Are you looking to add color to your garden all summer long? Want flowers that bloom from spring until fall? Every well-designed garden takes the primary growing season into account when deciding on flowering plants.
Most perennial flowers bloom for a short period, from two to four weeks. If you want color longer than that, you need to plant perennial flowers that bloom from spring to fall. When planting your low maintenance perennial garden with long blooming perennials, you need to follow some basic design rules.
Choose a mixture of perennial flowers not just long or short blooming ones — select perennial flowers that bloom early, mid, and late in the season. You should also adopt some useful pruning practices, as pruning affects bloom time and flowering length in many perennials.
How to Choose Perennial Flowers that Bloom from Spring to Fall
Before you run out and buy anything, figure out which ones will work in your garden beds. Pay attention to the sun in your flower beds. This will allow you to choose the right perennial plants based on how much sun or shade it needs.
You also need to determine what plants will survive your winters. To figure this out, check the Hardiness Zones Map issued by the USDA. Look at the tags on the plants you are considering to ensure they are hardy enough for your zone.
Now think about how you will design your garden. Choose flowers that will bloom at different times and for various lengths of time to keep color all growing season long. Consider how close you wish to plant your perennial flowers.
Always follow distances recommended on plant tags so roots won’t compete for space and you won’t block air circulation needed by plants. The tallest perennial flowers should always go in back so they won’t shade the small perennial flowers.
Planting Tips for Perennial Flowers that Bloom All Summer
Before you begin planting, perform a soil test to provide you with your soil’s pH balance, so you can amend the soil as needed to prepare your soil for planting. To aid in draining, add compost or other materials to loosen up the ground.
When planting your perennials only dig a hole as deep as the root ball. Put your plants in the ground at the same level they were in their pots. Water well for the first two weeks to help the plants becomes established.
After those first two weeks, only water when the soil below the surface is dry. Avoid soggy soil as it can lead to rot.
For perennials that bloom from summer to early fall, spring is the best time for planting. For plants that bloom from spring to the early summer, you will want to plant in the late summer or early in the fall. As the years go by, perennial plants become less vigorous. When you notice this happening, divide up your plants.
Perennial plants should be deadheaded regularly. Some require you to cut flowers individually, while low-growing ground flowers can be sheared to the ground. Keep reading to discover some more great pruning tips for your perennials.
How to Prune Perennial Flowers
Once your early blooming perennials start to slow down, you need to pick up a pair of pruning shears and get to work. Many people are unaware that when properly pruned, most perennial flowers will produce beautiful flowers the entire growing season.
Once blooming slows down, use your shears to trim the plant back up to one-half. Trimming back the plant allows fresh foliage and flowers to grow.
For perennial flowers that bloom all summer, prune towards the end of the growing seasons. Summer blooming perennials need to be deadheaded often to ensure the plant keeps producing blooms.
To deadhead, cut these plants down to a fresh set of leaves or a new stem. Some perennials can be deadhead with hedge shears, while others must be done one bloom at a time.
For fall and late summer perennials, begin pinching out the tips in the late spring. This process will slow down the flowering of the plant allowing for bushier foliage. The brushier the plant, the more flowering stems it will have.
Before winter comes, prune all of your perennials, but what you do depends on where you live. All plants should be cut to where they are only 6 inches above the ground and watering must be reduced, if not eliminated.
In warmer areas, cut watering down to once a month. In colder climates, quit watering and insulate your plants with a layer of mulch.
Best Perennials for Color All Season Long
Once you have the perfect location for your perennial garden, it’s time to start choosing your plants. Once planted, these plants require very little work to bloom for years to come. For most perennials, all they need is proper watering, some mulching, and pruning. As long as you take care of the basics, you will be amazed at how resilient these plants are and how quickly they can grow.
21 Amazing Perennial Flowers
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Hirta) – Early Summer to Fall Blooms
Once fully established Black-Eyed Susan is drought-resistant but will bloom better if watered during dry spells. If you want a breathtaking display of color, it is recommended you do some extra watering during the hotter days of summer. Black-Eyed Susan stands three feet tall and can spread up to two feet.
The long blooming period from summer to early fall is significant, but so is the abundance of flowers. Keep your flowers thinned out to prevent an infestation of powdery mildew. If powdery mildew is already present, treat with a fungicide.
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
Looking for long-lasting color? Look no further than the Blanket Flower. Red, brown, and gold flowers start blooming in the summer and continue to produce colorful blooms well into the fall.
Considered a wildflower, this perennial is drought and heat resistant and does best as a border plant. Blanket Flowers need full sun and well-draining soil, but they can survive and even thrive in poor soil conditions. Avoid clay soil. At maturity, the plant will reach eighteen inches tall by twenty-four inches wide.
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
A foliage plant, Coral Bells form round mounds with a crown or root at the base. The mound produces bell-shaped flowers on tall stems. Rounded leaves are hairy and evergreen even in the snow.
While traditional Coral Bells have green leaves, new varieties offer gold, lime-green, rose, and purple shaded leaves to provide your garden with color all year long. Although the plant requires full sun or partial shade to grow, too much light and heat can scorch the leaves and wash out the colors. If you are in a hotter climate, partial shade is better for the plant to thrive.
