Perennial Flowers for All Seasons

Perennial Flowers for All Seasons

Perennials can be a gardener's best friend with their loyal reappearance and dependable blooms year after year. Most perennials will reemerge as the threat of frost fades and then bloom sometime between mid- to late spring and fall.

You can plan perennial flowers for all seasons in many ways, with new plants blooming as other perennial flowers go to seed and wrap up for the year. And if you're looking for plants that won't bloom quickly and be gone for another year, plenty of perennials fit that wish for longer-lasting blooms.

Aim for Continuous Color

Most perennials have a peak bloom time for about two or three weeks before going to seed. The trick is to plant the right combinations so you always have something in bloom. Flower season usually kicks off with tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs that you plant in the fall.

You can achieve all-season perennials by:

  • Mixing and matching varieties of the same plant to bloom for most of a month
  • Making sure you have plants that will take turns blooming in spring, summer and fall
  • Picking perennial plants known to bloom longer than most — sometimes called everblooming plants
  • Making sure you "deadhead" perennials, which is snipping off the spent blooms to encourage the plant to put energy into new blooms instead of seeds

Choose Extra Varieties

If you fall in love with a particular perennial, such as lavender, peonies, irises and daylilies, buy a few varieties of that flower. Each variety usually has a slightly different bloom time, so you may be able to keep that favorite flower in bloom for several weeks by combining plants tagged as early, mid-season or late bloomers. Ask your favorite gardening source to recommend flowers that thrive in your local climate, and plant a few variations of them that will give you blooms for a month or more.

Plan for Different Seasons

Another way to be sure you have perennial flowers for all seasons is to plan your garden using a calendar. Color code it with perennials on your wish list, marking estimated bloom times. Make sure there aren't any significant gaps between bloom times.

Plant flowers that bloom late in the spring or early in the summer, such as Shasta daisies and coreopsis; mid-season bloomers, such as Asiatic lilies and echinacea (aka coneflower); and something for late summer and early fall, such as asters, chrysanthemums and fall sedum.

Besides your own joy in always having something in bloom, planting perennials for all seasons provides essential nectar for pollinators, especially as hummingbirds and butterflies fuel up for fall migrations.

Choose a Reliable Bloomer

Another way to maximize perennial colors is to choose hardy, dependable varieties that keep blooming long after most perennials have quit and gone to seed. Some summer perennials will continue all the way into fall.

Here are a few favorites known for nonstop blooms:

  • Dianthus begins blooming in mid- to late spring and keeps on going with fragrant petals in an array of whites, pinks and reds. It looks great in borders and along walkways.
  • Gaillardia (aka blanket flower) that's splashed with vibrant reds and yellows begins blooming in late spring or early summer and keeps going. It handles full sun, along with drought and heat.
  • Lupine shoots up tall, dramatic clusters of blooms that last from late spring through early summer.
  • Daylilies have always ranked among favorite perennials for all seasons thanks to hundreds of color combinations and long-blooming varieties. Petite 'Stella de Oro' blooms in early summer and newer compact varieties in the 'EveryDaylily' series will keep reblooming all summer. Larger daylilies bloom through July and August.
  • Roses also provide hundreds of choices with fragrant, lush flowers. Carpet roses and drift roses are standouts for being hardy, carefree and continuously blooming.
  • Perovskia (aka Russian sage) blooms in midsummer through fall. Its tall, delicate stalks of fragrant lavender flowers look striking paired with bold golds of rudbeckia.
  • Hollyhocks, a romantic favorite with towering spikes of big, bold rosy pink, creamy yellow and cabernet-colored flowers (singles or ruffled doubles) bloom in midsummer through fall. They look great planted as a cottage garden centerpiece or against a house or fence.
  • 'Cardinal flower' lobelia provides a pop of red blooms beloved by hummingbirds and butterflies from summer to fall.

Whether you choose everblooming varieties or learn to overlap and blend bloom times for your gardens, perennials assure dependable flowers year after year.

Check out the Burpee blog for more tips on perennial gardening.

Written by Lisa Meyers McClintick

Lisa Meyers McClintick has been an award-winning journalist and photographer for publications such as USA Today, Midwest Living and Twin Cities Star Tribune for more than 30 years. She also has authored travel guidebooks on the Dakotas and Minnesota and volunteers as a Master Naturalist based in St. Cloud, Minn. Her home garden includes fourth-generation perennials, herbs, heirloom tomatoes, fruits for making jam and jellies, and a variety of hybrid and native flowers that inspire illustrations and photography.

March 23, 2022
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