|I need to replant my front flower bed and would like flowers that have different blooming periods and are not needing a lot of water.
|Here are some long blooming perennials to consider:
Achillea (Yarrow) Bloom Span: 3+ Months; Achillea will grow almost anywhere, but it actually favors dry, lean soil. If given too much moisture or rich soil, the plants can become floppy. Deadhead spent flowers for repeat bloom. After the second bloom, rejuvenate the plant by cutting back to new growth. Yarrow tends to die out in the center of the plant and should be divided every 3 years or so. GOOD CHOICES: Achillea 'Coronation Gold', A. millefolium 'Fire King', A. m. 'Summer Pastels'
Campanula (Bellflower) Bloom Span: 2+ Months; There are many species of Campanula or Bellflowers, all easy to grow and relatively long lived. They perform best in areas with cooler summers or in partial shade where the summers are more intense. Most Bellflowers will readily self sow. If they start to look tired and ragged after several blooms, shear or mow them down to a few inches and they will grow back fresher. GOOD CHOICES: Campanula carpatica 'Blue Clips' or 'Blue Chips', C. c. 'White Clips' or 'White Chips'
Centranthus (Red Valerian) Bloom Span: 3-4 Months; Centranthus prefers dry, lean soil, but it blooms longer in cooler climates. In intense heat it will bloom in spring and again as it feels up to it, throughout the summer. Centranthus rarely grows true from seed and is best propagated by cuttings. To be certain of what color you are getting, buy the plant while it is in flower. The plants don't live longer than about 5 years and they resent being divided or every relocated. GOOD CHOICES: Centranthus ruber 'Albus'.
Coreopsis (Tickseed) Bloom Span: 3+ Months; Coreopsis are undemanding plants, but short lived. Either allow them to self-seed or divide the plants every 2-3 years and replant the newer, outer sections. Flower buds form all along the stems, making deadheading a time consuming challenge. Once the initial buds have completed blooming, sheer the plants back by 1/3 to encourage new flower buds. GOOD CHOICES: Coreopsis verticillata 'Zagreb', C.v. 'Golden Showers', C. grandiflora 'Early Sunrise'.
Corydalis lutea (Fumewort) Bloom Span: 4 Months ; Corydalis' ferny foliage and delicate flowers belie its fortitude. This is a plant that prefers partial shade and well drained soil and will find a home in cracks in rocks, on slopes in woodlands and along paths. Once established, Corydalis self sows wherever it can. However it can take years for the seed to germinate, so trying to start your own plants can be frustrating. GOOD CHOICES: You will probably only find the species of C. lutea
Dianthus (Pinks) Bloom Span: 2+ Months; While most Dianthus have a long natural period of bloom, many will rebloom with some deadheading. Several varieties are also evergreen and make nice edging plants. Dianthus does well in any well-drained soil, though it prefers a slight alkalinity. They don't tend to live very long and should be divided or seeded regularly. GOOD CHOICES: Dianthus gratianopolitanus 'Bath's Pink', D. g. 'Cheddar Pink', D. deltoids (Maiden Pink).
Dicentra formosa & Dicentra eximia (Fringed Bleeding Heart) Bloom Span: 3+ Months
Unlike the common bleeding heart (D. spectabilis), cultivars of the fringed species will repeat bloom for most of the summer. D. formosa is a western native while D. eximia is able to handle the heat and humidity of the eastern U.S. The fringed bleeding hearts are smaller plants than D. spectabilis and the flower is not as pronounced a heart shape, but the gray-green ferny foliage and abundance of flowers make it a prize. Most self-seed. GOOD CHOICES: 'Alba' has a pure white flower.
Echinacea purpurea (Coneflower) Bloom Span: 2-3 Months; Having a long bloom period is just on of Echinacea's many attributes. Coneflowers are extremely drought tolerant, attract birds and butterflies and the intense color adds punch to any garden. The tall stalks are self-supporting, unless they've received so much water they become floppy. They require good drainage and full sun. Deadheading will prolong the bloom period. Although Echinacea is slow to spread, division is the best way to get the cultivar you want. The seed heads can be left on through the winter and will provide a treat for neighborhood birds. GOOD CHOICES: Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus", E.p. 'Fragrant Angel', E. "Art's Pride'.
Gaillardia (Blanket Flower) Bloom Span: 3-4 Months; Gaillardia's yellow petals around a burgundy center are impossible to ignore in a garden. All they ask is full sun and they will keep on blooming all summer. Too mush shade and the stems begin to flop. In most cases, deadheading is not necessary for continual bloom, but it can make the plants look tidier. Gaillardia is another short-lived perennial and should be divided or seeded often. GOOD CHOICES: Gaillardia x grandiflora, Gaillardia 'Goblin' (dwarf), G. 'Burgundy', G. 'Monarch'.