The following article is part of a series geared toward entry-level gardeners. For deep dives into a variety of perennials that we have sold over the decades, visit our archive of in-depth perennial articles written by Tony Avent, Dr. Patrick McMillan, and other Plant Delights and JLBG experts. We also have transcripts of our Gardening Unplugged videos, recorded during our Open Nursery and Garden Days, that have great information for gardeners of all experience levels.
Here at Plant Delights Nursery, we showcase a curated selection of beloved spring and summer blooming perennials. Both our nursery and Juniper Level Botanc Garden are a haven for gardening enthusiasts, offering a vibrant array of colors and resilient plants that can transform any garden into a flourishing oasis.
In this article, we'll explore some of our favorite spring and summer perennials, each chosen for its unique charm and adaptability. From the delicate blooms that signal the arrival of spring to the bold and exuberant flowers that thrive in the summer heat, these perennial wonders are sure to captivate and inspire both seasoned gardeners and beginners alike.
Join us as we celebrate the beauty of nature and the joy of cultivating these enduring treasures. Whether you're an experienced gardener or just starting out, our selection of spring and summer blooming perennials will undoubtedly spark your passion for gardening and encourage you to create your own botanical paradise. Let's embark on this journey of horticultural delight together as we discover the magic of Plant Delights Nursery's perennial wonders.
Our Favorite Spring Blooming Perennials
Spring blooming perennials are generally considered as those that start blooming in mid-March to late June. Atypical weather (looking at you climate change!) can cause plants to bloom earlier or later. Checking your USDA hardiness zone is also a great place to start when determining when plants may bloom. Many spring bloomers will continue to bloom throught the summer.
Asclepias angustifolia 'Sonoita'
Asclepias angustifolia is an exceptional garden plant, mostly unfamiliar beyond its native range in southern Arizona and adjacent Mexico. It forms a dense clump of upright stalks, reaching 2 feet tall and wide, with foliage resembling amsonia. From May to September, terminal clusters of flowers emerge as blush pink buds, later opening to white. The plant continuously produces flowers throughout spring and summer. The offering is a seed strain from a collection in Santa Cruz County, Arizona, by Patrick McMillan. Please note that Monarch butterflies are not included with the plants; they will naturally visit during the summer season.
Baptisia 'Blue Bunchkin'
Introduced by Plant Delights Nursery and Juniper Level Botanic Garden in 2021, Baptisia 'Blue Bunchkin' is a remarkable hybrid from 2012. This plant forms a stunning 42-inch tall and wide clump. It showcases a profusion of dense 14-inch tall spikes of blue-lavender flowers, making it a show-stopper during the mid-late season (early to mid-May in NC). Its captivating display is sure to steal the spotlight.
Calanthe sieboldii is a rare Japanese terrestrial orchid and a standout among calanthes. Its evergreen foliage forms a robust clump of deeply pleated leaves, measuring 6 inches tall and 15 inches wide (except below 10 degrees F). In spring, bloom stalks emerge from the ground, reaching 20 inches in height, adorned with numerous small, pansy-like bright yellow flowers that are truly striking. This orchid thrives in well-drained, slightly moist woodland conditions and is proven to be easy to cultivate. Following severe winters, it may have a delayed emergence in spring.
Canna x generalis 'Phasion'
Canna 'Phasion', also known as Tropicanna canna lily, is a remarkable introduction from Jan Potgeither of South Africa, perfect for "shock gardening." A sport of the popular Canna 'Wyoming', its striking foliage is reason enough to grow it - purple with dramatic yellow and red stripes evenly spaced throughout the leaves. Standing atop 7-foot tall stems throughout the summer, the plant boasts wonderfully gaudy and shocking orange flowers.
Delosperma 'Fire Spinner'
An extraordinary and as-yet-unnamed delosperma species, discovered in the wilds of South Africa's East Cape near Tarkastad at an elevation of 6,000 feet and introduced to this country through the efforts of Panayoti Kelaidis from the Denver Botanic Garden. This groundcover displays mats of fleshy evergreen foliage, spreading to 2 feet within two years. Throughout late spring and early summer, it presents striking eye-like upturned flowers with
Our Favorite Summer Blooming Perennials
Agapanthus 'Ellamae' is a robust 1990 introduction from Archie Amate of California. This lily-of-the-Nile forms a sizable clump of green strap-like leaves and showcases dark blue-violet umbels of flowers on tall 66-inch stems during midsummer. A top performer in field trials, especially after cold winters, this vigorous plant consistently impresses with its striking appearance and resilience. Please note, butterflies are not included.
Begonia grandis 'Pink Teardrops'
Begonia 'Pink Teardrops' is a 2017 introduction from Plant Delights and Juniper Level Botanic Garden, chosen from thousands of seedlings of Begonia grandis 'Heron's Pirouette'. In comparison trials, this 2010 seedling outperformed its mother and all its siblings, showcasing abundant flowering. Forming 2-foot tall and 3-foot wide clumps of upright stalks with green foliage, it produces pendulous spikes of bright pink flowers from June through September.
Crinum x herbertii 'Schreck'
Crinum 'Schreck' is a hybrid (Crinum bulbispermum x Crinum scabrum) originating from the Schreck family of Vidor, Texas, with no relation to the famed Shrek family of Hollywood, California. Recognizing its value, Texas plantswoman Marcelle Sheppard named and distributed it. This exceptional plant produces 30-inch tall stalks that emerge from late May through mid-summer. Each stalk is adorned with 10-13 outward-facing, tubular white flowers featuring striking wide cherry-red stripes both inside and out. Crinum 'Schreck' is an extraordinarily floriferous plant, reblooming throughout the summer, making it truly outstanding in the garden.
Echinacea 'Double Scoop Mandarin'
Echinacea 'Double Scoop Mandarin' is the newest addition to the successful Double Scoop series of coneflowers from Ball Seed. Its double flowers, appearing in mid-June (NC), start as peachy orange and mature into a lovely rosy pink. With sturdy 20-inch tall stems, this coneflower thrives in well-drained areas of your sunny garden. We believe you will find it particularly appealing for its vibrant and changing hues.
Hedychium deceptum is a lesser-known ginger native to the Meghalaya/Naga Hills region of India, found at elevations between 1,500' and 4,500'. Although discovered in the 1920s by UK plantsman H.J. Elwes, it remained commercially unnoticed until recently introduced by US ginger expert, Tim Chapman. Resembling the well-known Hedychium greenii, Hedychium deceptum exhibits bright, strikingly colored flowers. Growing in half-day sun, the plants form stout 3-foot tall clumps of dark green, corn-like foliage. From early August to October, the foliage is adorned with stocky flower heads of dark burgundy bracts that hold vermillion orange flowers.
In summary, Plant Delights Nursery's collection of favorite spring and summer blooming perennials exemplifies the beauty and resilience of these enduring plants. From delicate blooms to vibrant displays, these perennials add a timeless charm to any garden.
Whether you're a seasoned gardener or a novice, these cherished perennials offer something special for everyone. Embrace the joy of gardening and create your own sanctuary as you nurture these steadfast companions year after year.Thank you for joining us on this horticultural journey. May the splendor of these perennial wonders inspire you to cultivate and appreciate the enduring magic of nature. Happy gardening!