If you want your garden to be filled with flowers throughout summer you have two choices. The first choice is to plant a wide range of plants with complementary flowering periods. The second choice is to opt for plants that bloom all summer long.
It can be quite hard to choose plants with complementary flowering periods. Even if you do manage to have them bloom successively, your garden will never be full of flowers, as many flowers will wilt as others bloom. So, it is a lot easier and more rewarding to choose plants that are known to bloom all summer. Needless to say, these plants do need some care to keep blooming for a prolonged period of time.
In the following guide, we will give you some tips to care for plants that bloom throughout the summer. We have also prepared a list of our favorite plants that will produce attractive blossoms during the warm months.
|1. Plant a wide range of plants with complementary flowering periods or opt for plants that bloom all summer long.
|2. Choose plants with long-lasting flowers and the ability to bloom several times per season (reblooming plants).
|3. Deadhead regularly to remove dead or faded blooms and promote new bloom production.
|4. Pinch back plants when they are about 20 cm tall to activate growth in lateral shoots and create a bushier look.
|5. Mulch with bark or rock mulch to keep the soil cool, retain moisture, and suppress weeds.
|6. Pinch off the first blooms to promote sap flow and encourage more blooms.
|7. Water plants with moderation to encourage steady production of blooms.
|8. Allow complete vegetative growth to support more blooms.
|9. Fertilize with compost or suitable high-phosphorus fertilizer to provide nutrients for blooming.
How to Encourage Your plants bloom all summer
Choose the right plants
There are several tips and tricks that you can try to encourage your plants to bloom once the first flowers fade, but not all plants have this capacity. As such, make sure to choose plants with long-lasting flowers and the ability to bloom several times per season (also known as reblooming plants). If you are not sure what plants to choose, don’t worry. We have a list to get you started.
Removing dead or faded blooms is a great way to boost your plant’s health. The plant is stressed during the flowering period and it will be grateful for the extra help. As the blooms start fading, the plant starts using its resources to generate seeds. However, if you remove the faded blooms, the plant will go back to producing new blooms. This works for a wide range of plants.
This process is similar to deadheading. Its purpose, however, is not to produce more blooms but to activate growth in the lateral shoots of the plant, thus creating a bushier look. It also keeps plants from wasting their resources on vertical growth. You should pinch back your plants when they are about 20 cm tall before the flower buds appear. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the process. It is very simple. All you have to do is remove the part of the stems above the nodes. This process is beneficial to a wide range of plants like petunias and sweet peas.
Heat is one of the main factors that fades the blooms and mulch is a great way to keep heat under control. A layer of bark mulch keeps the soil cool on the hot summer days, while also retaining moisture and keeping the weeds at bay. Mulching is great for both perennials and annuals and it can extend the flowering season by a few weeks. Rock mulches are also great for tropical perennials. The rocks retain the sun’s heat during the day and they emanate it at night.
Pinch off the first blooms
While this may seem like a bad idea, it is a great way to encourage more blooms to grow. Pinching off promotes sap flow which generates more blooms. It is also a great way to encourage lateral blooms.
Water with moderation
It is a known fact that when plants lack enough water they enter survival mode. In the face of imminent perish, they produce a burst of flowers to ensure the next generation of plants. This doesn’t mean that you should keep your plants on the edge of wilting all the time. Nonetheless, if you only water them when the top surface of the soil dries, you will encourage a steady production of blooms.
Allow full growth
You may be inclined to think that your plants’ resources must be directed either towards vegetative growth or blooms. Still, plants need both growth and blooms to thrive. Our advice is to allow complete vegetative growth. This will give your plants more leaves and side branches which will, in turn, support more blooms.
To support the blooms, the plants need a lot of nutrients. You can ensure an adequate amount of nutrients by adding a layer of compost to the bottom of the plants. Fertilizer is also great, be it liquid fertilizer or a powdery slow-release fertilizer. Keep in mind that not all fertilizers will help with blooming. Some are only suitable for vegetative growth. Balanced fertilizers are suitable, but for the best results choose a high-phosphorus formula.
Plants that bloom all summer long
As promised, we made a list of our favorite reblooming plants.
1. Lathyrus odoratus
Also known as Sweet Peas, this annual climbing plant is treasured by most gardeners for its intense sweet fragrance. It can grow up to 2 meters tall when it is provided with vertical support. It has pinnate (feather-shaped) leaves with two leaflets. The flowers are pink or purple. This plant can be grown in containers, but also directly in the ground.
The Sweet Peas seeds need to be sown in autumn or in spring. For a summer garden, sow the seeds in early spring. If you sow the seeds in containers, you can transplant the seedlings outdoors in the middle of spring. Plant them in a sunny position. The soil should have good draining properties, but it should be kept moist, especially when the plants are young. Pinch the tips of young plants to encourage vegetative growth and feel free to cut flowers for your indoor vases. Regular cutting will encourage more blooms.
