Answer: Flowering plants have a particular season in which they bloom so to have something in bloom at all times you'll need to plant a variety of annuals and perennials. As one stops blooming, another will take center stage.
Most annual flowers, such as marigolds, petunias and begonias, are known for keeping their colorful display throughout the growing season. But they have to be replanted each year.
Perennials generally live for three or more years and often spread to fill an area, so in the long run they can be a cost-effective way to spruce up a flower bed. However, perennials generally have a relatively short season of bloom compared to annual bedding flowers.
There are a few perennials, such as daylilies, coreopsis and rudbeckia, that perform for an extended bloom season. If you choose the right combinations, you can have different plants taking center stage at various times during the season so that something of interest is always playing.
Daffodils, tulips, crocus, hyacinth and other spring-flowering bulbs can kick off the early spring show. Plants such as rock cress (Arabis), bleeding heart (Dicentra) and Virginia bluebells (Mertensia) can round out the show.
A little later - in spring to early summer - Columbine (Aquilegia), False Indigo (Baptisia), bellflower (Campanula), Leopard's-bane (Doronicum), Epimedium, crane's-bill (Geranium), avens (Geum), candytuft (Iberis), Iris, peony (Paeonia), oriental poppy (Papaver), Jacob's ladder (Polemonium) and speedwell (Veronica) can take over.
In mid- to late summer, there's yarrow (Achillea), mountain bluet (Centaurea), snow-in-summer (Cerastium), Coreopsis, daylily (Hemerocallis), coralbells (Heuchera), garden lilies (Lilium), beebalm (Monarda), balloonflower (Platycodon), violet sage (Salvia) and stonecrop (Sedum).
For a late summer through autumn grand finale, try Aster, Boltonia, blue leadwort (Ceratostigma), garden mums (formerly Chrysanthemum, now Dendranthema ), purple coneflower (Echinacea), globe thistle (Echinops), plantain lily (Hosta), blazing star (Liatris), black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia), Stonecrop (Sedum) and goldenrod (Solidago).
These are just a few of the hundreds of perennial flowers that can add seasonal interest to your flower beds. Planned properly, you can have a colorful garden all year around.
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