If you're like most gardeners, you'll make one or two trips to a garden centre in Spring and call it a year. So unfortunate. Many wonderful and interesting plants don't look the best during the coolness of spring. They need summer heat to look their best.
Summer blooming perennials tend to be sun-lovers and are often drought tolerant once established. Most prefer well drained soils and will probably suffer if left with wet feet (ie overly moist soil). A lot of them are also low maintenance and easy to care for making them ideal for your garden during extended vacations and less time spent at home doing garden tasks.
So with that said, here are some of our favourites flowers for summer:
A summer time favourite with white, trumpet shaped, fragrant flowers. Prefers full sun and needs good drainage. Winter protection or indoor storage is required to ensure survival. Grows to 75cm in height. Hardy to zone 9.
Durban Canna Lily
These warm season, water loving plants are a favourite for adding lush tropical colour to the garden. Large, banana like leaves offer a multitide of colour topped with tropical looking bright coloured flowers. Flowers appear from July until October. Excellent in containers or near pools or water gardens. Grows to a height of 48 inches and a spread of 24 inches. Prefers full sun. In late fall, before heavy frosts, dig and lift out the bulb and store in a cool, dry frost free location.
Glacier Blue Euphorbia
Euphorbia characias 'Glacier Blue'
This Mediterranean-looking evergreen perennial features white and blue-green foliage topped by tiny red flowers in on green-yellow bracts. The plant is compact and self-branching. Great for containers, rock gardens and mixed borders. Blooms in spring and summer. Grows 12-24 inches in height with a similar spread. Prefers sun to part shade and well drained soil. Cut old shoots to promote new growth.
Sombrero Salsa Red Coneflower
Echinacea x hybrida Sombrero Salsa Red
After surviving two plus years of echinacea overload, Salsa Red has forever changed our minds about Echinaceas, This is a fabulous plant with rich, deep red, abundant flowers atop a sturdy, compact plant. It also attracts butterflies! Ideal for a wide range of landscapes including perennial gardens, wildflower areas, cutting and mixed gardens. Will tolerate periods of drought once established. Blooms in mid-summer through early fall. Prefers full sun and well drained soil. Grows 20-24 inches in height and 18-22 inches in spread. Hardy to USDA zone 5.
Midknight Blue Agapanthus
Agapanthus x 'Monmid'
An exciting introduction with deep violet-blue flowers held in tight clusters on tall stalks. Lush strap-like foliage is bright green. Great for borders and containers. Needs some winter protection in our climate. Prefers full sun and well drained soil. Flowers in mid spring through summer. Grows 3-4ft in height and 1-2ft wide, Hardy to USDA zone 6.
Ruby Spider Daylily
Hemerocallis x 'Ruby Spider'
This wonderful, award winning perennial delivers enormous 9 inch dark ruby red flowers with intriguing, spatula-shaped petals that open wide and flat, displaying golden-yellow throats. Plant en masse for stunning visual impact. Adaptable to dry conditions and tolerant of pollution, coastal locations and even black walnut trees. Herbaceous. Flowers from early to mid-summer. Prefers full to part sun and moist, but well drained soils. Grows 3-34 inches in height and 24 inches wide. Hardy to USDA zone 4.
Echo Mango Poker
Kniphofia 'Echo Mango'
Flower spikes in a soft, warm shade of apricot rise above the green, strap-like foliage for great architectural interest. Best in warm, well drained locations. Great in beds, borders, rock gardens and xeriscape gardens. Prefers full sun and well drained soil. Fertilize in spring and summer for best blooming. Drought tolerant. Repeat bloomer. Grows to 24-36 inches in height and 24 inches wide. Hardy to -10F
A classic summer garden favourite. Tall green arching, almost sword-like stems produce clusters of intesely red blooms in mid to late summer. Great specimen plant that attracts butterflies and hummingbirds too! Can also be used in containers, borders or even as a cut flower. Prefers full sun and any well drained soil. Drought tolerant once established. Grows 36-48 inches in height and 12-24 inches wide.
Arizona Sun Blanketflower
Gaillardia aristata 'Arizona Sun'
This hardy, compact perennial forms a bush of lance-shaped, hairy, gray-green leaves and is topped with a mass of large daisy-like flowers that have a reddish disk surrounded by radiant red petals tipped with blazing gold. Blooms in June through September. Salt tolerant and deer resistant. Makes a great cut flower and is attractive to butterflies. Drought tolerant once established. Prefers to be planted in full sun in moist, but well drained soil. Grows 8-10 inches in height and up to 12 inches across. Hardy to Zone 3.
Short and Sassy Sneezeweed
Helenium 'Short and Sassy'
Short and Sassy is a shorter version of the straight species Helenium that produces flowers earlier in the season until well into the fall. Newer flowers tend to hide the spent blooms giving it a fresh appearance all season. Great when mass-planted, in beds, borders and even patio pots. Attractive to both bees and butterflies. Prefers to be planted in full sun and moist, but well drained soil. Grows to a 12-18 inches in height and up to 24 inches across. Hardy to zone 4.
Achillea millefolium 'Paprika'
This cottage garden favourite produces large clusters of ruby-red flowers with a yellow center. Blooms rise above the foliage up to 36 inches high. Light green, fern-like foliage is attractive in its own right. Makes a great cut flower, fresh or dried. Easy to grow in full sun and any well drained location. Remove spent flowers for best bloom. Blooms from summer through early fall. Spreads to 18 inches across. Extremely hardy to -40F.
Lavender is a popular favourite for summer flower gardens. Greyish, aromatic evergreen leaves on a compact plant make them excellent in the garden or in containers. Spikes of lavender blue flowers bloom from June through August. Height depends on variety, but 12-24 inches in height is common. Spread usually matches height. Attracts bees and butterflies. Makes a great fresh cut or dried flower. Prefers full sun and well drained soil. Hardy to zone 4, but needs good drainage otherwise it can rot during wet winters. Excellent varieties include 'Munstead', 'Hidcote Blue' and the new variegated 'Platinum Blond'.
Coral Reef Bergamot
Monarda 'Coral Reef'
Unique, deep coral-pink flowers are excellent for cutting and attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. Deep green leaves have a good milder resistance. Flowers from mid-summer to early fall. Reaches a height of 30-36 inches with a similar spread. Grow in any moderately fertile, well drained soil in full sun to part shade. Excellent for herbaceous borders and perennial gardens.
Hydrangea paniculata 'Bobo'
To round out this group of summer blooming plants we have a new white hydrangea. This dwarf plant in engulfed by white flowers in summer. Very hardy, it blooms every year and is a great addition to smaller landscapes. Bobo is an adaptable shrub but prefers part shade and a good loamy soil. Prune back in late winter or early spring. Grows 30-36 inches tall.
Don't be shy when using these plants. Most, if not all, look fantastic when grouped in three's, five's or even larger clusters. By mass planting, you are creating an incredible display of summer-time colour. To prove a point, I've even seen an entire 100ft long short hedge made entirely of lavender.
If you have any questions about these plants, or would like us to put a few on hold for you, give us a call at Art's Nursery Ltd, 604.882.1201. As always, please call ahead to confirm availability as our selection is always changing.