Bushes that flower all summer long are a joy to have in the garden, filling the warm months with cascades of color. We’ll talk about perennial flowering shrubs and bushes that will bloom nonstop from summer deep into fall, lighting up your yard with hardy plants that require little care.
Whether you want cottage garden charm with hydrangeas, alluring lavender fragrances, or eye-catching flowers for butterflies, these tough shrubs prove that great things come in compact packages. So if you’re looking to pack a heavy punch of summer color into your landscape, keep reading to discover proven perennials that’ll deliver floral goods all season long!
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Bushes That Flower All Summer for Gardeners and Arborists
1. Butterfly Bush
Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) earns its common name by attracting countless butterflies and hummingbirds with its fragrant panicles of lilac to purple flowers that cover the bush in summer.
Butterfly bushes thrive in full sun and well-drained soil. The shrubs grow rapidly, reaching 3 to 12 feet tall, depending on the variety. Pruning after the first bloom in early summer stimulates a second flush of flowers on the butterfly bush, ensuring the fragrant blossoms will continue well into late summer and early fall.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a beloved evergreen perennial shrub that pumps out whorls of violet flowers on upright woody stems from early summer until the first frosts of autumn.
Lavender prefers hot, sunny conditions with minimal supplemental water once established. It thrives in well-drained alkaline soil and lowest low fertility. The gray-green aromatic foliage and stunning violet flowers require minimal care beyond annual spring pruning.
Older, woody stems can be cut to the ground to promote the growth of new flowering stems. Removing seed heads that form after flowering also reroutes the plant’s energy into producing more blooms rather than seeds.
Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) offers a long bloom season on sturdy, ornamental shrubs with large truss-like flowers in dramatic hues ranging from blue to pink or white. The flower color of hydrangeas depends on soil pH levels, transforming shades from spring blooms to summer and fall.
Proper pruning and fertilizing are important to maximize rebloom and revitalize older hydrangea plants. Prune older stems back annually while removing up to one-third of top growth to encourage a fuller, bushier habit and stimulate new growth.
Hydrangeas thrive in organic, moist, well-drained soil with a mulch layer. Fertilizing in early spring and again after flowering with an acid-based fertilizer maintains optimal soil pH for vivid bloom color. Supplemental watering during dry spells, especially in the summer and fall, also promotes rebloom on hydrangeas.
Weigela (Weigela florida) explodes into large clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers in spring to early summer that strongly attract hummingbirds with their nectar-rich throats. This deciduous flowering shrub comes in various hues, from soft pink to bright red to pure white, complementing and enriching the flush of new green leaves.
Proper pruning after flowers fade removes any chance of fruit or seed, redirecting the plant’s energy into producing more blooms the following spring. Consistently removing seed pods after flowering will maximize the future flowering potential of Weigela shrubs.
Weigelas thrive in full sun to part shade and moderately moist, well-drained soil. Fertilizing in early spring and again after flowering with an all-purpose garden fertilizer boosts both growth and next year’s floral display. Being deciduous, weigelas require minimal winter care.
5. Dwarf Spirea
Dwarf spirea (Spiraea japonica) erupts in cheery profusions of hot pink blossoms in spring and sometimes again in early summer, making it a welcome small addition to any garden. These low-growing perennial flowering bushes sport lancet-shaped leaves and grow into dense rounded clumps, ideal for filling in the front of borders, spilling over rock walls, or cascading down slopes.
Deadheading spent flowers to encourage additional blooming is important to maximize the ornamental potential of dwarf spirea throughout the growing season. This involves removing seed heads as soon as they fade by cutting stems back to a leaf node or pair of leaves.
6. Dwarf Honeysuckle
Dwarf bush honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) is smothered in cheerful tubular yellow blooms in late spring and early summer that strongly attract hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees with their nectar-rich flowers. This low-spreading evergreen shrub has lush green foliage that turns shades of red and yellow in fall, providing multiple seasons of ornamental interest.
Dwarf bush honeysuckle prefers full sun to part shade and consistently moist, well-drained soil. Fertilizing in early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer boosts flowering. Supplemental watering during extended dry spells, particularly during flowering, also helps promote a good bloom display.
