Horticulture Magazine

13 Marvellous Shrubs With Pink Flowers

pink rose bushes

Pink needs no introduction. It’s easy to see why a gardener would want to bring as much of this colour into their garden as possible.

It’s the colour most often associated with such traits as charm, sweetness, romance, politeness, femininity, and more – and the natural world is replete with stunningly beautiful pink bloom.

We’ve written this guide to help you find the best shrubs with pink flowers. After reading, you’ll have a list of candidates to bring this iconic colour to your garden with vigour.

bright pink roses
“Pink, it’s my new obsession.” – Aerosmith

Each of the shrubs below will grow comfortably in the British gardens. Some have received the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit, too, indicating particular suitability to our climate. We’ll mark these shrubs throughout the piece.

Now, let’s begin. The 13 best shrubs with pink flowers –

1. Rose

Roses are one of the world’s favourite flowers. Shakespeare wrote about them, Seal sung about them, Yorkshire and Lancashire went to war over them (well, not quite, but…) They make a fine addition to any garden, and a healthy rose bush is often something of a feather in a gardener’s cap.

This flower comes in all shapes and sizes, too. There are ground-cover roses, rambler roses, climbing roses, “roses with exceptional fragrance” and, of most interest here, shrub roses.

While each variety of rose has its own in-depth history and rich story to tell, we can’t go into that here. What we can say is that within the shrub rose category you’ll find plenty of proudly-pink options, including Gertrude Jekyll, the Damask rose, Princess Alexandra of Kent, Rosa ‘Frantasia’, apothecary’s rose, and more.

pink rose up close
Does it get much pinker than that?

2. Bougainvillaea

Although native to South America, bougainvillaea has made a big impact since its arrival on British shores. The distinctly-summery blooms seem to spill forth, throwing many different shades of pink into whichever room or garden they’re planted in.

This shrub flowers in summer and autumn, and will grow to a fairly respectable size of 4-8m high by 1-1.5m wide. Bougainvillaea will thrive best in sun, with shelter from the harvest summer rays.

In terms of hardiness, you can grow it outside in summer. Bougainvillaea is regarded as a fairly fussy plant to grow, however, so it may not be ideal for fledgeling gardeners.

3. Sandcherry

With rich pink-red leaves and delicate white-pink flowers, it’s almost possible to not count sandcherry as pink. But when taking the average of the overall picture, pink does shine through.

sandcherry branch up close
Not quite red, not quite white. Definitely pink

We’ve included this shrub because of its distinct colour profile, and because of the beautiful flowers that will sing forth in spring.

As a recipient of the RHS Award of Garden Merit, sandcherry is more a welcoming prospect for newer gardeners than bougainvillaea. The plant will do well in full sun or partial shade, will tolerate any aspect, and can make do either exposed or sheltered.

It’s not fussy with soil, either, favouring chalk, clay, loam, or sand. As long as you don’t over-water, you should have few problems with sandcherry.

It’ll grow to a height and spread of about 1-1.5m over a timespan of 10-20 years. A long wait, to be sure, but remember it will be beautiful throughout!

4. Azalea

Just like the humble orange, azalea is named after its colour. Or is it the other way round..?

As with the rose, there are many pink varieties of azalea that will make an impact in your garden—from the subtle pink-white swamp azalea, sporting its star-shaped flowers and nectar-covered tendrils, through to the rich pink rose-flowered “Amoenum”.

5. Hydrangea

The hydrangea is a fascinating flower. While varieties come in many colours, those with pink or blue leaves change colour depending on the acidity of the soil they’re planted in!

Generally, acid soil puts forth blue flowers, neutral gives mauve, and alkali soil gives pink. Which means that if you’re looking for a pink hydrangea shrub for your garden, you’ll want to take special care that your soil acidity levels are correct.

For a surefire burst of pink, look for the Magical Colourdream variety, which will grow to 1.5 x 1.5m over a period of 5-10 years. It’ll do well in partial shade, facing any direction except south, and prefers clay or loam soils. Your bright pink bouquet will be forthcoming in summer.

Remember there are many other varieties, however.

6. Lilac

While lilacs are famously purple, some varieties pack a pink punch. Amongst them is lilac ‘pink perfume’, whose pink flowers stay in bloom from spring through to autumn.

This isn’t a plant for gardeners in a rush: It’ll take between 10 and 20 years to reach full size. Once there, though, it demands your attention. Expect a height of up to 2.5m, and a spread of up to 1.5.

