Q&A: Perennials for Continuous Color

How to create an ongoing show of beautiful blooming perennials.

Q: Which combination of perennials can provide a continuous bloom throughout the growing season?

A: Most perennials bloom only for a few weeks at most, but by choosing early- to late-season bloomers from among different varieties, you can have a continuous show of color from spring through fall. Spring is the easiest season for bloom, of course, with perennials such as irises, peonies, bleeding heart, brunnera, baptisia, creeping phlox, candy tuft and more to choose from. Summer bloomers include Shasta daisy, delphinium, coral bells (Heuchera), campanula, phlox, daylilies (and among those, there are early, mid and late varieties), purple coneflower, yarrow, oriental lilies, lobelia, bee balm, yucca and many salvias. Some perennials, like the cranesbill 'Rozanne' have an exceptionally long period of bloom, from June to first frost.

Rudbeckia typically starts up in midsummer and keeps going until frost. In the fall, asters, chrysanthemums, boltonia, mums, sedums and many sages extend the color. As for winter, hellebores bloom in early winter to early spring, depending on the variety. Note: many perennials straddle the seasons, depending on the cultivar and your region.

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