Long Bloom Perennial Flower – Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Ideal for xeriscaping, Russian Sage is drought-resistant and requires little maintenance. The flower blooms throughout the entire growing season, making it an excellent choice for gardeners who are after color.
The bush style perennial features bluish-lavender flowers all summer long. The silver stem and feathery, silvery leaves add more beauty to gardens. The bush requires annual pruning to prevent it from reaching too tall.
With annual pruning, the plant should grow no bigger than four feet tall and three feet wide. It will require support to prevent it from falling over. Runners will pop up, so monitor closely to avoid spreading to unwanted areas.
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea Purpurea)
A type of Echinacea, the Purple Coneflower is the most popular variety, as it is more adaptable to gardens and is more forgiving when it comes time to divide and transplant. The Purple Coneflower requires full sun to part shade in average, sandy, or clay soils.
The plant is known for its daisy-like flowers that bloom from midsummer to the middle of fall. After initial blooming, they will take a break, but new flower buds will soon appear until the first frost. These daisy-like flowers can grow from seed or stem cuttings.
Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata or Phlox subulata)
There are two main types of Garden Phlox. Phlox subulata is a shorter flower, while Phlox paniculata is a taller variety. Aside from height, other differences between the plants include leaves and blooming period.
Phlox subulata works as a flowering ground cover that begins blooming in early spring. Phlox paniculata is tall enough to work in the middle or back row of perennial gardens with no fear of getting lost in the mix and blooms in the late summer, making it an excellent choice for a gardener looking for a blooming sequence of color.
Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum X Superbum) – Early Summer to Fall Blooms
With heights of up to four feet and a width of up to three feet, the Shasta Daisy produces white flowers that bloom from June through September. The long blooming period and the plant’s drought-resistance is what makes it a popular choice in many flower beds.
Although it can survive in clay soil, it does better in well-drained soils when planted in full or partial sun in the South. The shiny leaves that are slick to the touch are attractive to several insects, so you will need to brush up on insect control and watch for gnats in soil.
Yarrow (Achillea Millefolium)
Yarrow thrives across most of the United States. The only areas where it does not do well is in the high mountains and deserts. These fragrant plants can grow up to three feet tall and spread about two feet wide. The fern-like foliage offers flattened flower clusters that produce red, pink, yellow, or white flowers from June until September.
Trim after flowering to encourage more blooms. Yarrow is useful in deer control and makes a popular choice for rock gardens and edging. Yarrow needs staking, or the stems will droop after high winds.
Moonbeam Coreopsis (Coreopsis verticillata)
Grouped in the aster family, this herbaceous perennial can reach up to two feet tall. The plant offers clusters of small yellow flowers that look similar to daisies. Moonbeam Coreopsis offers an extended flowering period, as long as it is planted in well-draining soil in full sun.
In addition to injecting color into gardens, the plant also attracts butterflies. Although the plant is clay-tolerant, it does best in a loamy soil.
These plants are a popular choice for border plants but can be considered invasive in some areas. Deadheading will prolong the flowering period and can be done by pinching the blooms off rather than cutting or shearing.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia Davidii)
Easy to grow, this shrub offers flowering spikes in a variety of colors. Cultivators have made it so growers can choose between pink, blue, as well as many other colors, as well as a multicolored type. These shrubs are butterfly magnets, and the red ones also attract hummingbirds.
Although most variations are considered invasive, the newest “Blue Chip” Butterfly Bush is deemed non-invasive. These hardy shrubs are popular not only for their beauty but because of how easy they are to grow and how little daily care they require. Known to withstand storms and harsh environments, these plants are insect resistant and are not prone to stress.
Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi) – Summer Bloom Groundcover
If you need a low growing ground cover with summer flowers all season long, Ice Plant is an excellent choice. The warm weather perennial features a bright red-purple color. Named after the tiny hairs on the foliage that look similar to ice crystals, the succulent type foliage changes to a darker green as the temperatures drop in the fall.
The summer blooming plant requires full sun exposure in dry, well-drained soil. The plant does best in gravelly or sandy soils and requires fall planting in hotter climates or no later than mid-summer in cooler climates. Plant at least 15 inches apart, as it will spread quickly to fill empty spaces.
Autumn Joy (Hylotelephium ‘Herbstsfreude’)
This popular perennial is a hybrid created by crossing a species of sedum with a species of ice plant. As a member of the sedum family, the plant does well in gravelly or sandy soils and can tolerate dry conditions. As long as the ground offers decent drainage, Autumn Joy can be used in difficult growing locations.
This perennial requires full sun and can reach up to 24 inches in height with a similar width. Unlike other sedums, Autumn Joy is a very upright plant.
The leaves are succulent and bear a close resemblance to jade plants. Pink flowers bloom during the early fall, and as the flower opens, the color changes from reddish to bronze to rust-red.
Not only does catmint (not to be confused with “catnip”) look great in every garden, but the long blooming period also allows continuous blooms in the garden. They are flowers that smell good, too! Two main varieties are grown as ornamental – “6 Hills Giant” and “Little Titch.”
