Michigan is all about experiencing the seasons. To insure a little color in late summer and early fall, be sure to include a tree, shrub and/or climber from the list of summer and fall flowering plants for Michigan gardens.
The Firethorn is an evergreen shrub that can act as a pruned shrub or climber. In fact, it is often used as a privacy hedge or screen. While its white flowers bloom in early summer, its late-summer/early-fall red fruit adds color to a garden when other plants are past their bloom.
Also known as Old-Man's Beard, the Fringe Tree is a small, rounded tree that produces long clusters of flowers in the early summer and blue fruit in the fall/winter. In addition to the late color it adds to a garden, the Fringe Tree has interesting bark. It is a relatively easy-care plant because it requires little pruning, can take full sun or partial shade, and can tolerate dry conditions. Unfortunately, the Fringe Tree is still hard to find in Michigan.
The Lord Baltimore Hibiscus has dinner-plate sized red flowers that bloom consistently from July to September. This “Hardy” Hibiscus likes full sun and is good for zones 5 to 9 and, as a shrubby bush, can fill a good-sized portion of any flower bed. Best of all, the benefits of the Hibiscus don’t stop at its showy flower. It can also be used to attract butterflies and as a culinary herb.
The rounded Hydrangea shrub is easy to grow, and many of its varieties can reach five-to-eight feet in height. Annabelle is the most common Hydrangea variety in Michigan and blooms big clumps of flowers through late summer. The clumps can reach a foot wide. The plant does best in full sun and partial shade. The Oakleaf Hydrangea is another native of the U.S. that can be found in Michigan. While its flowers start out white, they turn to a deep-rose color as they age. The leaves also turn red in the fall.
The Potentilla is native to Michigan. This easy-care plant, which requires little pruning and no dead heading, can be a rounded shrub or act as ground cover. It is a versatile grower and drought resistant. It blooms five-petal, rose-like flowers over a long period that can extend into late summer and early fall. There are several color varieties.
The Seven-Son Flower emigrated from China. It is an interesting-looking, medium-sized shrub that can be trained into a tree. It has long and shiny, green leaves and peeling, bronzed bark. It produces white flowers in later summer and early fall. The outermost petals of the flower turn pink and red as the flower ages. The plant also produces purple fruit in the fall when other trees/plants in a yard or garden are well past their bloom. The Seven-Son Flower is relatively requires little pruning and can tolerate full sun or partial shade. It is also drought resistant and can attract butterflies.