Showy blooms and interesting foliage make flowering shrubs a great asset to landscapes large and small. Flowering shrubs provide years of enjoyment and are especially nice if you choose easy growing species. Visit reputable garden centers or nurseries and purchase specimens well-suited to your particular climate and yard conditions for the best performance.
Oleander (Nerium oleander) is an erect, evergreen shrub that is multi-branched, growing up to 20 feet tall and with 6 to 12 foot spread. Oleander is a rapid grower and produces leaves mostly in whorls of three that are dark green, strappy, smooth and leathery and up to 10 inches long. Its 2-inch, funnel-shaped flowers come in pink, red, yellow or white, in single or double forms. Oleander is a very durable plant and prefers full sun for best flowering, or partial shade and various soils. Oleander tolerates severe pruning, drought, wind and salt and is easily transplanted. Oleander is cold hardy in USDA zones 8 through 11. Note that all parts of oleander are highly toxic.
Camellia (Camellia japonica) is a densely foliated, evergreen shrub reaching to 45 feet tall, but commonly seen around 6 to 15 feet. It produces simple, alternate or spirally arranged, broadly elliptic leaves with shallowly serrate margins and 5-inch, showy flowers with color varying by cultivar. Camellias bloom in winter and in spring, preferring partial shade locations and nutrient-rich, well-drained acidic soils. These shrubs are hardy in USDA zones 7 through 9.
Hydrangeas (Hydrangea acrophylla) are rounded, symmetrical, deciduous shrubs commonly seen 3 to 5 feet tall, but capable of reaching 8 feet, with equal spread. Hydrangeas grow rapidly and produce 9-inch, thick, fleshy green leaves and large clusters of pink, white or blue flowers, depending on soil pH. Neutral soils produce white flowers, acidic soils produce blue flowers and alkaline soils produce pink flowers. Hydrangeas prefer partial to fairly deep shade and organic, well-drained, moist soils.
Clemson University extension describes spireas species as being among the easiest flowering shrubs to cultivate. Baby's breath spirea (Spirea thunbergii) grows 3 to 5 feet tall, producing multiple thin, arching branches bearing small leaves that turn orange in fall. Its flowers cluster on the branches, lending it a profusely feathery appearance. Spireas grow quickly and prefer partial to full sun locations and tolerate various soil conditions, except waterlogged. Baby's breath spirea is hardy in USDA zones 7 through 9.