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Keep Landscape Color Vibrant Until Fall

Spring bulbs are starting to fade, even though many of them bloomed late. Spring flowering shrubs, like lilacs, also were delayed by the weather but will soon lose their colorful flowers. Then they will spend the rest of the season as attractive foliage plants. How can you extend the bloom of these plants?

The answer is that you can’t extend the bloom periods of the plants mentioned above, but you can supplement them with plants that bloom later and/or whose flowering life can be extended by deadheading*. The two categories of plants to consider are herbaceous perennials and annuals.

Mixing different types of flowering plants in the same bed can assure you of season long color. For example: Plant annuals among the spring flowering bulbs after the bulbs have finished their colorful show. That way the annuals won’t interfere with your enjoyment of the tulips, daffodils, etc. But by planting them at this time, their flowers will draw the eyes away from the yellowing bulb foliage. You should leave bulb foliage until it’s totally dead before cutting it away. The chlorophyll is busy making food to be stored in the bulb to provide the energy it needs to flower next spring.

No matter where you plant annuals, deadheading extends their flowering season. Then when they finally finish flowering, it’s inexpensive and easy enough to change them out for fresh plants. If your annuals are hardy enough to continue flowering until September, you can replace them with chrysanthemums (mums) for fall color almost until the snow flies.

Around the perimeter of your flowering shrubs, you could plant more annuals or herbaceous perennials like hosta or Echinacea (coneflower). The height of the spring flowering plant may influence what else you plant with it. Annuals tend to grow low to the ground and might get lost when paired with a tall shrub. Echinacea are tall and long blooming. They will flower from early summer until well into fall.

Hydrangeas are also popular summer and fall color plants. A popular variety is called “Endless Summer.” It is a moptop that can flower pink or blue. The color of the flowers can actually be changed by changing the soil pH. Acid soil (low pH) yields blue flowers; alkaline soil (high pH) yields pink flowers.

The possibilities for enjoying color in your landscape from early spring to late fall are endless. You just have to think creatively and do a little research into what’s best for your landscape. If you want the color without the work, our landscar designers and plant professionals are available to help to any extent that you want.

* Deadheading is the term for pinching or cutting fading flowers off the plant before they go to seed. Deadheading encourages the plant to direct energy to making more flowers rather than seeds

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