Flowers are great for beautifying your garden, but flowering bushes not only give you a beautiful display of flowers but they also add some body and privacy to your yard.
What Is a Flowering Bush?
Flowering bushes are often classified as ornamental bushes since they provide color and structure to your garden. They often grow wide and tall but not quite as tall as trees. Some bushes can be used as hedges in your garden.
Difference Between Shrubs and Bushes
The difference between shrubs and bushes is in the size and maintenance. While some may argue there is no real difference between a shrub and a bush, and the terms are used interchangeably as both grow short and wide.
However, shrubs usually grow slightly taller than bushes and are often shaped and trimmed to form displays or hedges.
How to Identify a Flowering Bush
Flowers or Fruits
Identifying a flowering bush is easiest by looking at its flowers and fruits. Are the blooms single, large, grouped, or small? Identify what the fruit looks like with regard to shape, color, and size.
Simple or Compound Leaves
While it’s easier to identify a bush by its flowers and fruits, those only last for a few days to weeks a year. A better identification tool is to identify whether the bush’s leaves are simple or compound. Simple leaves are not split or grouped in any way. But compound leaves are groups of leaflets or needles.
Stems and Twigs
Looking at a stems or twigs on a flowering bush can also help you easily identify the plant, and look for the texture, color, and overall woodiness of the stems and twigs to help you identify the bush.
20 Types of Flowering Bushes
Fragrant Flowering Bushes
As the name implies, this flowering bush has a strong, sweet fragrance. HGTV has a good overview of caring for Calycanthus floridus. It grows in partial-full shade to fill the darker spots in your garden.
2. Anne Russel Viburnum
Viburnum x burkwoodii, also known by its common name Anne Russell, is a semi-evergreen flowering bush that can achieve tree heights in about 7 years. It produces fragrant white-pink flowers in spring, and a care guide can be found from HGTV.
3. Burkwood Osmanthus
Osmanthus Burkwoodii is a spring-flowering bush that has a strong fragrance, making it ideal for walkways. It prefers heavier soil and pruning, which you can find information on at Gardener’s World.
Known not only for its sweet fragrance and showy blooms, the Gardenia augusta is known to be quite finicky when it comes to its care. Luckily, Gardening Know How has a good guide on caring for them.
5. Banana Shrub
As the common name of the Michelia figo implies, this flowering bush gives of a sweet banana scent when it is in bloom. The banana shrub does require a high humidity of about 50%. You can find more tips on caring for it on Guide-to-Houseplants.
Winter-blooming Flowering Bushes
6. Christmas Box
This fragrant flowering bush produces flowers in the winter, making it a great choice for any garden that needs some flowers in the colder months. According to Candide, Sarcococca confusa is frost-hardy and is happiest in full shade.
The blooms of Chimonanthus praecox give off a sweet fragrance in the late winter to early spring. It can take up to 14 years for a wintersweet plant to bloom, and it does require regular pruning. Find out how to care for this bush on Gardening Know How.
7. Oregon Grape
According to Gardenia, Mahonia x media is a fairly easy-to-grow bush that has no serious pest or disease issues. It flowers for an extended period in winter and shows off small inedible berries in the summer to late fall.
The Paperbush, Edgeworthia chrysantha, is a bush that blooms in late winter and is native to China. It can grow 6 feet high and 6 ft wide, according to The Spruce. Its tubular blossoms are quite fragrant and have been described as clove-like.
9. Winter Daphne
Originating from China, Daphne odora blooms in winter. According to Southern Living, Winter Daphnes will wither away quickly if their needs aren’t met, which can make this bush not as beginner-friendly as you’d like.
Depending on the variety of Cornus shrubs you have, like the Cornus florida, the bush will flower in the winter or early spring. Even though it produces flowers in the winter, the most beautiful part of this bush is that it turns bright red in winter, making it a showy plant to have in any winter garden. Read more on these bushes at Garden Design.
Flowering Bushes with Medical and Edible Qualities
Elderberries with immune-boosting qualities are enjoyed by those who grow these summer-blooming bushes in their gardens. Sambucus nigra or Canadensis are easy to grow and handle most soil conditions, except drought, according to Gardening Know How.
12. Witch Hazel
You might have seen this ingredient on many skin-care products, but did you know you can grow it at home? Masterclass shows you how to plant Hamamelis in your garden and how to extract its medicinal qualities.
Right after Rubus idaeus has shown off its pink blooms, the raspberry bush provides edible berries. But the tonic made from raspberry leaves is said to be beneficial to expectant mothers. If you want to grow some of your own, simply follow the guide on Gardening Know How.
14. Rose of Sharon
If you need a remedy to cure burns, cuts, or any small wound, try using the gooey liquid found inside the buds of the Hibiscus syriacus. If you allow the buds to bloom, you will be met with large showy flowers. They grow very slowly, according to The Spruce.
You might not have realized it, but lavender is a small and short flowering bush. Its flowers don’t only smell good and attract pollinating insects, the buds are often used in teas and tinctures designed to give a calming effect. More info at Garden Design.
Flowering Bushes with Large Flowers
Gilmour has an in-depth care guide for Hydrangeas that produce show-stopping blooms in summer. The color of these flowering bushes are dependent of the acidity levels in the soil, ranging from blue to pink.
Roses are one of the most well-known flowering shrubs, Rosa has many different varieties that produce small flowers, as well as many varieties that produce large blooms. A beginner’s guide to roses can be found at Garden Design.
18. Reblooming Lilac
The flowers of the Syringa shrub are so large and dense that it takes over most of the shrub itself. Its blooms are large and consist of smaller flowers appearing as a large cone from further away. Gardenia has a great overview of this shrub.
19. Rosebay Rhododendron
Rhododendron maximum also known as Great Laurel, shows off large white flowers in the early summer. A complete overview of this shrub can be found at Missouri Botanical Gardens.
The blooms of the Camellia stay open for weeks, as mentioned by The Spruce. It is an easy to care for bush that requires low maintenance.
How to Plant Flowering Bushes
Step 1. Prepare The Site
When you bring your bush home, dig a hole about as deep as the pot it is in and twice as wide. Work in some aged manure or compost into the bottom of the hole, making sure to remove rocks, sticks, or debris.
Step 2. Plant It Out
Gently remove the bush from its nursery pot and position it into the prepared hole. If it’s wrapped in burlap, place it in the hole first before removing the burlap. Once you are happy with the placement, fill in the rest of the hole with some rich soil, making sure the bush is firmly placed in its final spot.
Step 3. Water and Mulch
Give the bush a thorough watering to help it settle into its new spot, and add some mulch around the bush to help keep moisture in and weeds out.
The easiest flowering bushes to grow are the Potentilla. The shrub is not picky about the soil it is planted in and is rather drought-tolerant.
The Rhododendron is one of the tallest flowering bushes, growing to about 20 feet tall.
Forsythia, Fothergilla, and Azaleas are some examples of beautiful perennial flowering bushes.
The best season to plant flowering bushes is during their dormant period which typically tends to be fall to winter. Just be sure to protect them from frost.
If you have summer-blooming bushes, prune them in late winter. But if your bushes bloom in spring, wait until right after their blooms have died to prune them.
Hydrangeas are flowering bushes that grow really well in the shade if you are in a very hot climate since they don’t tolerate heat too well. Rhododendron is shade-tolerant but still prefers some morning sun.
Forsythia, Hydrangea, and Weigela are all flowering bushes that don’t require pruning to have the best blooms.
Flowering bushes are the ideal choice for most gardeners who love flowers year after year without too much fuss. Bushes that flower are often perennial, and if you plan carefully, you can have a bush in bloom for every season.