Rose Bushes logo

All about Roses, Rose Bushes, and Their Care.

Long Blooming Shrubs For The Home Gardener

As Americans are enjoying life outdoors more than ever before and wanting to develop a low-maintenance landscape, shrubs that flower over a long period of time can be the answer. As a long time Horticultural professional, Vicki Smith at Lawn and Garden Search has exciting news and guidance for choosing and using flowering shrubs in the home garden.

Abelia will continue to delight gardeners with their fragrant flowers that continue until frost. Most hardy to Zone 9, the plants are evergreen in much of the country and semi-evergreen through Zone 6 adding lasting color.

Bluebeard Spirea or blue-mist shrub (Caryopteris x clandonensis) and cultivars are hardy as a shrub in much of the country and grown as perennials in colder areas. The rich blues of selected cultivars that maintain the color through fall are a garden addition well worth making since they only need to be planted initially and are quite low-maintenance afterward.

Butterfly-bush (Buddleja, Buddleia) flower throughout the summer into fall. Great for use near patios and decks where the sweet fragrance can be enjoyed, it is also wonderful to see the many butterflies that will visit the plants. Adding plants that also attract wildlife is one of the extras to consider when choosing what to grow.

Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus) which flowers from June or July through September with fragrant pale violet blooms should be considered for every zone 6-9 garden.

Crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia) for Zones 6-9 are handsome shrubs or small trees that bloom from June until September or even October in some areas. Any description does not do the plant justice. Not many shrubs bloom all summer, covered in pink, red, white or lavender blooms.

Encore Azaleas are so different from other Azaleas that the name must be considered and not just think of it as a brand. Encore, meaning come back and give us more (especially for musicians and actors), is exactly what these brightly colored plants do. They flower nicely in spring, form new growth and repeat the blooming in late summer into fall when the added color is so appreciated.

Gardenia (G. jasminoides) or Cape Jasmine growing only up to 5′ in Zones 7-10 is tremendous in May, June and July with exceedingly fragrant blooms. With more outdoor living being enjoyed these days, Gardenia can be trained into a small patio tree too.

Hibiscus, both the more tropical types (H. rosa-sinensis) hardy in Zone 9-12 and grown as houseplants and potted plants on decks and patios in colder parts of the country; and the Rose of Sharon or Shrub Althea (H. syriacus) which is hardy in Zones 5-9 will flower summer into fall with large, vibrant blooms.

Hydrangea of several types but especially the Bigleaf Hydrangeas (H. macrophylla), flower from early summer into fall. Anyone lucky enough to go to Nantucket, MA, in the summer will never forget how the plants billow and brighten every garden. Mixed with roses, they are unforgettable.

Roses can’t be overlooked when considering flowering shrubs for their new projects or to re-invigorate an existing landscape. A huge movement in rose breeding has brought many new pest-free and disease-free landscape roses in a multitude of colors that will blend with any garden color decor. To get a flowering shrub that flowers spring through frost and is low maintenance is exactly what today’s busy homeowners are looking for. New roses can be a great answer.

Sweetspire, Virginia Sweetspire or Virginia-willow (Itea virginica), especially the new, dwarf selections like ‘Henry’s Garnet’ and ‘Little Henry’ bloom about four weeks in the summer when few shrubs or trees are blooming. With deep fragrance and spectacular fall foliage colors, they continue to give even when not in flower.

Weigela or Old-fashioned Weigela is having a resurgence with several new cultivars selected for their multi-season effect. ‘Wine and Roses’ and the even smaller-growing ‘Midnight Wine’ bloom bright pink for about 4 weeks. With dark burgundy foliage that blends well with Blue-spirea / Caryopteris (described above) and yellow flowering perennials like Coreopsis and Black Eyed Susan, these are plants that can be enjoyed all summer.

With so much focus on outdoor living and container gardening, utilizing these dynamic shrubs will add excitement to the patio, deck, landscape, or in raised planters mixed with perennials, ornamental grasses, annuals or even tropicals. It only takes a few minutes of time and minimal effort to gain incredible color all season. Visitors and friends coming to the home will feel welcome and admire the beauty too.

Local garden centers will continue to offer potted shrubs that are ready to plant and enjoy for instant impact. Visiting the nursery every several weeks during the summer will ensure that the home gardener can continue to add bright splashes of mid and late season color to the landscape and continue to enjoy the effect year after year.


  • white rose

    red rose bush potted


The archives run deep. Feel free to search older content using topic keywords.