One appeal of perennial flowers is that they return year after year, relieving you of the duty of replanting each spring. The drawback is that most perennials bloom for a shorter period than do annual flowers. Some perennial species bloom for only a week or two before fading. If you want a garden where something is blooming at all times, it can be hard to accomplish this if you are using only perennial plants.
But it’s not impossible. There are more long-blooming perennials than you might realize, and designing your garden with the right species makes it possible to have blooms from spring to fall, even if you are planting only perennials. While it is possible to achieve constant color by carefully planning a garden with short-blooming species properly sequenced, it is much easier if you choose species that each bloom for many weeks.
Here are several perennial species to consider if your goal is to create a garden with something in bloom at all times.
With its fragrant leaves and long-blooming purple flowers, lavender has always been a firm favourite in English gardens. Whether you have a country cottage garden or a more modern, contemporary design, lavender will always fit in and, as it can be grown in containers, it is perfect for even the most modest-sized spaces.
Lavender should be planted in spring from March to May in well-drained soil in a sunny, sheltered spot. You’ll be rewarded with gorgeous flowers from late spring and all the way through summer.
They also attract bees and other important pollinators to your garden, so they really are a must-have.
Nepata, or catmint, is also well-loved by pollinators, and this aromatic beauty blooms from late spring to the middle of autumn, producing gorgeous clusters of lavender-blue flowers.
Catmint is easy to grow, and you should plant it out in spring. For best results, plant it in sun or partial shade and in average to well-draining soil.
This plant is a great companion for vegetable patches thanks to its insect repellant properties, and also lends itself well to edging. Take care to deadhead them to encourage further flowering.
If well cared for and deadheaded when necessary, Dahlias can put on their show from midsummer all the way through until the arrival of frost.
With colours ranging from pretty pastels to boastful brights, Dahlias make a real statement in any garden.
These little showstoppers should be planted during late May to mid-June, depending on one when the frost has ended. Dahlias prefer a sunny site in free-draining, lighter soil and you can boost your stocks by cutting and division, or by growing new plants from seed.
One of the longest flowering perennials, yarrow is a bee and butterfly magnet. It makes a lovely addition to herb gardens and flower beds.
Yarrow can be planted from October to March in full sun, and while it can thrive in almost any soil types, it much prefers well-drained soil. This plant will produce adorable clusters of flowers in a vast range of colours, and by cutting it back thoroughly in late summer, you encourage fresh foliage and blooms.
5. Hardy Geraniums
Reliable and long flowering, hardy geraniums can flower from April through till September in a variety of colours.
Tolerating both sun and shade they are best planted in well-drained soil and, if cut back after flowering, they will usually produce a second wave of blooms.
Hardy geraniums are also great self-seeders, and you will often find them flourishing in tiny cracks and spaces. They are also well-loved by pollinators such as bees and hoverflies and provide a long season of nectar and pollen.
Resilient and easy to grow, tradescantias are short-lived; however, they frequently flower and have superb grassy foliage.
Producing unusual, three petalled flowers and thriving in a range of soils, this perennial is perfect for hanging baskets as well as for ground colour and filling gaps in borders.
Flowering from late spring to late summer this cheerful and charming plant is a beautiful addition in any garden.
Also known as daylilies, this pretty little plant produces lily-like flowers that only last a day or two, but thankfully, in such an abundance that they span the period from Spring to late Summer.
With many colours to choose from, ranging from vibrant yellows and oranges to deep, burgundy-red, these plants bring a valuable flash of colour and life to your garden.
Plant hemerocallis in free-draining, fertile soil avoiding heavy shade as well as borders that are prone to drying out come summer.
Also known as butterfly bushes, this deciduous perennial typically blooms from June through to September. It can reach up to eight feet in height and sometimes more producing long pinnacles of blue and purple clusters of purple and blue flowers.
Buddlejas should be planted in full sun and well-drained soil and should be watered slowly and deeply during dry spells. They are low maintenance and just require deadheading after flowering to prevent them from self-seeding.
As the name suggests, butterfly bushes are well-loved by butterflies as well as lots of other pollinators and beneficial insects.
Start planting those long-flowering perennials
Hopefully, by now, you are bursting with inspiration to help your garden boast colour for as much of the year as possible.
With so many long-flowering perennial plants to choose from, you will have no trouble getting the absolute most out of your garden whatever the style or size.
Make sure you do your research to ensure your plants flower for as long as possible, but with the right care, they will do the rest of the work for you.
So get planting, and reap the rewards of colour and happy pollinators that will truly make your garden a cut above the rest.