Flowering Shrubs

Old 06-02-08, 11:37 AM
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Flowering Shrubs

I just built a new house and want to plant flowering shrubs around the house. What are the best ones to plant that won't grow too tall or into the foundation? How far should they be spaced?
Old 06-03-08, 11:27 PM
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Hi Kidsmjn,

Congratulations on your new home! Without more info it would be impossible to make any recommendations. We would need to know:
What state do you live in?

Will these be foundation shrubs?

Do you want evergreen blooming shrubs?

Your hardiness zone. You can look it up here.

What are the sun conditions?
Full sun - 6 hours or more
Part sun - 4 to 6 hours of sun
Part shade - 2-4 hours of sun
Shade - 2 hours or less of sun.

How tall and wide can these shrubs get?

What colors are your house (especially iimportant if these are foundation shrubs)?

Old 06-04-08, 06:45 AM
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I live in Illinois, zone 5.

Yes these will be foundation shrubs. I was planning to do a 36" flower bed on the west side of the house.

I am open to any flowering shrubs or any perennials.

They are full sun flower beds. They get sun from approximately noon until around 7:00 p.m.

The heighth under the three windows I was thinking 2' - 3' with some taller ones between the windows. I am very open to this. The bed is 30' long with 3 windows spread between that area. It has a 15' bed with a 90 degree angle where my water lines go into the house. I want to put a trellis or something in the center of that angle and some type of potted plant to go with the shrubs/perennials.

This house is tan with maroon gutters.
Old 06-14-08, 07:57 PM
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what to plant

If you have full sun, I would look into roses, which like 6 hours of sun per day, clematis (climbing vine), weigela (minuet or wine and roses type) for shrubs. There are plenty of perennials to add in -- phlox (need spacing in between or they will get mildew), aster, etc. Check with a local garden center also -- and plan it all on paper so you can move things around with a pencil and not a spade!!!
Old 06-17-08, 10:45 PM
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Kidsmjn, please forgive me for taking so long to answer you. I started on this and then forgot to finish. I was talking to someone about the 'PJM' Rhododendrons and remembered you. I'm so sorry this has taken me so long.

I think it would be a good idea for you to read some info about foundation planting, so I'm including this too.

The first thing to think about is the soil. I would recommend you add a 3" to 4" layer of compost and mix it into the entire planting bed. Your shrubs and plants will love you for it. Some landscape ideas and how to go about this.

There are very few evergreen shrubs that bloom and grow in your zone. You may want some evergreen shrubs that don't bloom as a background for your blooming shrubs and plants. These yews, some of which are mentioned in the site above, are some ideas. This first one would be perfect for corner plantings, between the windows or at the entrance. The second might work if you need it to stay narrow.

Rhododendron 'PJM' Hybrids will stay small, especially if you deadhead them every year within two weeks after they bloom. The last site has great info on how to plant, prune and deadhead these wonderful evergreen flowering shrubs.

Pieris japonica aka Pieris has lily-of-the-valley type flowers and colorful new leaves in the spring. With your maroon accent color you will need to choose carefully, as many of the leaf colors are red and may clash. Many will get tall over time and sometimes the flower buds can be frozen by a late frost.

For foundation planting with perennials, I prefer plants that have a long bloom time. Most perennials only bloom for one to 3 weeks. Daylilies are very easy to grow and there are everblooming and reblooming ones now. They come in different colors and heights. The Appster series are nice. Just deadhead the spent blooms and cut down the spent flower stalks. Not much to keep them going, just prepare the planting beds properly and you'll have happy plants.

Another favorite perennial of mine is the hardy geranium - Geranium 'Rozanne'. It should bloom for you from June until hard frost. It's the longest blooming hardy geranium. It can take full to part sun. In the second picture you can see it spilling onto a walk so plan carefully as it does get full in just a year.

Heuchera aka coral bells don't bloom for long, but their colorful leaves are just as valuable as flowers. You can pair up a couple of different colored leaves so they play off each other. The lime green leaves look good in front of the darker leaved varieties. There are many that will match your maroon trim too. Some bloom in pink, some in red and some in white, so you'll have to select carefully. Actually, it would be a challenge just to pick one or two from here. The leaves are evergreen too.

I like Allison's suggestion of Clematis for a vine, but there are many to choose from. Decide what size, color and bloom time you might like and we can go from there as there are hundreds of them. You can look at some the different flower forms here. The site isn't in English, but you'll get the idea of the flower forms. There's four pages to look at and you can click on the pics for a larger view.

Since you have longer winters, you might want to plant some spring blooming bulbs to extend the season and add some cheer to the front in late winter and early spring. You can plant the spring bulbs in the fall. Crocus, species tulips that will multiply, grape hyacinths with their tiny fragrant purple flowers and maybe some mid and late season daffodils. That way you'll have a longer season of color. You could even plant fall blooming crocus too. They will all come up through the mulch or a groundcover and you can tuck the leaves under a groudcover or under the shrubs when they're done blooming. This furst place has a great selection of bulbs and a great reputation. If you don't plant bulbs this fall you can do it next fall.

How to plant, water and mulch shrubs (mulch shrubs the same way as trees):

If someone suggests any plant material you can always research it at http://www.google.com/ - best to use the botanical or Latin name if you have it as there are often many plants with the same common name. You can also click on 'Images' and get lots of pictures.

If you decide to mail order any plant material you can check their references here and even search by state and plant material.

Compost and mulch calculator:

I know that is alot of reading, but I promise to get back to you if you have more questions.


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