If you live in USDA plant hardiness zone 3, your winters can be chilly indeed. However, that doesn’t mean your garden can’t have blossoms aplenty. You can find cold hardy flowering shrubs that will thrive in your region. For more information about shrubs that bloom in zone 3, read on.
Flowering Shrubs for Cold Climates
In the USDA zone system, zone 3 regions have winter temperatures that dive to negative 30 and 40 degrees F. (-34 to -40 C.). That’s pretty cold and may be too cold for some perennials to survive. The cold can freeze the roots despite the snow cover. What areas are in zone 3? This zone stretches along the Canada border. It balances cold winters with warm to hot summers. While regions in zone 3 can be dry, others get a yard of precipitation every year. Flowering shrubs for zone 3 do exist. Of course, some need sunny locations, some need shade, and their soil requirements may vary. If you plant them in your backyard at an appropriate site, you’re likely to have plenty of blossoms.
Zone 3 Flowering Shrubs
The list of zone 3 flowering shrubs is longer than you might think. Here is a selection to get you started. Blizzard mock orange (Philadelphus lewisii ‘Blizzard’) might become your favorite of all flowering shrubs for cold climates. Compact and hardy, this mock orange shrub is a dwarf that grows well in shade. You’ll love the sight and smell of its fragrant white flowers for three weeks in early summer. When you are selecting cold hardy flowering shrubs, don’t overlook Wedgewood Blue lilac (Syringa vulgaris ‘Wedgewood Blue’). Only 6 feet (2 m.) tall with an equal width, this lilac variety produces panicles of lilac blue flowers a full 8 inches (20 cm.) long, with an entrancing aroma. Expect flowers to appear in June and last for up to four weeks. If you like hydrangea, you’ll find at least one on the list of flowering shrubs for zone 3. Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ blooms and grows happily in zone 3. The snowball blossom clusters begin green but mature into snowy white balls about 8 inches (20 cm.) in diameter. Site them in a spot that gets sun. Another one to try is the Red-Osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), a lovely dogwood variety with blood red stems and gorgeous, snowy white blossoms. Here’s a shrub that likes wet soil too. You’ll see it in swamps and wet meadows. The flowers open in May and are followed by small berries that provide food for wildlife. Viburnum species also make good zone 3 flowering shrubs. You can pick between Nannyberry (Viburnum lentago) and Mapleleaf (V. acerifolium), both of which produce white flowers in summer and prefer a shady location. Nannyberry also provides much appreciated winter food for wildlife.
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Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.