Choosing Easy Care Perennials for Sun

Choosing Easy Care Perennials for Sun

As the summer sizzles and spring flowers fade, it’s time to plan and make room for perennials that come alive and bloom gloriously from now into autumn. Focus on some of the great garden classics such as Black-eyed Susan, Russian Sage, Calamint, Asters, Feather Reed grass and many other perennial favorites. Plant once—in multiples—and enjoy for years to come!


BLACK-EYED SUSAN (Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’)

Flowers: Black-eyed Susans, the highlight of summer, look like pure gold when planted in multiples or drifts.

Mature Size: 30”+ tall.

Bloom time: July - early October.

Light: Full or part sun.

Why I like them: They are tough and deer resistant perennials that bloom for 3+ months. Give these plants room and they will spread quickly.

Classic combinations: Drifts of Black-eyed Susan and ‘Karl Foerster’ feather reed grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’)


CONEFLOWERS (Echinacea purpurea ‘Merlot’):

Flowers: Rose-pink petals surround a bronze-orange cone. The large flowers are supported by strong and long, burgundy stems.

Mature Size: 24-36” tall.

Bloom time: July - September.

Light: Full or partial sun.

Why I like them: Coneflowers thrive in an average, well-drained soil. This North American genus looks just as beautiful in a formal or cottage garden. First the butterflies are attracted to the nectar and later, the finches love the dried seeds in the cone. Echinacea is available in a stunning variety of colors and heights.

Classic combinations: The daisy-shaped, pink Coneflowers pair nicely with the clouds of tiny, white-flowers of Calamint (Calamintha nepeta nepeta). Place the 12-inch tall, Calamint in front of taller Coneflowers or other perennials. Both are deer resistant.


 ASTER (Aster x frikarti ‘Monch’): ‘Monch’ is a shrubby or mounded perennial aster with deep-green foliage and daisy-shaped flowers. Asters are one of the longest blooming perennials and come into their own in late summer—when most flowering plants are finished.

Flowers: These flowers are a classic, daisy shape—and available in many rich shades of purple, blue, magenta or white.

Mature Size: 2’-3’ tall.

Bloom time: July - September.

Light: Full sun to part shade.

Why I like them: Asters are one of the longest blooming perennials. Provide consistent moisture to keep the flowers from drying out. Pinch back in midsummer to encourage the most blooms.

Classic combinations: Mounds of this Aster’s lavender-blue flowers with yellow centers combine well with Masterwort (Astrantia major), Coneflower (Echinacea), Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) and Stonecrop (Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’).


RUSSIAN SAGE (Perovskia atriplicifolia): Feathery, lavender blue spires and silver-green foliage make this sunny border perennial a favorite. They prefer a well-drained soil and plenty of sun. Don’t give up on them because they are a little slow to start in the spring.

Flowers: Tall, foot-long wands of blue or purple flowers bloom on finely-cut, gray-green leaves. Plants need good drainage and full sun to bloom from mid-summer into fall.

Mature Height: 24- to 48-inches tall, depending on the variety.

Bloom time: July - September.

Light: Full sun.

Why I like them: It is deer, rabbit and drought resistant and butterflies love them.

Classic combinations: Plant regular or dwarf varieties of Russian Sage in multiples to create an elegant background for coneflowers. Try the fragrant, sunset-orange, coneflower ‘Mama Mia’ for maximum impact.


FEATHER REED GRASS (Calamagrosti x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’): This feathery, compact ornamental grass is recognized for its architectural, vertical habit. It thrives in full to part sun and in a range of conditions from hot summers to frigid winters.

Flowers: The feathery, flower stalks emerge creamy white with a bit of pink in June and turn to a gold-straw color in autumn. This variety blooms 2-3 weeks earlier than the common feather reed grass.

Mature Height: up to 6-feet tall.

Blooms last from: June through winter months.

Light: Full sun to part shade.

Why I like them: This grass is a well-behaved, clumping grass and works as a screen or see-through plant. It adds vertical interest in a neutral color. I like the way it moves in the breeze.

Classic combinations: Bring out the slight pink in the flower heads of this reed grass with pink coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’), Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium ‘Gateway’) or coral-pink, Bee balm (Monarda didyma ‘Coral Reef’).