10 of the Best Summer Flowering Shrubs

 There is so much colour and structure to be gained from Summer flowering shrubs. 

Many are easy to grow and low maintenance, providing colour for not too much hard work. As with all shrubs, they have individual growing requirements, but one general point to check is the eventual size of the shrub. The plant label should have this information. It's important the shrub does not to swamp other plants in the border.  

For example, illustrated right is hydrangea lovely, but most varieties grow quite large, a spread of 1.5m, so it will take up a fair amount of the border. Similar Buddleja is great for attracting butterflies and pollinators  but does mature into a large shrub.

Below are illustrations and links to information about some of the best summer flowering shrubs with lots of colourful flowers and easy to grow. The link is to the individual shrubs where there is information about their preferred growing conditions, eventual size and a growing guide for that shrub.

For more ideas, check out the best easy to grow evergreen shrubs.

Best summer flowering shrubs

Escallonia 'Donard Seedling'

escallonia Iveyi

Escallonia is a lovely shrub with glossy leaves and attractive flowers in pinks, reds and white. This variety, E. 'Donard Seedling' is one of the hardiest of the Escallonia H4 which is hardy in most of UK although best planted away from cold pockets and chilly winds.


fading hydrangea

Hydrangea is a popular, easy to grow summer flowering shrub. There are many varieties of hydrangea to choose from, with an added bonus of long flowering with attractive fading flower heads. A whole Pinterest board of Hydrangeas 



Cistus is also known as the rock rose and is a small to medium-sized summer flowering shrub with attractive flowers. This is a  Mediterranean shrub, so it follows it likes dry sunny conditions. Illustrated is C. purpureus. 

Rosa Rugosa

rosa rugosa

If you find roses hard to grow,and they certainly are tricky, try R. Rugosa. It is easier, less fussy about conditions and pruning, and has lovely hips after flowering. It is also suitable for a coastal garden.


cotinus in bloom

The semi-evergreen Cotinus may not be the traditional idea of a summer flowering shrub. In summer, Cotinus produces many tiny flowers which makes it look as if wreathed in smoke, hence its common name: The Smoke bush. Many varieties also have fabulous autumn colour.



Buddleja, common name the Butterfly bush, rightly earns the title. In the summer, on a warm day, each flower panicle can attract several butterflies. Easy to grow, and now there are smaller dwarf varieties suitable for all gardens.



Lavatera illustrated also centre top L. Barnsley it an usual summer flowering shrub. Fully hardy and long flowering, it requires some pruning but is otherwise undemanding.


Choisya the mexican orange blossom

Choisya is a garden favourite. It is evergreen with glossy leaves and in early summer dozens of creamy white, very scented flowers. It is also easy to grow What is there not to like.



We often overlook Lavender as a shrub, but it is a woody summer flowering shrub. There are a wide range of Lavenders and some get quite tall and are suitable for hedging such as Lavandula × intermedia 'Hidcote Giant' which reaches 1.5m


Honeysuckle growing semi wild

In its natural state, Honeysuckle is much is a shrubby climber. This Honeysuckle was growing semi wild at the side of a canal. The soil was not too dry and there was plenty of dappled shade, resulting in a health shrub covered in blooms. Tips on growing Honeysuckle.

last updated 01.12.2021