Garden Notebook – Summer Bloomers

Garden Notebook – Summer Bloomers

Spring gives us a much anticipated big show of foliage and flowers bursting out of our gardens. But what next? Make room for some Summer bloomers because you’re going to love the continuous color and changing landscape right in your own yard. Summer brings flowers that can take the heat without wilting and a surprising amount of blue flowers! Real blues can be hard to come by. Purple often masquerades as blue in the flower world, but if you crave true blues, this is the season for you! Summer blooms not only inspire you but are part of the pollinator path to health and well-being. Pick some bloomers and enjoy the Summer!

Agastache (Hyssop)

Fragrant, showy and tough, Agastache boasts long-lived blooms atop pollinator friendly plants. Unfriendly to deer browsing and rabbits! Plant in average to dry soil. Look for ‘Blue Boa’ and the Kudos Series.

Bloom Time: July to September
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: 2-4 ft. depending on variety.
Hardiness Zones: 5-8

Buddleia (Butterfly Bush)

Buddleia is known for its long racemes that arc up and out and are absolutely covered with tiny flowers. This is a very easy plant to grow in full sun and a very long bloomer! Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Look for ‘Guinevere’, ‘True Blue’, and ‘Blue Chip Jr.’.

Bloom Time: July through September
Light Exposure: Full Sun to Part Sun
Mature Size: 20″- 6 ft. depending on variety
Zones: 5-8

Caryopteris (Blue Mist Shrub)

Caryopteris is a late summer blooming shrub that continues on into fall producing very blue flowers. At a height of 2-3 ft. it makes a wonderful low hedge or specimen to live in the perennial garden. Look for ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (bright green foliage), ‘Dark Knight’, ‘Sapphire Surf’, and ‘Snow Fairy’.

Bloom Time: August
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: 2-3 ft. depending on variety
Zones: 5-8

Cimicifuga (Bugbane)

Want to impress your hostas? You will when the flowers on Cimicifuga reach full height! Pink or white bottlebrush flowers rise to 5 ft. over the mounded foliage. The dark foliage itself creates a wonderful contrast to other denizens of the shade garden. Look for ‘Hillside Black’, ‘Chocoholic’, and ‘Pink Spike’.

Bloom Time: August and September
Light Exposure: Full Shade to Part Shade
Mature Size: 5 ft. tall in flower
Zones: 5-9

Coreopsis (Tickseed)

Coreopsis is one of everybody’s favorite summer flowers. Those happy, colorful faces just keep coming! Yellow was the original and has given rise to loads of red, yellow and orange combinations that really light up the garden in any hot and dry spot. After flowering shear back by half and watch Coreopsis explode all over again! Look for the Big Bang Series, ‘Redshift’, ‘Moon Beam’, and ‘Mercury Rising’.

Bloom Time: July through September
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: 12″ – 2 ft. depending on variety
Zones: 5-8

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Echinacea (Coneflower)

Coneflowers are another huge favorite! The range of colors, heights, and flower forms is almost unbelievable. Walking through a display of these impressive flowers can’t do anything but grab your attention. A pollinator favorite too! Look for ‘Prairie Splendor’, ‘Cheyenne Spirit’, ‘Sombrero Salsa’, and ‘Maui Sunshine’.

Bloom Time: July into September
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: 18″-2 ft. depending on variety
Zones: 3-8

Eupatorium (Joe Pye Weed)

Known more for its common name, Joe Pye Weed, Eupatorium is that awesome perennial for a moist area. Given a good situation it will produce big pink domes of flowers that butterflies can’t resist. These are non-invasive cultivars of our native Joe Pye Weed. Look for ‘Chocolate’,  ‘Pink Frost’, and ‘Gateway’.

Bloom Time: July through September
Light Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Mature Size: 3-6  ft. depending on variety
Zones: 3-8

Japanese Anemone

This is one lovely flower. No one expects such a delicate and sweet looking flower to come into bloom later in the summer. Be sure to have a spot with rich, moist soil for anemones. They don’t like to tolerate dryness and will live nicely with  Look for ‘Honorine Jobert’, ‘Little Princess’, and ‘Dreaming Swan’.

