Choosing perennials with long blooming periods won’t just bring welcome color to your garden. It will be great for pollinators and other wildlife too.
And what’s good for the wildlife in your garden is good for you.
Here are 20 of the longest blooming perennials for a wildlife-friendly and relatively low maintenance garden:
1. Astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii ‘Bridal Veil’, ‘Fanal’, ‘Pumila’ etc..)
Astilbes (a range of varietals) are fantastic for many gardens. They can work well in partial or full shade. Even in full sun in cooler summer areas.
And they will be in bloom over a long period.
Astilbes to consider include ‘Bridal veil’, with gorgeous white blooms that stand out well in dappled light or even deep shade. These provide interest from early-mid summer right through to fall.
‘Fanal’ is another great long blooming option – with amazing deep red flowers.
‘Pumila’ has purple flowers, and blooms in mid-late summer for great interest all through fall.
2. ‘Autumn Joy’ Stonecrop (Hylotelephium’Herbstfreude’)
Formerly thought of as a sedum, this stonecrop will thrive in a sunny spot with free-draining soil. It blooms in late summer and is well known for providing long-lasting visual interest through fall.
There are a number of different varietals with different flower colors.
But with many, you can expect pinkish flowers, that deepen to rust red or purple as the season progresses.
3. Wood Betony (Betonica officinalis ‘Hummelo’)
Wood betony ‘Hummelo’ is a wonderful long blooming perennial with glossy semi-evergreen leaves and hot pink flower spikes.
It will thrive in full sun or light shade in warmer areas.
The flowers bloom for weeks from early to mid summer. But then the blooms hold their shapes right through into fall, providing structural beauty even after they are done.
4. Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
This plant may be common. But it should not be derided for that.
There is a reason why these cheery flowers are so commonly grown. They are easy to manage, and in most climates, will bloom from June right through to September.
As a perennial, they are relatively short-lived. But it is often possible to allow it to self-seed and become naturalized in the garden.
5. Bleeding Heart ‘Luxuriant’ (Dicentra formosa)
This compact herbaceous perennial is one of the most charming of our longest blooming perennials.
Like other Dicentra, this everblooming option has cute, heart-shaped pink flowers, borne from late spring or early summer right through to fall. Though this is a fern-leaf bleeding heart, so there is interest in the foliage too.
It is densely divided and the flowers dangle gracefully above the frond-like foliage.
Excellent for edging, this plant also works well in containers, and will thrive in part or full shade as long as the soil is reasonably well-drained.
6. Catmint (Nepeta racemosa)
Like many of the other perennials on this list, catmint is a great plant for attracting bees and other pollinators.
It is related to catnip, but is a different Nepeta type, and offers an excellent long-lasting visual display.
‘Walker’s Low’ is the cultivar most often recommended. It has beautiful blue/purple flower spikes that will bloom from spring right through to early fall.
7. Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
Coneflower, Echinacea is another common plant. But it is not only a beautiful plant, but also a useful one to grow.
Its uses as a herbal remedy are relatively well known.
Purple coneflowers typically bloom from June through to the end of August, and are an easy, low-maintenance plant.
They will thrive in full sun, and have good drought tolerance, though in some areas, can also cope with a little shade.
8. Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ (Coreopsis verticillata ‘Moonbeam’)
There are a number of different Coreopsis that will work well in a perennial garden. But ‘Moonbeam’ is one particularly attractive cultivar.
Also known as ‘Tickseed’ this plant produces pale yellow blooms with dark centres that stand out against their delicate foliage.
These attract a range of beneficial pollinators – especially hoverflies and lepidoptera – from June to September.
9. Geranium ‘Rozanne’/ Cranesbill (Geranium ‘Gerwat’ Rozanne)
This hardy geranium or cranesbill is one of the best for many gardens.
It can cope with most conditions except waterlogged soil, and is suitable for sun or shade.
This perennial flowering plant bears flowers in shades of pink, purple and blue from June all the way through to September or even beyond.
10. Ice Plant (Delosperma cooperi)
This long blooming perennial plant forms low-lying masses of brightly colored reddish or purple flowers from June through September.
While this plant may not survive the winter in zone 5 or below, it is generally a trouble free plant in warmer gardens.
It likes full sun and has a relatively high tolerance for drought.
11. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Lavender is one of my favourite flowering perennials. Like other plants on this list, it is useful as well as beautiful, and attracts beneficial insects to your garden.
You can also, of course, enjoy its wonderful fragrance, and use in in a range of ways in your home.
It will bloom with beautiful purple flower spikes all summer long, and if not harvested or pruned away, the dead grey flower heads will continue to provide interest after the flowers fade.
12. Ornamental Onion ‘Millennium’ (Allium ‘Millennium)
This ornamental allium will bloom for a good two months, or even longer in the summer, and is another top plant for attracting pollinators.
The large pinkish purple flowers really do make quite a splash in a sunny and well-drained bed or border.
But even after the flowers have faded, the spent flowers still continue to provide architectural interest through fall and even into the winter months.
13. Perennial Salvias (Salvia x sylvestris, Salvia nemorosa, Salvia farinacea)
If you want a long lasting floral display in your garden, then perennial salvias also provide a range of options.
Salvia x sylvestris, Salvia nemorosa and Salvia farinacea are amongst the longest blooming perennials to consider.
14. Phlox (Phlox paniculata)
Pinkish purple and white varieties of garden phlox can also add interest to your garden right through from July into the fall.
It will do best in a sunny or lightly shaded spot with good air circulation, medium moisture but a free-draining soil.
15. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
The blooms may be small on Russian sage, but they certainly are abundant.
And you’ll have a display of lavender flowers from July right through to October in the right setting. Russian sage requires full sun, and a free-draining soil.
16. Shasta Daisy (Leucantheum x superbum)
Another very well known flowering perennial, the shasta daisy is another common garden choice among those looking for longest blooming perennials.
These cheerful daisies will add a charming and sunny feel to your space from July right through to September.
17. Sneezeweed (Helenium)
Sneezeweed is not to be sneezed at. This is another attractive and cheerful flowering perennial with a long-lasting display.
Deadheading regularly will prolong the blooming period, and with the right management, you can have daisy-like Helenium flowers in your garden from early summer right through to early fall.
18. Spiked Speedwell (Veronica spicata)
Regular shearing can prolong the flowering period of this plant, which produces deep blue/purple/violet, pink or white flowering spikes all summer long.
Choose these for a site in full sun, with a moist yet free-draining soil. The ‘Royal Candles’ cultivar is a great long-blooming option to consider.
19. Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata)
Blue vervain is native to the US and hardy in zones 3-8. This plant is a great choice to attract pollinators, and also works well in a sunny rain garden design.
It is a wildflower that can also find a place in an ornamental garden. This is also a traditional medicinal herb.
The flowers, spiky and blue-purple in color – bloom from midsummer to early autumn.
20. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow is another incredibly useful plant to grow in an ornamental garden.
Traditionally, this plant has white flowers. But it how also comes in a wide array of different shades of yellow, pink and red.
Deadhead (or harvest) the flowers of this medicinal plant and you can enjoy long lasting blooms from June right through to September.
There are, of course, plenty of other long blooming perennials to consider. But this list is a good place to start when planning a planting scheme for long-lasting blooms in your garden.
Remember, however, to think about the requirements of each plant.
Consider the climate, microclimate and soil conditions where you live before choosing flowering plants for your garden.