"Top 10 Flowering Shrubs

 

 

Azalea

 

Azalea, like its relative rhododendron, is a prolific spring bloomer. Though it has smaller flower clusters than the rhododendron, it has just as much style. Its conspicuous and vibrantly colorful blooms come in numerous varieties, colors and sizes - so you'll be sure to find just what you're looking for.

  • Common Names: Azalea.
  • Botanical Name: Rhododendron.
  • Hardiness: Zones 6 to 8.
  • Bloom Time: Early spring to midsummer.
  • Size: 1 to 15 feet high, depending on cultivar.
  • Flowers: White, yellow, orange, pink and red.
  • Light Needs: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Growing Advice: Add an inch-deep layer of mulch around the base of the shrub, being more generous between plantings.
  • Prize Picks: Plant Palestrina for a compact, 4-feet-high shrub with white blooms. Cornell Pink is a dwarf shrub with bright pink flowers.

 

 

Buckeye

 

If you're looking to add charm to your landscape, go nuts and plant a buckeye shrub or small tree. These rugged and low-maintenance plants make gardening painless while adding color to your yard with distinctive leaves and showy flowers.

  • Common Name: Buckeye.
  • Botanical Name: Aesculus species.
  • Hardiness: Zones 3 to 7 or 8.
  • Bloom Time: Spring to midsummer.
  • Size: 10 to 50 feet high, 10 to 30 feet wide.
  • Flowers: Red, white, cream, pink or greenish-yellow.
  • Light needs: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Growing Advice: Sow buckeye nuts as soon as the seed capsule splits. Place seeds about 1 to 2 inches deep in groups of two or three. Many need a cold period to sprout successfully.
  • Prize Picks: Bottlebrush (Aesculus parviflora) produces spectacular spikes of white flowers in early summer. Ohio buckeye (Aesculus glabra) and red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) leaf out and flower earlier than many other trees and shrubs.

 

Camellia

 

While most garden plants spend winter taking a well-earned rest, camellias are just getting warmed up. These popular evergreens flower in the fall, winter or early spring. They are great for landscaping and produce beautiful rose-shaped blooms.

Camellias have been cultivated for years in the Far East, their native region. Today, there are over 250 species and more than 3,000 varieties.

  • Common Name: Camellia.
  • Botanical Name: Camellia.
  • Hardiness: Zones 6 to 11, depending on variety.
  • Bloom Time: Fall, winter or early spring, depending on variety.
  • Size: 3 to 20 feet high.
  • Flower: Primarily red, pink, and white.
  • Light needs: Partial shade.
  • Growing Advice: Plant in a spot protected from hot, dry sun and cold, strong winds, but not in full shade, which will reduce flowering.
  • Prize Picks: There are a few hardier camellias available that may survive as far north as Zone 6. Camellia oleifera has fragrant 2-inch blossoms with pink centers. Another, Camellia sinensis, the "tea camellia," makes a good screen planting for privacy. Its small white flowers bloom profusely from later summer until winter. Also try some favorites like Flame or Pink Perfection. Cold-hardy (to Zone 6) Polar Ice is very pretty.

 

 

Daphne

 

Here's a shrub that almost smells better than it looks - almost. Daphnes are loved for the intoxicating scent of its delicate white, pink, and purple blooms. Due to its compact habit and myriad varieties, daphne is versatile-try it as a groundcover, specimen, or foundation planting.

  • Common Name: Daphne.
  • Botanical Name: Daphne.
  • Hardiness: Zones 5 to 9.
  • Bloom Time: Spring to fall, depending on species.
  • Size: 1/2 foot to 12 feet high.
  • Flower: Four-lobed tubular flowers in white, pink or lilac.
  • Light needs: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Growing Advice: Daphnes resent transplanting, so it's best to do so from containers.
  • Prize Picks: Carol Mackie offers scent-sational an abundance of rosy blooms. Bowles White is a February daphne (Daphne mezereum) whose strong, upright stance supports pure white blooms.

 

 

Forsythia

 

When this shrub blooms, you know warmer weather is on the way. Forsythia is one of the first plants to flower in spring, when its golden bell-shaped blossoms are a welcome sight.

Once the shrubs have bloomed, and if they're more than 3 years old, get out the pruning shears and cut the very oldest branches down near the ground in order to encourage new shoots for next year.

  • Common Name: Forsythia.
  • Botanical Name: Foryuthia x intermedia.
  • Hardiness: Zones 3 to 8.
  • Bloom Time: Early to mid-spring.
  • Size: 1 to 10 feet high, 3 to 10 feet wide.
  • Flowers: Bell-shaped blooms in various shades of yellow.
  • Light needs: Full sun.
  • Growing Advice: Plant in hole that's as deep as, but wider than, the rootball. Space plants 2-1/2 to 6 feet apart.
  • Prize Picks: Northern gardeners should select varieties that are flower bud hardy, like Meadowlark and Northern Sun. Meadowlark grows up to 9 feet tall and has purplish fall color. Northern Sun can reach 10 feet in height. Sunrise is smaller and tolerant of urban conditions. The Bronx forsythia is low-growing and mounded, with purple fall color.

 

Stay tuned for Part II where we reveal the rest of the top flowering shrubs! Contact us if your shrubs could use a trimming and shaping, we'll be glad to help!