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Here are some tips on which perennial flowers to plant in your yard to keep constant color all summer! Whether you live in the South, Northeast, Midwest, or West, here are a some long-blooming perennials for gorgeous garden displays wherever you live.
Perennials That Bloom All Summer
Nonstop bloom is easy to create just by planting the right varieties for your location. Try some of these regional favorites and enjoy season-long brilliant color. Most of these perennials will bloom in the very first year and serve as a focal point or backdrop in your landscape.
The South Perennials
If you live in the South, favorite (and easy to maintain) perennials include:
Mexican petunia (Ruellia brittoniana)
Salvias, such as Salvia carnea
Blue Anise Sage (Salvia guaranitica), a blue-flowering plant with constant bloom
Felder Rushing, a garden writer and lecturer who lives in Mississippi, calls these plants “absolutely unkillable” and shares that “they all happen to be fantastic butterfly and hummingbird plants.” All bloom with little or no care without having to be deadheaded or prompted in any way. He suggests planting alongside small-flower shrubs for continuous color, such as dwarf crape myrtle, abelia, and a shrub rose. Then you’ve got a recipe for continuous color.
Gardeners of the Northeast should consider these flowering perennial plants:
A new variety of Peruvian lily (Alstroemeria) called ‘Sweet Laura’
‘Bloomerang Purple’ is a reblooming lilac
‘Macy’s Pride’ is a rose in the Easy Elegance series with a nice, traditional, tea rose shape
‘Twist-n-Shout’ is a reblooming hydrangea in the Endless Summer series that guarantees flowers all season long
Descended from the old favorite ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea, (Hydrangea arborescens) are white ‘Incrediball’, pink ‘Invincibelle Spirit,’ and magenta ‘Bella Anna,’ which provide long-lasting blooms on strong stems.
William Cullina, executive director of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay, Maine, says the ‘Sweet Laura’ Peruvian lily is hardy enough to make it through cold spells. If it’s not overly exposed, it blooms nonstop from mid- to late June until frost. “The ‘Bloomerang Purple’ lilac just keeps coming back with more and more flowers all summer.” This small 4- to 5-foot-tall shrub is blanketed with a smaller flower than the traditional lilac but still retains its nice aroma. “The ‘Macy’s Pride’ rose is yellow when it bud, and it then opens to an ivory white with a great fragrance.”
Cullina likes to keep color coming by mixing these long-blooming perennials with a few nontraditional annuals. “Not the zinnia, petunia, geranium, impatiens sort of annuals, but some of the mint family plants, like salvia or agastache, whch look more like a perennial.”
The Midwest Perennials
For those who live in the Midwest, Ed Lyon, director of Allen Centennial Gardens in Madison, Wisconsin, suggests planting:
Yellow corydalis (Corydalis lutea)
Lesser calamint (Calamintha nepeta ssp. nepeta)
The hardy varieties of lavender (Lavandula x intermedia)
Lyon says that yellow cordalis has to be the longest bloomer. He says, “It blooms from spring until the snow crushes it, tolerates our dry shade, has lovely foliage, and brightens up dark areas.” Although it reseeds freely, it is not an invasive in the Midwest; the little seedlings are easy to pluck out. For long bloom, you can’t go wrong with lesser calamint; from mid- to late-summer, it is completely covered with delicate pale blue to white flowers that look like Baby’s Breath. It not only tolerates poor soil, but also is a bee magnet. The hardy varieties of lavender are great for long bloom as well, if they are planted in sandy, well-drained soil.
Finally, our friends in the West can liven up their gardens with:
Texas sage (Salvia greggii)
‘The Third Harmonic’ Peruvian lily
Little Miss series of dwarf Peruvian lilies
The Mexican butterfly weed (Asclepias curassavica)
John Beaudry, a landscape designer in San Diego, California, gives Texas sage rare reviews. “It comes in red, white, pink, and bicolor,” he says, “and grows really fast. It will keep reblooming from spring all the way through to December.” The Peruvian lily, ‘The Third Harmonic,’ is a steady bloomer in the region as well. Beaudry says, “It will spread vigorously but is not invasive. It’s also a great cut flower that will last 2 to 3 weeks in a vase.” Finally, Beaudry says that he would ot be without the Mexican butterfly week, “It’s a butterfly magnet thta blooms the entire summer. The butterfly larvae may devour all of the foliage, but the flowers will keep on coming. It resows freely, and I like to let it come up wherever it comes up,” he says.
We hope you enjoyed this article, written by Shirley Remes, courtesy of The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2014 All-Seasons Garden Guide. Did we miss any of your favorite long-blooming perennials? If so, please share below!
For tips on how to create a long-blooming garden, see our article by Doreen Howard in which she shares a three-season garden design.