Perennials for Year-Round Interest

By Chris Edmunds

Ever wondered which perennials bloom all season? We've outlined our top 5 long-lasting bloomers.
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Think about that feeling you get when you see the first blooms of spring – the joy of fresh beginnings, of new growth, and promising abundance. Now, imagine if that feeling lasted, well, all year long! By selecting the right groupings of perennials you can have these types of colorful surprises as the seasons change. For example, the foliage that certain perennials have can actually provide your garden with beautiful year-round interest even after the colder weather has settled in.

Having interesting textures and long-lasting blooms that stick around from spring to fall provides the look you want without the maintenance. Read on to discover our top picks for perennials that will give your garden texture, movement, and/or blooms throughout the year. 

kaw valley perennials for year round interest red stonecrop.jpg1. Stonecrop

Tough in heat and drought, stonecrops are easy to grow and can be found in a variety of sizes, textures and color.  For example, the spreading foliage of ‘Angelina’ stonecrop is lime green that blushes with orange-red tones in the fall which remains throughout the winter. The ‘Autumn Joy’ variety is also a popular choice for its upright bushels of small flower blooms that stun with their cloud-like appearance.

‘Autumn Joy’ stonecrop flowers are pink in color and turn a lovely copper-brown color once the weather starts to cool off; the succulent-like foliage will also provide your garden with all year interest due to its unique appearance. Stonecrop will thrive in full or partial sun. As an added bonus, butterflies love these pollinator friendly perennials and will be constant guests in your garden during the summer!

kaw valley perennials for year round interest creeping phlox cascading over wall.jpg2. Creeping Phlox

Perfect as a groundcover, creeping phlox is a perennial that blooms in various colors, including white, pink, red, and light or dark purple during the spring months.

Also known as ‘flowering moss,’ the small five-petal flowers form a beautiful dense carpet of color in the spring and provide pretty green foliage the rest of the year, making it a charming choice for edging, accenting, and cascading over walls. Creeping phlox can be grown in full or partial sun and does best in hardiness zones of 3-8.

3. Coral Bells

Coral Bells are an excellent way to add texture to the garden that lasts throughout the year. Large leaves in a variety of colors have a ruffled appearance and in early summer are topped with wispy bell shaped flowers on long stalks which dance in the breeze.  Coral bells are native to North American woodlands, so they prefer full or part shade, but their bright and often two toned foliage adds a pop of color in the shadiest of spots. Coral bells are tolerant of drought and humidity and resistant to pests and diseases, making them also very easy to grow.

kaw valley perennials for year round interest yellow bird purple coneflower.jpg

4. Coneflower

These lovely daisy-like perennial flowers bloom all summer and into fall, making the coneflower an easy choice for long-lasting blooms. The flowers come in an array of colors such as yellow, orange, red, white, pink, and purple.

In the winter, the dried seed heads also provide food for birds – if you’d like to read more about other bird-friendly plant choices click here! – which makes it an even better perennial choice to have around all year. Coneflowers do best in full or partial sun, and are naturally repellent to garden pests but attract butterflies and hummingbirds all summer long.

5. Ornamental Grasses

The annual progression of grasses as they grow is a sure way to alter the look of your landscape through the year.  Ornamental grasses tend to serve as a backdrop for the spring and summer months giving some texture and movement as the blades grow longer. Most ornamental grasses show off their value in the late summer and fall with gorgeous plumes that fluff and change color as green leaves give way to shades of red, yellow, or orange. 

kaw valley perennials for year round interest ornamental grass.jpgMany grasses are drought tolerant and there are varieties for all sun types, and available in a range of sizes to suit your garden needs. Use the compact but airy blue fescue ‘Elijah Blue’ to line the garden edge or walkway. If you're in need of a backdrop to hide a plain wall or other view, try the fast growing feather reed grass ‘Karl Foerster’. 

Now that you've heard some of our favorite long-lasting blooms and fun foliages to get you through the seasons, check out our nearest location to browse our selections of perennials that keep your garden looking good all year.



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