Dwarf bush honeysuckle grows one to three feet tall and wide, forming a dense, bushy mound. Along with spring bloom, attractive fall foliage colors add ornamental interest to the landscape for most of the year.
Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa) erupts in bright yellow, orange, or red flowers in early summer, strongly attracting bees and butterflies galore with their nectar-rich cups. Its finely textured foliage forms ornamental clumps of branching stems ideal for rock gardens, mass plantings, or borders as low hedges.
Potentilla shrubs prefer full to partial sun and consistently moist, well-drained soil. They thrive with infrequent fertilizing and minimum supplemental water once established. The shrubs grow two to three feet tall with a similar spread.
Regular early spring pruning to remove damaged or overcrowded stems also maintains a desirable compact, mounded shape for potentilla shrubs. Cutting back lateral branches by up to half their length stimulates bushy new growth and returns older plants to a tidier form.
8. Joe Pye Weed
Joe Pye weed is a hardy perennial wildflower native to eastern and central North America. Growing five to seven feet tall, it produces bold purple flower spikes from midsummer through early fall that attract admired pollinators.
The stalks carry numerous small pinkish-purple flowers grouped into plumes atop flowing, airy foliage. Individual blooms have four to five petal-like lobes. Clasping stalks emerge from a central crown of textured, coarse leaves.
Preferred by butterflies and hummingbirds including the Ruby-throated hummingbird, they are drawn to Joe Pye weed’s abundant nectar. Bees also flock to gather pollen. This hardy plant is popular in pollinator and native plant gardens, as well as naturalized landscapes.
Growing naturally in wet meadows and alongside streams, Joe Pye flourishes with regular water but can tolerate periods of seasonal drought once established. Its deep taproot makes it slow to transplant. Full to partial sun suits this stately beauty.
Rather than division, Joe Pye weed self-sows readily from fallen seeds. Plant breeders have developed cultivars reining in its natural height and improving flower power without losing pollinator appeal. The ‘Electric Pink’ variant offers more intense color.
Come fall, flower stalks persist standing above decaying foliage, offering habitats through winter. Some cultivars offer ornamental interest even after blooming by developing feathery seed heads.
A beloved wildflower supporting vital insect species, naturally grown Joe Pye weed makes a strong eco-friendly statement in gardens and restorations. Its artistic floral spires complement prairie planting schemes and naturalistic designs with understated, hardy charm.
Perovskia, commonly known as Russian sage, is topped with fragrant violet-blue flower spikes from mid-summer until frost, strongly attracting an astonishing array of pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The silvery-gray evergreen flowering shrub foliage is aromatic and releases a pungent fragrance when brushed against.
Perovskia thrives in hot, sunny conditions with minimal supplemental water once established. The shrubs prefer well-drained soil, growing three to five feet tall and wide. Pruning lightly in early spring helps shape plants and stimulate reblooming the following summer.
Fertilizing in early spring and again after blooming with a slow-release fertilizer boosts flowering and vigor. Supplemental watering only during any extended dry period promotes optimum growth.
10. Dwarf Lilac
Dwarf lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) is smothered in fragrant lilac flowers in early summer that strongly attract hummingbirds and butterflies in droves with their sweet nectar. This compact deciduous flowering shrub grows slowly to just one to one and a half meters tall and wide with a rounded habit ideal for small gardens and container planting.
Dwarf lilac prefers full sun and consistently moist, well-drained soil. Fertilizing in early spring with a balanced, slow-release fertilizer boosts flowering. Supplemental watering during dry spells, especially flowering, promotes lush blooms.
Deadhead spent flowers to stimulate a flush of lateral flowering branches that continue blooming through mid-summer. This involves removing entire flowering stems down to the base once flowers fade. Consistently deadheading throughout the bloom period maximizes flower potential.
The fragrant lilac-colored blooms that flood this compact shrub in early summer attract hummingbirds, bees, and butterfly species alike. The dense, twiggy branching structure forms an attractive, rounded shape ideal for small garden spaces. And through regular deadheading and minimal fertilizing, gardeners can extend and maximize the showy bloom time of dwarf lilac’s signature profusion of fragrant summer flowers.
11. Dwarf Ninebark
Dwarf ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius’ Nanus’) erupts in fluffy white flower clusters in spring that strongly attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. This compact deciduous shrub grows slowly to just one to one and eight-tenths meters tall and wide with ornamental exfoliating bark and brilliant crimson red fall foliage color.
