Answer: Here are my favorite low-maintenance, long-blooming perennials?
Coreopsis "Moonbeam," "Zagreb," "Early Sunrise": They are prolific bloomers that need little more than regular deadheading to be happy. Place them in full sun and average soil. In fact, they don't like soil that is too fertile, as they will become floppy over time. Coreopsis should be divided every three years or so to keep them vigorous.
Daylily (Hemerocallis) -"Stella D'Oro," "Pardon Me," and any variety with "Returns" in the name. Certain varieties of daylily are longer bloomers than others. The common orange daylily that you see everywhere, while beautiful, is not the best choice if you want continuous color. Choose one of the above varieties, and give it average soil in a location with full sun to part shade. Remove the spent flowers and stalks to keep the plant looking tidy.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) "Pink Delight," "Adonis Blue," "Peacock," "Black Knight," "Guinevere". Buddleias, commonly called butterfly bush, are wonderful accents to a garden. They are absolutely gorgeous in bloom; their plumes of pink, purple, blue, or white flowers attracting butterflies all summer long. They are very easy to care for, fast growing, and fragrant. Place them in full sun and semi-moist soil. Simply remove the spent blooms to keep it flowering from July until frost. To prune, cut the plant either all the way down to the ground, or back to green wood in March. Cutting it back helps develop tons of blooms for the coming season.
Lavender (Lavandula) "Hidcote," "Munstead," "Grosso"
My personal favorite, because lavender is my favorite fragrance in the entire world. Put these beauties in full sun, in soil that stays relatively dry. After they bloom, cut the flower stalks off (save them, either for potpourri, sachets, or dried arrangements. Even the stems have that gorgeous scent!) and you will soon enjoy a second, smaller bloom. The blooms last a long time. If necessary, you can prune lavender in early spring, just as new growth starts. Just be sure not to cut into old, woody stems because new growth (and blooms) don't grow from old wood. Although, to be honest, I haven't had to do more to my lavenders than snip off the occasional winter kill.
Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) "Goldsturm," "Goldilocks," "Indian Summer"
Rudbeckia are everything a plant should be: cheerful, drought-tolerant, and care free. Besides all that, if you leave the seed heads on after the flowers fade, you will have winter interest as well. Plant Rudbeckia in full sun. They are easy self-sowers as well. Where I once had a small plant, I have what now seems more like a Rudbeckia shrub! Rudbeckias rarely need dividing, but digging up the volunteers and planting them elsewhere in the garden isn't a bad idea. You'll want to have this plant all throughout your garden.
Hope you enjoy your new plants!
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