If there’s one thing we can count on as Oklahomans who continuously battle the ups and downs of our “all four seasons” state, is that temperatures are certain to substantially rise come July. And as plant enthusiasts, this sure keeps things interesting as our much anticipated spring season comes to a close. But what to plant in this heat!? As early spring bloomers shake off their color to prepare for another season, it can be a bit depressing to say the least. However, the sizzling Oklahoma sun is just what the doctor ordered for a handful of flowering shrubs. Here are 7 Marcum’s approved, heat loving shrubs to spice up your garden and bloom all summer long!

1. Althea

Altheas, also known as Rose of Sharon, love to show off their grand, papery flowers just as other blooms are beginning to fade in the late summer’s heat. As this flowering deciduous shrub thrives in late summer it’s no surpise that it’s a big fan of Oklahoma sunshine. Plant your althea in full sun in early spring or fall. While it’s not an early spring bloomer, the colorful tropical-like blooms of althea are well worth the wait! 

2. Butterfly Bush

Even in warmer climates, the butterfly bush needs full sun. And when we say full sun, we mean it – they require a minimum of 8 hours of sunlight! Large, brilliant, and long-blooming, these sun lovers will perform all summer (even into autumn) with proper water and deadheading. The most common cause of a non-flowering butterfly bush is improper pruning. If left to its own devices, a butterfly bush can turn into an unruly thicket with sparse blossoms. So deadhead accordingly!

 

3. Crape Myrtle

These drought tolerant summer showstoppers were made for Oklahoma heat! Besides their boisterious blooms that last throughout the entire summer (in some varieties until the first frost), crape myrtles offer a year-round interest. The foliage provides interest during the fall, while the shedding bark has an attractive appearance during the winter.

4. Indian Hawthorn

Indian Hawthorns can thrive in a wide range of temperatures and produce attractive foliage and flowers year-round making them an ideal canidate for extended blooms into summer. Not to mention Indian Hawthorns love sun. Hours and hours of it! Ensure they are planted in the sunniest spot in your garden. If the plant does not get enough light, it can become stretched and gangly looking in its efforts to search out the light, destroying the neat and compact form that the plant is famed for.

5. Rose

Shrub roses are looking fabulous right about now in early summer with lots of colorful flowers and lush, leafy growth. But, even the easy-care shrub varieties need maintenance to keep them healthy and flowering into autumn. Some summer pruning, feeding, mulching, and attention to spoilers, and you’ll be rewarded with an abundance of roses for eye-candy garden displays, or cutting for bouquets.

6. Viburnum

While planting viburnum takes place in spring or fall, these shrubs come into their full beauty through the summer season. Most viburnums prefer full sun but many will also tolerate partial shade. While not particularly picky about their growing conditions, they generally prefer fertile, well-draining soil.

7. Vitex

Vitex, also know as Chaste trees, grow and flower best in full sun. A little shade is tolerated, however the best flowering occurs with at least 6 hours or more of direct sunlight per day. The more sun the better for these vibrant beauties which makes them excellent options for summer blooms in Oklahoma.