Many widely grown, summer-flowering shrubs -- including mock orange and lilac bushes -- bloom early in the season. Their blossoms adorn the landscape for only two or three weeks and fade before summer reaches its peak. Other ornamental shrubs flower for the entire summer. Some attract colourful butterflies and hummingbirds to the garden. Create a bright, often-fragrant backdrop for your outdoor summer activities with long-flowering shrubs.
Arching, spreading stems create 1.8 to 3 m (6 to 10 foot) glossy abelia's (Abelia x grandiflora) fountainlike form. Abelia combines finely textured foliage with late-spring-to-fall, pink blooms. Branch-ending clusters of the tubular, fragrant flowers open against tapering, red-tinged green leaves. The foliage deepens to autumn purple. Glossy abelia performs best in sun to partial shade and moderately moist soil. Butterfly bush (Buddleia x weyeriana) Honeycomb has summer-to-autumn, spherical clusters of golden-yellow blooms against a backdrop of large, glossy-green leaves. The cascading flowers' fragrant nectar attracts butterflies and bees. This arching, 1.2 to 3 m (4 to 10 foot) buddleia cultivar thrives in full sun and well-drained loam or clay.
Full sun shrubs
Bright yellow, saucerlike blooms cover shrubby cinquefoil's (Potentilla fruticosa) mounds of bluish-green leaves through the summer. Coronation Triumph, a 1.2 m (4 foot) high and wide cinquefoil cultivar, prolongs the floral display from spring until autumn. Chewground ('Rosa' Chewground), a 30 to 60 cm (1 to 2 foot) high shrub rose cultivar, spreads as much as 1.5 m (5 feet). Its carpet of white-and-pink blossoms rises above a background of glossy, dark-green foliage. The 5 cm (2 inch) flowers' bicolored petals surround showy, yellow-stamened centres. They bloom from May until frost. Both shrubs flourish in full sun and well-drained, averagely moist soils.
Shrubs with autumn colour
Robert bigleaf hydrangea's (Hydrangea macrophylla) round clusters of pink or blue flowers glow against its large, glossy-green leaves from late spring to early fall. The 60 to 90 cm (2 to 3 foot) cultivar's bloom colour changes from blue to pink as soil pH increases. Snowflake viburnum (Viburnum plicatum) grows 90 cm to 1.5 m (3 to 5 feet) high and wide. Its small, flat, creamy-white flower clusters bloom most abundantly in spring and in light flushes into early autumn. Clusters of red-orange berries ripening to black in the autumn entice birds and wildlife. Each shrub's large, deep-green summer leaves become bronze or red in autumn. Summer Snowflake's berries, blooms and autumn foliage may occur simultaneously. This deciduous duo performs well in sun to partial shade and consistently moist, well-drained soils.
Chinese hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis) Persimmon's flowers pair deep-pink throats with creamy-white, pink-margined petals. In mild winter climates, this cultivar has year long, 10 to 20 cm (4 to 8 inch) funnel-like blooms. Where winters are harsh, Persimmon flowers from late spring until early autumn as a container plant. Its glossy, 15 cm (6 inch), green leaves contrast well with the colourful blossoms. Radiation, a 90 cm to 1.8 m (3 to 6 foot) lantana (Lantana camara) cultivar, has flat, yellow flower clusters. Ageing flowers progress to coral pink and red. Blooms in the three butterfly-attracting shades appear all summer along Radiation's dense, green-leaved branches. These two bushes like sunny, well-drained fertile soils. Both are evergreen in frost-free areas.