Summer heat and drought brings a tired look to the flower garden. Plants droop from the heat and many perennials have finished their yearly display of fabulous blooms. The optimum perennial garden design includes plants that bloom at different times to produce a continual color display. Choosing flowers that bloom in later summer can boost the look of that tired flower garden.
The huge flower and seed-filled center of a sunflower doesn't quite match the flower of the false sunflower. False sunflowers grow as a dense plant rather than individual sunflowers. With a growth rate of up to 60 inches, the false sunflower forms a large clump in the garden bed. Flower colors range from yellow to orange. The plant prefers full sun garden locations and well-drained soil. False sunflower works well in cut flower arrangements and is hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9. False sunflower benefits from staking to protect flowers and stems. Avoid dry conditions since this may cause powdery mildew to appear on the plant.
A beautiful plant hides behind the funny name of the perennial fleabane. This member of the aster family likes a full sun location and prefers well-drained garden soil. Fleabane produces delicate purple, pink or violet flowers with yellow centers. The flower is daisy-like with extremely fine individual petals. Fleabane grows to a mature width of 24 inches and reaches heights of up to 24 inches when flowering. Flowers appear in mid summer and continue into the fall with regular deadheading. The abundant flowers on the fleabane may require staking. Fleabane is hardy in zones 2 to 8.
One cool name isn't enough for this late-blooming perennial. The autumn snakeroot is also called Kamchatka bugbane and features beautiful, variegated, purple foliage. This plant produces dramatic, white-plumed flowers up to 4 feet tall. Flowers resemble feathers and stand out starkly against the dark purple foliage of this perennial. Autumn snakeroot spreads up to 2 feet wide and prefers the partial shade garden location. This plant also prefers fertile soil and will tolerate some drought conditions. The bugbane is deer resistant and non-invasive with a mounded growth habit. Autumn snakeroot is hardy in zones 4 to 8. Keep soil consistently moist and protect the plant from over-exposure to full sun to limit leaf scorching. Plants should be cut back in the spring before new growth appears and divided every three years for optimum plant health.