Dwarf Ninebark prefers full sun and moderately moist, well-drained soil. Fertilizing in early spring and again after flowering with an all-purpose, extended-release fertilizer boosts growth and bloom production. Supplemental watering during dry spells promotes lush blossoms, especially in the flowering period.
Prune right after flowering has finished to shape plants and maximize repeat bloom the following spring. Thin interior crossing branches to open up a form, and longer stems can be cut back nearly in half to tone plants and spur fresh growth.
The fluffy white flower clusters that smother dwarf ninebark in spring add cheerful contrast to the garden’s new foliage. Along with attractive bark and brilliant fall foliage colors, the showy blooms also provide value to pollinators foraging for nectar.
12. Dwarf Daisy
Dwarf English daisy is continuously smothered in single or double daisy flowers from spring through fall. This low-growing perennial ground cover forms a tight mound of grayish-green foliage, from which multitudes of cheerful yellow blooms emerge on short stems.
Dwarf daisies prefer full sun and consistently moist, well-drained soil. The plant spreads slowly via stolons to form mats 6 to 12 inches tall and wide. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage maximum reblooming throughout the season. This involves removing individual stalks down to the leaves once blossoms fade. Consistently removing seed heads ensures the plant’s energy goes into producing fresh flowers rather than seeds.
Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) is covered in dangling yellow flowers in late spring, followed by clusters of crimson berries that persist into winter, providing seasonal interest for most of the year. This arching deciduous flowering shrub grows one to one and eight-tenths meters tall and wide with beautiful fall foliage ranging from yellow to shades of red and purple.
Japanese barberry prefers full sun and moderately moist, well-drained soil. Fertilizing in early spring and again after flowering with an extended-release fertilizer boosts growth and flower production. Regular watering during dry periods ensures the healthiest display of foliage, flowers, and fruit.
Prune lightly in early spring before new growth emerges to shape plants and encourage more flowers to bloom the following year. Cut back select stems that cross or rub together. Longer stems can be shortened by one-quarter to one-third their length to tone plants and stimulate fresh growth.
The arching form of the Japanese barberry, with its weeping blossoms and autumnal foliage colors, creates low visual interest in the landscape. Along with clusters of crimson berries that persist into winter, the ornamental features provide year-round beauty with minimal effort.
Southern bayberry holds fuzzy gray-green evergreen foliage that is very aromatic when crushed, releasing a distinctive scent. In spring, the shrub erects cheerful catkins that yield tiny greenish flowers. These develop into waxy gray berry-like fruits called galls that persist into winter.
Once established, Southern Bayberry thrives in hot, dry coastal conditions, making it a great choice for low-maintenance, naturalized gardens. The tough, compact shrub grows three to eight feet tall and wide. It prefers full sun and well-drained acidic soil.
Beyond regularly watering during the first two years to ensure establishment, southern bayberry requires minimal care. The aromatic foliage and ornamental fruits provide visual interest year-round, with no pruning or fertilizing needed. Both the foliage and fruits of southern bayberry are highly aromatic and used to make bayberry candles. The gray-green leaves also turn to coppery tones in fall.
Many bushy perennials bloom continuously from early summer to fall, providing months of colorful flowers. With just a bit of regular care to keep them flowering, bushy perennial plants will add countless hours of colorful cheer to your summer garden.
- Dwarf lilac (Syringa meyeri ‘Palibin’) is smothered in fragrant lilac flowers in early summer that strongly attract hummingbirds and butterflies in droves with their sweet nectar.
- Weigela (Weigela florida) explodes into large clusters of trumpet-shaped flowers in spring to early summer that strongly attract hummingbirds with their nectar-rich throats.
- Hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) offers a long bloom season on sturdy, ornamental shrubs with large truss-like flowers in dramatic hues ranging from blue to pink or white.
- Growing five to seven feet tall, Joe Pye Weed produces bold purple flower spikes from midsummer through early fall that attract admired pollinators.
Enjoy the vibrant growth and bloom seasons that flourish from such minimal effort. Each flower holds the potential to delight your senses and uplift your spirit, so go out and spend time immersed in the brightness these lush plants are just waiting to provide you!