10 Flowering Shrubs to Make Your Landscape Pop

Considering adding flowering shrubs to make your landscaping pop? These 10 flowering shrubs will add color to your yard and draw butterflies, bees, and other pollinators.

Before you head to your neighborhood nursery or gardening center, take into account your USDA Hardiness Zone, your soil type, and how much sun your shrubs will get.

Whether you’re looking for deer-resistant plants, shrubs that attract hummingbirds, or you want all-season color, we’ve got your inspiration. Just select the flowering shrubs that work best for your landscape.

10 flowering shrubs to add color to your yard

1. Andromeda (Pieris japonica)

File:Pieris japonica 9.jpg - Wikimedia Commons
Photo credit: Stan Shebs CC BY-SA 3.0

Stunning in all four seasons, Andromeda is an evergreen flowering shrub with cascading sprays of tiny, bell-shaped flowers. New growth is purplish. This shrub is excellent for foundation beds to break up the transition from your home to the surrounding landscape. It looks great planted in groups or alone as a focal point.

Pieris japonica grows slowly, reaching an average height of 4 to 13 feet and a width of 3 to 8 feet, depending on the cultivar. Note: This beautiful shrub is very toxic to people and animals.

Zone: 4-8
Color: White, pink
Sun tolerance: Full sun to partial shade
Drought tolerance: Semi-tolerant
Soil type: Slightly acidic, rich organic matter, moist, well-draining
Prune: After flowering
Water: Once established, weekly
When to plant: In the fall

2. California Sweetshrub (Calycanthus occidentalis)

California Sweetshrub
Photo credit: John Rusk CC BY 2.0 

The California Sweetshrub’s fruity fragrance flowers bloom from May through July. California Sweetshrub is ideal for butterfly gardens, hedges, along walkways, and in wooded areas. It’s relatively low-maintenance, deer-resistant, and tolerates most soil types.

Mature plants reach 3-9 feet high and 6-12 feet wide, with a rounded form. In the fall, leaves turn from deep green to a vibrant yellow before falling. This shrub can be poisonous if eaten.

Zone: 6-9
Color: Burgundy, wine-red
Sun tolerance: Full sun to partial shade
Drought tolerance: High
Soil type: Slightly acidic, tolerates a wide variety of soil types, well-drained
Prune: After flowering, in late summer
Water: Prefers moderate moisture.
When to plant: Fall or winter

3. Blue Chiffon Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

Blue chiffon Rose of Sharon bloom
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Large, with a tropical look and abundant purple blooms, the Blue Chiffon Rose of Sharon is an excellent flowering shrub for pollinator gardens and butterfly gardens. Expect 2- to 4-inch flowers with five crepe-textured petals in late summer through fall. It grows erect, with a spreading habit and is useful in hedges, groupings, and shrub borders. This flowering shrub has some resistance to salt and deer.

Grows 8-10 feet high and 6-10 feet wide. Blue Chiffon Rose of Sharon is relatively low-maintenance, doesn’t need much pruning, and tolerates a wide range of soil types and pH levels.

Zone: 5-9
Color: Purple/lavender
Sun tolerance: Full sun to partial shade
Drought tolerance: Yes
Soil type: Variable, well-draining, moist
Prune: Late winter or early spring
Water: Prefers moderate moisture. Yellow leaves can indicate overwatering
When to plant: Spring or fall

4. Chinese Fringe-Flower (Loropetalum chinese f. rubrum)

紅檵木Loropetalum chinense v rubrum [香港荔枝角公園Lai Chi Kok Par… | Flickr
Photo credit: CC BY-SA 2.0
This broadleaf evergreen flowering shrub is a perfect addition to sensory gardens, with fragrant, tassel-like blossoms in early spring. It works well in foundation plantings, hedges, and around hardscape elements. New growth has a reddish look and velvety feel.

Grows in an erect, rounded form and is deer resistant. Expect a mature height of 3 to 5 feet and a similar width. This is a forgiving, low-maintenance plant.

Zone: 7-10
Color: Pink to red
Sun tolerance: Loves full sun with partial afternoon shade
Drought tolerance: Good
Soil type: Slightly acidic, rich, well-draining; handles clay, loam, and sand
Prune: In the spring, after flowering
Water: Moderate moisture
When to plant: Fall or spring, depending on when the frost danger has passed

5. Forsythia

Yellow blooms on a forsythia bush
Photo credit: Shutterstock

One of the earliest spring bloomers, forsythia puts on a vibrant yellow show to usher in the new season. Adaptable to a wide range of soil conditions, it’s also drought and deer resistant. It works well in foundation beds, shrub borders, and as an accent. Small serrated leaves are purplish in the fall.

Grows in a dense, arching habit. Mature plants are 6 to 10 feet tall and equally broad. It can thrive near black walnut trees.

Zone: 5-8
Color: Yellow
Sun tolerance: Full to partial sun
Drought tolerance: Good drought tolerance
Soil type: Average soil
Prune: After blooming. Can be cut back to 4 inches.
Water: Deeply once or twice a week until established and then only in severe drought.
When to plant: Early spring or mid-fall.

6. Dwarf Fothergilla (Fothergilla gardenii)

Fothergilla major | F.major (aka monticola) flowers with the… | Flickr
Photo credit: peganum CC BY-SA 2.0

This dwarf flowering shrub puts out a riot of white bottle-brush flowers in the spring and brilliant fall foliage in yellow, red, and orange. Dwarf Fothergilla offers multi-season color and interest. This flowering shrub works well for sensory gardens, as its flowers smell like honey and have an interesting texture.

