We are now at that late summer, almost fall point in the season and if you planted mostly spring blooming flowers, your garden can start to look a little drab right about now. Late summer flowers are some of the most vibrant and can really spice up a garden this time of year. Most nurseries will still have some of these gorgeous flowers available and although some don’t have a long bloom season (most end in fall) they are still totally worth the space.
It used to be the only sunflowers available were the yellow Mammoth sunflowers. Still gorgeous, tall and a treat for the birds, but there are so many more available. Look for these types of shorter, florist sunflowers as seed in spring so that you can enjoy their end of summer gorgeousness. (These were taken at the Avila Valley Barn, Avila Beach CA)
To grow, check out Botanical Interest’s sunflower mixes. Or these mixes. Sunflowers are best planted in the ground after all chance of frost has passed (around late March) in well amended soil. Keep moist and water deeply throughout the growing season.
Love sunflowers but don’t want to replant each year? Try Rudbeckia. Perennial plants that will live several years in the garden. They go semi-dormant over winter, come up in spring and bloom, bloom, bloom in late summer
Two of my favorites, first Rudbeckia hirta because you can’t beat a classic. Butterflies will visit the flowers and goldfinches will dine on the seeds when they have finished blooming. The second Rudbeckia Autumn Forest. You will find them in one gallon containers in nurseries about mid August or you can order seed collections.
Although dahlias do start earlier in summer, if kept deadheaded, they will bloom until about the beginning of fall. Gorgeous, large, multi-petaled flowers look great in the garden or cut arrangements.
I’ll be honest, Hibiscus almost didn’t make the list because they are a magnet for whitefly and if you grow it, you will probably have to treat for that every year. But, like roses, they are one of those flowers that can just be so magnificent it’s hard not to plant one. Because they are heat lovers, they don’t really get going full steam until late summer here, but it’s certainly hard to beat their tropical beauty.