Long-blooming perennials make life easy for gardeners who crave color all summer. To be sure, through careful selection and planning, continuous sequence of bloom can be achieved using a multitude of plants that flower for but a brief time. But having perennial flowers that bloom all summer gives us more room for error. Just plant these workhorses in a place where they will be happy and let them do the work for you.
Of course, as with all plants, some work is still required on your part; for... example:
But long-blooming perennials are well worth the work; here are some kinds to look for:
01 of 17
Come July, garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) is a staple of the garden. This long-blooming perennial flowers all summer and can continue its display into fall. But if you grow a traditional type of garden phlox, perhaps you have had to tolerate the presence of powdery mildew disease on your foliage for years. That is too bad, because that white film definitely detracts from the overall look of a plant. Newer types like 'David' garden phlox, however, are mildew-resistant, which keeps the... foliage nice and healthy-looking all summer.
02 of 17
Stella de Oro is a kind of daylily. Valued as a compact plant, Stella de Oro, like yarrow (see below), requires little care. This daylily flowers early (in the context of this list of long-blooming perennials) and thereby complements other entries on my list.
03 of 17
If we travel back through the mists of history, we find that "daisy" was once spelled "day's eye." It was a sun metaphor, and very much reflective of the ambiance created by this plant: it is difficult to contemplate a daisy and not come away with a sunny outlook on life. But this classic flower is more than just eye candy. Becky Shasta daisies are tough plants and display an endurance that belies their delicate appearance.
04 of 17Continue to 5 of 17 below.
05 of 17
For a tall plant, Russian sage has rather small blossoms. But what they lack in size, they make up for in numbers. This long-blooming perennial is showy -- but in the most tasteful way possible.
06 of 17
Along with lavender (below), yarrow is one of the "herb" plants on this list of perennial flowers that bloom all summer. Yarrow plants were widely used medicinally prior to modern times to staunch blood. In fact, this medicinal use for yarrow is responsible for the plant's scientific name, Achillea. Today, most of us are more interested in the beauty and low maintenance of yarrow than in its herbal use.
07 of 17
When you encounter lavender-scented linens, sachets and potpourris, you can't help but think "class." They provide a nice touch in a home and are ridiculously easy to acquire. But even people with no interest in such domesticity grow lavender plants. Why? Because these herb plants bring a touch of class to the landscape, too.
08 of 17
Technically, ice plant is hardy to zone 5. In reality, at the northern end of its range, it is not the easiest plant to grow. Winter hardiness simply is not a given in zone 5. But if ice plant survives the winter where you live, by all means take advantage and grow it! This ground cover boasts both vividly-colored flowers and unusual leaves.Continue to 9 of 17 below.
09 of 17
Like several of the flowers on this list of long-blooming perennials, coneflower is drought-tolerant. Plant it in a hot, sunny location and it will bloom all summer with minimal irrigation. As a bonus, this plant even tolerates poor soil.
10 of 17
There is a lot to like about Coreopsis verticillata 'Moonbeam', including its:
- "Threadleaf" foliage
- Bushy growth habit
But first and foremost, Moonbeam coreopsis is a long-blooming perennial with brightly colored flowers that can't help but cheer you up.
11 of 17
Many people, when they hear "butterfly bush," will immediately object: "But that is an invasive plant!" And, indeed, traditionally, that has been the wrap against Buddleia in various regions. However, a new Buddleia has been developed, called "'Blue Chip' butterfly bush; and it is supposed to be non-invasive. It has not been invasive for me, but if you have any reports to issue to the contrary, please let us know.
12 of 17
Like daisies, it is easy to underrate this popular, long-blooming perennial simply because it is so common. But there is often a good reason why a plant achieves widespread popularity. Garden snobs may cling to their hard-to-grow novelties, but it takes true maturity as a gardener to grant a plant like Rudbeckia its due: it is popular because it blooms all summer, warms the yard with its cheerful color, and requires minimal care. This last point is an important consideration for those who want a... nice-looking yard but have no desire to spend hours on perennial care. If, on the other hand, you enjoy puttering around in the garden, you might want to bone up on the information provided in Caring for Perennials (a book that I review here).Continue to 13 of 17 below.
13 of 17
Autumn Joy sedum flowers are massed together in flower heads that are 3 inches or more across. The flowers of this long-blooming perennial can be yellow, orange, red, or pink. The plant technically comes into flower in late summer and is most valued for the autumn interest it provides (thus the name). Nevertheless, thanks to its showy buds, Autumn Joy merits grouping with the perennials that bloom all summer: its summer flower buds catch the eye long before they open.
14 of 17
Do not confuse "catnip"—the herb famous for driving felines into a frenzy—with "catmint." While catnip is a type of catmint, it is not the plant to which we refer when we discuss growing ornamental varieties. Weedy, aggressively-spreading, and bearing an unimpressive flower, catnip is grown purely for entertainment value: if you own a cat, their reaction to the herb can be highly amusing.
15 of 17
There are many kinds of speedwell, including creeping types. The kind to which I refer in this list of long-blooming perennials is Veronica spicata 'Royal Candles', which bears blue flower spikes. This compact plant would work well in the front row of a flower bed, in some cases. If you like spiky blue flowers but a salvia would be a bit too rambunctious for a tight spot in the garden, this speedwell might be just the plant for you. The key to extending its flowering season is to shear... it, as I describe in this article.
16 of 17
I grow red hot poker plants from the "Popsicle" series, specifically, 'Mango Popsicle,' 'Pineapple Popsicle,' and 'Redhot Popsicle.' Of the three, the pineapple has so far proven to be superior as a long-blooming perennial. The form of the flowers readily invites you to surround them with other plants with which they will contrast strikingly. The grass-like leaves of red hot poker plants hold out a similar invitation, even when the plant is not in bloom.Continue to 17 of 17 below.
17 of 17
Dalmatian bellflower goes by the rather oafish botanical moniker of Campanula portenschlagiana. But do not let that put you off: in the blooming game, this plant has no quit in it. Besides, if you enjoy growing a genus of solid pedigree, it is hard to beat Campanula. A member of this genus appears in a famous fairy tale, as I relate in my article. To access the article, just click on the picture.
As I mentioned on Page 1, it is, doubtlessly, possible to attain a continuous sequence of bloom... without relying on long-blooming perennials. That is, if you are very diligent in doing your homework, you can plant your beds in such a way that, as soon as one ephemeral bloomer peters out, another comes into bloom to take its place. Do you have that kind of diligence in you? Even if you do, understand that matters become even dicier when you attempt to achieve particular color combos in your perennial beds. I have reviewed a book that is very helpful in this regard, as it does a lot of the planning for you: the Encyclopedia of Planting Combinations.