18 Flowering Shrubs for Year-Round Color

Choose shrubs with different bloom times for year-long color.

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Felder Rushing

Photo By: Image courtesy of ProvenWinners.com

Photo By: Photo courtesy of ProvenWinners.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: Image courtesy of ProvenWinners.com

Photo By: Courtesy of Proven Winners

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Bailey Nurseries, Inc.

Photo By: Photo courtesy of ProvenWinners.com

Photo By: Photo courtesy of ProvenWinners.com

Photo By: Image courtesy of Proven Winners

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden.

‘Arnold Promise’ Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’)

Gold blooms adorn bare branches in the heart of winter. Timing varies by region, but flowers can open from January to March. This beauty boasts good autumn color when leaves turn gold. Landscape use: Plant as a specimen or in mixed borders. Place it where you’ll see the blooms easily from indoors. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Fothergilla (Fothergilla major)

Bottlebrush-like blooms open at branch tips in early spring, before leaves appear. Flowers provide an early-season nectar source for pollinators. Fall color is breathtaking. Landscape use: Tuck into beds with perennials or other shrubs. Makes a natural hedge or thicket because it suckers. Include in native or wildlife gardens. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)

Spring explodes with color when you include azaleas in your yard. Flowers open in a rainbow of hues—you can find any color you want. Shrub size varies from ankle-high to over 20 feet. Landscape use: Plant small varieties as bed edging or to line a walkway. Use larger types for hedges, or in wildlife or woodland gardens. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9.

Rhododendron (Rhododendron ‘Handy Man Purple’)

Dress up a shady part of your yard with the spring finery of rhododendrons. These evergreen shrubs open blooms in a variety of hues, with red and pastel tints being the most widely available. Landscape use: Plant as a specimen shrub, hedge or woodland garden. Choose smaller varieties for foundation plantings. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Wine & Roses Weigela (Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’)

You’ll be planting artistry when you add this shrub to your yard. The pink blooms sparkle against dark leaves. Flowers open in late spring and are a hummingbird favorite. Landscape use: Include in perennial beds, wildlife gardens and even containers. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

An old-fashioned favorite, lilac opens its flowers in late spring and early summer. Flower timing, fragrance and color depends on the lilac variety. Landscape use: Plant as hedge or specimen shrub. Short varieties work well in small gardens. Miniature tree varieties make a striking focal point in planting beds or containers. Hardy in Zones 2 to 7.

French Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)

This striking beauty boasts large flower heads that appear in early summer and linger well past frost. Bloom color includes pink, blue and white varieties. Landscape use: Tuck into mixed planting beds, woodland gardens or even containers. Blends well with perennials and spring flowering bulbs like daffodils and allium. Hardy in Zones 4 to 9.

‘Little Henry’ Virginia Sweetspire (Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’)

White flowers open in spikes starting in early to midsummer. The blooms have a sweet fragrance and beckon pollinators like butterflies and bees. Plants withstand wet or dry soils and need some level of shade. Landscape use: Good choice for butterfly or rain gardens. Choose dwarf hybrids like ‘Little Henry’ for small yards or containers. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Black Lace Elderberry (Sambucus nigra ‘Eva’)

This dark leaf shrub provides a strong background color that lets other plants shine. Pink flowers open in midsummer and are a pollinator magnet. Flowers fade to berries that birds favor. Landscape use: Pair with plants having gold leaves, like Japanese forest grass for a striking combination. Works well in perennial planting beds. Include in wildlife gardens. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Psychedelic Sky Butterfly Bush (Buddleia ‘PII BD-III’)

Blue-purple flowers appear all summer—and even open through light frosts. Remove spent blooms to keep flowers coming. Butterflies can’t resist this beauty. Landscape use: Include in perennial beds or butterfly gardens, or use as a specimen shrub. Also works well in mixed shrub plantings. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

‘Rose Satin’ Rose-of-Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus ‘Rose Satin’)

Tropical-looking flowers give this old-fashioned favorite south-of-the-border flair. Blooms appear in midsummer, opening in a variety of shades, including white, lavender, red and pink. Landscape use: Include in mixed borders for strong upright element, or plant several to form a hedge. Works well in butterfly gardens. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia)

Versatile and beautiful, summersweet grows in a range of conditions, from full shade to full sun. White or pink bristle-like blooms open on branch tips in mid- to late summer. Flowers are fragrant. Landscape use: Include in shade, butterfly or wildlife gardens. Adapts easily to conditions in rain gardens. Fits neatly into plantings along driveways or sidewalks. Hardy in Zones 3 to 9.

Bottlebrush Buckeye (Aesculus parviflora)

Long white flower spikes appear in summer above the green leaves. Hummingbirds are especially fond of the flowers. Landscape use: Include in butterfly or wildlife gardens. This shrub suckers, which means it creates an informal hedge as it forms a colony or thicket if sprouts aren’t removed. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Sunshine Blue Bluebeard (Caryopteris incana ‘Jason’)

Lavender-blue blooms appear on this shrub in late summer and early fall. Butterflies flock to plants, adding more color to the scene. Some varieties offer grey-green leaves; others bring gold to the garden. Landscape use: Blends well in perennial plantings, mixed borders or wildlife gardens. Makes a great addition to a butterfly garden. Grows well in large containers. Hardy in Zones 5 to 11.

Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

The flower show starts in late spring and early summer and lingers all winter long. Autumn showcases a color change for blossoms as they fade from white to deep pink. Blooms remain on plants through winter or can be cut and brought indoors for drying. Leaves bring bold fall color to any yard. Landscape use: Plant as an informal hedge, or include in mixed shrub borders. Also makes a natural addition to a cutting garden. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

‘Goldfinger’ Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’)

This shrub boasts a hearty, fuss-free personality. Plants are drought-tolerant once established and need little in the way of ongoing care. Deer leave it alone, and it’s a butterfly favorite. Flowers start opening in early summer and keep coming until fall frost. Color depends on variety. Landscape use: Makes a great hedge or edging for a shrub border. Plants blend effortlessly into perennial beds. Include in butterfly gardens. Hardy in Zones 2 to 8.

Japanese Pieris (Pieris japonica)

Plan for a winter show by planting this evergreen shrub. Colorful flower buds form on plants in summer and linger through winter. Blooms actually open in early spring, but the buds are so pretty they bring great interest to the winter garden. Landscape use: Plant where you’ll see it from the house to enjoy the winter show. Include in shrub beds or planted beneath trees. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Sansanqua Camellia (Camellia sasanqua)

Exquisite flowers in shades of pink, red and white complement glossy green leaves. Blooms open from autumn through December and even into winter, depending on the variety and region. Landscape use: Tuck into mixed borders, or use as a focal point or hedge. Small varieties look stunning in containers. Hardy in Zones 7 to 9, with some varieties surviving in Zone 6.