Pink is a common color in home gardens. Not as harsh as red, it blends particularly well with blue and yellow. Pink roses are always a popular choice, but there's no need to limit your choice to just rosebushes. There are pink-blooming shrubs to add color to the landscape in all four seasons.
The crown jewels of spring shrubs, azaleas and rhododendrons (Rhododendron spp.) come in an endless array of colors and flower forms. Rhododendron Nova Zembla is deep reddish-pink and Roseum Elegans, with its green-marked, lavender-pink flowers, is an easy rhododendron for beginning gardeners. Popular pink azaleas include bright pink Coral Bells, soft Pink Pearl and the double-flowered Elizabeth Gable. Hardiness depends on cultivar.
Another pink-flowered spring bloomer is flowering quince (Chaenomeles spp.), a thorny, deciduous shrub that makes an excellent hedge. Flowering quinces are easy to grow and drought-tolerant. The pink cultivar Cameo grows 5 feet tall and has double flowers followed by edible fall fruit. Flowering quinces are cold hardy to U.S. Department of Agriculture Zone 4.
Though commonly thought of as blue shrubs, bigleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea macrophylla) are equally as beautiful in pink. Grow bigleaf hydrangeas in soil with a pH above 6.0 to ensure pink blooms. There is a new pink-flowered variety of Endless Summer hydrangeas called Bella Anna, a re-blooming variety of H. arborescens, the smooth hydrangea. Hardiness depends on cultivar.
Spireas are easy shrubs that have been popular since Victorian times. The Japanese spirea (Spirea japonica) and hybrid Bumlada spireas (S. x bumalda) both have pink-flowered cultivars that re-bloom if deadheaded after the first flush of flowers. Anthony Waterer grows 3 feet tall with reddish-pink flowers, while Goldmound has greenish-yellow leaves and pink flowers. Shirobana is a newer cultivar with clusters of white, pink and red flowers all at the same time.
Butterfly bushes (Buddleia spp.) start blooming in midsummer and continue until frost if deadheaded. Good pink selections include Charming, with 6- to 8-inch long panicles of bright pink flowers, Harlequin, with variegated foliage and purplish-pink flowers, and Pink Delight, with fragrant, true pink blooms. Butterfly bushes are hardy in zones 5 through 9.
Fall-blooming camellias (Camellia sasanqua and hybrids) are hardy in zones 6 or 7 and warmer, depending on cultivar; in very warm winter areas, they stay in bloom past Christmas. Sparkling Burgundy has ruby-rose flowers, Betty Sheffield has semi-double, pink-and-white flowers, and the blooms on Fran Mathis are champagne pink.
Blooming in late winter, the so-called white forsythia (Abeliophyllum distichum) actually has pale pink flowers that are lightly fragrant. Flowers on the cultivar Roseum are deeper pink. Abeliophyllum's spreading plant habit is similar to common forsythia, but it grows only 3 to 4 feet tall. It's hardy in zones 5 to 8.
Japanese camellias (C. japonica) bloom in late winter or very early spring, depending on your location. Look for the pink cultivars Emily Wilson, Fashionata and Pink Champagne. As with the fall-blooming camellias, these shrubs are best suited to Zone 7 and warmer.
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension; Hydrangea; Marjan Kluepfel, et al.; 2002
- North Carolina State University: Buddleia Davidii
- University of Missouri Extension; Growing Azaleas and Rhododendrons; Christopher J. Starbuck; May 2002
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension: Spirea
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System; The Culture of Camellias; J. David Williams, et al.; May 2001
- Photo Credit quince blossoms image by starush from Fotolia.com Azalea image by fabiomarc from Fotolia.com hydrangea image by L. Shat from Fotolia.com monarch butterfly feeding image by Scott Slattery from Fotolia.com camellia image by Christopher Hall from Fotolia.com
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