A garden provides a wide range of benefits including food for pollinators and colorful beauty. Discovering new flowers and learning how to keep your garden colorful from spring to frost will expand the benefits and increase the joy a home garden provides.
When those first colorful tulip and daffodil blooms appear in spring, we want to prolong the joy they bring as long as possible. You can keep the garden colorful for most of the year by stagger planting and selecting the flowers that grow best in your climate.
This is also known as succession planting. It can be used for growing flowers and vegetables to prolong the harvest period. Staggered planting spreads out the planting time over a period of 4-6 weeks instead of planting seeds or bulbs all at the same time.
Spring flower bulbs, like tulips, can be planted at 2-week intervals during the early spring so their bloom time will be extended.
Another variation of staggered planting is to plant annual flowers in the same location as spring flower bulbs. The bulbs are 2-3 inches (5 – 7.5 cm) down in the soil. Once they have finished flower production for season, summer annuals can be planted in the soil above them. Colorful summer annuals, like petunias, have a shallow root system and will live comfortably in the soil above spring flower bulbs. The bulbs won’t be harmed and some of the plant food given to the summer annuals will seep down into the soil and feed to spring flower bulbs.
Spring Flower Choices
To keep your garden colorful from spring to frost, start with flowers and bushes that will produce floral color in early spring.
Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses
They are the first flowers to show up in spring and will last until early summer. Select a sunny, well-draining location and plant these flower bulbs in the fall for the best results. Fragrant and colorful peonies will bloom in mid-spring just as the tulips and other spring bulb colors are fading.
Forsythia and flowering quince thrive in a full sun location and well-draining soil. Bright yellow, orange, red, or pink blooms will show up in late winter and last until the end of spring.
Japanse rose, azaleas and rhododendron are early spring blooming shrubs. They will produce masses of colorful flowers when planted in partial shade and moist soil.
Ornamental and fruit-producing trees
They will produce spring color and fragrance. Pollinators find the tree blooms irresistible and will gorge on the fresh spring pollen the blooms produce.
Summer Flower Choices
When selecting flowers for summer colorful, look for the drought-tolerant vaieties. Drought-tolerant plants, like bee balm, will thrive in the summer heat and require less maintenance.
They are just a few of the flowers that will keep your garden colorful during the summer and require minimal care.
Some of these drought-tolerant summer bloomers will be annuals and some will be perennials. A mix of both types will help keep the garden colorful. Deadhead the spent blooms to encourage plants to produce new blooms.
They are an ideal choice for summer garden color and fragrance. With a wide range of bloom colors and bush sizes, there is a rose bush that will be just right for your garden.
Blooming shrubs that produce color, fragrance, and attract pollinators are needed for late summer color in the garden. Plant a butterfly bush or crepe myrtle in a full sun location and hydrangea in a shady location for late summer color.
Late season blooms, foliage, and berries will help end the growing season with a colorful bang. Some shrubs, like winterberry and beautyberry, will retain their colorful berries well into the winter months to provide food for passing birds.
One of the favorite flowers of fall is the chrysanthemum. A wide array of bloom colors and easy care make this one a must-have for color up to, and even beyond, the first frost.
Potted chrysanthemums can be planted in the garden after they have finished flowering and they will return for several years.
Aster, dianthus, winter jasmine, sunflowers, flowering kale, pansies, silver ragwort, and cornflower are a few other fall-flowering beauties.
They bloom in late summer but their large flower heads can be left in the bush to dry and change colors. The dried hydrangea blooms provide unique color and texture in the fall.
Fire ball is a hardy shrub that has bright scarlet foliage in the fall and grows best in moist soil.
These shrubs will produce loads of berries that transform from green to vivid pink and blue at the end of summer. Foliage turns dark maroon in fall.
Birds love the berries of Brandywine and Golden Lantern shrubs. During the spring and summer, the golden lantern produces new red foliage that turns yellow as it matures. Then in fall it will produce colorful purple berries.