Great Flowering Shrubs for a Big Hairy Dog

by Kim Nichols Messer
     There are many things to consider when buying a shrub.  A good hardy shrub which is both heat and drought tolerant would be a great place to start.  I also, like plants which have a long bloom cycle.  Once I satisfy these considerations, I then think about which shrubs can withstand a good thrashing by a big hairy dog. You see, I merely share my yard with my dog, Delilah.
delilah
    My first recommendation is Plumbago.  It needs full sun but will do quite well in afternoon sun and part shade.  Well, drained soil is best.  It will be 3 to 4 feet tall and wide.  The clusters of light blue flowers are showy from early spring through late fall.  A sixty-pound dog can pounce on this shrub repeatedly and it will bounce back nicely.  The velcro quality of the flower ends stick nicely into Delilah’s fluffy coat. Blue is a good color for dogs.
plumbago-1
    Another good flowering shrub is Pineapple Sage.  It is also heat and drought tolerant and grows best in full sun in well-drained soil.  Again, the red tube-like flowers will bloom from spring into late fall.  This shrub can grow from 4 to 5 feet tall and wide.  Not only do the red flowers stick nicely to a dog’s hair, they attract hummingbirds and butterflies.
Species from Mexico and Guatemala Common Name: Pineapple Sage Photographed at Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco
Species from Mexico and Guatemala
Common Name: Pineapple Sage
Photographed at Strybing Arboretum, San Francisco
There are so many options, but my last suggestion would be Esperanza or Yellow Bells.  Both heat and drought tolerant, this shrub will do best in full sun, but will do well in some shade with afternoon sun.  This shrub will grow to 4 to 5 feet tall and wide.  Again, these clusters of vibrant yellow flowers will bloom from early spring to late fall.  The bright yellow flower is very showy on Delilah’s dark fur.  No need to dead-head the spent blooms in my yard, they come off in her furry coat.
esperanza
    If you have flowers in your yard, your dog will often bring you a bouquet…