Immerse yourself in the beauty of late summer flowers and the vibrant colors they bring to your garden. Here are my top picks to create a blooming oasis during this season.
- Buddleja (Butterfly Bush)
- Hebe Addenda
- Cardinal Flower
- Black-eyed Susan
Don’t miss out on the enchantment of late summer flowers in your garden! Plant these beautiful varieties and enjoy a colorful paradise that will attract bees, butterflies, and countless admirers.
Aster: A resilient perennial that blooms well into the autumn months
Bees and butterflies adore this cheerful plant, seeking scarce nectar in its flowers from August to October. With around 600 known varieties, asters come in a range of colors, from purple and lilac with yellow centers to pure white and vibrant pink. These upright plants with long, narrow green leaves have an herbaceous charm that complements any perennial border. They also make delightful additions to pots and containers on your terrace.
Asters are strong plants that can withstand early autumn frosts without a scratch. They thrive in fertile, slightly moist soil and prefer a sunny spot. While they are not evergreen, you can prune them back to ground level in spring. When fully grown, their height ranges from 40 to 100 centimeters. Some well-known aster varieties include Aster Amellus, Aster Ericoides, Aster x Frikartii, Aster Laterifolius, Aster Novae, and Aster Novi-Belgii.
Late Summer Flowers: Buddleja (Butterfly Bush) for a Burst of Color
Buddleja (Butterfly Bush): Aptly named the butterfly bush, Buddleja is a beloved favorite among butterflies. The heather-like flowers gracefully hang from the branches, forming plume-shaped clusters that can reach up to 25 centimeters in length. Depending on the weather, the flowers appear in July and continue to bloom until September, providing a stunning display of late summer flowers. The more sun they receive, the more abundant the blooms. You can find butterfly bushes in various colors, ranging from light to dark purple, pink, yellow, orange, and white. These bushes come in different heights, ranging from approximately 80 centimeters to an impressive 400 centimeters.
Buddleja thrives in sunny locations and doesn’t have strict soil requirements, as it can even grow well in poor, dry soil. However, it’s important to prune the bushes in early spring, once the last severe frost has passed. Trim them back to about 30 centimeters above the ground, and they’ll grow back to their mature height. Notably, popular Buddleja varieties include Buddleja Davidii, Buddleja Alternifolia, Buddleja globosa, and Buddleja Weyeriana.
Dahlia: These robust, luxurious bloomers are perfect for late summer borders
Once considered passé, dahlias have made a remarkable comeback. The flowering time depends on when you plant the tubers. If you plant them in the ground after the last frost in May, they’ll bloom from late summer until autumn. However, you can also start them indoors to enjoy earlier blooms. There are 42 dahlia species with thousands of varieties available. Dahlias thrive in sunny spots with well-drained, moist soil. Larger-flowered and taller varieties may require support to prevent them from toppling over. In autumn, you should dig up the tubers, as they are not frost-tolerant.
Dahlias come in heights ranging from 40 to over 100 centimeters, and the color options are abundant, including yellow, orange, red, purple, lilac, pink, white, black, and even multicolored varieties. Dahlias can be categorized into various forms, such as anemone-flowered, peony-flowered, cactus dahlias, single dahlias, collarette dahlias, star dahlias, and waterlily dahlias.
Hebe Addenda, blooming every year until October
Hebe Addenda, also known as Veronicastruik, is a flowering shrub that reaches an average height of about 70 centimeters. They are easy to plant in the border but also look beautiful in a pot. Hebes are great plants for attracting butterflies and bees. The cylindrical spikes bloom in colors like pink, purple, and blue. They are stunning and bloom every year until October. In some cases, they may even continue blooming until November, depending on frost.
These evergreen plants require some protection during harsh frosts to survive. They prefer a lightly sheltered spot in your garden, not in full sun all day. Hebe is available in many varieties, sizes, and colors. The foliage of Hebe can range from light gray to dark and light green. Some options to choose from include Hebe Ochracea, Hebe ‘Autumn Glory’, Hebe Pinguifolia, Hebe Buxifolia, Hebe Donna, Hebe Classica, Hebe Petita, and Hebe Granda.
Hibiscus, pink, white, or purple flowers until October
Hibiscus, also known as Altheastruik, is a shrub with impressive blooming. There are many varieties of this plant, but only Hibiscus Syriacus is suitable for surviving in our climate. It is a deciduous shrub with beautiful bell-shaped flowers that can reach up to 10 centimeters in diameter. The colors range from pink, red, white to purple. The first flowers appear in July, and the blooming can continue until October. Each flower remains open for a maximum of 3 days. The branches carry a high number of flower buds, ensuring continuous blooming. The shrub can grow up to 3 meters in height.
The plant thrives in a well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. It prefers a sunny and sheltered location for optimal flower production. Young plants require some protection against moderate to severe frost in winter. For compact blooming, it’s best to prune the shrub each spring, although pruning is not mandatory.
Lobelia Fungens, striking flowers until September
Lobelia Fungens stands out with its unique blooming pattern. It is a plant with distinct foliage, flowers, or form and is easy to combine with other plants. This species is available as an annual or perennial plant. It performs exceptionally well in a perennial border, with an average height of about 80 centimeters. The available colors for Lobelia are red with purple leaves (Lobelia Fungens ‘Queen Victoria’), blue, and purple. You can enjoy these striking flowers from July until September.
