Alabama offers a climate that is suitable for many different types of plants. On average, Alabama receives 66 inches of rain annually and average temperatures in the state range between 34 degrees Fahrenheit and 91 degrees Fahrenheit. The mild temperatures and wide range of soils make it an ideal place to grow flowering shrubs.
Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are a member of the Boraginaceae family and mature to a height of 2 feet. This plant features blueish-green leaves and purplish blue bell-shaped flowers that appear in clusters and dangle from large stems extending from the plant. These plants prefer being planted in moist soils in shady areas.
Azaleas are the most common flowering shrub planted in residential and commercial landscapes in Alabama. Azaleas yield an abundance of flowers in a variety of colors. They thrive in acidic soils with a pH of 5.5 and mature to between 12 and 16 inches tall. Azaleas grow well in flower beds, as potted plants and in hanging baskets. Fall is the ideal time to plant azaleas but waiting until spring to plant them will ensure that you purchase a variety with the color of blooms you desire.
The bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) is native to Alabama and matures to a height of between 9 and 12 feet and a width of 15 feet. The bottlebrush buckeye thrives in shady locations and from July through August it yields showy flowered panicles measuring 8 to 12 inches long and 4 inches wide.
The oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is commonly used in Alabama as a residential and commercial ornamental shrub. This shrub matures to a height of 6 to 8 feet tall and is equally wide. It features oak-shaped leaves that turn red in the autumn before falling to the ground. In the spring, the oakleaf hydrangea yields an abundance of showy white flowers.
The downy serviceberry (Amelanchier arborea) is a relatively large shrub that matures to a height of 25 to 40 feet and a width of 20 feet. This multiple-stemmed shrub produces beautiful white flowers in the spring and showy yellow and orange leaves in the fall. It is frequently used in both residential and commercial landscapes.
- Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities: Buying and Planting Azaleas in Alabama
- University of Illinois: Beautiful Flowering Shrubs for Shade
- Texas A&M University: Hydrangeas Brighten Landscape
- Auburn University: Wildflowers of Alabama
- University of Florida Environmental Horticulture Department: Downy Serviceberry
- Photo Credit Azaleas image by RC from Fotolia.com
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