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Flowers For Hot SpotsPerennial gardening is an art. No doubt about that. To be the envy of the neighborhood year after year the same dependable display of flowers is something to be proud of. Today I like to share a little secret about how to get perennial color year after year without having to pamper your flower beds.

Pick your season. Typically speaking, perennials that flower in the spring are shade-loving varieties. In their natural state, they live in woodland areas and do their thing before the leaves are fully out on trees. Shade perennials can be finicky. To get the best bang for your perennial buck, leave the spring flowering perennials to the horticulturists, and focus on perennials that bloom through the summer months.

Pick the “performers.” As a landscaping company that does a lot of commercial landscape installation projects, we have discovered over the years what the best perennial flowers for the hotspots are. Temperatures in a commercial parking lot in the middle of summer can run 10 to 15° hotter than a residential neighborhood. The perennials that survive in commercial planting beds will definitely survive in your yard!

These hot spot perennial performers are:

Daylilies – Stella D’oro or similar repeat bloomer. Blooms ahead of the others, in mid-June.

Catmint – known as “Nepeta”, this blue-flowered perennial mixes nicely with daylilies. Although bloom time is only four weeks, catmint can be cut back after flowering for a second bloom.

Shasta Daisy – daisies appear in early July and last through the end of August. Their bold, white flowers go with any color; and they make enjoyable cut flowers for the table!

Russian Sage – this cultivar called “Perovskia” is drought tolerant. It provides a striking contrasts with its silvery spiked foliage and delicate blue flowers. Works well in mass plantings in a commercial setting.

Rudbeckia, or “Brown-Eyed Susans” are perhaps the toughest, longest lasting perennial in any garden setting. They begin blooming shortly after the daisies and don’t stop until October. Give them room, though- they love to spread out!

Rounding off the season from summer to fall, it would be good to mix in some sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, chrysanthemums (“Mums”) and asters. Although hot weather and drought is not typically a problem in the fall, these perennials will carry you right through November until the next color appears – white!