25 Recommended Flowering Bushes for Your Landscape

rhododendron shrub

The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

Flowering bushes are an essential element of a well-design residential landscape. In addition to offering shape and texture with their leaves and branches, shrubs that bloom also add spring or summer color to the landscape while attracting butterflies and other pollinators. And where flowers bloom, fruits and berries often follow, which offer late-season interest and an incentive for birds to visit your garden. When a flowering shrub transitions into good fall color, you have a plant that creates genuine year-round interest in a landscape.

Here are 25 favorite flowering bushes to consider for your garden.

  • 01 of 25

    Andromeda (Pieris japonica)

    andromeda

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    A native of Japan and China, Andromeda is an evergreen shrub that grows 9 to 12 feet tall and produces fragrant white flowers in early spring before most other plants flower. The reddish buds appear in late winter, offering attractive color. These flowering bushes are popular for foundation plantings and shrub borders, and they are somewhat resistant to hungry deer. But make sure to protect your shrub from cold, drying winds.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 7
    • Color Varieties: White
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, slightly acidic
  • 02 of 25

    Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus)

    Rose of sharon

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

    A member of the Hibiscus genus rather than a true rose, rose of Sharon is known for its large, plentiful blooms that appear from summer to fall. The main species plant grows from 8 to 10 feet tall, but there also are shorter cultivars available, such as 'Minerva', which reaches 5 to 8 feet. Rose of Sharon can be planted individually as a specimen plant or grouped informally to create a shrub border. It is very attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies. Any necessary pruning should occur in the late winter to early spring.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink with red centers; cultivars offering white, red, lavender, and light blue flowers are also available
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained
  • 03 of 25

    Bluebeard (Caryopteris × clandonensis)

    Bluebeard

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    The plants sold under the common name "bluebeard" or "blue mist spirea" are generally cultivars of a hybrid produced by crossing species from the Caryopteris and Clandonensis genera. Bluebeard typically grows 2 to 3 feet tall and becomes covered in dark blue flowers in late summer through early fall. It is often regarded as a sub-shrub because the stems die back to ground level over winter in the northern part of its hardiness range. For best flowering, cut back the plant by at least half in the early spring.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Dark blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained
  • 04 of 25

    Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles speciosa)

    Flowering quince

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Flowering quince is a thorny shrub with multiple stems that blooms in late winter and early spring before the leaves open. The main species plant grows from 6 to 10 feet tall, but smaller cultivars are also available. This shrub is easy to recognize thanks to its distinctive pinkish-red or orange flowers. The spring flowers are followed by small, hard berries that can be used to make tart jams and jellies. The shrub's spiny branches make it a good choice for boundary hedges. Be sure to remove suckers at ground level to prevent unwanted spread of the plant.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White, orange, red, or pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained, loamy
    Continue to 5 of 25 below.
  • 05 of 25

    Forsythia (Forsythia x intermidia)

    forsythia

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Forsythia shrubs are among the first flowering bushes to provide the spring landscape with a burst of color with its yellow blossoms that arrive before the leaves open. Size varies depending on cultivar, with larger types growing to a mature height of 10 feet or more and smaller varieties growing to only 1 to 2 feet. Most forsythia shrubs have a spiny habit that makes them ideal for creating living fences or boundary hedges. For best flowering, plant them in full sun.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Loose, medium moisture, well-drained
  • 06 of 25

    Japanese Kerria (Kerria japonica)

    Kerria Japonica

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Japanese kerria offers profuse flowers lining the stems over several weeks in spring. The shrub also might rebloom in summer. The stems are bright green and remain so during the winter. The main species plant typically ranges from 3 to 6 feet tall. Japanese kerria (also called Japanese rose) is a good flowering bush for somewhat shady conditions in woodland settings. It is a very tough plant that can be regenerated by chopping it off at ground level in winter or early spring 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained
  • 07 of 25

    Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos)

    hardy hibiscus

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida 

    Hardy hibiscus blossoms are so large that they are sometimes referred to as dinner plates. The hardy varieties typically grow to a mature height of around 3 to 7 feet tall. The plants blossom in mid-summer to late summer, drawing attention for the entire bloom period. Although they have woody stems like other shrubs, hibiscus stems generally die back to the ground in cold winter climates. Thus, the shrubs can be cut to the ground in the fall to clean up the landscape in preparation for spring. They will regrow from their roots.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White, red, pink, blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, loamy
  • 08 of 25

    Rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.)

    rhododendron

    The Spruce / Letícia Almeida  

    Rhododendrons can be evergreen or deciduous, and they have large leaves often with a leathery texture. Sizes for the landscape varieties range from a few feet to 30 feet tall. Rhododendrons typically flower dramatically in mid-spring, with a wide range of bloom colors depending on species and variety. These flowering bushes are most often used in borders or woodland plantings. They are somewhat temperamental shrubs, and ensuring that they have proper soil nutrients and pH is a must.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9; range depends on variety
    • Color Varieties: Lavender/purple, white, pink, red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well drained, acidic
    Continue to 9 of 25 below.
  • 09 of 25

