10 Perennials That Bloom the Longest
Tired of perennials that bloom just a few weeks every year? Exchange them for these 10 perennials that bloom for months on end.
Few perennials can tolerate such extremes of heat and cold as our native blanket flowers which grow in U.S. Department of Agriculture Hardiness Zones 3 to 10. They not only survive but thrive, blooming in sunny landscapes from the earliest days of summer through the last frosty days of autumn. Pollinating bees and butterflies make frequent stops to snack on the pollen of the bicolor red and orange blossoms which blanket the mounded foliage.
Full sun and well-drained soil are necessary to grow and successfully overwinter this exceptionally long-blooming perennial.
They may be tiny, but the pale blue to white blossoms of calamint (botanically known as Calamintha) are produced by the thousands, lining the stems of this fragrant ornamental herb every year from early summer into early fall in Zones 4 to 9. They are just big enough for honeybees to dip into for a quick sip.
Shearing the whole plant back by about 25 percent in late July will help to prevent reseeding and produce a fresh new flush of foliage and flowers. Calamint looks right at home in a sunny, dry border or rock garden.
Courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries
You might be familiar with tall, spiky purple flowered anise hyssop, but did you know that it also comes in even longer blooming, knee-high varieties with feathery pink, orange, yellow and purple plumes? Poquito Orange, pictured here, and ‘Rosie Posie’ are two of the most prolific cultivars, flowering non-stop without deadheading from early summer through early fall.
It’s unusual for plants with such tropical flair to be perennial, but they do return year after year in Zones 5 to 9 if they are planted in well-drained soil and full sun. Where could you use a bright splash of blooms that will bring in the pollinators?
Find an ideal spot where this lacy-textured, yellow-flowered beauty is happy and it will reward you with bright yellow blooms from early spring to frost every year. Few other perennials can claim such an amazing span of color, plus its fernlike foliage is pretty, too.
Despite its delicate appearance, this perennial thrives in Zones 5 and 6 in part sun to full shade, reseeding itself happily about the garden. The shallow rooted seedlings are easy to pull from any place they aren’t welcome. In Zone 7, expect yellow corydalis to bloom prolifically in spring but go dormant in the hottest part of the summer.
Courtesy of Proven Winners
Festival Star Baby’s Breath
Love to cut and dry flowers from your garden? Then you need baby’s breath, specifically this one named Festival Star. Unlike most cultivars that go to seed by midsummer, it blooms non-stop from late spring through early fall — plenty to keep your vases filled all season.
In Zones 3 to 9, choose a spot near the front of the flower border in full sun and well-drained, alkaline soil. Expect this variety to mature into a 12- to 18-inch tall mound, an easy size to tuck just about anywhere in the garden.
Courtesy of Walters Gardens Inc.
Daylilies fall into one of three bloom categories: one-time bloomers, rebloomers and everbloomers. While rebloomers typically flower twice, everblooming daylilies produce flowers all the way from early summer into early fall. Look for the Happy Ever Appster series of everblooming daylilies including ‘When My Sweetheart Returns’ (shown here). These especially long-blooming cultivars will reward you with hundreds of blossoms each season.
Daylilies are easy to grow in Zones 3 to 9 in any type of well-drained soil. Although they will survive in part shade, you’ll find they bloom far better in six or more hours of sun per day.
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Fern-Leaved Bleeding Heart
Some people shy away from growing old-fashioned bleeding hearts (Dicentra spectabilis) because they go dormant in midsummer after going to seed. A good alternative in Zones 3 to 9 is the fern-leaved bleeding heart (Dicentra eximia types) like ‘Luxuriant’ and ‘King of Hearts’. Alathough their heart-shaped blossoms aren’t quite as showy, they appear non-stop from late spring through early fall.
Try pairing this finely textured perennial with broad-leaved coral bells, silvery Brunnera and golden hakone grass. They will all thrive in partial to full shade and rich, moist, well-drained soil.
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‘Blue Star’ Japanese Aster
This little known Japanese aster is an absolute blooming powerhouse in the landscape. It asks little from you except an occasional drink once it is established, and blooms happily from early summer into early fall year after year.
‘Blue Star’ blooms far earlier in the season and stays much shorter than common asters, plus it won’t spread where it isn’t wanted. Its pale blue, daisy-like blossoms are produced prolifically much to the delight of butterflies who adore it. Japanese asters are perennial in Zones 4 to 9 and bloom best in full sun.
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Modern plant breeding has resulted in some incredibly long-blooming varieties of tickseed, notably the Li’l Bang and UpTick series which are hardy in Zones 5 to 9. They are far less prone to powdery mildew than threadleaf tickseed and at just 12 inches tall, they add vibrant color to the front of the border all season.
Tickseed is a native perennial that thrives in all-day sun and average soil; it is drought tolerant once established. The everblooming cultivars don’t need to be deadheaded to bloom from late spring into fall, but they will have a tidier appearance if you shear them back once every four to six weeks.
Wandflower, also known as Gaura, is a whimsical perennial whose wispy texture and long, arching flower wands add movement to the garden. Its butterfly-shaped blossoms flutter on the slightest breeze. Each stem bears flowers beginning low on the stem with new buds opening every few days as the stems elongate. Over time, they can become quite long and tangled, so it’s a good idea to trim those that are spent to make room for new ones to take their place.
You’ll see blooms from late spring into fall on this durable yet graceful, heat- and sun-tolerant perennial in Zones 5 to 9.