If your landscaping tends to look tired when August and September roll around, it's time to look into growing some late summer flowering shrubs. Some of these bushes begin blooming earlier in the year but have good staying power, continuing to blossom into September (or even beyond). Others are simply late bloomers. Either way, they're critical allies to have at your disposal if you value continuous sequence of bloom.
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This rose bush begins blooming in my zone-5 landscape in late May, qualifying not only for the present list but also as a bush that blooms in early summer. Candy Oh! blooms non-stop throughout the summer. It is one shrub that you can count on to inject color into your landscaping during June, July, August, September, and—assuming you avoid a frost—even into October.
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You probably know that butterfly bush is in an elite class when it comes to drawing butterflies (heck, with a name like that, how could it not?), along with butterfly weed and common milkweed. You probably also know that it's an invasive plant in some regions. So what you need to find out now is whether it's considered invasive in your own particular area.
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Some rose of Sharons have powder blue flowers (photo), and the aptly named Blue Chiffon is one of them. Its color is not as blue to my eye as is bluebeard, though. You may be more impressed by the fact that it's a double flower.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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The botanical name of rose of Sharon (above) is Hibiscus syriacus. There's another type of Hibiscus that is hardy in many Northern zones, but it's not as widely grown as is rose of Sharon. I'm talking about Hibiscus moscheutos. This bush is known for its enormous flowers—so big that the shrub has acquired the nickname "dinner-plate hibiscus."
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Variety is the spice of life, and bluebeard (Caryopteris) furnishes you with a different look in your landscaping. Unlike the other bushes on my list of late summer flowering shrubs, this one has fluffy flowers, giving the plant a soft appearance. The shrub also is good for drawing bees.
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It is tempting to classify PeeGee hydrangea as a tree, but the experts call it a shrub. Either way, due to its size and the abundance of its flower heads, you cannot miss this plant in the late summer landscape. It's commonly grown in cemeteries, but don't let that fool you: this bush will breathe new life into your yard in August, September and into the fall months.
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Just as PeeGee hydrangea shrub is easily mistaken for a tree, Russian sage is widely spoken of as a perennial in everyday parlance. Technically, a shrub—and another good late summer flowering shrub for those of you desperate for color in August and September. As one of the plants with silvery leaves, its foliage may be even more valued than its flowers. Oh, and if you don't care much for landscape maintenance, rest assured that this bush won't be much of a hassle.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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For the final two entries on the list we're going to think outside the box a bit. One way to gain additional options for late summer color in the Northern landscape is to make use of tropical flowers, and angel's trumpet is one of the more spectacular. One year we grew ours in the compost pile and were rewarded with 175 of its large, trumpet-shaped blooms the third week in August. Since angel's trumpet is not cold-hardy in zone 5, we have to overwinter it in the basement, just as we store dahlias away for winter, for example.
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Crape myrtle is another out-of-the-box pick for Northern landscaping. It's hardy enough to survive winter in my zone-5 landscape, but its growth is stunted in comparison to the way it grows in the Southeast. Indeed, we bought ours while traveling through South Carolina (U.S.).
In these warmer regions, crape myrtle is very popular and grows as a tree. But when we returned home to New England with ours, we were quite happy to settle for growing it as a late summer flowering shrub. For while its roots survive the winter's cold here, the above-ground growth entirely (or largely) dies back.