    Azalea (Rhododendron spp.)

    azaleas

    The Spruce / K. Dave

    Like rhododendrons, azaleas are popular spring-blooming shrubs and are quite similar in appearance, as they also belong to the Rhododendron genus. Azaleas tend to be smaller shrubs with smaller leaves than rhododendrons, but the flower colors and shapes are quite similar. Azaleas work well in a large yard planted against a background of evergreens, which provide some of the soil acid that these flowering bushes crave. Use an acidifying fertilizer if you don't already have acidic soil.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9; range depends on variety
    • Color Varieties: Lavender/purple, white, orange, peach, pink, red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained, acidic
  • 10 of 25

    Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)

    Mountain laurel

    The Spruce / K. Dave

    In eastern North America, the white, light pink, or rose red blossoms of mountain laurel light up the woods in late spring to early summer. Mountain laurel is a broadleaf evergreen that provides year-round interest even after the blooms fade. This flowering bush works well in wet or swampy areas but also tolerates drought. Its mature height is between 5 and 12 feet depending on variety, and dwarf varieties also are available. Prune lightly after the shrub is done blooming to keep it looking full and bushy.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9; range depends on variety
    • Color Varieties: Pink, rose red, white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained, acidic
  • 11 of 25

    Rose (Rosa spp.)

    rose bush

    The Spruce / Candace Madonna 

    Roses are perhaps the most popular landscape shrub of all, with varieties available for every climate and landscape use. Some are repeat bloomers from spring to fall while others only bloom once or twice during the growing season. And some have a trailing growth habit while others grow as mounded shrubs. Roses also can make great hedges. Bloom colors range from the palest shade of white to a deep violet-burgundy. Roses are heavy feeders, so regular fertilization is a must for healthy growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 12; range depends on variety
    • Color Varieties: Virtually all colors except true blue and black
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained, loamy
  • 12 of 25

    Common Lilac (Syringa vulgaris)

    Common lilac

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Not only are the late spring blooms on common lilacs beautiful to look at, but they are also among the most fragrant flowers. Common lilac typically matures at 8 to 20 feet in height, depending on variety. The most common flower colors are shades of lavender and purple. Some varieties will rebloom in late summer or early fall. Lilacs are very tough flowering bushes that tolerate almost any condition. Prune back the shrub by about a third just after the blooming period is over for continued healthy growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
    • Color Varieties: Lavender/purple; cultivars offering white and red flowers are also available
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained, loamy
    Continue to 13 of 25 below.
  • 13 of 25

    Vanhoutte Spirea (Spiraea x Vanhouttei)

    Vanhoutte spirea shrub

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Vanhoutte spirea is a vase-shaped shrub with cascading branches. A relative to the rose, this thorny shrub typically grows from 5 to 8 feet tall with profuse white flowers in April and May. It is often used for hedges, foundation plantings, borders, or as a specimen plant. It typically has white flowers and deep green leaves, but cultivars are available offering other colors. Pruning should occur right after the shrub is done flowering.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained
  • 14 of 25

    White Oakleaf Hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia)

    oakleaf hydrangea

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    Oakleaf hydrangea blooms with white flowers in spring and early summer on plants that grow 5 to 6 feet tall. The flowers then gradually transition to a purplish-pink color. This shrub works well in mass plantings, as a foundation plant, or in woodland borders. The oak-like leaves provide attractive texture through the growing season and then turn brilliant shades of red and orange in the fall. Pruning needs are typically minimal and should occur right after the plant is done blooming.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White, transitioning to purple-pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained
  • 15 of 25

    Korean Spice Viburnum (Viburnum carlesii)

    Korean Spice Viburnum

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    The Viburnum genus includes many evergreen or deciduous woody shrubs and small trees, and Korean spice is one of the most popular species for landscape use. This slow-growing, rounded shrub typically reaches 4 to 5 feet tall (occasionally 8 feet), with pink buds that open into white flowers in early spring. The white flowers gradually turn pale pink and have a spicy fragrance that lends the plant its common name. The flowers then give way to red berries that turn blue-black by late summer. The foliage turns red/burgundy in fall. Lightly prune after the shrub is done flowering for bushier growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 7
    • Color Varieties: White transitioning to pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained
  • 16 of 25

    Rose Daphne (Daphne cneorum)

    Daphne shrub

    The Spruce / K. Dave

    Rose Daphne, also known as garland flower, is an evergreen shrub that only reaches around 2 feet tall with a similar spread. Its leaves are spoon-shaped and about an inch long. And it blooms in the spring with clusters of tiny, fragrant flowers. It also might rebloom later in the growing season. Plant your shrub in a spot that’s protected from damaging cold winds, and prune just after its flowering period.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained, loamy
    Continue to 17 of 25 below.
  • 17 of 25

    Bougainvillea (Bougainvillea spp.)

    bougainvillea vine

    The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

    Bougainvillea is a genus of plants with either a vining or a shrub-like growth habit. These plants can be evergreen or deciduous, depending on variety and climate. The elliptical leaves come to a pointed tip, and the stems have long thorns. The plants will repeat bloom throughout the growing season. To maintain Bougainvillea as a shrub, prune to keep it compact, and don’t allow it to climb any structures.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Pink, purple, red, yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, acidic
  • 18 of 25

    Bottlebrush (Callistemon spp.)

