Today's article includes flowers that begin blooming in mid-summer and continue on and on. A low maintenance perennial garden that keeps blooming from July until frost? It's possible!
Monkshood, also known as Wolfbane (Aconitum)
Monkshood blooms in mid-summer, but following one quick tip will get you more flowers in the fall. It's very important to deadhead monkshood: after the first bloom is finished, cut the bloom stalks down to the ground and don't let the plant set seed. Later in the season you'll be rewarded with more flowers.
Plant monkshood in full sun if possible, but this perennial will also thrive in light shade (6 hours of sun per day). Shaded plants may need staking. May grow up to 4 feet in height if planted in full sun and rich soil. Flowers are typically pale blue or lavender but some varieties bloom white. Cut monkshood back after the first frost and divide every 4 years.
Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)
Once blanket flower starts blooming it keeps on going—if you deadhead spent blossoms. Flowers are typically quite large and range from rust red to golden yellow in color, depending on the variety. Because it is not particularly leafy, plant three gaillardias in a small group. Use a cage or stake the somewhat fragile stems. Typically stays 2 feet tall or under.
Blanket flower is an easy-going plant that doesn't require rich soil or a lot of water. Plant in full sun. Young plants should be mulched after first frost to protect them, but once established gaillardia will return each summer with its rich colors. Divide every three or four years as needed.
Russian Sage (Perovskia)
The Russian sage creates a true cloud of purple blue flowers over a profusion of silver-gray leaves. This plant is especially happy growing at the edges of pastures and in ditches. Russian sage gets started blooming in mid-summer and doesn't stop until hard frost. No need to deadhead or supply any other kind of fuss for this perennial to thrive.
Prune back after first frost by cutting the whole plant to within a foot of the ground. Leave a few stem buds so it can grow new branches in the spring. Russian sage tends to spread, so keep it divided if you like a tidy garden. Otherwise, just let it go.
The Kansas gayfeather begins blooming in mid-summer and keeps on until late fall. The tall flower spikes of the gayfeather start blooming from the bottom and once it's finished they're covered with delicate purple-pink flowers. This butterfly magnet looks so lovely swaying gently in the breeze and can grow up to 3 feet tall. Stake if needed.
Liatris definitely doesn't like rich soil—its native habitat is Kansas prairies. This perennial will thrive on a little neglect but likes to be well-watered when getting established. Mature plants should be kept on the dry side as they might be prone to mildew. They prefer partial shade (6 hours of sun per day). Gayfeather makes an excellent cut or dried flower. Plant with monardia or purple coneflower for a lovely garden.
Other Long-Bloomers You Might Like to Try
Depending on how complex you like your gardens and how much time you devote to them, you might also like to try anything from the daisy (Rudbeckia) family. Most of these are biennials and bloom in golds or whites.Goldenrod resembles ragweed but does not make you itch and sneeze.Perennial phlox may bloom later in the season; keep them deadheaded to prevent the plants from setting seed.Delphinium will often set a second bloom if you cut spent flower stems back to the ground, but don't count on it in Northern Minnesota