Planting for Year-Round Color

Spring doesn't have to be the only pretty season in the yard. Here's how to have your yard's other seasons look as good as spring.
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Many species have varieties or cultivars that bloom earlier or later than their cousins. A given variety of daylily blooms about three weeks, but choose from among early-, mid- and late-season varieties, and you'll have daylilies in flower from early summer to fall.

Perennials, shrubs and trees do more than provide color, fragrance, foliage and filler for the garden year after year. Choose your plants carefully and you can have color all year-round.



Many perennials have a two- to three-week heyday of high bloom and then retreat into foliage. The following list is only a bare-bones beginning for your perennial planning. Do a little research and choose the flowers and hues of your liking.


  • Spring-blooming bulbs
  • Bleeding heart (Dicentra), Zones 3-8
  • Foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora), Zones 4-8
  • Peony (Paeonia lactiflora), Zones 3-8
  • Penstemon (Penstemon), Zones 7-10


  • Summer-blooming bulbs
  • Coreopsis (Coreopsis grandiflora), Zones 4-9
  • Daylily (Hemerocallis), Zones 3-10
  • Foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora)
  • Lobelia (Lobelia), Zones 3-9
  • Salvia (Salvia), Zones 4-10
  • Lavender (Lavandula), Zones 5-9
  • Garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), Zones 3-9
  • False sunflower (Heliopsis), Zones 4-9
  • Flowering trees and shrubs, including hydrangea, roses, crape myrtle, goldenrain tree, yellowwood, red buckeye, summersweet.


  • Fall-blooming bulbs
  • New York aster (Aster novi-belgii), Zones 4-8
  • Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Zones 3-10
  • Caryopteris, Zones 6-9

Late Fall

  • Blue sage (Salvia azurea), Zones 9-10 (stalks are wispy; flowers are sky blue in color)
  • Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha), Zones 10-11 (bursts into velvety purple flowers long after most perennials are dormant and blooms into winter; unfortunately, Mexican bush sage is invasive and may need measures to keep it contained)
  • Foliage of numerous shrubs and trees, including sumac, sassafras, red maple.


  • Berries of evergreen and deciduous hollies, hawthorne, etc.
  • Colorful bark, including red-twig dogwood, yellow-twig dogwood, crape myrtle, etc.

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