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15 Wisconsin Native Flowering Shrubs

Flowering shrubs are often chosen for aesthetic considerations, such as to introduce new colors or textures into a landscape. Flowering shrubs are the backbone of any garden, offering privacy along a border, attracting pollinators, and providing color and interest for years. With a wide variety of plants, there’s a beautiful blooming bush for every taste!

Shrubs are an instrumental part of every garden’s ecosystem. They provide shade, improve soil stability, enhance air quality and create habitats for all types of wildlife. Of course, shrubs and small trees are also beautiful to look at, especially when you choose varieties that add seasonal interest to your landscape.

Here are 15 different flowering shrub species that provide great options for height, shade tolerarnce, color and seasonal interest.

Bladdernut, Staphylea trifolia Bladdernut
Benefits: Bees
Height: 10-15 feet
Bloom: Late Spring/ Early Summer
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Blue
Description: Bladdernut, Staphylea trifolia, is a fast-growing, suckering, native large shrub or small tree that commonly occurs in bottomlands, woodland thickets and moist soils along streams. Establishes dense colonies in the wild where it is most often seen in a shrubby form. Typically grows 10-15 feet tall..
Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis Buttonbush
Benefits: Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Height: 5-12 feet
Bloom: Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade
Zones: 4, 5
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Moist, Wet
Color: White
Description: Buttonbush, Cephalanthus occidentalis, is a somewhat coarse, deciduous shrub with an open-rounded habit that typically grows 6-12’ (infrequently to 20’) tall. It is common throughout Missouri, most frequently occurring in wet open areas, low woods, thickets, swamps, upland sink-hole ponds, river bottomland and stream/pond margins.
Downy Serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea Downy Serviceberry
Benefits: Bees, Birds
Height: 15-25 feet
Bloom: Late Spring/Early Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade
Zones: 4, 5
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Medium
Color: White
Description: Downy Serviceberry, Amelanchier arborea, also called Downy Juneberry, is a deciduous, early-flowering, large shrub or small tree which typically grows 15-25 feet tall in cultivation but can reach 40 feet in the wild. Occurs most often in open rocky woods, wooded slopes, and bluffs.
Eastern Wahoo, Euonymus atropurpureus Eastern Wahoo
Benefits: Bees, Birds
Height: 12-20 feet
Bloom: Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Medium
Color: Purple
Description: Eastern Wahoo, Euonymus atropurpureus, also called Burning Bush, is a deciduous shrub or small tree which is most often grown for its attractive red berries and fall color. Occurs in the wild in open woods and thickets, near streams and on wooded slopes. Typically appears as an upright, spreading, deciduous shrub with an irregular crown growing to 10-15 feet tall.
Kalm St. Johns Wort, Hypericum kalmianum Kalm St. Johns Wort
Benefits: Bees
Height: 2-3 feet
Bloom:Late Summer/Early Fall
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade
Zones: 4, 5
Soil: Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Pink, Purple
Description: Kalm St. Johns Wort, Hypericum kalmianum, is a small, dense, evergreen shrub or subshrub with upright branching that typically grows in a dense mound to 2-3 feet tall. It typically occurs in rocky to sandy soils, ranging from relatively dry open woods to moist lakeshore areas.
New Jersey Tea, Ceanothus americanus New Jersey Tea
Benefits: Bees, Butterflies
Height: 2-3 feet
Bloom: Late Spring/Early Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam, Sand
Moisture: Dry Medium
Color: White
Description: New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus) is a compact, dense, rounded shrub which typically grows 2-3 feet tall. It occurs in prairies, glades, dry open woods and thickets. Cylindrical clusters (1-2 inches long) of tiny, fragrant, white flowers (1/8 inch) appear on long stalks at the stem ends or upper leaf axils in late spring.
Common Ninebark, Physocarpus poulifolius Common Ninebark
Benefits: Bees, Butterflies
Height: 5-10 feet
Bloom: Late Spring, Early Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun
Zones: 2, 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam, Clay
Moisture: Dry, Medium, Moist
Color: White, Pink
