Best Summer Blooming Perennials

By Chris Edmunds

 
Here are a few of our proven perennials for high-performance summer blooming.
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Perennials are plants you can count on, popping up every season, year after year. These plants have to be able to endure a lot to make it to the next year, though. In our neck of the woods, they can see everything from scorching summers, to harsh winds, to winters that wreak havoc due to variable temperatures causing soil to freeze/thaw/freeze/thaw. At Kaw Valley, we do our best to choose varieties that add charm to your yard and have the best chance to survive everything our weather throws at them. To help you pick easy growing plants that are well-suited to perform excellently in our area, we’ve created a list. We call it the Kaw Valley Favorites. Here are a few of our proven perennials for high-performance summer blooming:

Catnip.jpgCatmint

Catmint is the pet-friendly partner plant of Catnip. With the same aphrodisiac qualities as its cousin, it is a proven winner for gardeners with cats. These perennials feature bright, colorful spikes of fragrant, purple flowers. They are heat and drought tolerant and adored by butterflies and hummingbirds alike. Best of all, they have a very long season of bloom during the summer compared to most perennials that have a more limited season of bloom.

For a taller, fuller-figured option, we love Walker’s Low. For a more compact option, we love Junior Walker. Both provide multitudes of lavender hued flowers. Plant them in partial to full sun, to enjoy their blooms right until September. Catmint is drought-tolerant compared to many other perennials and no dead-heading is needed.

Butterfly Bush

wisteria lane.jpgButterfly Bushes are superb shrubs, bursting with color and personality. Of course, as the name implies, they’re also a #1 hit with butterflies. They produce stunning spikes of colorful blooms. Their blooms produce a sweet honey aroma that is popular with hummingbirds, too. The sweet smell is disliked by deer and rabbits though, so you could possibly see less of these grazers in your yard.

For an unusual one, Wisteria Lane offers pale lavender flowers and silvery green foliage. It gets its name from its weeping habit, that is somewhat similar looking to wisteria. Buzz Hot Raspberry is a bright-blooming dwarf variety. It produces brilliant reddish-toned, violet blooms on well-branched, bushy plants that get about 4’ tall after the first year. Give them full to partial sun and well-draining soil. Water occasionally, as needed, but do not fertilize too often. Too much fertilizer and Butterfly Bushes will just disappoint with an increase in foliage growth and less blooms. These are also very drought tolerant compared to other varieties.

Coneflower

Echinacea purpurea, commonly known as Purple Coneflower are North American natives that, being a part of our ecosystem, means butterflies and birds know and love them. They are heat, drought, and deer tolerant. These perennials will give you unique and colorful blooms to add a wild quality to your garden.

 There are many new varieties on the market, but we have found that many of them are not very reliable, especially some of the newer yellow, oranges and red-flowered ones.

coneflower.jpgHowever, there are two varieties we can give a whole-hearted endorsement for. For the classic purple coneflower, we recommend Echinacea Magnus. This variety is so reliable, it won the 1998 Perennial Plant of the year! It has more horizontal petals, compared to our native variety which has more drooping petals, and also has deeper purple flowers. The plants are sturdy, spread to make a nice clump, and provide many years of flowering.

For those who just love those new warm colors, we actually found one that over-winters well, and it is a show-stopper! Echinacea Hot Papaya features bright reddish-orange blooms with pom-pom cones and falling tails. The plants are bushy and about 2’ tall with plenty of knock-out gorgeous blooms.

Plant Coneflowers in full to partial sun. Water occasionally and deadhead spent flowers throughout the season to prolong blooming. After the season, though, leave the spent seed heads as a tasty treat for birds. We carry a few other varieties but have not found them to be quite as reliable as these two.

We highly recommend placing several inches of mulch over the root zone of your perennials to help them survive the up and down temperatures of our winters. This will also help retain moisture in the soil throughout the year.

With these pretty perennials, you will have an eye-catching garden all summer long. Low-maintenance and happily hardy, you won’t have to worry about them making it through the winter to pop up next year.

 

 
 

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