Bloom Time: August to October
Light Exposure: Sun requirements vary by cultivar
Mature Size: 16″-4 ft. tall depending on variety
Zones: 4-8

Gentiana

Now, this is a blue flower! Gentiana has upward facing 2″ flowers that cover the stalk above the nicely textured foliage. It will be happy in a full or half day of sun that will help it keep producing those bluer than blue blossoms!  Look for ‘True Blue’ and Gentiana septemfida var. lagodechiana.

Bloom Time: July into September.
Light Exposure: Full Sun to Part Sun
Mature Size: 10-30″ depending on variety
Zones: 5-8

Heliopsis (False Sunflower)

If you love yellow en masse then heliopsis is for you! Perfected by Proven Winners over the years it is now a polite member of the garden that doesn’t roam wildly. As most summer blooming flowers are, heliopsis is a pollinator’s buffet! It will appreciate moist, well-draining soil and full sun. Combine with lobelia for a great pairing! Look for ‘Tuscan Sun’ and ‘Sunstruck’.

Bloom Time: July through September
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: 14-20″ tall depending on variety
Zones: 4-8

Hemerocallis (Daylily)

There is nothing like a daylily. Loved not only for their weeks of steadily blooming flowers but also for their ease, reliability, and tolerance of a variety of garden situations. They are often the go-to flowers for budding perennial gardeners because they are so forgiving. Seasoned gardeners are no less enamored of these staples of the garden.  Look for ‘Happy Returns’, ‘Sunset Returns’ and ‘Stella d’Oro’.

Bloom Time: June through September
Light Exposure: Full Sun to Part Sun
Mature Size: 18-32″ depending on variety
Zones: 3-9

Hydrangea paniculata (Panicle hydrangea)

Paniculatas are the hydrangeas with the huge cone-shaped flowers that bloom in summer. The flowers are known for their ever-changing color scheme as they age and persist into fall. Many are two-toned such as ‘Vanilla Strawberry’, ‘Strawberry Sundae’, and ‘Pinky Winky’.

Bloom Time: July or August through September depending on variety
Light Exposure: Full Sun to Part Shade
Mature Size: 3-8 ft. depending on variety
Zones: 3-8

Lobelia (Cardinal Flower)

This is one perennial that can help solve those damp ground problems for you. Long-blooming Lobelia will thrive in moist soil with a full day of sun. Butterflies and hummingbirds love lobelia whether it’s blue or red and will recognize this native flower right away. Look for ‘Blue Selection’ and ‘Vulcan Red’.

Bloom Time: Throughout Summer
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: 3-4 ft.
Zones: 5-9

Rose of Sharon

It’s not unusual to think your Rose of Sharon didn’t make it through the winter while touring your garden in spring. They can seem quite dead but scratch the bark and you’ll uncover bright green underneath. By July single or double flowers adorn this happy shrub! Look for ‘Sugar Tip’, ‘Azurri Satin’, and The Goddess Group. Make some room! This plant has a big presence!

Bloom Time: July and August depending on variety
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: 6-8 ft. tall with a width of 6-8 ft.
Zones: 5-8

Solidago (Goldenrod)

Solidago ‘Fireworks’ is a late summer bloomer that deserves mention! Long arching stems are covered with bright yellow flowers. The foliage is neat and mounding creating a perfect stage for the “fireworks”! Monarchs make a beeline for this native plant that can handle hot, dry conditions.

Bloom Time: August into September
Light Exposure: Full Sun
Mature Size: 3-4 ft. tall
Zones: 5-8

Tricyrtis (Toad Lily)

The first time you see it, you won’t quite believe it. A toad lily looks for all the world like an orchid and a beautiful one at that. Speckled colors give this flower some real visibility in the shade garden late in the summer. Look for ”Miyazaki’ and ‘Samurai’.

Bloom Time: Late Summer into Early Fall.
Light Exposure: Shade to Part Shade
Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall
Zones: 4-9