We often get spoiled in spring by all the flowering shrubs in the landscape. Forsythia, lilacs, rhododendrons, azalea, spirea, weigela, and mock orange are just some of the shrubs that burst into bloom in spring. However, after the initial flush of flowering is finished, the shrub border can turn into a green blur. While some shrubs have interesting and colorful foliage, we may still wish we had more flowers. Luckily, there are certain shrubs that hold their flowering time until summer, offering more color and blooms at a time when few other shrubs are blooming. If you’re looking for a sequel to the spring flower show, consider planting some of these summer bloomers in your shrub border.


Clethra: Clethra or summer sweet is aptly named. In summer, this 4- to 6-foot-tall shrub produces spires of white or pink flowers with a sweet fragrance. It’s hardy in USDA Zones 3-9, so clethra is widely adapted. Not only is this shrub easy to grow, but it tolerates part shade and has attractive fall foliage color, too.

Buddleia: Butterfly bush is a butterfly magnet and another hardy shrub to grow for summer flowers. It’s hardy in USDA Zones 5-9. In warm climates this shrub can actually get unruly and large, while in cold climates it may die back to the ground each winter. Different varieties produce white, pink, lavender, red, or yellow flower spires from midsummer to fall. While some varieties can get huge (up to 10 feet tall), dwarf selections, such as the Lo and Behold series, stay a more manageable 2 to 3 feet tall. Grow butterfly bushes in full sun on well drained soil in locations close to your house, so you can view the butterflies from your home.

Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus): Growing 8 to 12 feet tall and wide, this large shrub produces beautiful, hibiscus-like, single or double flowers in mid to late summer. Flower colors include white, pink, red, and lavender. It’s hardy in USDA Zones 5-9 and grows best in full sun on well-drained soil. Because of its size, it’s best to grow rose of Sharon as a specimen shrub in the yard.