Flowering Shrubs of Summer

Rose of Sharon (Althea)

Rose of Sharon (Althea)

Plumleaf azalea (close-up)

Plumleaf azalea (close-up)

In several areas of the U.S. (USDA hardiness zones 6-9), summer landscapes along the east and west coast and Southern U.S. are filled with these botanical beauties:

Panicle hydrangeas (Hydrangea paniculata) – so many great choices of these hydrangeas, mostly with lime white flowers starting in July into August. Most popular cultivars are ‘Limelight’, ‘Little Lime, ‘Quickfire’, ‘Vanilla Strawberry’, ‘Diamond Rouge’, ‘Bobo’.

Bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) –  Bloomstruck® series, Endless Summer® series, LA Dreamin®, ‘Nikko Blue’, Lets Dance® Diva collection are among the winter hardiest to date

Chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus) -10-15 feet shrub in color choices ranging from purple (also lavender, pink and white) blooming; new dwarf 5-8 feet cultivars are coming to garden centers in near future. The current popular forms are ‘Shoals Creek’, ‘Montrose Purple’ and ‘Woodlander’s White’.

Summer sweetshrub (Clethra alnifolia), aka sweet pepperidge is an absolute bee favorite in my garden. Popular cultivars include ‘Sixteen Candles’, ‘Rosea’, and ‘Hummingbird’.

Flowering abelia (Abelia x grandifolia) – choose old-fashioned shrubs @ 12-15 feet;, modern compact cultivars at 4-6 feet such as  Rose Creek®, ‘Mardi Gras’, Canyon Creek®,and ‘Ed Goucher’; low growing types  2-3 feet bsuch as Kaleidoscope®, ‘Confettii’, ‘Sherwood’ .

Altheas or Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) -choose from Chiffon® series, ‘Blue Bird’, Roman Goddess series from U.S. National Arboretum (Aphrodite’, ‘Minerva’, ‘Diana’, and ‘Helene’).

Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia x) – white, pink, rosy-pink, lavender, and red crape myrtles; available to four size catergories: tree (26-30 feet), intermediate (13 -20 feet), semi-dwarf (5-12 feet), and dwarf (3-5 feet).

Bluebeard shrubs (Carypteris x clandonensis) – small 2-3 feet high compact shrub that bloom from mid-summer into fall . Select cultivars ‘Dark Knight’, Longwood Blue®, Beyond Midnight®, Grand Bleu®, and Petite Bleu®; also gold leaf  ‘Worcester Gold’.

Blue Mist shrubs (Caryopteris divaricata) – taller  growing @ 4-6 feet and also bloom from late summer into fall; select from Snow Fairy® and ‘Blue Butterflies’.

Caryopteris divaricata ‘Snow Fairy’ at Biltmore Estates in Asheville, NC

Additional choices available from specialty nurseries include plumleaf azalea (Rhododendron prunifolium) and butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii) that bloom through most of the summer into autumn.

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