Colorful, Waterwise Flowers for Late Summer
Is your garden looking a bit dull? High temperatures have taken a toll on just everyone’s garden. But no one needs to finish out the summer with drab outdoor surroundings. There’s a wonderful group of plants that provide late summer color (and into fall) that are not only beautiful but waterwise, too.
Establishing Plants in the Heat
You’ll need to provide regular water to get them established—for thirty days or so—but with a handy watering can or a drip line, you’ve easily got that covered. After they’ve rooted in, you can gradually cut back on watering.
Top Waterwise Plants for Late Summer Color
You’ll find heat-loving yarrow in all but our coldest months. Typically, the main bloom is early summer. But if you plant it now, it’ll provide you with loads of blooms when you need it most—August and September. Yarrow comes in a wide variety of colors, from cinnamon to pink and cheerful yellow.
Agastache is fast becoming a go-to plant for summer-into-fall low-water blooms. Looking a bit like a cross between lavender and salvia, this tough little perennial offers flower spikes in white, peach, red, yellow and purple.
Centaureas comprise a widely varying group of plants. The one to plant now is Centaurea cineraria. Its silvery-white foliage is beautiful in mixed borders and it will produce large, purple cornflowers. It’s very drought-tolerant.
Jupiter’s beard (Centranthus ruber) has already put on a main spring show, but if cut back afterwards, or planted now, you’ll quickly get summer into early fall flowers of rosy pink or white. It will reseed nicely.
If you haven’t planted coreopsis recently, you’re in for a treat. Breeders have been busy, and now there are new colors and color combinations. Look for red as well as orange varieties. Then scout out the new patterns and color combinations of traditional yellow, orange and red.
Gaura has wispy, upright stems that seem as if they’re surrounded by fluttering butterflies. But it’s just hundreds of nodding flowers. Plant gaura in full sun. It loves the heat and is very tolerant of dry, dry soil once established.
Don’t turn you nose up at lantana just because you see it along freeways. There are so many more forms and colors than the usual lavender or yellow groundcovers. Seek out the bushy types in hot pink, orange-red, cream or white. They bloom in every season except winter.
Russian sage (Perovskia) is having a moment thanks to the drought. It’s a great low-water plant, and its wispy, angular stems covered with lavender flowers can be surprisingly dramatic when paired with just about any other perennial.
Sages should be in everyone’s garden. There are literally hundreds of them, and each contributes unique qualities. What’s not unique is their ability to show off with little watering and the way they contribute lovely color in the hottest months. Plant them now and you’ll have late-summer flowers in purple, lavender, blue, red, white, pink, and even yellow depending on the varieties you choose.