Home Tip Tuesday ~ Top Flowering Shrubs
Flowering shrubs are one of the most overlooked plants available to gardeners. Many types provide three-season interest and are the solution to that blank spot in the landscape where nothing else will grow.
Spirea earns the top spot on any gardener’s list because of its easy care and breath-taking beauty. Bloom colors range from whites to pink, red and purple. Choose this abundant- blooming deciduous shrub as a focal point, for a landscape grouping or to provide a fast-growing natural privacy screen. Some varieties also provide striking fall foliage. Plant in well-drained soil in full sun to dappled shade. A bit of mulch in the spring and light pruning in winter or spring, depending on the variety’s bloom season, is practically all the maintenance this hardy shrub needs once established. Compact plants like Double Play Big Bang grow only 3 feet high while varieties such as Bridal Wreath can grow 6-feet tall or more.
Lilacs are everyone’s nostalgic favorite, but their short, one-time blooming period has made them impractical for smaller landscapes, especially since their simple green foliage lacks interest. The Bloomerang lilac is changing all of that. It provides loads of fragrant, deep-purple flowers for months instead of weeks. Bloomerang is also deer-, disease- and drought-resistant. It has a naturally neat, round shape and grows between 48 and 72 inches high. Blooms come on new growth, so no pruning during the blooming season. If needed, prune lightly after the spring bloom. Plant in full sun with well-drained soil for best growth.
Viburnums provide a showy cascade of white, cream or pink blooms in the spring, but for many varieties, springtime is just the opening act. Mapleleaf Viburnum fills the landscape with all the brilliant fall color its name suggests, and varieties like Allegheny are a study in contrast with a background of deep-green leaves against loads of red-to-black clusters of berry-like fruit. Choose from two main flower styles, either flat-topped clusters similar to lacecap hydrangeas or dome-shaped flowers similar to snowball hydrangeas.
|Rose of Sharon|
Rose of Sharon earns a spot on our list because it gives a much-needed splash of fresh color in the late-summer to early-fall landscape. When most other shrubs are preparing for dormancy, Rose of Sharon comes to life. This plant is drought tolerant and thrives in zones with high summer heat. Also known as “Althea,” Rose of Sharon is in the mallow family. It can be grown as a small tree, 8- to 10-feet high or as a shrub as small as 4-feet tall, depending on variety and pruning. Give Rose of Sharon full sun and well-drained soil and it will give you a profusion of large, striking flowers in shades of white, red, blue and lavender.
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