Great perennials can do so much for a heat-weary garden. Just when you think your garden is about done and all the blooms are fading and looking pitiful, behold the amazing perennials! They are popping color and spreading happiness once again. We have compiled a short list of popular perennials. Look it over. See what you might like to add to your garden.
Joe Pye Weed (native)
At least this native perennial owns its weed status like a boss. Proudly standing wild at 4 to 10 feet tall, you would probably prefer the more domesticated varieties. Little Joe and Baby Joe are your best options for this major pollinator attraction. Little Joe grows to a maximum of 4ft., while Baby Joe maxes out at around 3ft. I think they should keep working on it…I would like to see an 18-inch max. Patience. (exhales with disappointment) Anyway, on with our informational words about Joe Pye weed. Beginning to bloom in July, it will maintain its large mauve-colored domes of tiny flowers until October. Full sun to part shade and consistent moisture make the Joe Pye very happy. You will have butterflies until they go wherever butterflies go for the winter. It is a sad story so I won’t tell it.
Bee Balm (native)
Native- Bee Balm is a very fragrant perennial. Winter hardy from Zone 9 up to Zone 3. It would be hard to match the beauty of these bloomers. They are not only beautiful themselves but they also attract beauty. Birds, bees, and butterflies all enjoy a pit stop at a clump of bee balm. Their blooms resemble a mop head or a bad case of bed head. But this lovely plant wears it better than Einstein. When winter comes, that’s when the birds take their turn at the blooms. Bee balm comes in colors dark red, lavender, purple, pink, and white. While they attract things that fly, they are land-critter resistant. So until bunnies and deer begin to fly, your beautiful bee balm will be safe.
Black-eyed Susan (native)
Another very popular perennial is the black-eyed Susan. You may see these growing wild just about everywhere. Adding them to your wildflower garden or into a sunny perimeter seems like it is meant to be. This native is amazingly tough. It can survive the cruelest of summers. It is heat and drought-tolerant and also doesn’t mind hard soil. Guess what? This plant will also bring the flyers to you. Plus, the birds will love you for it in the winter when you forget to fill your feeders.
Chrysanthemum ( large genus of the asteraceae or, Daisy family)
Mums will start showing their true colors around mid-August. Sometimes they can be a little pickier than the other perennials. Mums come back from the root, not from the seed. It may be a good idea to cover them well in the winter with mulch. This will protect the roots from an unpredictable winter. Strategic planting may keep you from buying new mums every fall. Simply let your scarecrow, pumpkins, and straw bales hang out wherever the mums are. You shouldn’t have to worry about Bambi or Buggs either, it’s not on their menu.
Otherwise known as coneflower, echinacea is also a native. They form clumps of upright stems that support a purple or dark pink bloom. Tough as nails, the coneflower is heat and drought-tolerant. Aside from their gorgeous flowers, they also have some health benefits. Attracting all the pollinators you could want might be the best thing about coneflower. Plus, the birds will still love you when you haven’t filled the feeder and think you are trying to starve them this winter.
Goldenrod? Yes, goldenrod. Known by most as a weed, the goldenrod is a beautiful native addition to any wildflower garden. As a cut flower, the goldenrod adds sunshine to any arrangement. Paired with your coneflower and black-eyed Susan cuttings, you can add some laurel branches and it will give the best flower shop around a run for their money. With full sun and well-drained soil, you will have no problem getting it to grow. Even in less-than-ideal soil. Goldenrod is a go-to for naturalizing areas in your landscape. It is a native plant that grows to be 24 to 36 inches in height. Placed at the back or midsection of a planned garden will allow it to show its stuff. Guaranteed to shine brighter than anything Midas ever touched. Mitchell’s grows a shorter variety, Little Lemon.
Autumn Joy Stonecrop (10 varieties of sedum are native to N.C)
What’s not to love about this amazing perennial? In a world full of seasonal encores, this one is, in my opinion, everything anyone could ever want. It starts to bloom when everything from spring is just about done. So it lends itself to the continuation of color in your landscape. Heat and drought-tolerant, the summer has nothing on this charmer. Growing 18 to 24 inches tall, Autumn Joy produces blooms that dome at the top of the sturdy stems. The tiny buds start out pink and gradually darken through the season until finally, they sing their farewell song around the end of October. And of course, the butterflies and bees love it!
Balloon Flower (non-native)
This small, but no less amazing perennial, gets its name from its blooms prior to opening. Balloon flowers are clump-forming and come in blue, pale pink, and white. Full sun to partial shade is what they prefer, but will do well most anywhere as long as they have, or can receive consistent moisture. However, well-drained soil is best as they don’t care for wet feet. This encore performer, a.k.a perennial, has a much shorter stance than the others. At maturity, you can expect about 24 inches. Mitchell’s grows the dwarf variety- Sentimental Blue, which is a dwarf and maxes out about 6-12″.
Well, there you have it. Excellent perennials that serve all kinds of purposes… Offering beauty when your spring flowers fade under the summer sun and heat. Plant some of these and enjoy them for years to come and, as always…Happy Gardening.