Flowering shrubs create color in the garden, attract winged wildlife, such as butterflies, and bring a sense of privacy when used as a makeshift screen to the garden. Some of the best flowering shrubs are drought-tolerant to withstand periods of limited moisture and tolerate a wide range of soil varieties, including adverse soil environments. Choosing the right flowering bush for the landscape depends upon the current USDA zone and personal taste.
Chinese abelia (Abelia chinensis) is a semi-evergreen shrub that has a moderate to rapid growth rate and brings color to the garden in short fashion. It grows 5 to 7 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide with an upright, spreading form and rounded shape. The fragrant clusters of white, butterfly-attracting flowers on Chinese abelia shrubs emerge in July and last into September, creating a long flowering season. The dark-green 1-½ inch-wide serrated leaves are pale green on the underside of each leaf. Chinese abelia shrubs are drought-tolerant. They grow best in full sun to partial shade and moist, well-drained soil. Plant Chinese abelia in USDA zones 7 to 9.
Early forsythia (Forsythia ouata) is a deciduous flowering shrub with a stiff, spreading form and bright blooms. It grows 4 to 6 feet tall and wide and is an ideal flowering bush to grow as a specimen plant among the landscape. The bright yellow flowers grow along its cascading branches to emerge in winter to early spring, hence the name early forsythia. Early forsythia is drought-tolerant and grows best in full sun to partial shade but tolerates a wide range of adverse conditions, an ideal quality for a flowering bush. It thrives in loose soil. Plant early forsythia in USDA zones 4 to 7.
Butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is a deciduous bush that has a rapid growth rate and medium to coarse texture. It grows 5 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide, creating an ideal bush to grow along the garden alone or in masses for their bright blooms. The 4- to 10-inch-long fragrant panicles or blooms grow in a wide range of colors, including, lilac, white, yellow or pink, and emerge in summer and last into fall. Butterfly bushes have a large, rounded form with cascading, arching branches that create a brilliant display to the garden. They are easy to transplant and are drought-tolerant, two ideal qualities for a flowering bush. They grow best in full sun and well-drained, moist soil but tolerate a wide range of soil conditions. Plant butterfly bushes in USDA zones 5 to 9.