The ‘pink perfume’ lilac is hardy down to 20 below zero, practically guaranteeing survival in UK gardens. It enjoys full sun, any aspect except north-facing, and isn’t fussy on soil composition (it won’t enjoy acidic soil, though!)

7. Buddleia

There are many types of buddleia, and not all of them are pink. The ones that are pink, though, look phenomenal.

One such variety is buddleia davidii Fascinating, which sports bushels of bright pink flowers from July to September, and grows to a height of up to 2m. The plant thrives in sunlight, likes well-drained soil, and is renowned for attracting butterflies and other pollinators.

A word of caution if you go for buddleia: This plant needs a lot of pruning! Left to its own devices, it can get fairly unruly.

8. Clematis

The flowers of the Nelly Moser Clematis variety are a sight to behold. The petals burst forth from a centre filled with dark red tendrils, and each has a bold core of dark pink that fades gracefully into white.

This type of shrub can also be trained to climb walls and other vertical surfaces, opening up a range of options for your garden.

Reaching a full height of up to a whopping 3m, and a width of about 1.5m, Clematis will be a significant presence in your garden. It enjoys partial sun, well-drained soil, and can thrive down to minus 15 degrees.

9. Winter heather

Heathers come in a wide variety of colours, but the pink ones are perhaps most iconic. Originally hailing from the Alpine mountains, heather has now become commonplace in UK gardens. This is because it’s attractive, fairly easy to grow, and not too fussy in terms of soil conditions.

heather stretching across hills
Heather originally hails from rugged regions

To grow heather in your garden you’ll need a sunny location with peaty, well-drained soil. As with clematis, heather will do OK down to about minus 15.

Heather’s pink bloom comes out earlier in the year than other shrubs in our list, meaning you can combine it with other plants to keep a pink theme going in your garden for even longer. These flowers will be out from January to April, all being well.

10. Magnolia loebneri

If you’re looking for flowers with an intriguing shape, then look no further. Magnolia’s starry two-tone petals – bright pink on the bottom, light pink on top – really make a statement.

This plant likes a sunny spot with well-drained soil, and is in the same hardiness category as the previous two. It’ll bloom from April to May which, while short, pairs nicely with winter heather to provide pink foliage in your garden from January.

Over a period of ten years or so, magnolia loebneri will grow to a maximum size of about 2m square.

11. Rhododendron dreamland

What a whimsical name! This plant’s delicate pink definitely evokes something dreamlike, and it’s not hard to see why it’s a firm favourite in British gardens.

While many shrubs in our list have vibrant, bright pink flowers, the rhododendron dreamland offers something a lot more gentle. This pink is calm and mellow, able to make a statement of its own without relying on boldness.

Rhododendron dreamland flowers from May to June, continuing the January – May chain that heather and magnolia manage. It’s just as hardy and prefers to grow in a spot with partial sun and peaty soil. The maximum size you’re likely to get for your shrub is a metre squared.

12. Lorepetalum chinesis

This shrub’s hearty pink tones are something special, occupying a part of the pink spectrum that not many other plants can pull off. Combined with their slightly grey-green leaves, the overall aesthetic is a treat to behold.

Lorepetalum likes partial sun and peaty soil, and will flower between March and April. Quite a short window, but that’s more than made up for by the vibrancy and aesthetically pleasing colour palette.

13. Judas tree

Some plants have names that invite more questions than they answer, and ‘Judas tree’ is a fine example. While we’re not able to elucidate you on the origins of the name, we can assure you that the beautiful clusters of pink flowers will bring joy to your garden every time they bloom.

This plant will do well in sun or partial shade, and isn’t fussed at all by soil type. It’ll reach a whopping 3m tall and 1.5m wide over ten years.

(Also, the observant amongst you may have noticed that the Judas tree is just that. A tree. We’ve included it in our list of pink shrubs because it’ll make a fine addition to any garden which heavily features pink.)

Tickled pink

Pink is one of our favourite colours to see in a garden. We think that the shades and tones that Mother Nature creates are so much more beautiful than anything man-made, and that you’d be remiss not to incorporate at least a couple of pink shrubs into your garden.

The plants in this list run the gamut of size, span, shade of pink, and season of bloom. It’s our hope that by including a wide variety, we’ve given you the best springboard to figure out which pink plants to plant out in your backyard.

And remember: This list is far from exhaustive. Search the Royal Horticultural Society’s plant-finder for pink shrubs, for example, and you’ll find 680 results.

So if the pink shrubs in our list don’t tickle your fancy, keep looking! There’s bound to be something out there that suits your personality, your budget, and your garden space.

As always, happy gardening!

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