Shrubs are an important part of any landscape. These plants soften the separation between trees and smaller perennial plants in the garden. Flowering shrubs add more color to the landscape and often fill the garden with fragrance. Many flowering shrubs grow in Louisiana's climate. Located in United States Department of Agriculture hardiness zone 8 and 9, southern Louisiana boasts mild winters and warm, humid summers.
Although the dark, evergreen leaves of the camellia (Camellia japonica) are attractive-year round, it's the large flowers that endear many to the plant. Camellia flowers bloom in the spring in shades of red, white and pink. Although not fragrant, the flowers are large, growing to 5 inches in diameter. Camellias thrive in moist, humus-rich soil. Apply a layer of mulch to assure the soil stays evenly moist. Good drainage is a must. Their roots are shallow and excess water will kill this shrub. This shrub grows to 12 feet tall and 6 feet wide in partial to full shade. Although camellias grow slowly, they are long-lived. Camellia bushes live for more than a hundred years, according to Clemson University. Camellia shrubs thrive throughout southern Louisiana.
The most common shrub in Louisiana gardens, according to Perennial and Rose Gardening, the azalea (Rhododendron) is a flowering evergreen shrub that thrives in southern Louisiana's climate. Azaleas grow in partial to full sun. Papery flowers bloom in almost every color of the rainbow. These shrubs grow slowly, but can reach heights of 6 feet tall. Azaleas prefer acidic, well-drained soil. As the soil in many southern Louisiana homes tends to have a higher percentage of clay, amend the soil with organic matter and small amounts of sand before planting your azalea. Azaleas have a shallow root system and this will also raise the bed and improve drainage. Spread a thick layer of mulch around the roots of the azalea to keep the soil evenly moist.
Native to Europe, lilac (Syringa vulgaris) grows throughout southern Louisiana. Lilac is a deciduous woody shrub, with heart-shaped or ovate green leaves. This shrub grows in partial to full sun and reaches a height of 16 feet. Panicles of purple or white flowers bloom in the spring and fill the garden with a delicate fragrance. Lilac flowers make excellent cut flowers. Lilac shrubs adapt to many soil types as long as they are well-drained. Lilac flowers form on 1-year-old wood and should be pruned soon after the flowers have faded in the summer. The essential oil produced by lilac flowers is a key ingredient in many perfumes and beauty products.