Keep the color coming in your garden for months with long-blooming perennials. By Justin Hancock, Costa Farms garden guru
All photos courtesy of Costa Farms
I love perennials because they come back every year, growing bigger and producing more blooms with time. When I design gardens with perennials, I treat them like a symphony—different varieties come in and out of bloom, providing an ever-changing display throughout the seasons.
Though most perennials have a limited bloom season, there are a handful that bloom for weeks or even months. These varieties are valuable to help bridge gaps in bloom time and keep the flow of color continuous. Here are a few of my favorites.
Blanket Flower(Gaillardia) is a perennial that seems to have it all: It blooms on and off from spring to fall, especially if deadheaded; it holds up to heat and drought; it’s native to North America; and it attracts butterflies. Easy to grow in full sun, this front-of-the-border plant blooms in festive shades of yellow, gold, apricot, orange, and rusty red.
Award-winning ‘Moonbeam’ coreopsis has been a staple in gardens for years thanks to its long bloom season and no-fuss nature. Plant breeders have been hard at work with this group of plants, and new varieties offer bigger flowers, more colors, and even hardier plants than ever before. There’s a coreopsis for every sunny yard!
Another native wildflower, I use Gaura in just about every garden I help design these days. Like blanket flower and coreopsis, it holds up to heat and drought and blooms practically nonstop. But the real value of this beauty is its texture; gaura blooms with delicate spikes of white or pink flowers that add an airy beauty to any garden.
Big, bold, and bodacious, perennial hibiscus is a showstopper in the garden with its huge (8+ inches wide), saucer-shaped blooms in shades of red, pink, and white. Though you can’t count on it for spring flowers, perennial hibiscus usually start in early July and continue blooming every day through the fall.
New varieties of pincushion flower(Scabiosa) bloom practically nonstop, making this charming little perennial just as valuable for container gardens as beds and borders. It produces a low mound of foliage topped by elegant, saucer-shaped blooms in shades of blue, white, and pink in wiry stems. Pincushion flower blooms enough you can enjoy the flowers in the garden and in bouquets!