flowers. Commonly grown cultivars of Loropetalum chinense include:

Loropetalum chinense ‘Blush’,  L. chinense ‘Purple Diamond’, ‘Burgundy’, ‘Little Rose Dawn’ and Loropetalum chinense ‘Carolina Moonlight’.