Lobelia prefers heavier soil types and a slightly moist ground. It requires a bit more attention and is considered a plant for enthusiasts. Most lobelias do not survive Dutch winters, but varieties such as Lobelia Fungens ‘Queen Victoria’ and Lobelia Hadspen Purple are suitable for our climate. It’s important to protect the plant from frost during winter. Some notable perennial varieties of lobelia include Lobelia Cardinalis, Lobelia Siphilitica, Lobelia x Gerardii or Vedrariensis, and Lobelia Angustifolia.
Persicaria, a robust perennial with brightly colored flower spikes
The brightly colored flower spikes of this plant appear throughout the summer until September. It is a strong perennial that remains evergreen even in winter. The low-growing varieties make excellent ground covers. There are different types of Persicaria, ranging in height from 10 to 200 centimeters. Persicaria comes in various colors, including light pink, hot pink, dark pink, light purple, purple, dark purple, and white. Not only are the flowers attractive in your border, but the diversity of leaf colors also adds to its beauty.
The plant prefers a sunny spot but can tolerate light shade. It does not have too many soil requirements but prefers slightly moist soil. Maintenance-wise, Persicaria is easy to care for. If you feel the plant is becoming too large, you can divide it. This can be done in early spring or autumn. Simply dig up a portion of the plant with a spade and replant it elsewhere. The plant will continue to grow on its own.
Some Persicaria varieties include Persicaria amplexicaulis, Persicaria virginiana, and Persicaria affinis.
Rudbeckia: Vibrant Late Summer Flowers for a Cheerful Garden
Rudbeckia, also known as Coneflower or Black-eyed Susan, is a daisy-like plant with upright stems and flowers featuring a large central disc. It is a cheerful and easy-to-care-for garden plant that blooms from summer to autumn with yellow, green, and orange late summer flowers. As the name “Coneflower” suggests, this plant loves a sunny spot. The height of Rudbeckia ranges from 40 to 175 centimeters. If you don’t trim the faded flowers in autumn, they will provide a beautiful silhouette in your border or garden throughout winter. You can cut back the spent flowers in spring for the next blooming season. The withered leaves can also be pruned at the same time since Rudbeckia is not an evergreen plant. In addition to perennial varieties, there are also Rudbeckia varieties that are annual or biennial.
Rudbeckia thrives in all fertile soil types. Ensure good drainage, as the plant does not like wet feet. One of its great characteristics is that it attracts bees and butterflies. There are various sizes and types available. Rudbeckia fulgida is a compact variety suitable for smaller borders, while Rudbeckia nitida is taller. Rudbeckia laciniata lacks the characteristic brown flower center, and Rudbeckia occidentalis has green petals, making the brown flower center stand out even more.
Salvia, a hardy plant that blooms until late autumn
Salvia, also known as Sage, thrives in full sun. It is a robust and winter-hardy plant that bees, butterflies, and bumblebees adore for its nectar. The plant can continue to bloom from summer until late autumn. If you deadhead the spent flowers after the first bloom, the plant will produce a second round of blooms in the same year. Salvia comes in heights ranging from 30 to 150 centimeters and in colors ranging from blue, purple, pink, red, white, to yellow.
The true Salvia, Salvia officinalis, is commonly used as a culinary herb.
Salvia is tolerant of dry soil conditions. It prefers well-draining and moderately fertile soil. There are over 900 species of annual, biennial, and perennial Salvia available. They can be broadly categorized as herbaceous plants (Salvia officinalis) and flowering border plants (Salvia nemorosa and Salvia verticillata). Salvia officinalis varieties offer a diversity of leaf colors. A well-known sturdy variety is Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna,’ which can be planted in borders, is winter-hardy, and has dark violet spikes. Its stems are also dark purple. Salvia verticillata ‘Alba’ is a robust variety with white spikes, reaching a height of about 70 centimeters. Planting them in groups can create a beautiful display.
Sedum, a ground-covering plant with autumn flowers
Sedum, another plant loved by bees and butterflies, is a robust, succulent plant that belongs to the stonecrop family. There are variations in flower and leaf colors as well as leaf thickness among different Sedum species. Sedum can be divided into ground-covering types and upright perennials. They bloom in colors such as pink, red, white, and yellow. The upright varieties, which are the perennials, mainly bloom in autumn. They are often planted in rock gardens but can also thrive in borders.
Sedum prefers a dry, slightly sandy soil. Leave the flowers intact in autumn because cutting them off can lead to moisture getting into the hollow stems. This moisture can freeze during frost, potentially causing the plant to die. New shoots will develop in spring, and after the last frost, you can remove the old withered flower stalks and leaves. Sedum reflexum, also known as Stonecrop, is a good variety that blooms with yellow flowers in autumn. It is a wintergreen type. Sedum hybrida ‘Herbstfreude,’ commonly known as Autumn Joy, is a true autumn bloomer. This pink-flowering variety reaches a height of about 50 centimeters.