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Betterdays in Full Swing

Perennials That Bloom All Summer: Full Sun, Partial Shade and Drought-Tolerant Perennials


By Gilmour

Planting perennial flowers that bloom all summer means enjoying gorgeous long-lasting blooms not only this year, but in years to come. There is still work to be done, though. Keeping up with deadheading, weeding, pruning, feeding and watering is necessary even with perennials. But with a little knowledge and the right care, perennials that bloom all summer will pay off when they put on a show for many summers to come! Learn more about which summer perennials thrive in full sun, which need some shade, and which are drought tolerant with the perennial summer flower guide from Gilmour.

Full Sun Perennials That Bloom All Summer

Yarrow – Nearly care-free with bright small clusters of flowers in many colors to choose from, yarrow is both versatile and hardy. It has dome-shaped or flat-topped blooms that are tightly-packed and grow above ferny foliage. Plant as ground cover, borders or in open spaces.

Sedum – Pretty, thick succulent leaves that bloom large pink clustered flowers, sedum is the best of both worlds. Drought and freeze tolerant, it will spread as a great ground cover and also does well in borders and containers. Enjoy sedum blooms from late summer through November.

Shasta Daisy – Shasta daisies are a classic summer flower, with sunny yellow centers and white petals that just seem happy. They are resilient but look delicate, and this low-maintenance plant will put on a show until early fall. Daisies also make great cut flowers.

Aster – Aster is both whimsical and easy to grow. It needs next to no care and brings a pop of color well into the fall when most other summer blooms have faded. Choose from many varieties of aster in blooms of blue, purple, pink or white.

Daylily – Perhaps the easiest of all summer perennials to grow, daylilies are true to their name. They have yellow, orange or reddish blooms that open in the morning and close tight at night. Daylilies will tolerate a bit of shade, but they really do need at least 6 hours of sun every day to thrive. Watch them bloom from late spring through fall.

Partial Shade Perennials That Bloom All Summer

Not all perennials need full sun to do well. Plant partially shaded areas of the yard and garden with any of the following perennials for bright blooms to enjoy all season long, year after year.

Primrose – Many gardeners love primrose for the early show it puts on. Elegant clusters of small vibrant flowers in a variety of colors including blue, pink, red, light purple and white. They have bright yellow centers and will be one of the earliest blooms in the garden, lasting throughout the summer.

Bleeding Heart – Delicate and dainty, the bleeding heart will flower with a soft pink, white (or the rare blue) bloom that appears to be tiny hearts dripping off arching stems. Some varieties bloom all summer but others (such as Dicentra) will drop their blooms and go dormant as soon as consistent warm days appear. Be sure to note which variety to choose before planting if an all-summer show is the goal.

Bluestar – As the name suggests, bluestar is a five-pointed star-shaped pale violet blue bloom wildflower. It is low maintenance and deer resistant. Flowers will turn to unique-looking seed pods. Long after the blooms are gone, fall foliage is still full and lush.

Lungwort – Known for early spring clumps of light purple blooms, lungwort is also called pulmonaria. It is another plant that continues to maintain showy foliage right up until the first frost of the season. It’s known for solid green or silvery leaves that are almost as pretty as its flowers.

Drought-Tolerant Perennials That Bloom All Summer

Don’t think that just because you live in a dry or drought-prone region that a summer garden can’t be a reality. Many perennials will do quite well despite drought conditions.

Blanket Flower – Blanket flowers are in the sunflower family and their sunny blooms are reminiscent of this. The daisy-like red, orange or yellow flowers will bloom from early summer to early fall.

Purple Coneflower – Purple coneflower, also known as echinacea, has soft drooping purple petals that bloom profusely for two to three months during the summer. It is easy to grow and can rebloom in the fall.

Delphinium – Tall, true blue elegant spires of periwinkle blue blooms, delphinium is a garden classic. Not fussy and able to withstand drought conditions, this showstopper will bloom prolifically over a long period of time. Cut spent stalks down to the ground to encourage a second bloom.

Ice Plant – A succulent favorite, ice plant spreads and starts to bloom in spring, with repeated sporadic blooms throughout the summer. Once established, it needs little water and provides a splash of color with daisy-like flowers in yellow, pink, orange, purple or red.

Black-eyed Susan – Dark brown, almost black centers are a sharp contrast to sunny golden petals and give this drought tolerant perennial its name. It mounds as it grows, making it a great option to fill in borders or containers.

Phlox – Phlox will bloom dainty clusters of star-shaped purple, pink, red, white or orange flowers from late spring through summer and into fall. It will do well in partial shade, but likes at least 6 hours of sun a day.

Common Questions about Summer Perennials

What is the longest summer blooming perennial?

The longest summer blooming perennials will bloom from spring through summer and into fall. Choose from shasta daisies or lungwort for the earliest show that will last the whole season.

How late in the summer can you plant perennials?

How late in the summer you can plant perennials depends on when you are hoping to see flowers. Planting in late summer through early fall really is the perfect time for early spring blooms. It’s also OK to plant early spring around March, while the ground is moist from winter, and still expect summer blooms. Many perennials can be planted throughout the summer, even up to late June, if transplanting young plant starts.

How much water do summer perennials need?

Summer perennials will need different amounts of water depending on the plant. That said, most do well with about 1” of water each week. Find out about your specific plants to determine precise watering needs for each.

Do summer perennials need to be transplanted?

Summer perennials should be transplanted or divided based on bloom time. For those plants that bloom in the spring through early summer, fall is a good time to transplant. Late summer through early fall blooms should be moved the following spring.

Summer perennials offer pretty blooms for years to come. They are often showy with bright colors that add contrast, texture and whimsical foliage to gardens. Knowing the growing conditions of zones and planting areas, as well as which plants will best thrive in those conditions, will help ensure a full, flourishing garden year after year.

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