By Julie Martens Forney
The Mid-Atlantic garden season is long enough to enjoy flowers from early spring to late fall. Not sure how to plant for season-long color? Check out a few fuss-free perennials that bloom reliably and don’t demand heavy-duty care.
Start the color show with perennial spring bulbs. I like daffodils because nothing eats them. Burrowing critters and four-footed beasts ignore daffodil bulbs and blooms. Other perennial bulbs that deer and rabbits avoid include fritillaria, allium and hyacinth.
Late Spring to Early Summer
As the spring bulb show starts to slow down, count on perennials, including bleeding heart, false indigo and Siberian iris, to amp up the color. In a season-long color show, peony and bearded iris bridge the gap from spring to early summer. Strong early-summer performers include coreopsis, centranthus and lavender.
By midsummer, Mid-Atlantic gardens burst with color. Draft plants that include black-eyed Susan, purple coneflower, agastache and ‘Rozanne’ geranium to serve as backbone bloomers—perennials that churn out flowers all summer. Include perennials with shorter flowering windows to provide pops of color. Good candidates include liatris, butterfly weed, crocosmia and bee balm (Monarda didyma).
Pack a late-summer garden scene with floral color by planting Russian sage. This drought- tolerant beauty adds a purple haze and looks good for months. It pairs beautifully with purple coneflower, another water-thrifty plant. For more late-summer flowers, look to perennial hibiscus, Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium spp.) and native butterfly weed (Asclepias spp.).
When planning for season-long color, fall tends to be an easily overlooked window. Many gardeners favor aster and garden mums for autumn flowers, but other perennials contribute strong floral performances as the garden season closes. These late-season showstoppers include monkshood, goldenrod, ‘Autumn Joy’ sedum and Helenium.
Discover strategies to keep a garden blooming spring through fall (and sometimes even winter!).Learn More