Blooms You Can Bet On

I’m sure you’ve heard that a well-designed garden should include plants prized for their striking foliage, as well as some that produce fall color or berries, and others that provide good structure in winter. But lets face it: most of us want FLOWERS… and lots of them. All the time. That’s where the plants listed below come in. They’ll churn out blooms for weeks on end this summer. In most cases, you can harvest armloads to fill vases or give away, and still have plenty left to enjoy in your garden beds well into the fall.

Check out my suggestions below:

Perennial Hibiscus (H. moscheutos)

Also known as rose-mallow and swamp hibiscus, this garden standout was bred from wildflowers native to the East and South. Huge red, pink or white flowers can be as much as a foot across on stems that range from 2 to 8 feet high, depending on the variety. Flowers bloom from late spring until frost. Stems die back to the ground each winter.

Requires full sun; regular to abundant water.

Purple Wave Petunia (Petunia F1 ‘Wave Purple’)

Before 1995, when this hybrid was named an All-America Selection winner, gardeners thought of petunias as upright plants. Purple Wave petunias (and later Wave introductions in pinks and lilac) are more like vines—perfect for growing in hanging pots, along retaining walls or even as a ground cover.

Requires full sun; regular water.

Profusion Zinnias (Z. hybrida)

 Grow zinnias if you want to be able to cut armloads of flowers for bouquets and still have a bright band of color alongside a path or a lawn. All zinnias thrive in hot weather, but Profusion zinnias keep on blooming well into fall, whatever the weather. Profusion White, Orange and Cherry, which have daisy-like flowers, each have won multiple garden awards. If you want fluffy pom-poms, look for double Profusion varieties in cherry, gold, white and “fire,” an orange-red.Requires full sun; regular water.

Globe Amaranth (Gomphrena globosa)

For year-round enjoyment, these clover-like flower heads are hard to beat. The papery flowers last a long time in the garden and in fresh bouquets, and the blooms are easy to dry for use in wintertime arrangements. Depending on the variety, flowers are white, red, pink, lilac or purple. ‘Strawberry Fields,’ with bright red blossoms, and ‘All Around Purple’ are two standouts.

Requires full sun to partial shade; moderate water.

Sea Holly (Eryngium)

If you want to add contrast to a flowerbed or to fresh or dried flower arrangements, this dramatic spiky plant is a great choice. It resembles thistle, but the flower colors blend in more with the prickly blue-green leaves, which are often streaked with silver. Alpine sea holly (E. alpinum) is a deep steel blue, while E. amethystinum is more silvery blue. Miss Willmott’s Ghost (E. giganteum) produces especially striking conical flowers, each surrounded by a wreath of silvery, spikey bracts.

Requires full sun; moderate to regular water.

Stella de Oro Daylily (Hermerocallis)

Tough and trouble-free, daylilies produce showy flowers above a mound of sword-shaped leaves. Whether in the garden or in a vase, each blossom lasts just one day; they are daylilies, after all. But each stem holds numerous buds that open on successive days. Low-growing Stella de Oro keeps churning out new stems with a profusion of golden-yellow blossoms for up to five months, far longer than most daylilies.

Requires full sun to light shade; regular water.

Evergreen Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)

Small clusters of delicate white flowers appear in low-growing clumps in spring, and continue into the fall. The shiny, dark-green leaves stay on all winter, so the plant remains attractive year-round.

Requires full sun to part shade; regular water.

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