5 Favorite Re-blooming Perennials

When it comes to having color in your garden all summer long, it helps to channel your inner Queen of Hearts, the cantankerous queen from Alice in Wonderland, who loved to behead her subjects at the drop of a hat.

In the garden, there’s no need to feel guilty about such drastic behavior. Deadheading perennials, simply cutting off spent flowers, not only cleans up your garden, it can encourage a second flush of flowers later in the season.

Off With Their Heads

Here are five perennials I routinely deadhead in my Connecticut garden (zone 6) to keep it looking colorful and tidy:

Achillea millefolium 'Terra Cotta'

Achillea ‘Terra Cotta’

Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) ~ Deadheading yarrow encourages more  lateral blooms. When the second flush of flowers is finished, cut the stalks down  to the basal foliage.

Yarrows are available in an array of colors, including yellow, pale pink, red, white and orange.

Hardy in zones 3 – 9.

Coreopsis verticillata 'Golden Showers'

Coreopsis ‘Golden Showers’

Coreopsis (Tickseed) ~ Once the majority of flowers are past their prime, I give my coreopsis a quick haircut. The second round of flowers is not quite so prolific but they are a welcome sight in the late summer and fall.

There are many coreopsis cultivars on the market, includes ones with pink or red flowers and other with fluted petals.

Hardy in zones 4 – 9.

Leucanthemum superbum ''Becky'

Becky

Leucanthemum (Shasta Daisy) ~ Let’s face it, dead daisy flowers are pretty unattractive. Cutting off spent flowers not only cleans up the look of your garden, it also extends bloom time.

Once there are no more lateral flower buds ready to develop, cut spent flowers and their stalks down to the basal foliage to tidy up your garden.

Hardy in zones 5 – 9.

Salvia 'East Friesland'

Salvia ‘East Friesland’

Salvia  (Meadow Sage) ~ Deadheaded salvias seem to re-bloom almost overnight. I usually stop deadheading some time in late September so plants get ready for dormancy.

I have to admit that S. ‘East Friesland’ does have a tendency to look a bit ragged by the end of August but its non-stop flowering more than makes up for it.

Hardy in zones 4 – 9.

 

Veronica spicata 'Red Fox'

Veronica ‘Red Fox’

Veronica spicata (Spike speedwell) ~ One of my favorite flowers for adding a strong vertical punch to the front of the border, spike speedwell definitely benefits from routine deadheading.

Spike speedwells are typically found in shades of purple or white so the hot pink color of ‘Red Fox’ is a shocking, but welcome, change.

Hardy in zones 4 – 8.

Which perennials routinely get their heads chopped off in your garden?

18 thoughts on “5 Favorite Re-blooming Perennials

  1. We often cut back many perennials to give a tighter and tidier clump even for just foliage plants.

    Many geraniums are supposed to respond well to being cut back hard after flowering although the second flowers are often much later.

      • Claire Jane, Achillea is certainly one of my favorites, I just wish the flower color on some cultivars wouldn’t fade so quickly. I planted some ‘Pomegrante’ in a client’s garden and when the blooms were new the color was wonderful but about 10 days later the color was washed out and faded.

    • I have to admit I typically don’t cut back plants in order to encourage tidy clumps but I may have to try it. The weather has been so hot & dry here that many perennials are looking like it’s late August rather than early July. A haircut may be just the thing they need.

  2. Your post is a good reminder that deadheading is a must-do gardening task if seeking color later in the season.
    My yarrow is fantastic this year. Are you seeing the same?

    • Joene, Yes, the arrow does seem fantastic this year, but the colors of the flowers also seem to fading earlier than usual, too. Are you noticing that in your corner of CT?

  3. You know I always deadhead annuals but almost never think of it with perennials. I cut back my rudbeckia laciniata but that’s because it will flop all over the yard otherwise. It does get a second show of blooms though when I do this. This year I’ll be looking at cutting back my veronica now that you mentioned it.

    • Marguerite, I have to admit that some years I’ll experiment and not cut back certain perennials to see how they fare later in the season. For many, the early trim doesn’t really make a huge difference but the 2nd flush of color is a welcome treat.

  4. Great list!

    I find that if my Echinacea blooms early and I cut off a *few* of the heads, I’ll get a few more bloom in the fall. I don’t cut it all back as the seed heads are pretty and feed the birds. I also cut back my geraniums when they are messy and get full reblooming.

    • I find the color goes well with just about every other flower in my garden – it’s nice when you find an easy-to-combine plant that’s also easy to grow.

  5. I cut back Siberian Bugloss; Brunnera macrophylla and Cushion Spurge; Euphorbia polycroma when the leaves look tatty. The new leaf flush is so fresh and lasts to frost.

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