A well-designed garden provides interest from early spring through late autumn, and beyond if you also select plants for winter structure. Most perennial plants flower for two to four weeks, but the longest flowering perennials, like coneflowers and catmint, measure their flowering period in months, not weeks. For the main growing season, much of that interest comes from flowering and foliage plants.
Catmint ‘Walker’s Low’
These plants bloom their heads off from late spring until mid-autumn with a heavy show of purple-blue flower spikes that are extremely attractive to pollinators and beneficial insects.
After its initial bloom, the plants will continue to pump out a moderate amount of fresh flowers for months. However, if you shear the plants back by one-third after the first blossoms fade, you’ll encourage another heavy show of flowers.
The flowers bloom for around six weeks each summer, attracting every bee, butterfly, and beneficial insect for miles around. The one-foot tall and wide clumps are perfect for the front of a perennial border or a rock garden where the ball-shaped blooms can be appreciated.
Coneflowers are the cornerstone of a summer perennial garden, blooming for months, even in dry, hot conditions, and providing food for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators. There are countless cultivars available to gardeners.
These eye-catching plants are among the longest flowering perennials with a season that stretches from early summer to early autumn. It also has excellent drought tolerance and is popular with the pollinators.
Astilbe stands out among the longest flowering perennials. Besides being super easy to grow, they thrive in both sunny and shaded gardens, and have feathery flowers that offers months of graceful color. And speaking of color, the blooms can be white, lavender, purple, bubblegum, deep pink, apricot, or red, often with bronze or purple foliage as well.
A butterfly favorite, yarrow is a robust summer bloomer with pretty, flat-topped flowers that bloom for 6 to 8 weeks. The ferny foliage emerges in early spring and is followed by the two to four-foot tall flower stems in early summer. Deadhead spent flowers by clipping the flower stem back to the main foliage.
Fantastic Autumn Flowers
Widely considered to be among the best perennials of all time, ’Goldstrum’ lights up the late summer garden with weeks and weeks of bold color that persists into October. Each coneflower-shaped flower has a raised chocolate-brown center cone that is surrounded by golden petals.