How to Choose Flowering Shrubs


Flowering shrubs are a valuable investment for any gardener. Shrubs offer privacy, prevent soil erosion and add visual texture to the landscape. They provide habitat for wildlife, and can provide food in the case of fruit-bearing shrubs. Plant flowering shrubs in masses along a fence or to hide your foundation. Several smaller nursery plants fill in spaces more quickly than a few large plants, and you'll save money too.

Step 1

Scoop soil from several areas in your garden into the vials or envelopes provided with your soil test kit. Mail the test kit to your local county extension office. In a few weeks, you'll receive a detailed analysis recommending soil improvements and indicating the pH level. Amend the soil as recommended and choose shrubs that grow well in your soil type. For example, azaleas and rhododendrons are acid-loving shrubs that don't grow well in the Rocky Mountains.

Step 2

Inspect your garden site, taking note of the natural conditions there, including sunlight, soil moisture and protection from wind and winter cold. Also consider the amount of space you have. Choose flowering shrubs that are appreciate the conditions found in your garden for healthy, low-maintenance plants. Ensure that you have enough room for the mature size of your shrubs.

Step 3

Search nurseries, botanical gardens and even your neighbors' yards for flowering shrubs that appeal to you. Consult a local county extension office to choose flowering shrubs appropriate for your climate and U.S. Department of Agriculture hardiness zone.

Step 4

Buy 1-gallon nursery plants with strong stems, green leaves and white roots. Avoid plants with dropping or spotted leaves, a sign of disease. Scorched leaves indicate water stress. Ask if your nursery or garden center offers a guarantee and choose disease-resistant varieties, if possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit from your local extension service


  • Cornell University Department of Horticulture: Deciduous Woody Ground Covers
  • University of Missouri Cooperative Extension: Selecting Landscape Plants

Who Can Help

  • University of Missouri Extension Office: Pruning Ornamental Shrubs
Keywords: flowering shrubs, selecting flowering shrubs, growing flowering shrubs

About this Author

Julie Christensen has been writing for five years. Her work has appeared in "The Friend" and "Western New York Parent" magazines. Her guide for teachers, "Helping Young Children Cope with Grief" will be published this spring. Christensen studied early childhood education at Ricks College and recently returned to school to complete a degree in communications/English.