Many gardeners will feel a certain sadness when spring ends, as it means a diminished number of flowers in the garden. By late summer there are even fewer flowers as the garden prepares to transition into fall. Luckily there are a number of flowers that keep their blooms until late summer, or even begin to produce their best flowers in late summer.
Lily of the Nile
Lily of the Nile (Agapanthus africanus) is a lush perennial native to Africa that boasts long, fleshy leaves accented by a tall stalk of bluish purple or lilac flowers. The tubular, butterfly attracting flowers bloom from early to late summer and well into fall. The plant has a sprawling, loose habit and looks best in a naturalized garden. Lily of the Nile is best suited for USDA zones 9A to 10A, in a partial sun or full sun location. A well drained, neutral soil is ideal for this plant, and lily of the Nile can be watered as needed.
Mexican Bush Sage
A member of the mint family, Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha), also sometimes called velvet sage or just Mexican sage, is an evergreen shrub notable for its dense clusters of velvety purple flowers. The plant is an excellent addition to a butterfly garden, as the shrub will attract butterflies in legions (as well as hummingbirds). Mexican bush sage begins producing its purple blooms at the tail end of summer, continuing on into the fall. A native of Central America and Mexico, the plant should be cultivated in USDA zones 8 to 10, ideally in well-drained soil. Mexican bush sage will do best in full sunlight. Though drought tolerant, the plant will look healthier if watered on a regular basis.
Well suited to inhospitable limey soils, the dahlberg daisy (Thymophylla tenuiloba) is a cheery annual that boasts silvery green foliage and bright yellow daisy flowers. A native of South Central Texas, as well as Northern Mexico, dahlberg daisy thrives in full sunlight and loose, well-drained soils. The plant will do best if planted in USDA zones 9B to 11. Dahlberg daisy may produce scattered blooms throughout the spring and early summer, but its strongest flush of flowers comes at the end of summer and continues on into autumn. Dahlberg daisy is drought tolerant, but it will look better with regular watering. The compact plant is commonly used in flower beds and containers.