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What are Flowering Shrubs?

A vase of lilacs, a type of flowering shrub.
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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 15 April 2014
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Shrub is another term for bush. Bushes are distinct from trees because they are usually shorter, though some can grow to 20 feet (6.096 m) tall, and they have many more stems than do trees. There are lots of ways to use bushes in gardening to create pretty foliage or even extra privacy. Some people like to use flowering shrubs, which provide not only foliage, but also beautiful flowers at different times of the year.

There are numerous types of flowering shrubs and you may want to choose some based on season. For instance, a standout winter blooming shrub is the camellia. These produce beautiful rose-like blooms in mid to late winter. They’re available in numerous colors, with the most common being white, pink and burgundy. The rest of the year, the camellia plant has dark shiny green foliage that is indisputably attractive in most gardens.

In spring time people look to many varieties of flowering shrubs. These can include lilac, with beautiful heads of tiny purple flowers. Lilac is also attractive to many because of its scent, a deep perfume that speaks of early spring. Another advantage of this bush is size; older lilacs can easily be over ten feet (3.048 m) tall and wide.

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Other spring flowering shrubs that are attractive include rhododendrons, which are sometimes fragrant. Blueberries produce lovely flowers in spring and then delicious and healthy fruit in the summer. Forsythia creates bright yellow flowers and can form an excellent hedge.

Summer flowering shrubs include hydrangeas and butterfly bushes. The latter can bloom until early fall. Smaller azaleas, which are part of the rhododendron family, make for beautiful fall blooms in lots of colors.

There are a number of things to consider when choosing flowering shrubs. Though the flowers can be beautiful, consider the eventual size of each type of bush. Will a garden have room to accommodate exceptionally large shrubs, or will small shrubs provide the kind of coverage desired? It can also take time for some shrubs to establish themselves and reach maximum size.

Some flowering shrubs require significant maintenance or pruning. Others just need shaping from time to time. A few bushes tend to have bare periods that may not be all that attractive at certain times of the year.

Another matter to consider is the suitability of certain shrubs to geographic area and climate. Know the local plant hardiness zone and find out which bushes are ideal local performers. One good way to get ideas on what to plant is by looking at the gardens of neighbors to see which flowering shrubs seem to perform best in an area.

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