My Favourite Long-Flowering Perennials
Below are just a few of my favourite long flowering perennials that will work in almost any garden
Loved by pollinators, with a relaxed free flowering habit, catmints (nepeta) are drought tolerant, hardy plants giving a heavy show of purple/blue flower spikes from late spring until mid autumn.
There are several varieties to choose from but my favourite is ‘Walkers low’, which is perfect for edging a perennial border or for us on a rockery.
As the initial flush of flowers begins to fade, give the plant a haircut, shearing it back by about one-half to encourage health foliage and a second flush of flowers.
A favourite for butterflies, yarrow is a tough 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 tall flower stems in early summer.
Best grown in full sun, it actually thrives in relatively poor soil. Available in a number of colours from soft pastels to vibrant pinks and yellows this is a very versatile, no-fuss plant. Deadhead spent flowers to encourage new blooms.
A well known garden plant, hardy geraniums are a very low maintenance perennial, best planted at the front of the border to soften path edges and below taller perennials. Many hardy geranium varieties repeat flower with the first flush of flowers often starting in early summer. To get the most flowers for the longest period, shear the plant back after its first flush fades.
A staple of the traditional perennial border, coneflowers give large blousy daisy shaped flowers for months. Great for a hot dry border, they are loved by pollinators.
A large variety of cultivars are available, however my favourites – always reliable – are the deep pink ‘Magnus’ and ‘White swan’, which is white with copper cones. Both flower from early summer into mid-autumn, especially when dead-headed regularly.
A favourite for any English garden is Lavender. Not only is this shrub evergreen, it produces flowers which give a heady fragrance throughout the summer, with flowers appearing in June/July and continuing into late summer.
There are several varieties of English lavender to suit the space you have available. I like to plant Lavender along edges of borders or close to seating areas to make the most of the wonderful fragrance.
If you have a damp area of the garden and want to add some colour then Astilbes are perfect. With a long flowering period and striking, almost fluffy looking flowering heads available in mostly whites and pinks, they will certainly draw attention.
Astilbes will tolerate a shadier position but also work in full sun as long as the soil is kept damp.
Another fuss free drought tolerant perennial, sedums will give you a late summer display of cauliflower shaped flower heads in varying shades of pink. Although not repeat flowering the flower heads are prolific often deepening in colour as the season progresses. The seed heads can be left right through winter and add structure to your winter borders.
And of course, there are lots more…
If those aren’t enough to get you excited, than have a look at:
- Perennial salvias such as Salvia nemerosa/x sylvestirs
- Phlox paniculate
- Shasta daisies
- and Echinops…
… to name just a few more.