Perennials are a favorite of the savvy home gardener. Once established, perennials return year after year and provide multiple seasons of interest in the landscape. That’s especially true of these five perennials, each of which blooms for an exceptionally long period of time:
1. Tickseed or Thread Leaf Coreopsis
This species is the longest blooming of the coreopsis family. It can be counted on to produce flowers from spring to autumn. Like all coreopsis, the thread leaf type is drought tolerant and sun-loving. It produces a soft mound of wispy foliage covered with yellow daisy-like flowers. Tickseed is a perfect choice for English garden borders, rock gardens, or anywhere else a natural look is preferred. Try pairing it with the purple flowers of Russian sage or the cool blue-green tones of blue fescue for a beautiful play on complementary colors.
2. African Iris
The African iris shows remarkable versatility, thriving in both boggy and dry conditions. The long-lasting blooms appear in spring and sporadically through the summer. This plant does best in partial sun. Since it can thrive in standing water or dry soil, try pairing it with other water plants in a pond feature or on higher ground with drought tolerant plants such as coneflower or black-eyed Susan.
3. Western Bleeding Heart
For a long-blooming perennial that does especially well in Northern regions and shaded locations everywhere, try the western bleeding heart. This species has more drought resistance than other members of the bleeding heart family, and its blooms are among the showiest. From spring, and then repeatedly through the summer, the western bleeding heart produces arched stems of dainty heart-shaped blossoms. Plant in a shady area and pair with other shade-lovers such as hostas and ferns. Perfect for bringing color to woodland gardens!
4. Dwarf Daylily ‘Stella de Oro’
The Stella de Oro daylily is perhaps the best known of the reblooming daylilies, that is, daylilies that produce flowers more than once a season. In the Stella de Oro’s case, plants will produce blooms from early summer until first frost. Like all daylilies, Stella de Oro requires little care and resists most garden pests. A perfect “no-fail” plant for beginning gardeners. Plant multiple plants in drifts for a stunning effect. Stella de Oro pairs well with Shasta daisies, ornamental grasses, or even the coreopsis discussed above.
5. ‘Walker’s Low’ Catmint
(Nepeta x faassenii)
This member of the catnip family is an easy to grow perennial, drought tolerant and cold hardy. Vibrant lavender-blue flowers cover the plant in two waves, one in late spring and one in late summer. The scented gray-green foliage is an added bonus; bringing a wonderful fragrance to the garden. Use Nepeta ‘Walker’s Low’ in your mixed border or rock garden and pair it with daylilies, coreopsis, or the African iris.
Perennials have so much to offer the home gardener–ease of care, consistent blooms, multi-season interest. Add to that the long-blooming features of the perennials above, and you have five plants no gardener should be without.
Another way to fill your garden with flowers all summer is to plant perennials that bloom early, middle and late in the season. What are your best-performing perennial plants? Tell us in the comments below!