include roses. Of the genus Rosa, this flowering shrub is probably the most well known and perhaps the most well-loved of the perennial shrubs. There are between 100 - 150 different species of roses, with thousands of different hybrids and cultivars. Roses prefer full sun and are generally placed into the three following categories:
Old Garden Roses
Modern Garden Roses - which includes Hybrid Tea Roses, Floribunda and Grandiflora Roses.
Hydrangeas are an old-fashioned favorite perennial shrub. This lovely ornamental flowering shrub grows well in both sun and shade (they will greatly appreciate late afternoon shade in hot weather climates.) Another wonderful thing about hydrangeas is that their flowers are just as beautiful dried as fresh, so you can cut them to bring inside and enjoy year round. Hydrangea flowers bloom from early spring until late autumn. This perennial shrub grows large, showy flowerheads (called corymbs or panicles) at the ends of stems. Hydrangeas come in white, blue, red, pink and purple. The exact color of the flowerheads depends on the pH content of the soil. Acidic soils produce blue flowers, neutral soils produce pale cream and alkaline soils produce pink, red or purple blooms. You can even change the color of your Hydrangea by changing the pH content of the soil in which they’re grown. Some common categories of Hydrangeas include:
Mophead and Lacecap
Annabelle and family
PeeGee and family
Peonies are another old-fashioned favorite. Long-lived and hardy, Peony shrubs are as reliable as they are beautiful. Like the Hydrangea, this perennial shrub also has large, eye-catching blooms on plants that grow approximately three feet tall. They bloom from late spring through early summer and prefer full sun but will grow in light shade. Too much shade will result in reduced flowering, as will over fertilization. Peonies come in pure white, deep red and burgundy, pink and yellow. The peony is one of the oldest perennial shrubs and it is a traditional flower symbol of China.
Lilacs are as recognizable as roses. Their strong, sweet scent is a sure sign that spring has arrived at last. Unfortunately, lilacs bloom for a very brief time. This perennial shrub produces simple heart-shaped leaves and clusters of flowers in pink, white and various shades of purple (with light purple being the most common.) Lilacs are one of the oldest perennial shrubs in America and were grown in both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson’s gardens. They can live for hundreds of years.
The Buddleia, or Butterfly Bush, is a popular garden plant known to attract butterflies and bees. The species with red flowers also attract hummingbirds. Generally a warmer weather shrub, the Butterfly Bush will not survive the harsh winter weather of northern continental climates. Sometimes called “summer lilac,” it is a medium to large-sized shrub with lilac-like clusters of flowers. The scent is also reminiscent of lilacs, although not as strong. If you live in a climate warm enough to grow this perennial shrub, you will not be disappointed - butterflies will be flocking to your perennial garden throughout spring and early summer.