Long-blooming flowers and shrubs can bring beauty, fragrance, and birds and butterflies to the garden. When selecting flowers and shrubs for your garden, consider your USDA hardiness zone, sun exposure, moisture and soil. As perennial flowers and shrubs will live for more than one season, start with those when looking for long-blooming beauty. In particular, winter-flowering shrubs tend to have flowers that are long-lasting, according to Neil Bell, a home horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. "Many of these have the additional advantage of being sweetly-scented, the perfect antidote to the winter blahs," Bell adds.
The butterfly bush (Buddleja, Buddleia) flowers all summer long and lasts well into fall. It has a sweet fragrance and attracts butterflies. The shrub can grow up to 12 feet tall and 12 feet wide. It blooms in white, red, pink and shades of purple. It needs full sun, moderate water and well-drained soil. It thrives in USDA hardiness zones 5 to 10.
Check out the azaleas (Ericaceae) that are profuse bloomers. The shrubs grow up to 4 feet tall and wide, and bloom nine months of the year. During the spring, they flower in colours that range from white to pink to red, and then form new growth and bloom again in the summer and fall. They like partial sun and are drought-tolerant once established. They adapt well to all soil types, and grow best in zones 6 to 10.
Hydrangeas have a long bloom period, are easy to care for and make beautiful dried flowers so you can enjoy them all year, states Smith County Master Gardener Dee Bishop on the Texas AgriLife Extension Service website. The most common variety is the French hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), which produces blue or pink ball-shaped flowers on long stems. The Oakleaf hydrangea (H. quercifolia) sports white flowers and will produce blooms from late spring through fall. Hydrangeas grow best in moist, well-drained soil with a site in partial shade in zones 4 to 7.
Don't forget shrub roses (Rosa Shrub) when thinking about long-blooming flowers. Rose breeders have developed pest-free and disease-free landscape roses in a rainbow of colours. Roses will bloom from spring through frost in cold areas and year-round in warmer locations. They are drought tolerant once established, and enjoy full sun and well-drained soil. Look for roses that are bred specifically for your hardiness zone.
Attract hummingbirds with salvia (Sage). The plant produces masses of purple flowers on stalks that flower year-round in warm climates. The plants grow up to 4 feet tall and wide. They grow best in full sun, are drought tolerant once established and are adaptive to most soils. These low-maintenance perennials flourish in zones 4 through 9.