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How to Use Perennials to Create a Succession of Bloom

Perennial plants bloom each year without the need for replanting, saving both time and money in the garden. Perennials have differing bloom periods, with some blooming early in the spring and other blooming in mid- or late-summer. Planting the perennials so you have a succession of blooms keeps the garden looking fresh throughout the flowering seasons and also ensures there are always bright flowers to add visual interest to the landscaping. Plan your perennial bed around the blooming periods of the plants you choose.

Plant spring blooming bulbs in early fall so they are to first to bloom in late winter or early spring. Use daffodils, tulips, hyacinth and other bulbs that are early bloomers. Plant a mixture of early and late blooming varieties of these bulbs in the middle of the bed to ensure color until the herbaceous perennials begin flowering.

Plant lupine, columbines or other late spring to early summer perennials between the flower bulbs. Place the shorter plants in the forefront of the bed so their foliage and flowers disguise the dying bulb foliage while adding fresh colors to the garden. Plant the taller plant varieties, such as lupine, in the rear of the bed to add further depth the garden.

Place mid-summer flowering plants between the bulb plantings, as they will begin reach full-size and blooming once the bulbs have gone completely dormant. Choose varieties such as larkspur, poppies or primroses. The greenery of the early-summer flowers softens the edge of the bed while these taller plants bloom.

Mix in late summer and fall bloomers with the early summer perennials in the front of the bed for fall color. Use desert zinnia, dwarf carnations and other short plants in this area.

Add tall late summer and fall flowering perennials to the back of the bed. Choose varieties such as anemone or phlox. Or choose plants with attractive seed heads to add winter interest to the garden, such as coneflowers.


Choose perennial plants that have the same water, sun and fertilizer requirements for use in the same bed.

Plant each type of perennial in clusters of three to seven plants, using an odd number in each cluster. This softens the bed as well as making the planting appear more natural.


Draw a map of your garden on graph paper and mark the location of each plant. This way you won't accidentally damage the roots when working the bed during the particular plant's dormant period.

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