Description: Common Ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius) is an upright, spreading, somewhat coarse, deciduous, shrub . It typically occurs along streams, rocky banks, gravel bars and in moist thickets. Grows 5-9 feet tall. Noted for its exfoliating bark (on mature branches) which peels in strips to reveal several layers of reddish to light brown inner bark (hence the common name of ninebark).
Northern Bush Honeysuckle, Diervilla lonicert Northern Bush Honeysuckle
Benefits:Birds, Butterflies
Height: 1 to 3 feet
Bloom: Summer
Sun: Full Sun
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Dry
Color: Orange, Yellow, Gold
Description: Northern Bush Honeysuckle (Diervilla lonicera) is a suckering, densely branched, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 3 feet tall and to 4 feet wide. It is native to dry rocky open woodland areas and thickets. It is noted for its small shrubby form, yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, dark green leaves and fall color.
Northern Spicebush, Lindera benzoin Northern Spicebush
Benefits: Birds, Butterflies
Height: 6-12 feet
Bloom: Spring
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade
Zones: 4, 5
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Green, Yellow
Description: Northern Spicebush, Lindera benzoin, is a native deciduous shrub with a broad, rounded habit which typically grows 6-12 feet high in moist locations in bottomlands, woods, ravines, valleys and along streams. The woody roots are shallow and much branched.
Pagoda Dogwood, Cornus alternifolia Pagoda Dogwood
Benefits: Bees, Birds, Butterflies
Height: 15-25 feet
Bloom: Late Spring/Early Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 5
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: White, Yellow
Description: Pagoda Dogwood (Cornus alternifolia)is a small deciduous tree or large multi-stemmed shrub that typically grows 15-25 feet tall with distinctive tiered/layered horizontal branching which is upward-turned at the tips. It is native to both moist and dry forests, forest margins, stream banks and fields.
Red Elderberry, Sambucus racemosa Red Elderberry
Benefits: Bees
Height: 1 to 2 feet
Bloom: Late Spring/Early Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam, Acidic
Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: White
Description: Red Elderberry, Sambucus racemosa, is a deciduous suckering shrub which typically grows to 8-12 feet tall with a somewhat sprawling habit. It features (1) opposite, pinnate-compound, green leaves which have 5-7 leaflets, (2) dome-shaped clusters of numerous, late spring to early summer, tiny, fragrant, white flowers.
Round-Leaved Dogwood, Cornus rugosa Round-Leaved Dogwood
Benefits: Bees, Butterflies
Height: 3-10 feet
Bloom: Summer
Sun: Part Shade, Shade
Zones: 4, 5
Soil: Loam, Clay, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: White
Description: Round-Leaved Dogwood, Cornus rugusa, is an understory species of upland forest, both hardwood and conifer. Semi-shade tolerant, it prefers thinner canopies or openings and wood margins.
Shrubby Cinquefoil, Potentilla fruticosa Shrubby Cinquefoil
Benefits: Bees, Butterflies
Height: 2-4 feet
Bloom: Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Yellow
Description: Shrubby Cinquefoil, Potentila fruticosa, is a vigorous, floriferous, many-branched, compact, deciduous shrub. It typically grows in a mound to 2-4 feet tall on branches clad with compound-pinnate, medium to blue-green leaves. Saucer-shaped, 5-petaled, yellow flowers appear over a long summer bloom period.
Sweet Pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia Sweet Pepperbush
Benefits: Bees, Butterflies
Height: 3-8 feet
Bloom: Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil:Acidic, Sand
Moisture: Medium, Moist, Wet
Color: /b> White
Description: Sweet Pepperbush, Clethra alnifolia, also called Summersweet, is a deciduous shrub that is native to swampy woodlands, wet marshes, stream banks and seashores, often in sandy soils, along the coast. It is a rounded, suckering, densely-branched, deciduous shrub that typically grows to 3-6 feet tall and is noted for producing a mid to late summer bloom of sweetly fragrant white flowers.
Winterberry , Ilex Verticillata Winterberry
Benefits: Bees, Birds
Height: 3-12 feet
Bloom: Summer
Sun: Full Sun, Part Sun, Part Shade
Zones: 3, 4, 5
Soil: Loam, Acidic
Moisture: Medium, Moist
Color: Green
Description: Winterberry, Ilex verticillata, is a deciduous holly where it typically occurs in swamps, damp thickets, low woods and along ponds and streams. This is a slow-growing, deciduous shrub with an upright-rounded habit that typically grows 3-12’ tall. In the wild, it often suckers to form large thickets or colonies.

Further Information

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