Flowering shrubs are a great way to add structure and all year round interest to your garden. From cheerful blossoms in the spring to flowers that glow through the winter gloom, this helpful collection of articles, videos and Insta posts will help you choose shrubs that deliver colour when it’s most needed.
Inspired to get planting? Browse our excellent range of flowering shrubs for more ideas.
- Best expert advice on spring-flowering shrubs
- Best expert advice on summer-flowering shrubs
- Best expert advice on winter-flowering shrubs
Best spring flowering shrubs
Carol from The Sunday Gardener has some great suggestions for spring-flowering shrubs to wake your garden from its winter sleep. Amongst her favourites are azaleas, rhododendrons and forsythias, but she also mentions Philadelphus as an easy option. “Known as mock orange blossom because of its lovely scented blooms,” Carol thinks the pretty white flowers make it one of the best choices for spring gardens.
Grown from a tiny cutting, Priya’s fabulous 2-year old forsythia is already in full bloom by the beginning of April. The vibrant yellow flowers deliver a burst of colour in her garden from early spring. Want to know how to propagate forsythias by taking cuttings? Visit Priya’s post over at @homegardenvibes for a step-by-step guide to the process.
Dawn from @dawns_gardening is always happy to see her weigelas come back into flower each spring. Available in various colours, she recommends these easy to grow shrubs because they’re “tough, hardy, low-maintenance, loved by the pollinators plus there are compact varieties available”. Take a look at her Insta photo to see the elegant pink blossoms covering her weigelas in May.
Over at @lookinsidemygarden, Sophie loves pink flowers. By mid-May, her rhododendron is covered with glorious fuchsia-coloured blooms that really bring a shady corner to life. Sophie explains that a rhododendron is an acid-loving shrub, “so when we planted it we dug a huge hole and filled it with ericaceous soil…” To keep hers looking good, she just feeds it whenever she remembers. Easy!
Best summer flowering shrubs
“Buddleia is also known as the butterfly bush,” enthuses Victoria from @sprout.summer. To make the most of her buddlejas, she’s planted them on either side of her garden to encourage butterflies to flit between them all summer long. The swarms of happy pollinators lend her outside space something of a magical ‘fairytale’ feel! Victoria recommends growing buddlejas at the back of a border where they “grow easily, quickly and tall.”
Over at @dave_the_plantman, Dave recommends growing Hypericum ‘Hidcote’ if you’re looking for a “really tough, strong plant that flowers all summer.” Easy to look after, he says it grows well in full sun or partial shade, and his short video reel is a great chance to see just how many yellow flowers you can expect from this spectacular shrub.
Blooming from July through to October, hydrangeas are a fantastic addition to summer gardens with showy flowers that remain well into autumn. Bex from @flourish_with_flowers_ particularly loves hydrangea ‘Vanilla Fraise’. She says, “this stunning colour changing hydrangea produces white cones which…turn to a raspberry pink then as autumn comes upon us they then change again to a beautiful red.” If that’s not a hardworking flowering shrub, we don’t know what is!
For a late-summer flowering shrub that starts blooming in August and continues for several months, Janette from The Enthusiastic Gardener recommends Hibiscus Siriacus. In her helpful planting video, she discusses the merits of this hardy shrub for a sunny border. It does need six hours of sun, she says, but it’s very hardy and doesn’t require deadheading! Janette’s going to keep hers to about 4ft, but you can let it grow taller if preferred.
Best winter flowering shrubs
Winter gardens don’t have to be dull. The professional gardener behind @mr_plant_whisperer says Viburnum tinus is a “lovely, long-flowering plant that’s perfect for brightening partly shady areas when little else is in flower.“ Producing flattened heads of creamy white and pink flowers from December to May, this reliable shrub is “a great hardy evergreen for interest even in the coldest weather.”
“Winter flowering plants are so very special,” says Dan of @dancoopergarden while sharing a striking image of his winter jasmine. “For most of the year the slender, almost thread-like stems offer little in the way of excitement and then, kaboom, in the depths of winter they explode into garlands of yellow blossom.” Follow him on Insta for more inspiration.
Camellias are a great winter-flowering shrub, but if you cut them back at the wrong time of year, you won’t get flowers next season, explains Simon in his excellent video over at Walking Talking Gardeners. Simon recommends pruning your camellia immediately after it finishes flowering. Watch his practical video guide to see exactly where to make cuts, and when.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out Dawn’s Hamamelis mollis that “has been flowering since late December.” With spectacular clusters of scented yellow flowers that remain until March, this shrub makes a wonderful addition to any garden. We agree with Dawn when she says, “plants that flower for weeks during the coldest time of year have my utmost respect.” Follow her at @dawns_gardening to find colourful ideas for every season.
We hope these experienced garden bloggers have provided inspiration for your own garden. If you’re looking for more tried and tested ideas, browse our full range of Best Expert Advice articles.
Lead image: Santolina Chamaecyparissus from Suttons