These are my favorite, easiest, and most beautiful flowering shrubs for zones 7 and 8. I’ve included the gorgeous Strawberry Sundae Hydrangea, Spireas, Weigela, Viburnum, the amazingly fragrant Tea Olive, Azaleas, and some other flowering shrubs that are easy to grow. I promise there’ll be 1 (or 10) you want to add to your garden! You can click on the image of each plant for more information about the shrub.
If you’re not sure if you are in zone 7 or 8, have a look at the Department of Agriculture’s USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. It shows all the garden zones and you can enter your zip code to find out exactly. Zones 7 and 8 are super versatile zone for plants. You can grow nearly anything. It wraps right along the bottom edge of the USA, from parts of Washington State in the west to North Carolina in the east.
1. Hydrangea (H. paniculata)
These are Panicle Hydrangeas, the easiest to grow of all Hydrangeas. They’re sometimes called the “Black Thumb Hydrangea” for that exact reason! The Strawberry Sundae truly does look good enough to eat. It’s compact, so you can plant it just about anywhere. Grow it in small gardens or containers for pops of color.
If you can’t choose between white, pink or red flowers, this one’s for you. This shrub’s flowers come out white in mid-summer, then change to pink in fall. They’ll then mature to a gorgeous strawberry deep pink/red. You’ll get a lot of love from this easy to grow flowering shrub.
Proven Winners has a great guide on panicle Hydrangeas, which answers any question you might have about growing them.
2. Chinese Snowball (Viburnum macrocephalum)
This lovely flowering shrub grows well in well-draining soil, in full sun to part shade. Butterflies love it and it’s deer resistant. The flowers are quite unusual in that they emerge lime green, then turn white. It’s not fussy about soil and it doesn’t need constant watering either.
Once it is established, it’s very easy to care for. A prune after flowering keeps it looking great and encourages more flowers. It doesn’t like cold winters so it’s best protected from cold winds and frost. You can look at growing a Food Forest style garden for protection + lots of mulch.
3. Tea Olive (Osmanthus)
Oh, heavenly fragrance! Not many shrubs smell as good as this one! You can grow these beautiful flowering shrubs as a hedge, in containers, or in the ground. Pretty much anywhere. Plant them where you can enjoy the fragrance, around entryways perhaps? They’ll flower in fall and spring, nearly continuously.
If you have a patio, plant some in containers. You won’t believe how good they smell when you’re chillin’ outside, cooking up a storm on the grill. I get asked all the time what this shrub is by visitors, it’s really impressive.
The Tea Olive prefers well-draining soil in full sun to part shade. Give it a go in zones 7 to 11. It grows 10-15 feet tall and spreads around 6-8 feet. It responds well to pruning so you can keep it contained in smaller spaces, or hedge it.
Azaleas are some of the easiest, most beautiful flowering shrubs out there. They love acidic soil so I used to plant them under trees like Eucalyptus, which tend to turn the soil underneath acidic. You can help Azaleas along by testing your soil’s pH, and adjusting it to around pH 5.
Richard Jauron, garden specialist at Iowa State University, recommends “lower your soil pH by adding sphagnum peat moss to the soil. When planting Azaleas and Rhododendrons, dig a wide, shallow hole. Backfill with a mixture that is half soil and half moistened sphagnum peat moss.”
Once you get your pH right, Azaleas will happily truck along without much intervention. Mulching with acidic mulches, like pine needles or shredded oak leaves, keeps the soil acidic. And when they’re happy, you won’t see a more impressive flower display!
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How’s this for an abundance of color! I adore yellow flowers, which is why I did a whole “yellow-flowering herbs” article before this one. Yellow flowers really stand out amongst greenery and they just look sunny, don’t you think? Forsythia is one of the easiest, most beautiful flowering shrubs you can grow.
This Forsythia, Gold Tide, grows in zones 4 to 8. You can fit one everywhere because it only grows to 4ft tall. Don’t let its size fool you though, it flowers profusely in spring. Not just that… deer tend to leave it alone too!
6. Meadowsweets (Spirea)
How beautiful are these flowering shrubs! Spireas are some of the easiest flowering shrubs to grow. They grow best in full sun, but if you’re in the warmer parts of zone 8, you’ll get away with a bit of shade. There are many different varieties of Spireas of different sizes, from 1 1/2 to 8 feet tall.
The Spirea in the photo is Spirea vanhouttei. It’s often called “Bridal Wreath” because of its arching habit and branches literally covered in gorgeous white flowers. Clemson College of Agriculture describes this shrub as “a cross of S. trilobata and S. cantoniensis. The small leaves are blue-green in summer with no appreciable fall color. Masses of small, white flower clusters cover the plant in the spring. For USDA zones 3 to 8.”
What’s more, it’s fast-growing, butterflies love it, and deer don’t particularly like it! Nature Hills Nursery describes this Spirea as “one of the most requested shrubs.” It’s not difficult to see why.
7. Privet (Ligustrum)
The Cheyenne Privet is especially hardy. It was developed in the harsh climate of Wyoming to be tough and easy to grow. It grows well in zones 4-8, grows 8-10 feet tall, and you can easily prune it to the height you want. The foliage is as beautiful as the flowers, glossy and deep green.
Not only that…. The flowers have a sweet fragrance – I love fragrant flowers! – and it’s deer resistant. It’s a favorite of birds, so this is a must-have if you’re attracting wildlife to your backyard.
8. Summersweet (Clethra)
This is a real stand-out flowering shrub with its bottlebrush-style flowers. This particular one, Clethra alnifolia, is native to swampy areas and wet marshes, so it will appreciate regular watering. It’s a smaller shrub that grows 3-6ft tall. The white flowers have a gorgeous fragrance and butterflies and bees love them!
They’re great for shady spots where no other shrub will bloom. As the Missouri Botanic Gardens mention: “Summersweets are somewhat unique among flowering shrubs because of their ability to bloom in shady locations in late summer when few other shrubs are in bloom. Mass or group in lawns, foundations, or shrub borders. Good flowering shrub for shade or woodland gardens.”
There are many varieties of Weigela, growing between 3 to 15ft tall. This particular one is Weigela florida. It’s not only one of the most beautiful flowering shrubs, Hummingbirds love it as well! It’s wonderful to have Hummingbirds flitting from flower to flower.
This shrub is easy to grow. Best in full sun for the best flowers, but it will tolerate some shade. Give it a prune when it finishes flowering so it keeps its lovely figure and gives you many more flowers next year.