Many gardeners like perennial flower plants because they return year after year. However, that doesn't mean that you can plant them once and forget about them. Perennials require regular maintenance to look and perform their best. Staking, pruning, deadheading, dividing and pest control are a few of the gardening chores you can expect to enjoy when growing perennials.
To get the most bang from your buck, be sure to include some long blooming and repeat blooming perennial flowers in your garden design. Large blocks of color add impact to a garden and the best way to achieve that is with long blooming perennial flowers. Here are some to consider:
Achillea (Yarrow)USDA Zones: 2 - 9, varies by species - Bloom Span: 3+ Months
Achillea will grow almost anywhere, but it actually favors dry, lean soil. If given too much moisture or rich soil, the plants can become floppy. Deadhead spent flowers for repeat bloom. After the second bloom, rejuvenate the plant by cutting back to new growth. Yarrow tends to die out in the center of the plant and should be divided every 3 years or so.
GOOD CHOICES: Achillea 'Coronation Gold', A. millefolium 'Fire King', A. m. 'Summer Pastels'
USDA Zones 4 - 9, varies by species - Bloom Span: 2+ Months
There are many species of Campanula or Bellflowers, all easy to grow and relatively long lived. They perform best in areas with cooler summers or in partial shade where the summers are more intense. Most Bellflowers will readily self sow. If they start to look tired and ragged after several blooms, shear or mow them down to a few inches and they will grow back fresher.
GOOD CHOICES: Campanula carpatica 'Blue Clips' or 'Blue Chips', C. c. 'White Clips' or 'White Chips'
USDA Zones 3 - 9 - Bloom Span: 3-4 Months
Centranthus (Red Valerian)
Centranthus is often seen spilling over in photos of English gardens. Like Achillea, Centranthus prefers dry, lean soil, but it blooms longer in cooler climates. In intense heat it will bloom in spring and again as it feels up to it, throughout the summer. Centranthus rarely grows true from seed and is best propagated by cuttings. To be certain of what color you are getting, buy the plant while it is in flower. The plants don't live longer than about 5 years and they resent being divided or every relocated.
GOOD CHOICES: Centranthus ruber 'Albus'
USDA Zones 3 - 9 - Bloom Span: 3+ Months
Coreopsis are undemanding plants, but short lived. Either allow them to self-seed or divide the plants every 2-3 years and replant the newer, outer sections. Flower buds form all along the stems, making deadheading a time consuming challenge. Once the initial buds have completed blooming, sheer the plants back by 1/3 to encourage new flower buds.
GOOD CHOICES: Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb', C.v. 'Golden Showers', C. grandiflora 'Early Sunrise'
USDA Zones 4 - 9 - Bloom Span: 4 Months
Corydalis lutea (Fumewort)
Corydalis' ferny foliage and delicate flowers belie its fortitude. This is a plant that prefers partial shade and well drained soil and will find a home in cracks in rocks, on slopes in woodlands and along paths. Once established, Corydalis self sows wherever it can. However it can take years for the seed to germinate, so trying to start your own plants can be frustrating.
GOOD CHOICES: You will probably only find the species of C. lutea
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