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Types of Flowering Bushes

Hydrangea image by Micah Jared from

Flowering shrubs are grown in dozens of types, each shrub with its own distinct shape, color, size, growing requirement and blooming season. Many flowering shrubs require full sun and well-drained soil to flourish. Flowering shrubs may also be evergreen, meaning they retain their foliage and color when most other shrubs die down. Drought- and heat-tolerant, flowering shrubs create hardy and long-lasting plants to grow in the garden.

Butterfly Bush

The butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) is a rapidly growing deciduous shrub with medium-to-coarse texture. The shrub's rounded, large form has arching branches that light up the landscape with color and texture. Gray-green to bluish green, leaves on the butterfly bush grow 4 to 10 inches long and emerge in late spring. The butterfly bush has fragrant lilac-like flowers that grow 4 to 10 inches wide and in a variety of colors including, white, yellow, pink and purple. Drought- and heat-tolerant, the butterfly bush is a hardy plant to prune in late winter to promote new growth in spring. Butterfly bushes grow 5 to 10 feet tall and 6 to 8 feet wide, ideal for growing at the back of a flower bed for a striking focal point to the landscape.

As the name indicates, butterfly bushes attract butterflies and bumblebees to the garden. Butterfly bushes prefer full sun and well-drained, moist soil but grow in a wide range of soils. The butterfly bush is perennial in U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Hardiness Zones 5 to 9.


Gardenia (Gardenia augusta) is an evergreen bush with a moderate growth rate and medium texture. Gardenia shrubs grow 4 to 6 feet tall and 4 to 5 feet wide, ideal for a front flower bed. Dense in nature, the gardenia has a rounded, mound-like form. The whorled, lustrous, dark green leaves on the gardenia bush grow 2 to 4 inches long. The fragrant, summer-blooming flowers are white, grow 2 to 3 inches wide, and are often used in fresh floral arrangements. Gardenia shrubs are drought-tolerant, making them ideal shrubs to grow in arid climates. They prefer full sun to partial shade and well-drained acidic soil that is moist and nutrient-laden. The zone for planting is 7b to 10.

Annabelle Hydrangea

The 'Annabelle' hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle') is a deciduous shrub with coarse texture and a rapid growth rate. The arching stems are upright and hold the puffball-like blooms. 'Annabelle' hydrangea bushes grow 3 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide, and are ideal planted in a perennial garden or in masses along a garden wall. The dark green leaves on the 'Annabelle' hydrangea grow 3 to 7 inches long. The fluffy, flat-topped blooms start off white and turn green, then brown as they mature. The flowerheads on this hydrangea grow 8 to 12 inches wide and are striking in fresh-cut floral arrangements. To promote flowering on new growth, prune the 'Annabelle' hydrangea in early spring. 'Annabelle' prefers full sun to partial shade and well-drained, moist soil. The zone for planting is 4 to 9.

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