This compact and low growing shrub has spreading branches and is deer resistant. It deals well with challenging soil conditions like compressed and wet soil. When grown, expect heights from 3 to 6 feet and a width of 2 to 6 feet. Pollinators and songbirds love Dwarf Fothergilla.

Zone: 5-8
Color: White
Sun tolerance: Full sun to partial or dappled sunlight
Drought tolerance: Good tolerance after the plant is established
Soil type: Prefers good drainage and thrives in many soil types
Prune: Winter
Water: Weekly to maintain moist soil
When to plant: Early fall or early spring, depending on your hardiness zone

When you’ve planted your flowering shrubs and your landscape is popping with color, sit back and watch the show as butterflies, bees and hummingbirds swing by to check out your yard work.

7. Azalea (Rhododendron)

closeup of pink azalea flowers
Photo credit: Shutterstock

A flowering shrub for shade and foundation planting, azaleas give you exceptionally showy blooms in the spring. Great for borders, grouped plantings, and as a focal point. Low maintenance and resistant to rabbit damage. Leaves turn burgundy in the fall, so you get multi-season color.

This evergreen shrub grows from 2 to 4 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet across. Azaleas have an upright, loose habit. Azaleas attract bees but are poisonous to animals. Healthy, well-established plants in the right location do well with little interference. There are many cultivars to choose from, and it’s easy to find one suited to your microclimate.

Zone: 4-8
Colors: Pink, lavender, rose
Sun tolerance: Partial shade; the direct sun can burn leaves
Drought tolerance: Poor
Soil type: Rich and high in organic matter, slightly acidic, good drainage
Prune: Trim after blooming season
Water: Water weekly to keep the soil moist but not too wet
When to plant: Fall or early spring

8. Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

An oak leaf hydrangea's flowers are white and are are in cone-shaped groupings
Photo credit: Shutterstock 

Oakleaf hydrangeas are easy to grow and generally hardy when well-established. In late spring and throughout the summer, they erupt in pyramid-shaped clusters of white flowers that fade to pink. Foliage is dark green and leathery, turning deep red, orange, and rich mahogany in the fall. This low-maintenance flowering shrub is lovely in pollinator gardens.

It has an irregular, rounded shape and grows from 4 to 8 feet tall, and a slightly larger diameter. Attracts birds, butterflies, and pollinators. Mildly toxic.

Zone: 5-9
Color: White, cream, pink, lavender
Sun tolerance: Full sun to partial shade
Drought tolerance: Good, when established in a good location
Soil type: Slightly acidic, well-drained, rich
Prune: Late fall, early spring
Water: As needed or weekly, keep moist if possible
When to plant: In the spring, when safe from frost.

9. Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus alba)

branch, bush, siberian dogwood, cornus alba 'sibirica, nature, red, tree, full frame, plant, backgrounds | Pxfuel
Photo credit: pxfuel

Red twig dogwood is a beautiful flowering shrub that provides color and texture in all four seasons. Its variegated foliage is yellow-green with creamy edges. In spring, tiny bunches of white flowers come out, followed by a white or bluish drupe in the summer. After the leaves fall, you’ll get a showy display of vivid red bark against your winter backdrop.

Resistant to deer, rabbits, and erosion, this plant attracts bees, butterflies, pollinators, and songbirds. It’s generally hardy with a slow growth rate, reaching a maximum height of 6 feet and a 12-foot circumference.

Zone: 3-7
Color: Red twigs, white flowers
Sun tolerance: Full sun to partial shade
Drought tolerance: No
Soil type: From clay to sand, slightly acidic or alkaline, moist, good drainage
Prune: Late winter or early spring
Water: Keep moist in dry weather; can tolerate intermittent dry and wet spells
When to plant: Spring

10. African Scurf Pea (Psoralea pinnata)

Closeup of the pink and white flowers of the African scurf pea flowering shrub.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

Perfect for hot, dry conditions, this shade-loving flowering shrub is a beautiful accent, hedge, and sensory garden element. It puts out a profusion of purple and white flowers in the spring that smell like grape soda. Hardy in hot and cold weather, this self-seeds and can be invasive. Pollinators, bees, and birds love the African scurf pea, while deer avoid it.

The shrub reaches 12 feet tall with an equal spread. This is an evergreen shrub with small, needle-like leaves that add a delicate texture to your garden. They are low-maintenance and handle windy or salty conditions.

Zone: 9-11
Colors: Purple and white
Sun tolerance: Full sun to partial shade
Drought tolerance: High
Soil type: Well-drained soil; does well in a variety of soil types and pH levels
Prune: After flowering
Water: Likes moderate moisture and can tolerate dry conditions when established
When to plant: Plant from seed in the spring

Get the most out of your garden with landscaping that includes color and texture throughout all four seasons. There’s an endless supply of flowering shrubs you can add to your softscape.

Make sure you choose plants that are native or adapted to your zone. This cuts down on water and fertilizer needs and protects your investment. Go ahead, explore what’s out there, and design the most amazing yard to invite the neighbors — in this case, butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds.

Main Image Credit: Flowering shrubs, by Alan Charky, Pexels

Tamiko Wilie

Tamiko Wilie

Tamiko Willie is a sailor with a green thumb. She loves finding community-based solutions to problems, kayaking, and devouring her husband’s amazing food.