Flowering azaleas, camellia, crape myrtle (crape myrtle) and other important landscape shrubs

Landscape shrubs fall into two main categories: evergreen shrubs that are grown primarily for green leaves, and shrubs that are grown for flowers. Some of the flowering shrubs that are grown for flowers are evergreen as well, such as: Albelia, Azalea, Banana bush, Bottlebrush, Bridal Wreath, Gardenia, Ligustrum, Oleander, and Tea Olive. Azaleas and camellias are the most important flowering shrubs.

Evergreen flowering shrubs

Azaleas are perhaps the best-known evergreen flowering shrubs grown in America. Hybrids of azaleas are now planted in the northern states. The blooming azaleas of Formosa are the best known and the gardener can buy many colors and cultivars. Other categories of azaleas are Gleen Dale azaleas, Kurume Hybrid azaleas, Nuccio Hybrid azaleas, Satsuki Hybrid azaleas, and Native American azaleas, Florida Flame, Rhodendron austrinum, and Piedmont, Rhodendrom canescens. The Formosan azalea cultivars are: Bicolor, Duc De Rohan, Dutchess of Cypress, George L. Tabor, GG. Gerbin, Lavender, Little John, Madonna White, Magenta, Pink, Pride of Mobile, Red Formosa, Southern Charm, Violet. Glenn Dale’s azaleas are Fashion and HH Hume. Kurume azaleas are coral bells, pink ruffles, red ruffles, and snow. Satsuki’s hybrid azaleas are Gumpo Pink, Gumpo White, Higasa, and Wakebishu.

Camellias are best known for fall, winter, and spring blooms in the south. Fall and winter flowering shrubs are Camellia sasanqua; Camellias that bloom in many colors of red, pink, white, variegated, and purple. The main types of camellias that bloom in winter and spring are called Camellia japonica, and many old cultivar listings are available to buy from an internet nursery. Cultivars such as: Alba Plena, Emily Wilson, Jesse Burgess, Mathotiana Rubra, Peppermint, Pink Perfection, Pot of Gold and Professor Sargeant, Rosea,

Abelia x Grandiflora shrubs are a great improvement over the old common Abelia shrub. The tubular clusters of pink-white flowers are fragrant and the blooming abelia bushes are treasured as a long-season bloom that is very cool in zones 5 through 9.

The banana shrub, Michelia fuggii, is commonly grown in gardens, as is the camellia, known for the scent of ripe bananas, when the small, white, magnolia-like flowers open on hot summer afternoons. The banana bush is often planted near door entrances to greet visitors with the scent of a banana.

The scarlet bottlebrush shrub, Callistemon citrinus, is not known for its cold hardiness (zone 8-11), but the red bottlebrush flowers are brilliant when blooming in early summer.

The bridal wreath, Spirea nipponica, is also known as Snowmound Spirea, and is a vast improvement over the old white garden spirea, found in relic gardens. Bridal Wreath Spirea is very cold hardy in zones 4 to 8.

Gardenia shrubs, Gardenia jasmionoides, are the dwarf form of the sweetly scented Gardenia. Ever-blooming Gardenia shrub, Gardenia jasminoides ‘Veitchii’ is a greatly improved gardenia, with large, grafted shrubs producing double-white gardenia flowers. The rare fragrance of ever-blooming gardenias is a worthwhile growing garden experience.

Ligustrum, Ligustrum texanum, is grown in some gardens as a shrub with long, seasonal white flowers, sweetly perfuming a passerby with a pleasant distinctive ligustrum fragrance. Ligustrum, when mature, can shed the lower branches to become a small flowering tree, often planted in doorways as show trees. This plant is popular in the famous hotel complex in the Cloister, which operates on Sea Island, Georgia. Other cultivars of Ligustrum are planted, and grown more frequently, as privacy hedges or on wide sidewalks at the edge in urban settings.

Oleander, Nerium oleander, is among the most saltwater tolerant options for planting in coastal gardens. Oleander bushes bloom in colors of pink, purple, red, salmon pink, white, and yellow. Very old oleander plants can grow into small flowering trees. Oleander beings bloom in May and the flowers last until fall. Insects and diseases avoid oleanders.

Tea Olive, Osmanthus fragrans, is very popular as a sweet-scented shrub that begins to bloom in the fall and continues to fill the air with fragrance in the spring. The aroma of Tea Olive flowers is similar to that of ripe apricots. The tea olive is an evergreen tree.

