One of the most asked questions is how to maintain color throughout the season. Here are our top seven picks for creating beautiful, colorful spaces year-over-year. These plants were selected based on climate tolerance, ease of care, ability to mix in well with annuals and overall popularity.
- Lavender Phenomenal® – as the name implies, these fragrant purple blooms will maintain their color from late Spring to early Fall. Growing in beautiful, mounded shapes with tall stems, they are humidity resistant and have a hardiness to the cold. They enjoy full sun to partial shade in well-drained soil making lavender perfect for lining a flower bed or pathway.
- Walker’s Low Catmint – Similar in appearance to the Lavender Phenomenal®, Walker’s Low Catmint is one of the longest blooming perennials in your garden. Resistant to heat, pests, diseases, and the cold, they will come back year after year. Their hardy disposition does make them a bit of a garden bully, so you may need to prune them back regularly to ensure they don’t crowd out other plants, but they will ensure an ornamental garden all season long.
- Dianthus Firewitch – This hardy bloom holds the U.S. Perennial Plant Association’s title of “Plant of the Year” for both 2006 and 2015. With vibrant pink, starlike blooms nestled in silvery green foliage, the Dianthus Firewitch is drought resistant and emits a pleasant clove-like fragrance. To ensure continuous blooms through the summer, you will need to deadhead them. They are excellent for ground cover or rock gardens.
- Happy Returns Daylilies – it is not hard to understand how these made the list with their happy, yellow flowers and easy care regime. They don’t mind the heat as long as they are watered regularly. Remove spent blooms to encourage repeat blooming. They will lie dormant during the winter, so simply remove dead foliage in the fall and make a clean cut at the base of the stalk to keep the plant hardy for a happy springtime return (we couldn’t resist)!
- Coneflowers – You might know these better by their pharmaceutical name of Echinacea. Available in a variety of colors including white, purple and yellow, they are a member of the daisy family. They will grow fast and hardily during the summer months where they thrive on sun and warm temperatures. They provide a wildflower meadow feel to your garden. Prickly stems deter deer and other critters, but the bright colors and raised centers attract butterflies. Songbirds find the spent seedpods a delightful snack.
- Salvia Caradonna – this beautiful old-world sage plant is known for its dark purple flowers that stand tall and vertical above dark green stems. Like many others on our list, they are easy to grow, drought resistant and have an extended blooming season. Growing in clusters, they are perfect for rock gardens or around landscape features. Unappealing to both deer and rabbit, they are an excellent source of nectar for honeybees, so you should be mindful of children and people with allergies.
- Sedum – this hardy succulent comes in hundreds of varieties with whimsical names like Dragon’s Blood, Birthday Party, Pool Party, Purple Emperor, and Karfunkelstein. Available in creeping, upright or mat forming blooms, they can be used to border, add color or fill in between rock gardens. Needing very little sunlight and growing in just about any soil condition, they are one of the easiest to care for on the list. The upright varieties tend to attract butterflies and honeybees. Their fleshy, moisture-retaining leaves make them drought resistant and bitter taste deter wildlife.