While fall is a season with its own attractive attributes, we can’t help but feel disappointed when the bright colors of summer start to fade to muted hues of autumn. Fortunately, there’s a straightforward solution to extending those bright summer colors: planting late summer blooming perennials.
Careful planning is needed to ensure your garden designs are logical and your plant groupings work together for aesthetic purposes—and coinciding plant care requirements. Ideally, you want your late summer blooming perennials to provide gorgeous color while hiding the spent, browning foliage of your early spring and mid-summer blooming plants. The following are just a few of our favorite late summer blooming perennials.
Blooming Perennials for Late Summer Color
Asters are an herbaceous perennial that produces delicate, daisy-like flowers beginning in late August and continuing into October. When you think of an Aster, you most likely imagine them as purple, but they also offer shades of pink, blue, and white.
If you want a natural appearance in your garden, Asters are a great choice; they’re native to North America, and their resemblance to daisies provides an instant wildflower look. Asters like full sun and can grow between one to six feet tall and one to four feet wide. This versatile plant likes loamy, well-draining soil with a slightly acidic pH.
Another benefit of this late summer perennial is you’ll see it blooming abundantly the same year it’s planted. These perennials are such fast growers that you get instant gratification instead of waiting a year for them to establish fully.
Hardy Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum spp)
Chrysanthemums are divided into two categories: hardy or garden mums and florist mums. The main difference between the two is simply that florist mums will not survive a winter here in the Quad Cities, but hardy mums can, although they’ll need a layer of mulch to protect their root systems (their overwintering success really depends on how severe our winter is, and how established the roots are before frost).
Mums are a classic late summer blooming perennial, and for a good reason. There are many kinds of mums ranging in different colors, shapes, and single or double petal varieties. You’ll start to see the flower show at the beginning of September through to October.
For the best color and to avoid leggy plants, place your mums in a location that gets full sun to partial shade. This herbaceous perennial grows between four and thirty-six inches tall and twelve to thirty-six inches wide, depending on the variety.
Mums prefer rich, well-drained soil containing humus, and a soil pH between 6.5 and 6.7. These blooming perennials like to be fertilized throughout their late summer growing season, and your well-established plants should be divided every two or three years.
Japanese Anemone (Anemone spp.)
Another favorite perennial for late summer blooming is the Japanese Anemone. This plant produces five delicate heart-shaped petals lending it the appearance of a tiny poppy. These blooming perennials offer an assortment of vibrant colors that will undoubtedly bring your late summer garden back to life. For optimal color, plant your Japanese Anemone in a spot that receives full sun to partial shade and in rich soil with a pH between 5.6 and 7.5.
Joe Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum)
This attractive herbaceous perennial is native to the Eastern and central parts of North America. For that reason, Joe Pye Weed is a low-maintenance and fast-growing plant; however, despite its name, this plant does not resemble a weed at all. Five-to seven-foot-tall stems produce clusters of small mauve flowers that tower above the attractive dark green foliage.
Joe Pye Weed produces a light vanilla fragrance that will keep pollinators busy in your garden before they bed down for the winter. This perennial can grow between two and four feet wide, and prefers slightly acidic soil. Joe Pye Weed likes to be planted in full sun to partial shade and needs to be kept consistently moist. Adding a layer of mulch will help retain moisture in the soil and prevent it from getting too dry.
Now that you have an idea of some great blooming perennials for late summer, stop into our garden center here in beautiful Moline, Illinois. Our knowledgeable team can help answer any questions you have about pairing early summer and late summer perennials—and help you choose from our abundant selection!