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A big, bodacious, beautiful plant, perennial sunflower is imposingly tall and floppy with large (up to 4-inch), bright yellow flowers that form in loose clusters. Most of these natives thrive in full sun and are not fussy about soil. The taller ones may need support. Excellent for cut flowers.
top varieties for Sunflower, perennial
This North American native is a relative of the sunflower, and as you watch it grow, you'll see how. From mid- to late summer, the plant produces yellow daisy flowers on tall stalks, but the edible part is the sweet, nutty, knobby tubers produced underground. If you haven't grown Jerusalem artichoke before, it's a fun and fascinating plant to try.Slice raw tubers to add crunch to salads. Or cook them and use similar to potatoes. The plant spreads from tubers left in the soil and can become weedy.
Big, beautiful, and old-fashioned, sunflowers fit into every garden. Plant breeders have been hard at work producing a wide variety of plants, from those that grow 12 feet tall to compact selections that stand only 3 feet. The color range is wide, too, with almost every shade of yellow, orange, and red.
more varieties for Sunflower, perennial
'Lemon Queen' sunflower
Helianthus x 'Lemon Queen' is a bold plant that reaches 4-6 feet tall. Its single, light yellow flowers are produced in abundance from midsummer to fall. Staking may be necessary if soil is rich. Zones 5-9
'Low Down' sunflower
Helianthus angustifolius 'Low Down' packs the flower punch of tall perennial sunflowers but only grows 18 inches tall. It requires no staking and blooms from midsummer to fall. Zones 5-9
Helianthus angustifolius bears masses of bright yellow daisies with brown-purple centers atop rough, 6-foot-tall stems in early fall. Zones 6-9
plant Sunflower, perennial with
Nothing beats a dahlia for summer color. Growing these varied, spiky flowers is like having a box of garden crayons at your disposal. The flowers form on branching, fleshy stems or open in solitary splendor on the bedding-plant types in mid- to late summer. Several different flower categories, from the petite mignonettes to the gigantic dinner-plate dahlias, offer possibilities for any space.Expert dahlia growers recommend pinching off the first crop of side flower buds to encourage vigorous plant branching and larger flowers in peak season. All dahlias are fodder for brilliant seasonal cut bouquets and are always one of the most popular cut flowers at local farmer's markets. Their blooming season extends into fall and is only halted by the first frost.Gardeners in climates colder than Zone 8 should cut back the withered foliage after the first frost and dig up tubers to store over winter. For a fast start with dahlia plants before it's safe to plant outdoors, pot the tubers up, water sparingly and grow in a sunny location until sprouts appear, and then transplant outdoors after the last frost.
Daylilies are so easy to grow you'll often find them growing in ditches and fields, escapees from gardens. And yet they look so delicate, producing glorious trumpet-shape blooms in myriad colors. In fact, there are some 50,000 named hybrid cultivars in a range of flower sizes (the minis are very popular), forms, and plant heights. Some are fragrant.The flowers are borne on leafless stems. Although each bloom lasts but a single day, superior cultivars carry numerous buds on each scape so bloom time is long, especially if you deadhead daily. The strappy foliage may be evergreen or deciduous.Shown above: 'Little Grapette' daylily
There are few gardens that don't have at least one salvia growing in them. Whether you have sun or shade, a dry garden or lots of rainfall, there's an annual salvia that you'll find indispensable. All attract hummingbirds, especially the red ones, and are great picks for hot, dry sites where you want tons of color all season. Most salvias don't like cool weather, so plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.