One of the easiest perennials to grow, daylilies can give you years of reliable color. Each bloom lasts for one day, but a stem can easily produce two dozen or more buds, and the plant continues to send up new scapes throughout its bloom cycle. There's an embarassment of variety among cultivars, and besides color, height, petal texture and other things, they vary in period of bloom. So if you plan it right, you can have daylilies in bloom from early summer to fall.
Make a Splash
Bee balm blooms in mid to late summer, producing red, white, pink or blue flowers, depending on cultivar. A member of the mint family, bee balm can be aggressive about spreading. Place it where it can comfortably naturalize. A good companion for daylilies, coneflowers and yarrow.
You'll appreciate coral bells (Heuchera sp.) for its flowers in late spring to early summer, but also for its foliage, which varies in texture and color and adds interest to the garden from spring to fall. USDA Zones (3)4 to 8(9), depending on cultivar.
When deadheaded regularly, pincushion flower blooms from late spring to early fall and attracts butterflies and bees. There are annual, perennial and biennial types: the perennial form (Scabiosa columbaria) is hardy in USDA Zones 3 to 9.
With its saucer (or dinner-plate)-sized flowers and large leaves, hardy hibiscus looks tropical, but it's hardy to USDA Zone 4 (and south to Zone 9). Bloom colors include white, pink, red, dusty rose and burgundy.
Balloon flower is a long-lived perennial that thrives without care once established. It blooms from mid to late summer; blue is the most common color, but it also comes in white and pink. USDA Zones 3 to 8
Sunny and Reliable
Black-eyed susan (Rudbeckia) is a vigorous perennial that blooms prolifically from late summer to frost. It tends to naturalize, and it also doesn't need much deadheading. USDA Zones 3 to 8
Coneflower (Echinacea sp.) is another easy-to-grow plant for the perennial garden. Its flowers, appearing in July and August, are loved by butterflies. Its flowers include rosy purple, pink, raspberry, orange, salmon and white, and in a few, the petals may even be rolled.
Loves Wet Soil
Valued for its ability to ability to tolerate wet soils, Japanese iris produces huge (up to 12 inches across) flowers on two- to three-foot stems. USDA Zones 4 to 9.
Months of Bloom
One of the best selections among hardy geraniums, 'Rozanne' flowers from late spring to frost and tolerates heat and humidity. USDA Zones 5 to 8.
Yellow Focal Point
A dramatic plant for the garden in late summer and fall, the swamp sunflower produces bright yellow flowers on 6- to 10-foot plants. Prefers wet soil but can handle dryer conditions if hand watered occasionally. USDA 6 to 9.
Tall and Stately
Unrelated to daylilies, lilies are a broad class of perennials that grow from bulbs and produce showy flowers in summer. Depending on the species and cultivars, lilies are hardy to USDA Zone 3 or 4. Note: lilies can be poisonous to pets.
Native to the western U.S., blanket flower (Gaillardia x grandiflora) flourishes in hot sun, providing dazzling color to the garden when a lot of other plants wilt in the heat. In some parts of the country, blanket flower is a short-lived perennial and is treated as an annual, but it self sows.
Exceptionally Drought Tolerant
Sedums include a broad class of fleshy-leaved perennials that vary in height, color, time and color of bloom. 'Autumn Joy' sedum, shown here, produces its broccoli-like flowers in late summer, and they gradually become bronzy red as fall approaches.
Plumbago, aka leadwort, comes into its own in late summer when blue flowers appear on its carpet of foliage. Then in fall, the leaves turn russet red. This deciduous groundcover tolerates full sun to light shade; where summers are hot, give it light afternoon. USDA Zones 5 to 8.