When designing your garden you want to keep the plants thriving from early spring through late fall and beyond depending where you live. During the main season of growing, you want to have your flowers flourishing.  Perennials are a great foundation for your garden as they are easy to grow and have a long blooming season.  Having a mix of plants with different bloom times will keep your garden interesting. Last week we highlighted spring-blooming perennials and this week we are going to focus on summer blooming perennials.

Here are some of our favorite summer-flowering perennials that are best planted in the fall:

Blanket Flower

This flower is native to the American prairies and is also known as Gaillardia. This sun-loving perennial is easy to grow. The cheerful flowers come in solid orange, red, or yellow and are also bi-colored. These summer blooms attract butterflies to your garden all season long. The plant is drought-tolerant in your garden or a container.  Plant them in any type of soil just make sure it is well-drained soil. They grow approximately 18 to 22 inches tall and are hardy from zones 5 – 9. In more northern climates, try lightly mulching them to keep them warm.  Every two to three years they can be divided. 

Garden Phlox                                                                           

These flowers have been found in gardens since colonial times.  They will grow abundantly in your flower bed from summer through fall.  An easy to care for perennial, the blooms on this plant are found in beautiful shades of blue, pink, purple, and white as well as bi-colored. Depending on the variety, they will grow from 1 to 5 feet.  These flowers are also fragrant.  Hummingbirds and butterflies love the sweet, nectar-rich flowers. The flower also makes a fantastic cut flower.  Garden Phlox grows best in full sun and well-drained soil. The plant can develop powdery mildew, if they do not receive enough sun or if the air quality is poor. Once established the plant is drought-tolerant.  This plant can be divided in early spring when it is breaking dormancy.  Hardiness zones 3-9.

Helenium

Helenium is native to North America and Europe and is sometimes called sneezeweed (it was once used to make snuff).  This sun-loving perennial can add much-needed color to your garden in the mid to late summer through fall. It can be used in a cottage garden or border. The flowers bloom from mid to late summer through fall and make a great cut flower. Heleniums resemble Echinaceas flowers as they both have heads that are packed with nectar.  These nectar-rich flowers attract bees and butterflies. The flowers grow about 36 inches tall. Helenium needs to be planted in fertile, well-drained soil in full sun and water the plant regularly during the growing season. In the late winter, prune the plant to the ground.  The plant is deer-resistant.  Hardiness zones 4 – 10.

Peony

These beautiful flowers bloom in the early summer.  There are many different types of Peonies to choose from with different types of flowers. Peonies are relatively pest-free. Ants on peony buds are common and totally harmless. Once they're established, they're as hardy, creating a fantastic season of bloom in your yard year after year. They make a great early season rear of the border candidate and while the flowers do need staking their beauty makes that task worthwhile.  Peonies are an old-fashioned favorite that never goes out of style!  Hardiness zones 3 – 8. Read more about the Peony Plant in this article.

If you have any favorite summer blooming perennials you plant in the fall, let us know!

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