Yellow Texas rose, Kerria japonica ‘Pleniflora’, blooms in late spring, growing densely packed bright yellow flowers along long arched stems. Kerria japonica is very cold hardy in zones 4 through 8.

Deciduous flower bushes

Crape Myrtle (Crepe Myrtle) Lagerstroemia x Fauriei hybrids are also known as Japanese myrtle (Crepe Myrtle). These shrubs are often grown as shrubs, but many of the newer cultivars are marketed as trees and can easily grow up to 30 feet tall, with trunks growing in diameter to over a foot. It is difficult to set limits on growth size, because newly introduced hybrids have not aged enough to predict final size limits fifty years from now. The ancient species of crested myrtle were Lagerstroemia indica, which bloomed attractively, but the new hybrid crepe myrtle shrubs bloom in light, fiery colors for 45 to 60 days, then bloom again in the fall. Crepe myrtle flowers are beautiful, but the new colors of the peeling bark provide a new and different attraction after the winter cold freezes the leaves. Crepe Myrtle has been placed in several color categories: Red Flower Fool; Acoma and Natchez with white flowers; Muscogee with lavender flowers; Pale pink flower biloxy; Deep pink Miami and Tuscarora flowers; Sioux with intense pink flowers; and Dream Pink;

Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla and Oak Leaf Hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, are the two important species of the hydrangea group. Hydrangea macrophylla has been greatly enhanced to create hybrid pink, red, white, blue, and purple flowers. Some of these hydrangea colors are stable and are not subject to change with change in soil acidity (soil pH). Hydrangea macrophylla flowers come in several new hybrids, such as Cardinal Red, macrophylla ‘Cardinal Red’; Lacecap ‘Blue Billow’, microphylla ‘Blue Billow’; Lace ‘Pink Diamond’, microphylla ‘Pink Diamond’; Lacecap ‘variegated’, microphylla ‘variegated’; The oakleaf hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, produces giant white flowers that perch on a 6-foot shrub with large, oakleaf-shaped leaves.

The New Zealand tea bush, Leptospermum scorparium, is a winter and early spring flowering shrub in red and pink colors, which is cold hardy in zones 8-10.

Evergreen berry bushes

The valuable evergreen shrubs for garden landscapes are 2 types of Mahonia that grow thorny holly-shaped leaves, which in the spring, bloom and the flowers turn into colorful berries. Mahonia Feather-leaved shrub, Mahonia japonica, the flowers develop into attractive clusters of grape-like fruits, which are cold hardy in zones 5-8. The Chinese mahonia, Mahonia fortunei, produces short spikes of yellow flowers, cold hardy in zones 8-9.

Nandina shrubs, Nandina domestica, is a great all-season plant. Nandina canes produce fragrant flower clusters in the spring, which develop into clusters of persistent green, orange, and red berries that will only fall off next year after new flowers appear. Nandina domestica can be grown as a foundation gardening plant, alongside houses, to replace overgrown azaleas. Nandines rarely grow more than 4 to 5 feet and they don’t block views from windows like many foundation plants. The orderly cultivation of nandina is disease free and can be purchased at local nurseries or mail order nurseries. Dwarf nandina plants are called heavenly bamboo, and dwarf varieties are the best nandina for winter coloring, with bright crimson foliage, lasting from fall to winter. Nandina shrubs are cold hardy when planted in zones 6 through 8.

Deciduous shrubs with berries

Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana, was discovered by William Bartram, the famous American botanist and explorer, who wrote in his book Travels, records of this beautyberry with hidden stems in the fall with clusters of bright purple berries surrounding the twigs after they the leaves fall from the autumn frost. The white berry clusters of the white berry bush are quite impressive in the dark forest under the story landscape.

Mock Orange Shrub (Philadelphus X Virginalis ‘Natchez’) is an heirloom enhancement of the Native American plant that blooms in late spring with citrus, orange scented flowers. Mail order nursery websites rarely offer the Mock Orange bush for purchase. Many gardeners who want a nice native shrub should purchase the Mock Orange shrub.

Pyracantha, Pyracantha coccinia, is often cultivated to exclude unwanted visitors, due to its deadly spines. The beauty of berry clusters is indefinable in winter and spring, when the leaves fall. The berries grow in large orange or red clusters. Pyracantha, Pyracantha coccinia, will bloom fragrant white in the spring, and will remind any thief that they shouldn’t have visited that special execution-style garden. The two recommended cultivars for planting are Pyracantha Victory, Pyracantha coccinea ‘Victory’ and Pyracantha Orange Berry, Pyracantha coccinea ‘Orange Berry’.

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