10 Best Shrubs With Yellow Flowers

Yellow forsythia in bloom in a park

Katrin Ray Shumakov/ Getty Images

Yellow may well be the most cheerful of colors, so it's no wonder that many gardeners want to grow at least one shrub with yellow flowers. And why not grow more? The brightness of yellow really pops against almost any background, especially the deep greens of plant foliage or the browns of fences, branches, or mulch. Here are 10 great yellow-flowering shrubs to consider; most are hardy to at least zone 5 or 6.

Maximize the Yellow

To make your yellow flowers bloom as brightly as possible, give your plants the recommended amount of sun or shade. Sunlight level is often the most important factor in bloom results.

  • 01 of 10

    Forsythia (Forsythia x intermedia)

    Forsythia flowers against a blue sky.
    elzauer/Getty Images

    There may not be a shrub that cheers up gardeners every spring more than the forsythia bush. Forsythia x intermedia is one of the more widely grown types. An early bloomer, the yellow flowers of forsythia signal the end of winter like few other plants can.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained; tolerates clay
  • 02 of 10

    Witch Hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia)

    Closeup of yellow witch hazel shrub flowers.
    Paul Tomlins/Getty Images

    Forsythia may be the most popular of the shrubs that bloom in early spring, but it is not the first to bloom. The 'Arnold Promise' cultivar blooms even before forsythia. The yellow flowers of witch hazel are not as bright as those of forsythia, but they do give off a "dry" smell that is rather unique. A more important benefit to growing this bush is that it is a good shrub for fall color.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, acid
  • 03 of 10

    Azalea (Rhododendron)

    Closeup of Azalea narcissiflora with yellow flowers
    David C. Phillips/Getty Images

    Golden Oriole azalea (Rhododendron 'Golden Oriole') is one of the cultivars of azalea that bears yellow flowers. The color is not a pure yellow, though, as some gold and orange coloration works its way into the mix. For a purer yellow in an azalea shrub, try Rhododendron x Narcissiflora. Its lemon-yellow flowers, which are mildly fragrant, bloom in mid-spring.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Part sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, acid
  • 04 of 10

    Yellow Roses (Rosa)

    Closeup of yellow flower of Gold Medal rose bush
    Robin Smith/Getty Images

    Yellow roses signify both friendship and joy in the language of flowers, and the 'Gold Medal' rose bush should surely bring you some joy with its bright-yellow flowers. The plant measures 4 to 6 feet high and wide. The blooms come in late spring to early summer. As always in rose bush care, it is best to deadhead the flowers if you wish to have the plant rebloom.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 10
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Fertile, moist, well-drained
    Continue to 5 of 10 below.
  • 05 of 10

    Japanese Rose (Kerria japonica)

    Closeup of yellow flowers of single Kerria japonica shrub
    Tetsuya Tanooka/Getty Images

    Japanese rose (Kerria japonica) can have either single flowers or double flowers. Both types have their champions. In either case, you are getting more than just yellow flowers from this shrub, which blooms in early spring or mid-spring. The kelly green color of its stems affords not only winter interest but, in fact, year-round interest. This is also a type of bush that will re-bloom for you throughout the summer.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, loamy
  • 06 of 10

    Mahonia Shrub (Mahonia spp.)

    Closeup of pale yellow flowers of Mahonia japonica shrub
    Rachel Husband/Getty Images

    There are several kinds of Mahonia, a shrub in the barberry family. They are closely related to the better-known barberry shrubs that are so commonly grown in home landscapes. Japanese mahonia (M. japonica) has pale-yellow flowers that bloom in April. Also called Oregon grape or Oregon grape-holly, it grows 5 to 7 feet tall and 7 to 10 feet wide at maturity.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • 07 of 10

    St. John's Wort (Hypericum 'Hidecote')

    Closeup of cluster of yellow flowers on Hypericum 'Hidcote' shrub
    Susan Edwards/Getty Images

    Just because St. John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) is an invasive plant in North America, that does not mean that all members of this genus are bad. The cultivars of other species can be quite useful in landscaping. For example, unlike the weedy Hypericum perforatum, the Hypericum 'Hidcote' cultivar has attractive, dark green foliage and golden-yellow flowers. Grown in zones 5 to 9 and blooming all summer long, it can be anywhere from 2 to 4 feet in height, with a similar width. Other types are similarly eye-catching, bearing yellow flowers that yield berries in a variety of different colors in fall, depending on the cultivar:

    • H. inodorum 'Kolmapuki' (marketed as 'Pumpkin') gets orange berries in fall.
    • H. inodorum 'Kolmaref' (better known as 'Red Fame') has bright red berries.
    • H. inodorum 'Kolmawhi' has white berries.
    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained; tolerates rocky and sandy soils
  • 08 of 10

    Lydian Broom (Genista lydia)

    Genista lydia shrub in bloom with yellow flowers
    Neil Holmes/Getty Images

    One of the common names for Genista lydia is Lydian broom. Indeed, the plant will remind gardeners of the better-known Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius). Both are invasive in some regions.

    Lydian broom can be grown in zones 5 to 9. Locate it in full sun. It thrives in dry, poor soils and likes sandy ground. This makes more sense when you learn that it needs sharp drainage (sandy soil drains quickly). If you are concerned about it getting out of control, simply give it ample water and use soil amendments to improve the soil. It seems counterintuitive, but taking these steps may actually slow it down enough to keep it from becoming invasive.

    These drought-tolerant shrubs bear tiny leaves, but the bright yellow flowers, which bloom in early summer, more than make up for that. The flowers are shaped like those on pea plants, and the shrub does, in fact, belong to the pea family. Maturing at just 1 to 2 feet high and 3 to 4 feet wide, it is useful as a ground cover and makes a great plant for rock gardens.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry, sandy, well-drained
    Continue to 9 of 10 below.
  • 09 of 10

    Bush Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa)

    Closeup of two pale yellow potentilla flowers
    Chris Burrows/Getty Images

    There are various kinds of cinquefoil (Potentilla), a plant that belongs to the large rose family. In fact, one type (Potentilla argentea) is a weed commonly found growing along roadsides in North America. By contrast, bush cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) is a popular landscape plant that is suitable for zones 2 to 6. It grows to be 1 to 4 feet tall with a similar spread. It flowers come out in late spring or early summer.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 6
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, pink, orange, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • 10 of 10

    Camellia (Camellia nitidissima)

    Camellia nitidissima

     

    Jose A. Bernat Bacete / Getty Images

    Camellias are not very cold-hardy. They are popular in warm regions, such as the American Southeast, where they bloom in the early spring. They bear dark-green leaves that have a nice sheen to them. The shape of the flowers is reminiscent of roses. They come in a range of colors, including bi-colored varieties. Both single-flowered and double-flowered types are available.

    For a camellia with yellow flowers, you can try Camellia nitidissima if your garden is in zone 8, 9, or 10. This evergreen shrub or small tree matures to 8 to 18 feet tall with a spread of 6 to 12 feet. The plant performs best when located in partial shade.

    Add mulch to conserve moisture in the soil and keep the plant's roots cool, but do not let the mulch come into contact with the plant's trunk. Camellia is a deer-resistant shrub.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, pink, red, white
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Evenly moist, well-drained