These plants are more commonly known as Geraniums. They are heat and drought-resistant flowers. They can be grown in containers or on the ground. They have a strong Mediterranean vibe and some varieties have aromatic foliage. They are perennials but can act as annuals if you don’t provide them with a frost-free place during wintertime. There is a wide range of Pelargonium varieties to choose from. Zonal Pelargoniums, Regal Pelargoniums, and Angel Pelargoniums have the longest lasting flowers. Some varieties can even exhibit a trailing habit. You might want to grow these plants in hanging baskets, to better display their flowers.
Sow the seeds in early spring and transplant the seedling outdoors once the danger of the last frost has passed. Plant them in borders or flower beds. These plants prefer fertile neutral or alkaline soil. Most varieties thrive in full sun, but there are also some which can tolerate partial shade.
If you want to give your garden a more exotic vibe, you can’t go wrong with Abutilons. These plants are also known as Indian Mallows, Flowering Maples, or Paper Bells. Abutilons act as perennials in warm climates and annuals in colder climates. They are ornamental shrubs whose leaves bear a striking resemblance to maple leaves. The flowers have a dropping, lantern-like shape and they come in different shades of yellow, orange, and red.
The trouble with these plants is that while they do not need a lot of maintenance, they are very pretentious when it comes to soil quality. They need rich, loamy soil with a consistent top layer of compost. The compost provides valuable nutrients, but it also keeps the soil moist. Pruning is also necessary. You need to prune back the long stems to keep the plants compact.
4. Iberis sempervirens
Among flower lovers, this plant is known as the Evergreen Candytuft. It features an abundance of clusters of white flowers. The flowers have pure white petals with yellow centres. The whiteness of the flowers is emphasized by the dark green foliage. It is a great plant for borders, edges, or walkways, and it can sometimes be used as a ground cover. It can grow up to 30 cm tall and 50 cm wide. In warm climates, its leaves will retain their colour even all year-round.
This plant thrives in full sun and prefers well-drained soil. If you pure white flowers opt for the Alexander’s White or the Purity varieties. To promote new blooms, cut back about a third of the first blooms.
5. Profusion Zinnias
These flowers are very hardy. They repel insects, deer, and rabbits and they are not susceptible to diseases. They are appreciated for their long-lasting flowers that boost intense fiery shades. The plants are available in single and double flower forms. They grow up to 50 cm tall and 70 cm wide.
Zinnias grow well in most types of climates. They need airy and well-drained soil. Their roots are a tad sensitive and they don’t tolerate standing water or heavy soil. The seeds have a high germination rate and the seedlings can easily be transplanted.
Read our guide to growing and caring for Zinnias to learn more about these attractive plants.
6. Gomphrena globosa
Globe Amaranth is an edible plant with a round-shaped flower. The flowers come in intense shades of purple, red, lilac, pink, or orange. This tropical annual goes great in any garden style. The best way to exhibit is in flower beds, in borders, or in rock gardens.
At its core, this is a tropical sun so it loves heat, sunshine, and humidity. It is drought-resistant, but it prefers to be watered consistently, especially when it is young. It can thrive in any type of soil, as long as it has adequate drainage. It can grow quite tall, so you might want to pinch it back during the growing season to prevent a leggy appearance. Despite its height, it looks quite compact, as it also grows in width. You can expect a mature plant to be about 80 cm tall and wide.
Also known as Daylillies, these flowers are considered to be the perfect perennials. They are drought resistant and feature flamboyant flowers in a wide range of vibrant colours. They grow in most climates and are generally very low maintenance. The interesting thing about these plants is that each flower only lasts 24 hours, yet the plant blooms from early spring until the first frost. For prolonged blooms, it helps if you mix several plant varieties. These plants are great for borders, flower beds, or ground covers.
You can plant the seeds directly outside after the last frost. Ideally, you should plant them in a spot that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. The indirect or partial sun will also work, but it might result in fewer flowers. Allow about 60 cm between the plants so that they can expand without disturbing each other. Water the plants about 3 times per week and fertilize them once in the spring and once towards the end of the summer.
8. Echinacea purpurea
This plant goes by many names including Purple Coneflower or Hedgehog Coneflower. It is a wild plant found in the North American woods and prairies. Its name means the Spikey one in Greek, a name given to it because its ripe flower heads have a spikey appearance. It grows up to 50 cm tall and 30 cm wide. The flowers are usually purple and are known to last a very long time. In-home gardens, this plant is ideal for walkways or flower beds.
This prairie plant is very easy to grow from seed and mature flowers can be propagated through division or stem cuttings. You can start the seeds indoors in early spring. When you transplant the seedlings outdoor, choose a sunny location. The plant prefers neutral soil with good drainage. Compost is a great way to boost its growth when the plant is young. Regular watering is essential, but it is best to avoid fertilizer because it can make the plant leggy. Instead, opt for organic matter. Pruning is not impetuous but early spring shearing will result in a more compact plant.
Want to learn more about this plant? Read our Echinacea Guide.
These are our top picks for summer gardens, but there are many more flowers that can bloom all summer long. As you can see from our list, most are sun-loving plants, so make sure to plant them in a sunny location.
The plants presented above have similar sunlight, watering, and soil needs, so they are a good assortment to start with. Just keep in mind the colors of each plant when planting them to achieve a visually pleasing combination of blooms.
What are your favorite reblooming plants? Share your thoughts in the comments below!