By Kerry Ann Mendez
Just like people, there are some perennials that are late bloomers. It's just the way they are wired, and the results can be beautiful!
For the purpose of this article, I am only going to showcase sun-loving perennials that typically start blooming in late August and early September. Next week I will put the spotlight on late bloomers for shade. These are some of the last to cross the flowering finish line for the year. Both gardeners and pollinators enjoy this late season encore.
Sedum and Asters are probably the most prevalent in sunny fall landscapes. These hardy perennials provide a nectar feast for bees and butterflies. There are oodles of Sedum cultivars! Foliage can be green, blue, gold, bronze, chocolate, purple and multicolor. Flowers colors are various shades of pink, purple-pink, red, white and yellow.
Asters are also a diverse group. Heights range from around 8" to over 5 feet. Flowers are pink, blue, purple, white, lavender or red. Taller varieties like 'Alma Potschke', can be pinched back to half their stem height in early July to produce shorter, more compact flowering plants.
Vernonia, commonly called Ironweed, is another fabulous choice for sunny areas. The straight species (V. noveboracensis) can get 6 feet or taller. Shorter, vase-shaped cultivars with thin, wispy leaves, such as 'Southern Cross' are more practical for most homeowners.
Japanese Anemone have charming white or pink flowers that sway gracefully on long, wiry stems. Flowers can be single or multi-petal. 'Honorine Jobert' (white) and 'Robustissima' (pink) are some of the tallest, getting between 3-4 feet in flower. 'September Charm' (pink) is mid-size (2-3 feet), and the Curtain Call series are the shortest, topping out at 18". Japanese Anemone also does well in part shade.
Stay tuned for next week's feature on late bloomers for shade.