Alison Caldwell, CNLP
Everyone wants plants with non-stop color from thaw to frost in their garden. While there are many long blooming perennials, the trick is the succession of color from season to season and from shade to sun.
Flowering shade perennials are a spring showcase, enjoying the cooler temperatures to strut their stuff. Flowers such as hellebores, columbine, violas and bleeding heart will bloom for weeks in the early, cooler season.
When the heat of summer starts pushing up the temperature, long blooming sun lovers take the stage. Most of these plants would be at home in a meadow, happily mixed with grasses in the sunshine, but they are perfectly suited for the sunny border. Whether you are starting a garden from scratch or looking to fill in a spot, any of the plants listed below would be a great addition to your garden design.
These are some of my favorites, several of which are past Perennial Plant of the Year™ winners.
#1. Becky Shasta Daisy: Pure white petals with yellow center, a must have for the cutting garden. (2003 winner)
#2. Moonbeam Coreopsis: Pale butter yellow flowers that are just as pretty at night. (1993 winner)
#3. Rozanne Geranium: Large blue-violet flowers over leaves that turn red in the fall. (2008 winner)
#4. Russian Sage: Dramatic texture and height with silver foliage and blue flowers. (1995 winner)
#5. Magnus Coneflower: Growing up to 3’ tall with rosy pink flowers – great butterfly attractor. (1998 winner)
#6: Walkers Low Nepeta: Fragrant velvety foliage with blue flowers that just keep going! (2007 winner)
#7. May Night Salvia: Deep purple blue spikes of flowers that mix well with daylilies (1997 winner)
#8. Goldsturm Rudbeckia: Golden yellow petals with brown centers – a cottage garden essential! (1999 winner)
#9. Autumn Joy Sedum: Mauve pink flowers late summer, attracts butterflies, drought resistant.
#10. Stella D’Oro Daylily: Bright golden yellow trumpets with grass like foliage.
What is a Perennial Plant of the Year™? A Perennial Plant of the Year is a perennial that is a standout among its competitors. Winners are chosen by The Perennial Plant Association based on the plants ability to be suitable for a wide range of growing climates, low maintenance requirements, multi-season interest, and its ability to be relatively pest/disease-free. For more information about The Perennial Plant Association or Perennial Plant of the Year™, visit: http://www.perennialplant.org/
Read about our favorite Perennials for Shade here.