14 Flowering Shrubs for Sun

Add some color to your yard’s sunny areas with low-maintenance shrubs.

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Wine and Roses Weigela (Weigela florida ‘Alexandra’)

Ignite your landscape with the floral fireworks of Wine & Roses weigela. Rosy, tubular blooms blanket the shrub in late spring, beckoning hummingbirds and other pollinators. The rose flowers sparkle against dark leaves. More blossoms appear sporadically through summer. Prune immediately after flowering. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Mock Orange (Philadelphus coronarius)

Fill your yard with the sweet perfume of orange blossoms. That’s the fragrance that mock orange flowers release when they open in late spring to early summer. Look for varieties with double or single flowers. Plant mock orange along a walkway or patio where you can savor the fragrance. Prune immediately after flowering. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

Japanese Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles ‘Pink Lady’)

Deep pink blooms transform branches into wands of color in late winter to early spring. Place this sun-loving shrub where you’ll see the flowers from indoors. Look for varieties that open pale peach, coral or white blossoms. For early color, clip branches for forcing indoors. Prune immediately after flowering. Hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

American Cranberrybush (Viburnum opulus var. americanum)

Choose American cranberrybush for a wildlife or bird garden. White flowers in spring give way to red berry clusters in late summer. Berries linger as long as birds leave them alone. American cranberrybush is formerly known as highbush cranberry (Viburnum trilobum). Prune in early spring after plants leaf out. Hardy in Zones 2 to 7.

Sunshine Blue Bluebeard (Caryopteris incana ‘Jason’)

Brighten late summer and early fall with dazzling blue flowers that are a butterfly favorite. This variety offers gold leaves that add season-long color to plantings. Prune in early spring to the point where new growth appears. In northern areas, plants typically die to the ground, but resprout from roots. No pruning may be necessary in Southern zones. Hardy in Zones 5 to 11.

Fothergilla (Fothergilla major)

Give fothergilla a sunny spot in acid soil. Morning sun with a little afternoon shade is ideal. Honey-scented, bottlebrush-like blossoms decorate branch tips in early spring. Leaves have strong veins that introduce texture to plantings. Fall color is breathtaking. Pruning is rarely needed, but if so, tackle it right after flowering. Hardy in Zones 4 to 8.

‘Goldfinger’ Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’)

Rugged and beautiful, potentilla is a plant-it-and-forget-it shrub. Butterflies love the gold flowers, which open from early summer to fall frost. Deer ignore this shrub. The one thing potentilla needs is well-drained soil. Plants are drought-tolerant once established. Pruning is rarely needed and is best done in late winter. Hardy in Zones 2 to 8.

Lilac (Syringa)

Celebrate spring with the lovely, fragrant flowers of lilac. These shrubs perform best and open the most flowers in full sun. Lilacs come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from dwarf types that fit small entry gardens to tall varieties like 'Mount Baker' and 'Pocahontas' (pictured), which reach 10 to 12 feet tall. Prune immediately after flowering. Hardy in Zones 2 to 7.

Cut-Leaf Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina ‘Dissecta’)

Count on this shrub for fall and winter interest. Fall leaf color features a blend of red, gold and orange. Fuzzy brown stems and red seed pods linger through winter. This shrub forms colonies; plant it where it can spread freely. It’s great on a slope or in areas with poor soil. Pruning is typically done in early spring as a means to curtail rampant growth. Cut stems to the ground each spring to dwarf the plant and corral the spread. Hardy in Zones 3 to 8.

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

Pretty blue-purple flower heads form on this butterfly bush all summer long and up until fall frost if you remove spent blooms. This shrub is a butterfly magnet. Pruning is rarely needed but is best done in early spring. Cut plants back to 12 inches above soil. In coldest zones, plants often die to the ground and resprout from roots. Don’t cut dead stems until all danger of frost has passed. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

‘Magic Summer’ Hebe (Hebe ‘Magic Summer’)

Hebe is best suited for regions with mild winters, where the leaves take center stage in winter, shifting from gray and white variegated to bright red. Purple flowers appear in late spring. In colder zones, grow this beauty in a container you can overwinter indoors. Prune after flowering, cutting branches back by half to maintain the compact shape. Hardy in Zones 8 to 10.

Rockspray Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster horizontalis)

Small pink flowers appear in spring and fade to shiny red berries in fall. Cotoneaster is a great groundcover shrub and also works well atop walls or on slopes for erosion control. The low form of cotoneaster provides excellent cover for birds and is a good plant to include in a wildlife-friendly garden. Pruning is rarely needed, only to remove damaged or dead branches, and is best done in late winter. Hardy in Zones 4 to 7.

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

Give your garden a touch of the tropics with the exotic blooms of rose of Sharon. This sun-loving shrub flowers in midsummer, putting on a strong show of color. Blossoms beckon hummingbirds and butterflies. Pruning is rarely needed and is best done in late winter. Hardy in Zones 5 to 9.

Doublefile Viburnum

Strongly horizontal branches give doublefile viburnum an eye-catching form in every season. White flowers rest on branches in mid- to late spring in double rows, earning this shrub its name. Leaves turn purple-red to red in autumn. Use this shrub for a hedge or as a foundation planting. Prune immediately after flowering. Hardy in Zones 5 to 8.

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