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Top 10 Flowering Shrubs That Birds and Butterflies Love

There's nothing prettier than a flowering bush and these top beauties attract bunches of pollinators, including bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

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Tianshan seven-son flowering bushFIRST EDITIONS SHRUBS AND TREES/BAILEY NURSERIES

Tianshan Seven-Son Flower

Heptacodium miconioidies ‘Minhep’

Zones 5 to 8

Size: 8 to 12 feet tall and 5 to 7 feet wide

Providing year-round appeal, this is a smaller, more compact version of the flowering bush Heptacodium. The bark is quite beautiful, but the real show happens when the white flowers bloom in late summer in clusters of seven, hence the seven in the name.

Why we love it: Rose-purple sepals appear after the white flowers. Check out our favorite plants with white flowers.

Where to buy it: Sooner Plant Farm

White buttonbush flowerJimmie Anderson

Buttonbush

Cephalanthus occidentalis

Zones 3 to 11

Size: more than 6 feet tall and wide

Watch bees, butterflies and hummingbirds flock to these fragrant, spherical white flowers. Buttonbush is also a host plant for several types of caterpillars. The round fruit persists through winter, providing food for a variety of birds. Grow it in full to partial sun and moist soil.

Why we love it: This long-flowering plant provides months and months of enjoyment. Check out more long-blooming plants pollinators love.

Where to buy it: Proven Winners

Yellow Kalm St. John's wortCHARLOTTE BLEIJENBERG/GETTY IMAGES

Kalm St. John’s Wort

Hypericum kalmianum

Zones 4 to 7

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and wide

This shrub’s blue-green foliage is the perfect backdrop for its bright yellow flowers. You’ll enjoy the buzz of visiting bees and, for those in more mild climates, the evergreen foliage. For a more compact cultivar with fine foliage, try out the Gemo.

Why we love it: Not only does this adaptable plant tolerate drought conditions once it’s been established, but it also handles poor soil.

Where to buy it: Gardenia

yellow potentilla flowerDOLE08/GETTY IMAGES

Potentilla

Dasiphora fruticosa floribunda

Zones 2 to 6

Size: 1 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 4 feet wide

The bright buttercup yellow flowers look stunning and attract local bees. To keep this traditional summer bloomer looking its best, regularly prune out a third of the old stems.

Why we love it: Though it prefers to be in full sun with well-draining soil, this hardy shrub can withstand both poor, dry soils and extreme cold.

Where to buy it: Proven Winners

Blooming Virginia sweetspireTLINDSAYG/SHUTTERSTOCK

Virginia Sweetspire

Itea virginica

Zones 5 to 9

Size: 3 to 6 feet tall and wide

The Virginia sweetspire’s white flowers, which give off a slight fragrance, attract hummingbirds, bees and butterflies. Grow in sun or shade and moist, acidic soils. Select Henry’s Garnet for superior flowering or the smaller Little Henry for narrow spaces. Here’s more fragrant flowers that pollinators love.

Why we love it: The leaves turn from green to yellow, orange and reddish purple colors during autumn.

Where to buy it: Monrovia

Summersweet beginning to bloomCOURTESY OF PROVEN WINNERS – WWW.PROVENWINNERS.COM

Summersweet

Clethra Alnifolia

Zones 4 to 9

Size: 4 to 8 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide

Entice hummingbirds, butterflies and bees with the fragrant white flowers of summersweet. This plant is tolerant of both shade and moist soil and will form colonies perfect for naturalizing, unless you remove the root suckers. For a more compact cultivar, try Sugartina Crystalina.

Why we love it: Go ahead and plant this one in a shadowy spot—this is one of the few shrubs that flower in the shade. Check out more plants that add color to shade.

Where to buy it: Proven Winners

New Jersey tea plant with a bee on a bloom.Prairie Moon Nursery

New Jersey Tea

Ceanothus americanus

Zones 3 to 8

Size: 2 to 3 feet tall and wide

This compact native shrub attracts a wide range of pollinators, including butterflies and native bees. You may even see hummingbirds stopping by. Plus, the deer tend to leave it alone. Its deep root system keeps it from being susceptible to many difficult-to-manage conditions.

Why we love it: Plant several of these shrubs together to create a low-growing, drought tolerant hedge.

Where to buy it: Prairie Moon Nursery

A cluster of Pink Chiffon rose of Sharon blooms.COURTESY OF PROVEN WINNERS – WWW.PROVENWINNERS.COM;

Rose of Sharon

Hibiscus syriacus

Zones 5 to 8

Size: 8 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide

Bring in hummingbirds with the colorful blossoms of this lovely late-summer bloomer. You’ll also find bees, butterflies and other pollinators visiting the white, pink, red, purple or violet flowers. Grow in full to part sun and moist, well-draining soil. Check out flowering shrubs that attract butterflies.

Why we love it: This incredibly adaptable shrub grows in almost every type of soil, except for any that is extremely wet or dry.

Where to buy it: Proven Winners

A close-up of an elderberry flower and leaves.CREATIV STUDIO HEINEMANN/GETTY IMAGES

Elderberry

Sambucus nigra canadensis

Zones 3 to 9

Size: 5 to 12 feet tall and wide

Give this shrub plenty of room to spread and grow, then watch as both butterflies and bees gather on flowers and as the birds flock to the ripe fruit. Although it prefers full sun and moist soil, it tolerates drier conditions once it’s established.

Why we love it: Elderberry suckers form large and lush thickets, which are perfect hiding spots for songbirds.

Where to buy it: Stark Bros

Northern Bush Honeysuckle (diervilla lonicera)Derwyn/Getty Images

Bush Honeysuckle

Diervilla spp.

Zones 4 to 7

Size: 3 to 5 feet tall and wide

This native shrub is not an invasive honeysuckle, unlike Lonicera japonica. The sulfur yellow blooms and visiting pollinators appear during the middle of summer. For a compact option, choose Cool Splash with its cream and green variegated foliage. Check out more alternatives to invasive shrubs.

Why we love it: It’s a host plant for the fawn sphinx moth, and birds eat seeds that come after the flowers.

Where to buy it: Proven Winners

Melinda Myers
Nationally known gardening expert, TV/radio host, author, columnist and speaker.