    Bottlebrush

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Bottlebrush plants feature bristly blooms that look like the cylindrical brush commonly used to clean bottles. These flowering bushes can grow up to 15 feet tall and bloom in the spring and summer. They’re generally low-maintenance and can handle drought. Prune in the late winter to clean up the shrub’s appearance. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 11
    • Color Varieties: Red, white, yellow, green
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Loamy, moist, well-drained
  • 19 of 25

    Chinese Fringe Flower (Loropetalum Chinese)

    Chinese fringe

    Daniela Duncan / Getty Images

    Chinese fringe flowers are evergreen flowering bushes with delicate and fragrant spring blooms. The foliage on these shrubs changes from red to deep green throughout the year. These shrubs are generally low-maintenance and don’t require heavy pruning. Any pruning to clean up the shrub’s shape should be done after it’s done blooming.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 7 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Pink, red, white, yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, well-drained, acidic
  • 20 of 25

    Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

    Butterfly bush

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    The butterfly bush is a flowering shrub with an arching growth habit. It produces vivid flower spikes throughout the summer that attract butterflies and other pollinators. This hardy, low-maintenance shrub is considered invasive in some areas because it can easily spread, though it's still popular with many gardeners. Remove the flower spikes as soon as they degrade to promote continued blooming.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Purple, pink, blue, white, yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained
    Continue to 21 of 25 below.
  • 21 of 25

    Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

    Beautyberry

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    Beautyberry is a flowering bush that’s commonly found in the Southeast. It typically reaches around 3 to 6 feet tall and wide. The plant blooms in the late spring to summer with pink or lavender flowers that give way to attractive, plump, bright purple berries. The foliage turns yellow in the fall before dropping from the plant. Beautyberry is generally easy to maintain. Prune in the late winter to shape the shrub and remove dead or damaged growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Pink, lavender
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, rich
  • 22 of 25

    Weigela Bush (Weigela florida)

    Weigela bush

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Weigela bushes are popular landscape plants, growing around 6 to 10 feet tall with a slightly wider spread. They are dense shrubs with bright green foliage. Petite flowers appear in the late spring and early summer, attracting hummingbirds and other pollinators. These shrubs form an attractive shape on their own, so pruning needs are minimal. Prune to clean them up as needed right after they’re done flowering. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Moist, well-drained
  • 23 of 25

    California Sweetshrub (Calycanthus occidentalis)

    california sweet shrub

    Sundry Photography / Getty Images

    California sweetshrub, also known as California spicebush, is a flowering bush with a rounded, upright growth habit. Its showy, waterlily-like flowers appear in the late spring or early summer and give off a sweet fragrance. The oval to elliptical dark green leaves of this shrub also are fragrant. Pruning to maintain its shape should occur after the shrub is done flowering.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 6 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Maroon
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained
  • 24 of 25

    Shrubby Cinquefoil (Potentilla fruticosa)

    Shrubby cinquefoil

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Shrubby cinquefoil is a compact, mounding shrub with blue-green foliage. It grows to around 2 to 4 feet tall with a slightly wider spread. In the summer, it blooms for several weeks with showy, five-petal flowers. Provide your shrub with full sun for best blooming, though it also can tolerate some shade. Any pruning to shape the plant should occur in the late winter.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
    • Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained
    Continue to 25 of 25 below.
  • 25 of 25

    Camellia (Camellia spp.)

    Camellia

    The Spruce / Kara Riley

    Camellia species are flowering bushes that tend to be quite long-lived and sport showy flowers similar to peonies throughout the growing season. They typically grow anywhere from 2 to 12 feet tall, depending on the variety. Be sure to take their full size into account when planting, as they don’t like to compete for nutrients and moisture with other shrubs and trees that are too close. Pruning is minimal and should be done after the blooming period is over.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 7 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, red, yellow, lavender
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained

Tip

The vast majority of garden plants have a preference for soils described as "well-drained." This description refers to soil textures that are loose enough to allow rainwater and irrigation water to drain through without puddling, which can cause roots to rot. Ideal soil has enough organic material to hold moisture long enough for plant roots to absorb it, but it's loose enough to allow excess moisture to drain through.


Most soils, including loamy or sandy soils, are already relatively well-drained. But if you have dense soil that is high in clay content, you may find it hard to grow many plants. When this is the case, the best way to improve the soil texture is by thoroughly blending in organic soil amendments, such as compost or peat moss, before planting. As part of ongoing plant care, top-dressing the soil with additional organic amendments each year will keep the soil texture well-drained enough to nurture your plants.