Long Blooming Perennials

Lacy Blue Russian Sage

Lacy Blue Russian Sage

Unlike most annual bedding plants that bloom continuously, many perennials plants have a shorter season of flowering, typically showing color for 3 to 6 weeks during the growing season. Gardeners will want to remember to select groups of perennials for their plantings that bloom in early spring, late spring, summer and early fall. This provides a changing tapestry of colors as one plant goes out of flower and another comes into flower.

However, there are a select group of perennials that flower for an extended length of time, often 2 to 3 months at a time. Here are three new varieties featured by High Country Gardens this spring that are outstanding long bloomers.

Perovskia ‘Lacy Blue’ is a new true dwarf variety of Russian Sage. This is great news for those of us with small gardens or flower beds where Perovskia ‘Blue Spires’ would be much too large. ‘Lacy Blue’ reaches a height of 18-24” and spreads to about 3 ft. in width. And like its other Perovskia cousins, ‘Lacy Blue’ blooms for 2 to 3 months, from mid-summer into the fall. Perovskia will grow in any soil from sand to heavy clay and looks its best growing in full sun with only occasional deep watering once established.

Salvia 'Burgundy Seduction'

Salvia 'Burgundy Seduction'

Salvia ‘Burgundy Seduction’ is a new hybrid bush sage that appeared in my garden as a seedling of ‘Raspberry Delight’ and an unknown pollen parent. The deep burgundy-red color of the flowers is truly outstanding. ‘Burgundy Seduction’ is the most darkly colored of the cold hardy bush sages. The foliage is especially aromatic, with a pleasing sweet herbal scent that keeps hungry deer and rabbits from eating the leaves.

From the mountains of South Africa, comes the delightfully cheerful, Osteospermum (African Daisies). ‘Avalanche’ is a new release from the Colorado State University/Denver Botanic Gardens Plant Select® program. And what a great plant it is! Completely cold hardy to USDA zone 5, ‘Avalanche’ is as easy to grow as a Shasta Daisy, but much more exotic with its bright white petals and silvery-blue sheen on their undersides. Attractive semi-evergreen foliage and a nice mounding habit make this beauty a “must have” ever-blooming perennial. It is outstanding for attracting bees and butterflies too. It fares best in average compost-enriched garden soil with moderate amounts of water once established.

Here are a few more of my favorite long blooming perennials: Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’, Salvia greggii ‘Furman’s Red’, Salvia ‘Maraschino’, Delosperma ashtonii ‘Blut’, Phlox nana ‘Perfect Pink’, Aquilegia chrysantha, Diascia integerrima ‘Coral Canyon’ and Nepeta faassenii ‘Select Blue’, Callirhoe involucrata and Achillea ‘Coronation Gold’.

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  • May Night Meadow Sage Salvia sylvestris May Night

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  • Furman's Red Texas Sage Salvia greggii Furman's Red

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6 thoughts on “Long Blooming Perennials”

  • Valerie de Vincent
    Valerie de Vincent 05/03/13 at 10:22 am

    I have a regular sized Russian Sage, and recently saw a gorgeous combination of orange Daylily growing throughout Russian Sages. I become kind of overwhelmed when searching through all the varieties of daylillies available - what would you recommend as the longest blooming, medium - tall orange daylily?

    I am in Boise, ID, Zone 5 or 6, and my Russian Sage is in a 3 foot wide, gravel covered "Hellstrip" that has poor alkaline soil and low water (also growing there happily are lavender, echinacea, centranthus, some low sedums, Basket of Gold, and Cupid's Dart). I love strong orange colors, btw, but would consider a red or yellow too - but this is in full, hot sun (don't know if the reds fade).

    • David Salman

      Valerie:
      Your planting area may be a little too dry for a daylily. I am not an expert on Daylily varieties but recommend that you try to find some heirloom orange flowered varieties. They are often more durable and xeric than many modern hybrids.

      If you enjoy orange summer flowers in xeric beds, you should also try planting Sphaeralcea, Kniphofia 'Hybrid Mix'and Agastache 'Coronado Red'.

      • Valerie de Vincent
        Valerie de Vincent 05/17/13 at 7:58 pm

        Thanks, David. I actually do have some heirloom orange daylilies (my aunt, who gave them to me several years ago, called them, as I recall, "trash lilies"). I'll plant a few babies next to my Russian Sage. And, I'm going to try some kniphofia there too. Thanks for the suggestions.

  • Barbara

    I need some advice. I absolutely love Agastache and have planted many varieties - cana, rupestris, you name it. This spring it appears none of them survived our Colorado winter. I don't have a good track record with this species although they always look great the first year. I've had one that lasted 3 years but that's it. In 2012 I mulched my 3 plants with pea gravel and watered them (and the rest of my garden) once a month during the cold weather. I did cut them back in the fall; was that a mistake?

    I just can't figure out what went wrong and really want to be successful growing this as it is my very favorite. Our soil has some clay but I always add gardening soil with a bit of nice alpaca poop mulch that is about 10 years old.

  • David Salman

    Barbara:
    I recommend that you leave your Agastache plants standing uncut over the winter to improve cold hardiness. These plants really like gravel mulch so that's good.

    It's possible that the Alpaca manure is too rich for Agastache so don't use it. Too rich a soil will grow a large, lush plant the first growing season that is not strong enough to make it through a hard winter. I only use Yum Yum Mix on my Agastache to prepare the soil and to fall fertilize once annually when established.

    Be sure the planting site is slightly elevated. Don't plant in depressions as they collect extra water which will keep the clay too wet and cold in winter.

    Plant in spring or summer.

    The best, most durable Agastache include A. rupestris, 'Blue Fortune', 'Purple Haze' and 'Desert Solstice'

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