August-blooming Perennials

first_imgAnnuals stay about the same or look rather tired. Most perennials no longer bloom.And it’s certainly no time to plant new things. So how can you bring life into anAugust garden? Start planning for next year! Physostegia virginiana is very, very vigorous, spreads fast and can dominate thegarden. But such beautiful lavender flowers! Plant it in sunny glades in the woods andin planters or restricted garden areas where it can’t run. If fertilized and kept fromdrought, it can be a showstopper. But it’s not for the timid gardener. Fall is the correct season to plant perennials. To have a brightly colored August garden,plan it now. Then plant it in late September, as the weather begins to cool.August-blooming perennials need extensive root systems, so plant them 10 monthsahead. You need self-sufficient perennials adapted to heat and drought for August gardens. Noplant better matches that description than Echinaceae purpurea, the purple coneflower.This plant blooms most profusely in August. It’s another butterfly attractor, with nectareven in the driest of summers. For best effect, plant 10 to 12 plants in groups. You may be surprised at how many perennials bloom in Georgia in July and August. Boltonia is an aster-like plant with blue-green foliage offsetting titanium-white flowers.It quickly forms a colony that’s easy to divide in the fall. It needs some care duringdrought but is a wonderful August-bloomer. Crocosmia ‘lucifer’ is a late-summer flowering bulb. The warmer the spring andsummer, the earlier it blooms. In general it will bloom in August if kept moist. Thegladioli-like red flowers are striking and make great cut flowers. For most people, not much goes on in the garden from mid-July through August. Fewplants bloom during that scorching time. Planting August-blooming perennials means never having to miss something new andwonderful in the garden. And since most are drought-tolerant and low-maintenance,they’re perfect for the already busy gardener. Helenium autumnale has been improved from our native species. Checkerspotbutterflies love this yellow daisy flower. And it seems to ignore the worst droughts.Plant 10-20 plants in groups for a stunning effect. Don’t feed it after the first fewweeks of spring, or it will have soft, floppy growth. You need no other tricks for success. Just plan, select the right plants and plant them atthe right time. Veronicastrum virginicum is a veronica-like perennial with beautiful white flowers. It’sbig enough to fill in large areas of an unused space in the yard. Butterflies and othercreatures love the flowers. And it imparts movement at the slightest breeze, formingwaves of white flowers. Lantana ‘Miss Huff’ is drought-tolerant and blooms best in August, as the secondbrood of tiger swallowtails flits about. This is a large bush by August, almost 5 feetaround, with up to several hundred brilliant, orange-yellow flowers. So leave spacewhen planting. Asters frikartii ‘Monch’ and novi-belgii ‘Prof Kippemburg’ are the two asters Irecommend for those new to the genus and new to planning late-summer flowers.Asters are easily grown in Georgia, provided you follow a few rules. They can’ttolerate competition from other plants. Miss Huff lantana will overwhelm an asterplanted too close. Give asters room to grow, and they’ll flower impressively fromAugust through October. Lobelia cardinalis is a great hummingbird attractor and blooms at the Newnan artfestival every August. It requires moisture and accepts shade. Never winter-mulch it, asit keeps rosette leaves all winter and needs sun to survive.last_img

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