One of the most common questions I get from customers is do you have anything that blooms all summer long? I’ll admit that it’s a big ask and the selection has not always been the greatest, but plant breeders have been working on this problem at breakneck speed. So here is a list of 10 hardy shrubs and perennials, some old and some brand new this year, guaranteed to provide you with that constant colour you are craving throughout the summer season.
1. Spiraea ‘Double Play Doozie’ (Zone 3)
Spirea have long been the backbone of low-maintenance gardens due to their drought tolerance (once established) and deer resistance, but here’s one that keeps blooming all summer long, even if you don’t deadhead. The colour starts in early spring when the new red-tinted foliage emerges and continues with deep magenta-pink blooms that really stand out at a distance. Add to that its compact nature (2-3’ tall and wide) and you have everything you could want in one shrub.
2. Leucanthemum x superbum ‘Snowcap’ (Zone 5)
Here’s a low growing (12-15” tall by 12” wide) Shasta Daisy that you will never have to stake and with a little deadheading you can have flowers from early to late summer. This durable perennial was first introduced by Blooms of Bressingham back in the 1980s and I have been using it in my garden designs since then. It is both deer and disease resistant and pairs beautifully with the rich blue of Lithodora ‘Grace Ward’, which also flowers all summer.
3. Syringa ‘Bloomerang Dark Purple’ (Zone 3)
We sell most of our lilacs in and around Mother’s Day when they are traditionally in bloom. The exception is the Bloomerang series of compact lilacs (4-6’ tall and wide) that flower heavily in spring and then blooms again from midsummer into fall. Expect very fragrant purple blossoms that attract both hummingbirds and butterflies but still manage not to bring in the deer. Any pruning should only be done immediately after the first flush of flowers has faded, which will slightly delay the repeat blooms.
4. Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Amber Jubilee’ (Zone 2)
An extremely cold-hardy foliage shrub that was bred in Manitoba by crossing Physocarpus ‘Diabolo’ and ‘Dart’s Gold’. Rounded white-tinted-pink blooms emerge from May to June, but it is the constantly changing foliage that is the real colour feature here. Shades of glowing orange, yellow, and coppery-bronze foliage are constantly changing throughout the season, shifting to a dramatic deep purple in the fall. ‘Amber Jubilee’ grows 5-6’ tall by 4’ wide and makes an interesting deciduous hedge option.