What strikes us most about autumn is that yellow and red leaves have fallen from the trees. Instinctively, this is a sign that the gardening season is over. All is not what it seems, however. Did you know that late-flowering perennials display beautifully coloured flowers at this time of year? Their jewel-like colours such as sapphire blue, amethyst purple and ruby red sparkle among their emerald-green leaves.
Enjoy late-flowering perennials
By the time flowers of most perennials have faded, you can still get a lot of enjoyment from a garden that includes late-flowering perennials. We are very much attracted to their deep, sparkling jewel tones. The flowers of Blue Spike Sage (Salvia uliginosa) are a beautiful sapphire blue. Their lipped flowers held on tall stems will still be in bloom in November. Another special sage (Salvia involucrata ‘Bethelii’) and Aster novi-belgii ‘Jenny’ are covered with intense pinkish red flowers. Monkscap (Aconitum carmichaelii ‘Barker’s Variety’) bears strikingly blue flowers as does the gorgeous gentian, Gentiana makinoi. All of these jewel-like colours will make a beautiful contrast to autumn leaves and ornamental grasses.
Tips & tricks for late-flowering perennials
Autumn is the perfect time to plant late-flowering perennials in the garden. Here are some tips and tricks for planting and caring for them.
- Visit your garden centre or grower to select perennials displaying the most luscious jewel-like colours.
- Refer to the label to see what kind of location the plant prefers.
- Dig a large planting hole.
- Remove the rootball from the pot and carefully tease some of the roots away from it. Put the rootball into the planting hole and fill in with the soil you just dug out. Gently tamp down the soil around the plant.
- Then water the plant well.
- In the spring, trim away all the dead stems to just above soil level; the roots will again produce new shoots that will flower that same year.
Did you know that…
- many perennials perform perfectly in a pot?
- it’s a very good idea to walk around the garden holding a perennial still in its pot so you can choose the most attractive spot for it?
- perennials automatically emerge every year?
- late-flowering perennials can be planted together? Plant, for example, a bright pink Salvia involucrata next to a stonecrop (Sedum), or the pure white Japanese anemone (Anemone x hybrida ‘Honorine Jobert’) with a stonecrop (Sedum) for a ‘shrub’ with autumn colour.
- late-flowering perennials make a great combination planting with flower bulbs? Plant blue-flowering Grecian windflowers (Anemone blanda) among perennials. Once they are no longer in bloom, you can enjoy late-flowering perennials.