Flowering Shrubs for the Summer Garden

Those lazy days of summer are upon us.  It’s time to relax on the patio, having a BBQ with family and friends, or just enjoy some time in the garden.  While in the garden, you might notice that your garden may not be looking its best or be in need of some extra colour.  Those springs flowering shrubs and perennial that looked so great a month ago are now only distant memories.  Now is a great time to look about the garden to find those spots that need a bit of a pick-me-up.  One of the easiest ways to add some colour to the summer time garden is with an assortment of summer flowering shrubs.  Summer shrubs are available in a wide variety of sizes and colours and will provide years of enjoyment in the landscape.  Plant some colour now so you will have an abundant show every summer for years to come.  Here are a few of our favourite shrubs for the summer garden.

Bluebeard Shrub

This shrub is a treat in late summer when it bears airy clusters of beautiful blue blooms. It’s easy to grow and easily tolerates all the heat and drought of summer.  As an

added bonus, butterflies love it. Bluebeard shrub makes a great cut flower too. One of the best selections is Dark Knight with deep blue flowers and a compact bushy habit.  Prune back hard in early spring.   They thrive in full sun and well-drained soil.  Blue beard grows 4 feet tall.  Zones: 5-9


Butterfly Bush

Butterfly Bush is like a summer-flowering lilac. The blooms appear in similar colours — purple, lavender, blue, pink, and white — and are deliciously fragrant. Happily, butterfly bushes offer a longer bloom season, from summer into autumn, especially if you pinch off the old flower clusters as they start to fade.  Two great new introductions are ‘Lo&Behold’ and ‘Peacock’. ‘Lo&Behold’ is a dwarf variety with attractive mauve blooms that only grows 2-3′ high and wide.   ‘Peacock’ is another compact variety with extra long purple-pink blooms.  They do best in full sun and well-drained soil.  Grows 2 To 6 feet tall.  Zones: 5-9


Hydrangea paniculata

Hydrangea paniculata is the easiest hydrangea to grow.  In late summer and autumn, this rugged shrub produces fluffy clusters of white flowers that fade to shades of pink. Many cultivars, such as ‘Limelight’, ‘Pinky Winky’ and ‘Pink Diamond’ are available in standard tree form and offer superior colour and form over older varieties.  One of our favourite is a new variety called ‘Little Lamb’.  This dwarf selection is covered in blooms from early summer to fall and only grows approximately 3′ tall. Better still, it blooms several weeks earlier than other varieties.  Full sun or part shade and well-drained soil. Grows 3 to 10 feet high & wide depending on variety. Hardy Zones: 4-8



Potentilla is one of the most common and easiest shrubs  to grow.  It starts blooming in late spring and continues through autumn, bearing cheery yellow, pink, or white flowers that look like single roses.   ‘Gold Star’ is one of the best with an abundance of extra-large blooms over a compact shrub.   Potentilla has attractively divided foliage.  Potentillas generally grow 3 feet tall and wide and does best in full sun and well-drained soil   Zones: 3-7


Reblooming Large Leaf Hydrangea

Most big leaf hydrangeas flower on branches from the last year, making them susceptible to injury from spring frosts or especially cold winter temperatures, reblooming varieties such as ‘Endless Summer’ produce flowers on fresh growth. This helps ensure more reliable blooms throughout the summer.  A newer introduction is the variety ‘Twist & Shout’ which is the first ever lace-cap reblooming hydrangea.  Large leaf hydrangeas prefer part shade and moist, but well-drained soil. Grows 3 to 5 feet tall.  Zones: 5-9


Rose of Sharon

You can rely on Rose of Sharon to provide lots of colour during the hottest months. From midsummer to early autumn, the shrub erupts in tropical-looking blooms in shades of pink, lavender-blue, and white.  With such a wide selection of colours it is not difficult to find a prefect addition to any garden.  Rose of Sharons are available as a shrub or grafted onto a standard to form a small ornamental tree.  They are undemanding but do best in full sun and well-drained soil

Size: To 10 feet tall and wide.  Zones: 5-9


Smoke Bush

Smoke bush creates a dramatic shot of color in the landscape, but not because of its pink plumes in summer. It’s the foliage that’s really spectacular: Most common types have dark purple leaves that erupt into colourful shades of yellow, orange, and red in fall.  A newer selection called Golden Spirit provides bright yellow leaf colour from spring to fall.  Smoke bush love full sun and well-drained soil

They can grow up to 12 feet tall but can be kept smaller with annual pruning.  Zones: 5-8



There’s a good reason spirea is a common sight in nearly every garden.  It’s a no-brainer to grow – no serious pest or disease problems and very little maintenance required. Spireas are beautiful from spring to fall as most varieties have colourful foliage for all season long.  In midsummer, they produce clusters of raspberry-rose flowers in summer for an added show of colour.  Varieties such as Goldmound and Goldflame are among the most popular.  Another great choice is Magic Carpet which has a dwarf, low mounding habit and outstanding colour from spring to fall.  Spireas are quite adaptable to any garden location but perform best in full sun to part shade and well drained soils.  They grow from 1.5′ to 4 feet depending on variety.  Hardy to zone 4.


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