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Summer-blooming Shrubs: Expert Recommendations

summer-blooming shrubs

Itea virginica 'Henry's Garnet' blooms in summer.

Spring-blooming shrubs get the early glory, but late bloomers are invaluable for summer interest. Here, two Horticulture contributors share their recommendations for summer-blooming shrubs:

Horticulture columnist Daniel J. Hinkley’s picks for summer-blooming shrubs:
Lonicera syringantha: A six-foot deciduous shrub with sweet-smelling, lavender-colored flowers from mid-spring to midsummer. Hardy to –20˚F.
Deutzia setchuenensus var. corymbiflora: A slow grower to four feet, this deutzia offers clean white star-like flowers throughout the summer months. USDA Zones 4–9.
Hydrangea arborescens Invincibelle Spirit: This update of the old ‘Annabelle’ moped hydrangea opens pink flowers from dark pink buds. Zones 3–9.
Hydrangea paniculata: Hinkley appreciates this hydrangea and its many newer cultivars for its adaptability and ease of care. Zones 3–8.
Itea virginica: Racemes of sweet-smelling white flowers occur from midsummer into autumn, when they’re enhanced by the foliage’s shift from green to fiery red and orange. Zones 5–9.
Itea ilicifolia: Long, dangling streamers of chartreuse buds open to white flowers in midsummer on this eight-foot evergreen shrub. Zones 8–9.
Helwingia japonica: An oddity, this shrub appears to bloom directly from its leaf tissue. A conversation starter for sure. Zones 6–9.
(Adapted from “The Shrubs of Summer,” May/June 2016)

Horticulture contributor Caleb Melchior highlights the best of everyone’s favorite summer-blooming shrubs, the panicle hydrangea:
Hydrangea paniculata ’Limelight’: A large shrub with bright lime-green flowers
H. p. Pinky Winky: Another large variety with flowers that shift from white to dark pink.
H. p. Bobo: Similar to ‘Limelight’ but just three to five feet tall.
H. p. ‘Dharma’: Just two to three feet tall and wide, with cream-colored flowers in good proportion to its overall size.
H. p. Baby Lace: Conical flowers cover this variety that tops out at three or four feet.
H. p. ‘Phantom’: A large variety with very strong, upright flowers that stand up straight.
(Adapted from “Gee Whiz Hydrangeas,” Horticulture September/October 2013)

Image courtesy of Proven Winners