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10 Best Shrubs for Flowering Hedges

Evergreen hedges are wonderful, but in spots where winter screening isn’t vital and you’d like to have a pop of color, consider growing a hedge of flowering shrubs instead. Find 10 ideas in this inspirational article.

Contributors: Susan Martin

Evergreen hedges are wonderful, but in spots where winter screening isn’t vital and you’d like to have a pop of color, consider growing a hedge of flowering shrubs instead. We’ll show you ten plants that work well for this use below and arrange them by height from shortest to tallest so you can find just what you need to make a flowering hedge that fits your space.

 

 

1. Dwarf Butterfly Bush

Lo & Behold® ‘Blue Chip’ Buddleia

Dwarf butterfly bush like our Lo & Behold® and Pugster® varieties make a colorful low hedge that draws in butterflies and hummingbirds every year from midsummer through fall. Try planting them along the edge of your patio where you can enjoy the pollinator show and their fragrant flowers up close. The arching stems of dwarf butterfly bush also make this shrub a beautiful feature along the edge of a retaining wall, pond or on a slope. Since they are sterile, you won’t need to worry about any unwanted seedlings. 

Check out our ultimate guide to growing butterfly bush.

Grows 2-2.5’ tall and wide; full sun; hardy in zones 5-9; deer resistant

 

2. Spirea

Double Play Doozie® Spiraea

Spirea has long been a staple in the landscape because it is so easy to grow and makes a great low hedge for foundation plantings. Double Play Doozie is a groundbreaking newer variety that’s particularly great planted en masse because it is seedless, and as a result, blooms non-stop from late spring through fall. You’ll love its deep red spring foliage, too. So, put down your pruners! You won’t need them with Double Play Doozie since it’s always in bloom and naturally keeps its tidy habit.

Learn more about growing spirea in this care guide.

Grows 2-3’ tall and wide; part sun to sun; hardy in zones 3-8; deer resistant

3. Landscape Rose

At Last® Rosa

You know a rose must be pretty special when we use it as a hedge along the front entrance of our Proven Winners® ColorChoice® Shrubs headquarters. At Last landscape rose is remarkable for its sweetly perfumed blossoms whose scent you’ll detect on the breeze from several feet away. But what you’ll really love about this rose is how easy it is to grow. It’s incredibly vigorous and disease resistant — as easy to care for as any other flowering shrub in your landscape. Enjoy its peachy blooms from late spring until frost.

Learn more about growing landscape roses here.

Grows 2.5-3’ tall and wide; full sun; hardy in zones 5-9

 

4. Dwarf Panicle Hydrangea

Little Lime® Hydrangea paniculata

The famed ‘Limelight’ panicle hydrangea makes a breathtaking tall living screen, but if something shorter would be a better fit for your space, consider growing its dwarf counterpart, Little Lime. You’ll get the same light lime green flower panicles you love but on a much shorter plant. If you have an existing hedge of tall evergreens but would really like to see some summertime blooms, try planting a row of Little Lime panicle hydrangeas in front of it. By doubling up your hedges, you’ll gain winter privacy and summer color.

Learn more about growing panicle hydrangeas in this guide.

Grows 3-5’ tall and wide; part sun to sun; hardy in zones 3-8

5. Koreanspice Viburnum

Spice Baby Viburnum carlesii

You’ll be happy you planted a hedge of Koreanspice viburnum every spring when it bursts into bloom and perfumes the air with its gardenia-like fragrance. It’s an event you’ll look forward to every year. While many fragrant viburnums grow quite large, Spice Baby is a compact form that makes a beautiful mid-sized hedge in sun or part shade. It can be pruned to shape into a more formal hedge, if desired, right after it blooms, or you can enjoy its natural shape for a lower maintenance option. Need a more heat tolerant fragrant viburnum for zones 7-8? Try Sweet Talker instead.

Grows 3.5-5’ tall and wide; part sun to sun; hardy in zones 4-8, deer resistant

6. Reblooming Weigela

Sonic Bloom® Pink Weigela florida

Weigelas are workhorses in the landscape, needing little more than a light shearing after they bloom to keep their good looks all season. They tolerate most soils and bloom best if you grow them in full sun. While most weigelas bloom once per year, Sonic Bloom reblooming weigelas, especially Sonic Bloom Pink, flower for months on end. They’ll put on the biggest show in late spring, then take a short break and repeat the show again from late summer into fall. Consider growing a low maintenance hedge of weigela down the sunniest side of your house or along a fenceline where it will draw in hummingbirds but not deer.

Grows 4-5’ tall and wide; full sun; hardy in zones 4-8, deer resistant

7. Mid-Size Butterfly Bush

‘Miss Molly’ Buddleia

If you loved the look of Lo & Behold butterfly bush in #1 but need something taller for your space, consider the “Miss” series of mid-sized cultivars. Their dense, upright shape is perfect for hedging where a little privacy or screening is needed, plus you’ll get full-sized flower panicles to draw in the butterflies in droves. Since all of the Miss varieties are seedless, there’s no concern about invasiveness. Butterfly bush is a durable, heat and drought tolerant shrub that thrives in well-drained soil and all-day sun.

Grows 4-5’ tall and wide; full sun; hardy in zones 5-9, deer resistant

8. Smooth Hydrangea

Incrediball® Hydrangea arborescens

Can you imagine having a hydrangea hedge like this in your landscape? Even if you have room for just a few, you will fall in love with your Incrediball hydrangea hedge over and over again when it’s in bloom every summer. This species of hydrangea takes a couple of years to mature, but you’ll see it gets bigger, stronger, and more floriferous with each passing year. Incrediball is a large cultivar of smooth hydrangea, so you won’t need many to make a sizeable hedge. If you like this look but need something smaller, try Invincibelle Wee White® instead.

Grows 4-5’ tall and wide; part sun to sun; hardy in zones 3-8

9. Full-Size Panicle Hydrangea

Fire Light® Hydrangea paniculata

If the dwarf Little Lime panicle hydrangea hedge in #4 looked appealing but you need something taller to give more of a screening effect, try Fire Light instead. It’ll reach up to 8 feet tall once mature and like Little Lime, it blooms reliably every year from midsummer to frost. Its full, white flower panicles are produced on thick, sturdy stems that hold up well in the rain. As nighttime temperatures begin to cool down, shades of pink will creep into the flower panicles, eventually blushing completely rose red. Trim the whole plant back by one-third every year in late fall or early spring and it will deliver a repeat show for many years to come.

Grows 6-8’ tall and wide; part sun to sun; hardy in zones 3-8

 

10. Rose of Sharon

Purple Pillar® Hibiscus syriacus

You may be familiar with typical rose of Sharon shrubs that grow 8-12’ tall and about 6’ wide. While they make fantastic large flowering screens, not everyone can accommodate their broad girth in a small yard or narrow flower bed. That’s where the Pillar series of rose of Sharon are super useful. You’ll get the height, but not the width, with these columnar forms. Purple Pillar is pictured here, and you can see White Pillar® here. Like other cultivars, they bloom from midsummer into fall, but save greatly on space with their narrow 2-3’ wide footprint. A flowering shrub of this stature is a rare and beautiful sight!

Learn more about growing Rose of Sharon in this care guide.

Grows 10-16’ tall and 2-3’ wide; full sun; hardy in zones 5-9; deer resistant

 

Go further:

  • Learn more about plant selection, planting layout and maintaining your flowering hedge in this article.
  • Explore more plants for creating privacy on this Pinterest board.
  • Watch a video of the Incrediball hydrangea hedge pictured in #8 here.
  • Watch Laura of @Garden Answer plant up an At Last rose hedge in this video.
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