Flowering Shrubs for Minnesota

“What is a good flowering shrub for Zone 4? Question from Sandra Lee of Cottage Grove, Minnesota

Answer: There are so many great flowering shrubs that grow beautifully in USDA Hardiness Zone 4 winters! Here are three super hardy options to try:

1. Smooth Hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-9): There are lots of wonderful varieties of this summer-flowering beauty, and the shrubs grow well in partial shade and full sun. Two of the best to try are the giant-white-flowered Incrediball® and more compact, mauve-flowered Invincibelle Mini Mauvette®.

2. Potentilla (Potentilla fruticosa hybrids, USDA Hardiness Zones 2-7): These sun-loving, summer-flowering shrubs are long blooming and have flowers in yellow, white, or pink. They are also tolerant of drier, more well-drained soils. The golden-flowered ‘Happy Face‘ is a good performer.

3. Hardy Roses (Rosa hybrids): Loads of shrub roses really tough it out way up north. Those in the Oso Easy® group of roses are extra hardy and very high performing. There are lots to choose from with flowers of rose-red, peach, white, and pink. Try the super hardy (Zones 3-9), pink-flowered Oso Easy® Fragrant Spreader , which is fragrant, pretty, and spreads to form a low mass of roses from early summer to fall. The double red Oso Easy Double Red, is slightly less hardy, surviving in Zone 4a winters.

Happy gardening!

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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