Plant these perennial flowers for late summer & fall color

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Last Updated: 
August 31, 2005

EUGENE – Late summer and early autumn can bring on post-peak bloom letdown in your garden. There are, however, a few things you can do for flowering perennials that will brighten up your garden from the heart of summer until autumn frost, says Pat Patterson, with the Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener Program.

‘Autumn Joy’ Sedum: Upright, spreading stems are covered with fleshy oval leaves and topped with broccoli-like heads of flowers that turn pink to rose to brick-red through the fall. Their dry seed heads make an attractive feature all winter, especially when capped in snow.

Aster (Asteraceae): Among the hundreds of varieties of asters, the frikartii hybrids are highly valued in fall gardens for their abundant sprays of blue and lavender daisy-like flowers.

Yarrow (Achillea): These hardy fragrant plants have finely divided fern-like leaves with flat topped clusters of white, pink, red or yellow flowers. There are low growing and taller varieties. Excellent for drying. Can become invasive.

Coreopsis: A relative of the sunflower, with bright yellow flowers. These two- to three-foot high plants will give a show of color throughout the summer and fall.

Globe thistle (Echinops): With steel blue globe-shaped flowers, this gray-green prickly perennial blooms from mid-summer into fall. It makes excellent cut flowers. Striking as a dried flower, as well.

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia): Also a member of the sunflower family, with gray-green foliage and brilliant yellow flowers, banded with red, maroon or orange. Easy to sow from seed, they often self-sow. Blooms summer into fall.

Four o’clock (Mirabilis japonica): Shrub-like, three- to four-foot tall plant with red, magenta, yellow or white flowers. Blooms summer to fall. Resows freely and may come back from roots.

Nicotiana: Tubular flowers, many varieties fragrant, especially at night. Blossoms can be white, green, pink, maroon or red. Short to tall varieties. Can self-sow in Oregon.

Author: Carol Savonen
Source: Pat Patterson