by Patti Ryan
Boy it's HOT & it's not even August! This and my nice cool house, inspired me to do some research on the best perennial landscape plants for our ever-heating Missouri summers. Here is what I came up with.
1. Blanket Flower - Also called Gaillardia, these are daisy-like red and orange flowers that love full sun & will bloom summer right up until frost. They are drought tolerant (vacation proof) and attract butterflies but the deer don't really like them. Birds love the seed heads in the fall! win-win-win! Zone 3-11
2. Daylilly - Everyone knows these hardy plants for their prolific growth. You can't hardly kill them! These sun-lovers also tolerate some shade & are quite drought tolerant, too. As by their name, each bloom is only open for one day, the blooms continue for weeks. Smaller varieties are really nice in containers (Stella d'Oro - shown here) & some are rebloomers and will give you a lesser show in the fall. Ah, so many varieties and colors, so little space. :)
3. Poppy - These crepe-like flowering plants come in so many varieties, you are sure to fall in love with one. They bloom from spring into summer in heavenly shades of red, pink, orange and cream. Look for Oriental, Alpine, Atlantic and Iceland varieties. Once they are established there is little care. While growing water during the driest of spells to keep them going.
4. Hosta - These are this author's personal favorite shade loving plant. Lots of BANG for the buck too! They will grow under the worst conditions, dry and deep shade. Prolific and rugged there are many varieties to tempt you. From solid green, to blue green, to variegated with cream, white or chartreuse, some of them with huge leaves you could almost live under. Flowers stalks bloom briefly in whites and blues but the bees love them! Watch for some of these at our annual perennial exchange.
5. Peony - A favorite among my mother's generation & I can see why. Plants that last for decades! I have some transplanted from my mother-in-law that were there 40 years & now 20 in my yard! Beautiful glossy mounding habit with showy and fragrant late spring blooms in traditional colors in pink, white and red, but newer hybrids now come in purples, corals, peppermint striped & even a deep burgundy. Full sun and well drained soil is ALL these drought tolerant plants ask for. They are also deer resistant.
I can think of several others to add to this list, Cone-flower, Iris, Lily of the Valley, Yarrow, Sedum & Switchgrass.
River rat, student of life, nature-centric, anarchist.
Entrepreneurial artist, gardener, fermentation enthusiast. B&B hostess and aspiring freegan locavore
Mom, Grandma & Media Expert. Relatively new gardener & striving to be more sustainable.