Summer flowers - Knowledgebase Question

Overland Park, Ka
Question by wheatjo
February 13, 2011
With the heat and humidity of Kansas in summer, what are the best perennials to get color and some height? I would like blooms most of the season,not just for a few weeks. Thanks.

Answer from NGA
February 13, 2011


I'd plant a variety of perennials so you'll have something in bloom from spring through fall. Here are some of the best plants for your gardening region:
Basket-of-Gold (Aurinia saxatilis or Alyssum saxatile) produces golden-yellow flower clusters in the spring. Its low-growing, spreading habit (9-12 inches tall and 15 inches across), will make Basket-of-Gold a great addition to a rock garden or to the front of aperennial border.

Creeping Phlox (Phlox subulata) is another spring-flowering sun-lover. Like Basket-of-Gold, Creeping Phlox is a low-grower (3-6 inches tall and 24 inches across). Its flowers appear from April to May and come in shades of lavender, lilac, purple, rose, red, and white.

The Garden Peony (Paeonia lactiflora) produces its large, fragrant flowers in May and June. Peonies can reach a height of three feet, and, after flowering, provide a lush, dark green backdrop for other flowers in the bed. The key to successful peony culture is proper planting. The eyes or young buds should be set one inch below the soil surface when the tuberous roots are planted (usually in October). Choose a spot where the plant will get at least 6 hours of sunlight. Planted well, Peonies can thrive and produce beautiful flowers for decades without needing dividing.

Bearded Iris (Iris germanica) sends up its tall, stately blooms in May and June. Irises are easy to grow and maintain, and come in a wide range of flower colors, from white to nearly black. You?ll also find bicolored varieties readily available. Irises grow from 2-4 feet tall and require a sunny location for best growth. Eventually, you may notice that flower production seems to decrease. This is a sign that the iris rhizomes need to be divided. Do this in late August or early September to give the new plants plenty of time to become established before winter.

Coral Bells (Heuchera sanguinea) flowers from June to July. Tiny 1/4 to 1/2 inch bell-shaped flowers rise on 10-inch stems above dense mounds of foliage 8 inches high and up to 15 inches across. You can extend the flowering season by removing the faded flower stems and watering the plants during dry periods.

Tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata) makes a showy addition to the perennial border. The plant grows 18-24 inches tall and forms a large mound up to 24 inches across. Brilliant yellow flowers rise on straight single stems above the foliage from June to September.

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia grandiflora) gets its name from the colors of its flowers, which are reminiscent of those in blankets woven by the American Indians. The rich shades of yellow, red, and burgundy will make this a stand-out in your perennial border.

Fernleaf Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina) grows 3-4 feet tall and, with its blue-gray, finely cut foliage, is an excellent choice for the back of the perennial border. The plant bears large, golden flower clusters up to 5 inches across that can also be used in dried flower arrangements.

Daylily (Hemerocallis hybrids) is one of the most commonly grown perennials. Even though each of its trumpet-shaped flowers lasts for only a single day, they are produced in abundance from June to October. Daylilies adapt well to naturalized settings and are relatively care-free. Every 4-6 years, usually in late August or early September, the clumps of tuberous roots should be divided.

Hope this short list is helpful.

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