Great Summer-Flowering Shrubs

Spring flowers, move over. These astounding shrubs can get any gardener through the summer doldrums.

Photo By: photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: Photo by Felder Rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Photo By: photo by felder rushing

Rose

America's official Floral Emblem comes in many forms, sizes and flower colors, with some being very disease-resistant as well. Selections can be found to grow in every climate, and many are fragrant to boot!

Crape Myrtle

Dwarf crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica) are super summer-flowering shrubs or container specimen. Plant in full sun, in zones 8-10.

'Anthony Waterer' Spiraea

'Anthony Waterer' spirea has masses of dark pink to crimson red flowers; some new varieties, such as ‘Gold Mound' have lime-green foliage. Plant in full sun or part shade, in zones 5-9.

Bottle Brush

Bottle brush (Callistemon) has very aptly-named flowers on medium to large shrubs or small specimen trees. It performs well in pots if kept moderately dry in the winter. Plant in full sun, well-drained soil, in zones 8-10.

Vitex

Lilac chaste tree flowers heavily in the summer and is super attractive to bees. The shrub is very drought-tolerant. Plant in full sun in zones 6-10.

Gardenia

Cape jasmine is an evergreen shrub with intensely fragrant ivory flowers. often grown as a potted plant where it is too cold to plant outdoors. Plant in sun or part shade, in zones 8-10.

Abelia

Abelia grandlflora is a fantastic choice for attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Plant in full sun or part shade, in zones 6-9.

Chinese Abelia

Abelia chinensis has larger flower clusters than other species, but is just as attractive to butterflies and bees. Grow in zones 6-10.

Angel Trumpet

Brugmansia is a summer-blooming shrub only in frost-free areas; colder-climate gardeners enjoy it as a treasured potted specimen.

Bottlebrush Buckeye

This Southeastern native (Aesculus parviflora) thrives well into southern Canada, and flowers equally well in dense shade. Plant in zones 4-9.

Smoke Bush

Smoke bush (Cotinus coggygria) has large masses of small flowers covered with billowy hairs that turn smoky pink to purplish pink. Some have burgundy foliage. Plant in full sun, in zones 5-8.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) flowers in gardens from coast to coast and north to south. Plant in full sun or part shade, in zones 5-10.

Chinese Hibiscus

Glossy-leaf Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) is one of the showiest tropical plants, well-suited for container culture in climates too cold to plant outdoors. Plant in full sun,  in zones 9-10.

Foxtail Myrtle

Foxtail myrtle (Myrtus communis) has super-fragrant leaves and is hardy in mild-winter areas. Plant in zones 8-10.

Yucca

Yuccas flower in the spring and summer with edible flowers. Some, including the small, clump-forming native Yucca filamentosa, are quite cold hardy. Plant in full sun, in zones 5-10 depending on species.

Winged Sumac

Winged or "smooth" sumac (Rhus copallina) has yellowish-white flower clusters in summer—later than other sumacs—and tolerates incredibly poor soils. It provides great fall color, too. Plant in full sun, in zones 4-11.

Button Bush

Button bush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) is a shade-loving shrub native to Southeastern rivers and creek banks, thriving in moist soils. Pincushiony, ping-pong ball-shaped flowers are lightly fragrant and attractive to wildlife. Plant in part sun or shade, in zones 5-9.

Clerodendrum Trichotomum

Harlequin Glorybower has incredibly fragrant clusters of flowers whose pink calyx turn red and nestle single bright blue berries later. Plant in sun/part shade, in zones 7-10.

Pineapple Guava

Pineapple guava (Feijoa sellowiana) has incredibly exotic flowers that are perfectly edible. Plant in sun in zones 8-10.

Cistus

Rock rose grows well in mild climates with dry summers or super well-drained soils. Plant in sun, in zones 8-10.

Potentilla

Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) has cheery orange, red, yellow or white flowers and make good groundcovers or border plants. Plant in full sun or part shade, in zones 3-8.

Magnolia 'Little Gem'

Magnolia grandiflora ‘Little Gem’ is a compact shrub with super glossy evergreen leaves and highly-fragrant, small white flowers that appear from spring to fall—the longest blooming magnolia! It does very well in large containers and when protected in colder climates. Plant in full sun to part shade, in zones 7-10.

Hydrangeas

With their cotton candy-colored blooms and ability to take the shade, hydrangeas are one of the most beautiful summer-flowering shrubs.

Hydrangea Colors

Flowers of hydrangea macrophylla can be pink, blue or in-between depending on the acidity of the soil—a lower pH yields deeper blue flowers; higher pH in alkaline soils results in pink flowers.

Oakleaf Hydrangea

Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is a woodland native whose flower bracts remain well into winter. Plant in part sun to shade, in zones 5-10.

Hardy Fuchsia

Unlike the showier species of hanging basket-type fuchsia, hardy fuchsia is a small to medium, bushy shrub with loose clusters of delicate, dangling flowers, usually crimson with a purple center. Plant in full sun, in zones 6-9.

Japanese Fatsia

Fatsia japonica, grown mostly for its large, coarse leaves, has striking, off-white flower clusters in late summer. It's often grown as a potted plant in colder climates. Plant in part to full shade, in zones 7-10.

Elderberry

Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis) flowers in late spring and summer, with masses of edible berries following. Black elderberry (S. nigra) has nearly black foliate. Plant in full sun to part shade, in zones 3-11.

Powderpuff

Powderpuff is a drought-tolerant bloomer for mild climates. Its "puffball" blooms invite passersby to touch. Plant in full sun, in zones 9-10.

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

Brunfelsia pauciflora is an old "passalong plant" whose flowers fade from purple to white, giving its common name. It flowers best in full sun, but thrives in hot summers if kept in light shade. Plant in zones 8-10.

Buddleja in England

Butterfly bush (Buddleja or Buddleia davidii) grows wild in many cool climates, but is the queen of the summer butterfly and hummingbird garden! Flowers can be white, blue, pink, purple, red or yellow. It flowers best if spent flower stems are snipped off. Plant in full sun, in zones 5-10.

Buddleja 'Lochinch'

'Lochinch' is one of most heat- and drought-tolerant butterfly bushes, and highly fragrant as well. Plant in full sun, in zones 5-10.

Weeping Mary Buddleja

Weeping Mary butterfly bush (Buddleia lindleyana) flowers on old wood (don't prune in the winter), and has 2-foot-long drooping flowers that are very attractive to insects and hummingbirds. Its underground runners can cause it to be invasive. Plant in full sun, part shade, in zones 7-10.

Oleander

Oleander is a multiple-stemmed shrub for which dwarf forms are available, some with variegated leaves. It thrives on neglect and drought. It can be grown in containers where winters are harsh. Note: All parts of the plant are extremely poisonous if ingested. Plant in full sun, in zones 8-10.

Bonus: Bottle Tree

Whimsical "shrubs" or small trees made with colorful glass bottles provide unique color through all the seasons. Wonderfully adaptable to sun or shade, and all zones.

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