Wednesday, April 21st, 2010...12:00 am

7 Easy to Care for Flowering Shrubs

Hibiscus syriacus, “Rose of Sharon” by ConanTheLibrarian

TheGardenLady was asked to recommend some less commonly known flowering shrubs that are easy to care for and will create a hedge or shrub border between two houses in temperature zone 6. “Easy care: to TheGardenLady means that the shrubs are pretty much pest free including pesty deer as well as needing little maintenance after planting. Nothing is completely pest free, deer will try tasting anything and when starving will eat just about anything. And one may have to prune dead or broken branches even if you aren’t interested in shaping the hedge. Though there are other shrubs, here are 7 of TheGardenLady’s favorites that grow fairly quickly, fairly densely and easily.

Bottlebrush Buckeye by Calendar Garden

Aesculus parviflora Bottlebrush Buckeye is a deciduous shrub that will grow 9 to 12 feet tall and up to 15 feet wide -you may get away with planting just one plant. It likes sun to part shade in zones 5 -8. It likes Acidic, well-drained organic soil . This is a deciduous shrub with interesting flowers. It has received the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society’s Gold Medal award.

Rose of Sharon hibiscus by heart in hawaii

Hibiscus syriacus Rose of Sharon cultivars (Be sure to ask for the noninvasive types ). These deciduous shrubs grow in zones 5 to 9 in full sun. They grow to 10 feet tall and about 5 feet wide. They like almost any soil but prefer neutral to alkaline soil, sun and heat. These bloom late in the summer. Some of the selections that might not be so invasive are ‘Aphrodite”(dark pink), ‘Diana’ (pure white and a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society award winner) , ‘Helene’ ( white with a red “eye” ), ‘Minerva’ (lavender with a red “eye”) and ‘ Blue Satin’ which is a “proven winner.”  See here.

Japanese Andromeda / Pieris japonica by carsten de

Pieris japonica Japanese Pieris will grow to 12 feet and up to 8 feet wide. It will grow in zones 5 -7 and will take full sun in the North and part shade in the warmer zones. They like well-drained organic, acidic soil. This is an evergreen shrub with up to 6 inch long panicles of what looks like lily of the valley flowers. Flowers can be either white or pink. You can get more compact sized shrubs.

Spiraea prunifolia, Bridalwreath Spirea by KingsbraeGarden

Spirea prunifolia Bridalwreath Spirea is an old time favorite, a deciduous shrub that can grow from 6-9 feet tall and will grow about 6 feet wide. It likes full sun in zones 4 -8 and will grow in any soil so long as the soil isn’t water logged..This will bloom in mid spring and to prune, one selectively remove shoots when the bloom is finished. If you have a friend, you can cut and propagate new shrubs by taking softwood ( new stems) cuttings in summer.

Baby’s breath spirea / Spiraea thunbergii / 雪柳(ユキヤナギ) by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋)

Spirea thunbergii Thunberg Spirea is a dense shrub. If you want a lower hedge this spirea grows to 5 ft tall and about 6 ft wide in zones 4 -8. It likes full sun and well drained soil. It flowers in early to midspring.

Nuvole bianche….White clouds by Sante.boschianpest

Spirea x vanhouttei or Vanhoutte Spirea Bridal white spirea (see here) that grows 6-8 feet tall and up to 12 feet wide in zones 4-8. It flowers midspring to early summer and is hardy even in coldest areas; grows and blooms in sun or shade, in any soil; tolerates unfavorable city conditions. Grows fast up to 6′ tall. For hedge use, plant 2′ apart; individual planting 6′ apart.

Weigela florida by gardenersassistant

Weigela Florida is a deciduous shrub that can grow 6-9 feet tall and about 10 feet wide in zones 5-8 with blooms in late spring to early summer and might rebloom a little in late summer. It likes sun and adapts to most soil so long as there is good drainage. This tolerates pollution well. Prune after flowering to reshape, if you want. You can propagate this from seeds or softwood (new stems) cuttings. Flowers come in various shades of pinks or red. Cultivars include ‘Canary’ with yellow flowers. ‘Eva Rathke is a good reblooming weigela. And you can get a cultivar that is disease resistant with dark burgandy-purple leaves that is trademarked with the name Wine and Roses. Wine and Roses is a Pennsylvania Horticultural Society award winner.

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  • Need help in identifying a shrub….looks like maybe the baby’s breath…growing all over LA at plantation sites.

  • I’m not much of a gardener, so I don’t know all the pros and cons of the shrubs mentioned above, but I think the Rose of Sharon is just a glorified weed. It drops thousands of seeds that can grow almost anywhere and are a real pain to get rid of. They will grow in mulch, in the grass, and in tiny cracks in sidewalks. I’ve even found them growing in our porch gutters. I guess the wind blew them up there. They may be easy to grow, but they invade everywhere. They only flower for a short time in the middle of summer, so they are not even that pretty for most of the year. My advice —avoid them like the plague —becasue they are a plague.

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