When it comes to our garden beds, late season perennials are overlooked early in the season by showier annuals. While we all love the early and mid summer blooms, these plants will give you something to look forward to as the other blooms start to fade.
High Impact Perennials for Late Summer
Liatris spicata, AKA Blazing Star, AKA Gayfeather – Because of its small footprint and vertical stature, Liatris is an excellent choice to create fanciful pops of color throughout an established perennial bed. The purple spiked flower head opens top down, making it unique in the flower world. This plant is native to Michigan and makes an excellent cut flower.
Sedum, AKA Stonecrop – We have mentioned sedums on our blog before, and for good reason. Sedums are a near fail proof plant that has seasonal interest most of the year. Blooms range in color from the palest pink to deep burgundy and foliage comes in every shade of green as well as maroon. Staff picks include ‘Autumn Fire’ and ‘Purple Emperor’.
Geranium ‘Rozanne’, AKA Cranesbill – Blossoming in June and continuing all summer long, this low growing groundcover is a top pick among our designers. A great filler plant, this flower has a spreading nature, however don’t be afraid, this plant is a lover and not a fighter. Since it maxes out at about two feet in height, plant at the front of your bed, or intersperse it with other favorites. Can’t find it in the store? Substitute Coral Bells. This foliage driven plant is about the same height, and comes in an assortment of hues.
Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii ‘Goldstrum’, AKA Black-Eyed Susan – It wouldn’t be a list of summer blooms without the ubiquitous Black-eyed Susan. There is a reason these easy to grow native wildflowers are planted repeatedly. With resistance to most garden pests, these are a great choice for beginner gardeners. Try planting in masses or along borders to add a bit of brightness to your beds. Create winter drama, by leaving the seed heads throughout the cold months, for your enjoyment and that of birds. Need an alternative, try Coneflower. No longer just in purple, they come in a variety of shades today.
High Impact Shrubs for Late Summer
Hydrangeas, Multiple Varieties – A classic hedge and border planting, hydrangeas are an anchor to late summer garden designs. Depending on the type of hydrangea, blooms can reliably last from July into September. With so many varieties to choose from, I could write a whole post on hydrangeas alone. Office favorites include Endless Summer and Annabelle for the classic garden, Snow Queen for the naturalized garden, and Little Lime for the best of both worlds.
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