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Know Your Flowering Shrubs

Flowering shrubs are the backbone of the garden.

Get familiar with these beauties to add some spring bling to your garden.

Words: Linda Ross



Deutzia sp.

A waterfall of white spring blossom is held on cascading branches. Usually a large shrub to about 3m, 'Nikko' is a dwarf, slender cultivar, 1mx1m, that adds deep red autumn colour to the appeal. All prefer a sheltered, sunny spot. Remove a third of the oldest stems after flowering.


Deutzia gracilis


Mock orange

Philadelphus sp.

Mock orange is a favourite with cottage gardeners for its long-lasting, citrus-scented, late-spring blooms, held on arching stems in a natural vase shape. The flowers are pure white with a cluster of golden stamens. Give it enough room to show off, 3m x 3m, and after flowering remove older canes at ground level to make way for fresh canes and extra flowers.


The Mock Orange, Philadelphus.


Snowball tree

Viburnum opulus sterile

A shrub made of snowballs seems unbelievable and yet there it is, spring after spring. Brilliantly coloured maple-like leaves in autumn follow the pure white balls of spring flower. Prefers full sun to part shade, morning sun is best. 3x2m. Prune as needed after flowering.


Viburnum opulus roseum.


Fringe flower

Loropetalum chinensis

The intensity of its purple leaf makes this an eye-catching contrast in any garden, with fringed cerise flowers in spring a bonus. Tough, quick to grow and reliable, give it full sun and plenty of room as it will spread wider than it grows high. 2x3m.


Fringe Flower, Lorepetalum 'Plum Gorgeous'


Californian lilac

Ceanothus ‘Blue Pacific’

This quick-growing shrub produces a cascade of cobalt-blue, honey-scented flowers displayed against dark green glossy leaves. As the shrub matures, old dead branches remain beneath so choose a spot where you can underplant and enjoy the view from above. Prune lightly after flowering. Grows well along the coast. 3x3m.


Quick-growing Ceanothus produces a cascade of cobalt-blue.



Syringa sp.

Lilacs are deciduous shrubs with purple, plum, lilac or white flowers and one of the most evocative perfumes in the garden. Native to north-eastern Asia and the Balkan Peninsula, they do best in cool climates with solid frosts, and in well-drained soils. Prune the finished flower heads, or cut armfuls of blooms to enjoy indoors.


Lilacs are best in cool climates. Photo - Robin Powell


Mountain laurel

Kalmia sp.

Native to the Appalachian mountains of North America, these evergreen beauties thrive anywhere that rhododendrons grow. They prefer acidic, peaty soil and dappled light. The flowers are held in clusters well clear of the foliage for a stunning effect. Remove spent flower clusters. 3x3m


Kalmia latifolia