Are you looking for a low-effort way to keep the color going in your landscape as long as possible? If so, consider incorporating a selection of long-blooming perennials into your outdoor space. Fortunately, there are several perennial flowers that bloom from spring to fall, even in cool-temperature zones. Planting perennials that bloom in spring, summer, and fall is a great way to ensure that your yard has colorful flowers for most of the year.
Knock Out Roses
If you are looking to maximize fall, winter, and spring color in your yard, plant some Knock Out® roses (Rosa hybrida 'Radrazz') in sunny spots that get at least six hours of full sun. Knock Out roses bloom profusely in spring, then continue to bloom (though less profusely) all the way through summer and fall until the first hard frost. They can reach between three and 10 feet tall, with an equivalent spread. Pruning is recommended. These lovely perennials are hardy in USDA Zones 5 - 10.
Flower Carpet Roses
Flower Carpet® roses (Rosa x) provide a more compact way to enjoy long-lasting rose blooms for most of the year. These low-growing, shrubby perennials flower throughout spring, summer, and fall. Flower Carpet roses require full sun. They reach one to two feet tall and have a spread of two to three feet. These gorgeous groundcover plants are very easy to grow and maintain. They are available in several colors, including coral, pink, red, white, and yellow. Carpet roses are hardy in USDA Zones 4 - 10.
Drift® roses (Rosa hybrida 'Drift') are an even more compact long-blooming rose option. These hybrid roses were created by crossing miniature roses with groundcover roses, resulting in a sturdy, disease-resistant, compact plant that blooms in spring, summer, and fall. Drift Roses require full sun. They grow to one or two feet tall and have an equivalent spread. They come in a variety of colors including coral, pink, peach, yellow, and white. They are hardy in USDA Zones 4 - 10.
Hardy Ice Plant
Hardy ice plant (Delosperma cooperi) is a compact, long-blooming perennial succulent that produces gorgeous pink or light purple blooms in late spring, summer, and fall. Hardy ice plant stays under six inches tall, and it spreads as it grows, so it is often used as a border plant or ground cover. It requires at least six hours of sun per day. This plant is hardy in USDA Zones 6 - 10. There are a number of other ice plant varieties, but this one is the most cold-hardy and blooms the longest.
Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea), also commonly known as purple coneflower, is a long-blooming perennial that's valued as much for its medicinal benefits as it is for its beauty. Echinacea will grow in full sun or partial shade and blooms straight through from spring until the first frost. It grows from three to four feet tall and ranges from one to two feet wide. Echinacea is hardy in USDA Zones 3-8.
Fern-Leaf Bleeding Heart
Fern-leaf bleeding heart (Dicentra 'Luxuriant') is a great long-blooming option for your garden. It's an herbaceous perennial that's hardy in USDA Zones 3-9. It has beautiful frilly foliage and produces lovely dangling pink flower pendants from late spring until early autumn. It can grow to a bit over one foot tall and spread up to 18 inches wide. This versatile plant can grow in the ground or in a container. It thrives in full sun, part shade, or shade.
Yellow fumitory (Corydalis lutea) also has elongated flowers, and--as indicated by the name--the petals are yellow. This perennial starts blooming in late spring and continues until fall's first frost. It thrives in full sun or part shade. Yellow fumitory can reach a height of up to 18 inches and can spread an equivalent amount. It is also self seeds, so it spreads easily. This plant is hardy in USDA Zones 4-8.
Dragon Wing Begonia
Dragon wing begonia (Begonia x hybrida 'Dragon Wings') is an interspecific hybrid begonia that starts blooming in May and keeps on producing gorgeous red flowers until the first frost of fall. This plant requires full or at least part shade. It reaches between one foot and 18 inches in height with an equivalent spread. It is perennial only in USDA Zones 10 and 11. It still blooms in spring, summer, and fall in other areas, but it won't overwinter outdoors in Zones below 10.
Planning Your Perennial Garden
Now that you know which perennials produce flowers in spring, summer, and fall, you can start working them into your overall garden site plan. When creating a perennial garden layout, it's a good idea to figure out where you are going to place your longest blooming perennials--like the ones listed above--first. Doing so will help you decide how to best utilize shorter blooming perennials to make the most of your garden in all seasons, as well as help you get a sense of how to best incorporate annual flowers and plants into your landscape.