When creating a garden bed, my goal is to create a space that provides color and interest all year long. In spring and summer there’s plenty of bold and bright flowers and foliage but by late summer many plants have begun to wind down for the season. Yet, that doesn’t have to be the case as there is no shortage of striking late-season shrubs that add long-lasting beauty and appeal to the garden. In fact, by August, the five plants below are just getting started. Today I’d like to introduce you to some of my favorite shrubs for late summer and autumn. These plants are featured on Savvy Gardening thanks to the sponsorship of Bloomin’ Easy Plants, the grower and supplier of these autumn blooming beauties.
Beekeeper™️ Caryopteris may just be the perfect plant. Introduced in 2021, this late season stunner has an extended flowering period that starts in summer and stretches well into autumn! It’s also known as golden bluebeard, and is a compact plant with eye-catching golden foliage that is a perfect accent to the cornflower blue flowers. As its name implies, Beekeeper™️ attracts bees, but also butterflies, hummingbirds, and other pollinators to the garden.
Caryopteris is a fuss-free, compact shrub that requires little ongoing care or pruning. It grows a tidy 2 to 3 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet across and is hardy in zones 5 to 9. Look for a spot with full sun to part shade; a site with four to six hours of sun each day is ideal. Versatile Beekeeper™️ can be tucked in between your favorite perennials, amongst other shrubs, or used to edge a pathway.
Pinky Promise™️ Snowberry
I’m a huge fan of berried shrubs and Pinky Promise™️ is a standout. It’s a charming plant from spring until mid-summer but as the days get shorter it steps up its game! By late summer the branches are smothered in large clusters of plump, bubblegum pink berries that persist into autumn. This petite late-season shrub makes an eye-catching pot plant on a deck or patio, or use it to create a low hedge or add a long season of interest to mixed garden beds.
Pinky Promise™️ grows up to three feet tall and wide and is very hardy thriving in zones 3 to 7. For the best display of berries, plant in a site that offers full sun, at least six hours of direct light each day.
Cherry on Top™️ Sorbaria
Cherry on Top™️ Sorbaria is a three season shrub that kicks off spring with beautiful bright green foliage flushed in reddish-orange. In summer the creamy flower plumes emerge and tower over the lush foliage. By late summer those pollinator-friendly flowers have matured into clusters of cherry red seed pods and it’s these bold and brilliant seed pods that make Cherry on Top™️ an autumn superstar. Gardeners appreciate the pop of late season color which complements the autumn foliage and the local bird population will enjoy feasting on the pods.
Also known as false spirea, Sorbaria traditionally grows up to ten feet tall, but Cherry on Top™️ is a dwarf selection growing up to five feet tall and wide. Look for a site with full to part sun, about four to six hours of direct light each day. It’s also very cold hardy and thrives in zones 2 to 10 and in a range of soil conditions.
Bella Bellissima®️ Potentilla
Potentilla is a classic garden shrub and for good reason. It’s hardy, long-flowering, pest and disease resistant, and beautiful and Bella Bellissima®️ is a fantastic cultivar that will have you saying ‘wow’! First, there’s the compact form which needs little fussing or maintenance to maintain its two to three foot height and width. Then there is the fine textured foliage which provides the perfect backdrop for the blooms. But it’s the flowers that are the main reason to plant Bella Bellissima®️; deep pink blossoms that flower from spring through fall for months and months of non-stop color. The blooms are beloved by gardeners but also by bees and butterflies
Bella Bellissima®️ is an ideal choice for Northern gardeners. It’s very cold hardy and flourishes in zones 2 through 6. It’s also deer-resistant and therefore a reliable landscape plant for those who are plagued by hungry deer. Plant this late-season shrub in a site with at least six hours of direct sun each day. Avoid gardens that have excessively wet soil.
Peach Lemonade®️ Rose
This is a hardy shrub rose with striking multi-colored flowers that open lemon yellow and fade to white and blush pink. Because this plant flowers for months, you’ll end up with a delightful mixture of yellow, yellowish-pink, and blush-pink flowers at the same time. The show starts in June and continues into late September. You don’t need to deadhead the spent flowers, but if you do it can encourage a heavier bloom, especially later in the season.
The Peach Lemonade®️ shrub rose is perfect for shrub or perennial borders and grows just three feet tall and wide. The plants are resistant to many common rose diseases and cold hardy to zone 3. Choose a garden with at least six hours of direct sun each to for the best display of flowers.
For more about these beautiful shrubs, check out this video:
When to plant late-season shrubs
They may offer interest to the late season landscape but these shrubs can be planted from spring through autumn. Here are more details on picking the perfect planting time.
- Spring: After a long winter, we’re all anxious to get back out in the garden and start planting. Spring is therefore a traditional time to plant trees, shrubs, and perennials. One of the benefits of planting in spring is that shrubs have the entire growing season to set roots. Keep an eye on soil moisture and irrigate regularly that first season, particularly if the weather is hot and dry. Once established most shrubs are drought tolerant.
- Summer: Shrubs can also be planted in summer, especially in northern regions, but you’ll need to irrigate weekly if there is little rain. Watering summer-planted shrubs often so they can develop a deep root system and be more resilient to future drought.
- Autumn: Autumn is my favorite time to plant shrubs in my garden. The soil is warm, there is typically more rain than in summer, and the plants still have time time to start setting new roots before winter. That said, don’t wait too late in the season to plant. It’s best to plant shrubs four to six weeks before the first fall frost.
Where to shop for these late-season shrubs
To find a source for these late season shrubs in your region, head to the Bloomin’ Easy website’s “Find a Retailer” page. Enter your zip code to see a list of garden centers in your area. They also have a list of online stores to make plant shopping quick and easy. These varieties are available at nurseries and garden centers across most of North America.
Thank you to Bloomin’ Easy for sponsoring this article and allowing us to share these outstanding late season shrubs with our readers.