As summer is now upon us, the growing season is in full swing. Our vegetable gardens have been planted, and our lawns are green and actively growing.
A variety of herbaceous annuals and perennials flowers are in bloom or will be soon. The summer has a multitude of shrubs that produce colorful flowers that brighten the home landscape.
Many roses are in bloom during the summer and have flowers that are colorful and fragrant. One of the most popular and easiest to grow is the “Knockout” rose. They have bright red flowers. Remove the old flowers to encourage the plant to produce more.
Other types of roses include the floribunda roses, which have a short, bushy appearance with large quantities of small flowers in clusters. The grandiflora roses produce abundant flowers and are tall, slender plants. They can be troubled by black spot leaf fungus. For control, clean up dead leaves, branches, and flowers that have fallen to the ground. Apply fungicides that are labeled for this purpose.
The attractive blossoms of the big leaf hydrangeas show themselves in May and June. The shrubs can reach a height of five feet. The small flowers occur in clusters and range from dark blue to pink. The soil pH determines the color, which is the result of the amount of aluminum the plant absorbs. The element is more available in acidic soils and will cause the flowers to be blue, whereas a high pH or alkaline soil is pink.
Prune the plants after they flower and before the beginning of August. These hydrangeas require shady sites and need supplemental water in dry spells. Another one is the pee gee hydrangea. The flower clusters are white that slowly turn pink. Unlike the big leaf hydrangea, these plants thrive in full sun.
Chaste trees or Vitex is a large shrub that can grow up to 20 feet in height. Their leaves are dark green to blue on the upper surface and grayish green underneath. They have violet, pink, blue, or pink loosely branches clusters of flowers that are up to six inches long in June. The plants do best in full sun. They have few pest problems and are low maintenance.
One of the most fragrant and attractive shrubs are the gardenias, which are evergreens. They produce white flowers two to four inches in diameter in May through July. Many varieties are available. They prefer partial shade with moist well drained soil. Prune after they flower.
Since the blossoms are produced on the previous year’s growth, pruning before blooming will remove the flower buds. They can suffer from temperatures that fall below 15 degrees. If such weather is in the forecast, consider covering the plants with a blanket or some plastic. One variety of “Frostproof” is more tolerant of hard freezes.
A few shrubs that tolerate wet soils have attractive blooms. Virginia sweetspire grows up to five feet. It has flowers that are small, white and fragrant on four to six-inch-long bottlebrush-like clusters in the early summer. The shrub has bright orange to red foliage in the fall. The plant produces many suckers from its roots.
They tolerate full sun and deep shade and will flower profusely in the shade, adding a bright color to a darker area. The plants produce golden-yellow foliage in autumn.
Many attractive flowering shrubs color the landscape during the summer months. Consider planting some to increase the beauty of your yard during the warm weather months.