The “6 Hills Giant” works well with other tall perennial flowers, as it’s on the tall side. “Little Titch” is easily overwhelmed by taller plants, so choose wisely.
Catnip is also a catmint plant but is not as pretty as the other two members. Catnip looks more like a weed than a flowering plant.
Flowering Stalk Perennial Blooms for Months – Speedwell (Veronica spicata)
Speedwell grows best in loamy soil that offers excellent drainage. The plant grows up to 15 inches in height and just about the same in width. Speedwell is a clump-forming plant with flowering stalks that are medium height.
The flowers bloom blue in late spring to early summer and last for months rather than weeks. To prolong blooming, deadhead flowers either individually or through shearing.
Although Speedwell is drought-tolerant, it needs moderate watering for optimal blooming. When planting, mix compost in with the soil to improve the ground’s draining ability and prevent root rot.
Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos)
As a herbaceous perennial, the Bleeding Heart grows underground roots, but its life cycle differs from other perennials. This plant dies off midsummer right after it blooms and remains dormant until it blooms again in the late winter or early spring. It can take five years for Bleeding Heart to reach its maximum height of up to 3 feet tall.
To prevent holes in your foliage plant evergreen flowering shrubs or other companion plants that do well in the shade. The bleeding heart requires deep to partial shade with soil that is consistently moist.
Dalmatian Bellflowers (Campanula portenschlagiana)
A low-growing perennial, the Dalmatian Bellflower is often used as edging along borders or between the gaps of stepping stones. The plant features dark green leaves with purple or blue flowers in a cup or bell shape. The plant starts to bloom in the late spring and will continue to bloom until fall.
In the right climate, the plant will stay green all year, as new, green leaves replace the old faded, brown leaves. The Dalmatian Bellflower requires full sun to partial shade with well-draining soil. Soil should be medium moist.
The plant will grow up to six inches tall and 12 inches wide.
BeardTongue (Penstemon) – Late Spring to Early Summer Blooms
BeardTongue features slender leaves with tubular flowers in a wide range of colors. The herbaceous perennial is used most often in rock gardens and xeriscapes as they are native to desert areas and provide a splash of color in the driest conditions. Avoid clay soil; instead, use sandy or rocky soil that is fast draining.
BeardTongue begins blooming in late spring and will continue to thrive until the early summer. Pair the plant with other perennials that bloom later in the summer, such as coneflower or black-eyed Susan. To promote re-blooming, prune spent flowers and cut the entire plant to the ground each spring.
Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)
Although they have a common name of “torch lily,” Red Hot Poker plants are not lilies. These plants spread out using rhizomes, so they can be considered invasive in some areas. Red Hot Poker Plants require full sun and must be planted in well-draining soil, as poorly draining soil will kill them.
As a drought-tolerant and deer-resistant plant, the Red Hot Poker makes an excellent addition to rock gardens. To encourage flowering, deadhead the plant regularly and divide in the spring to prevent overcrowding. Any drastic pruning of leaves should be done in the spring, as the extra leaves provide a bit of protection from the cold.
Whirling Butterflies (Gaura lindheimeri)
Whirling Butterflies thrive in full sun, so for the best blooms from early in the summer to the middle of fall, plant them in an area that receives as much sun as possible. In hotter climates, the plant will do well with some afternoon shade. Well-draining soil is vital to these plants survival; wet winter soil often leads to an early death.
The soil requires amending with compost to aid in draining. Whirling Butterflies are drought-tolerant, but as they have a long taproot, they are difficult to transplant. When transplanting these long-blooming perennials, select your planting site carefully to ensure success.
Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) – Early Bloom Perennial
Siberian Iris adds a touch of color early on in the season, but once the blooms are done the narrow foliage is still quite attractive. The Siberian Iris grows up to three feet in height but can remain as small as twelve inches. The blooms are made up of three colored petals on top and three drooping petals on bottom.
The ideal time to plant a Siberian Iris is in the late summer or autumn for blooms in the spring. The plant will adapt to different planting times. If planted in the spring do not expect any flowers until the following year. The fibrous roots can be planted in partially shaded areas, but prefer full sun.
Hosta (Plantain Lily)
Hostas are one of the few perennial flowers that can withstand full shade. The bareroot perennial is extremely tough and will thrive with very little work once established. Colored leaves of the hosta plant retain their color longer when kept out of direct sunlight, so the more colorful leaves and flowers do best in shady areas.
For hostas exposed to sun, opt for plants with greener leaves. Deer and slugs are attracted to the new shoots of the plant, so take precautions to deter them.
Hostas flower in the summer, so pair them accordingly with other flowering plants. A hosta plant with gray-green leaves and white flowers pairs best with solid green plants with various colors flowers.
We hope you enjoyed reading all about perennial flowers that bloom all season long. Knowing when perennials bloom allows you to plan your garden accordingly, so you get maximum color all season long. Pruning and planting tips for perennials also affect the blooming patterns of many plants, so we hope you have found our advice useful.
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