Flowering shrubs bring vibrancy to the garden with their exploding blooms and cascading branches. Grown in a wide range of shapes, sizes and colors, their height and fullness help to fill in bare areas of the garden. When grown in masses along a backyard patio or front yard perennial bed, flowering shrubs create a focal point to the yard.
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is a flowering deciduous shrub with a rapid growth rate and medium to coarse texture. Butterfly bushes grow 5 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide and have a rounded form with pendulous branches. Attached to the cascading branches are the puffball-like blooms that come in a wide range of colors, including yellow, purple, white and pink. The fragrant blooms emerge in summer to last into fall. The foliage on butterfly bushes varies from gray to green to blue to green. Growing 4 to 10 inches long, the oval-shaped green leaves begin to emerge in spring, before the blooms appear. Drought-tolerant, butterfly bushes are an easy flowering shrub to transplant to other areas of the garden. They flower on new growth and when severely pruned in later winter, produce the healthiest blooms. Butterfly bushes attract butterflies to the garden, hence the name, and grow best in full sun. They prefer well-drained, moist soil but withstand a wide range of soil types. Plant butterfly bushes in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.
Bigleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) is a deciduous shrub with a rapid growth rate and coarse texture. Growing 3 to 4 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide, bigleaf hydrangea shrubs have a compact, rounded form. Their flat-topped flower clusters grows in pink, blue or violet and are born on the previous year's growth. Changing the soil pH level to a range of 5 to 5 ½ produces blue flowers while 6 to 6 ½ creates pink blooms. The lustrous foliage on bigleaf grows 4 to 8 inches long and is medium to dark green. Bigleaf hydrangea shrubs require full sun to part shade and well-drained, moist soil that is high in organic matter. Plant in USDA zones 6 to 9.
Forsythia (Forsythia spp. and cvs.) is a spring-blooming shrub that is one of the first signs that spring is here. The upright, arching branches hold the bright yellow flowers. The 4-petaled blooms range from light to deep yellow and make ideal fresh cut branches to use in formal or informal arrangements. Growing 4 to 6 feet tall and wide, forsythia shrubs are a deer-tolerant common shrub variety. They grow best in full sun to part shade and well-drained, moist soil that is nutrient-rich. Plant in USDA zones 4 to 9.