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Plants That Peak in August

Although the majority of blooming plants bloom in spring through early summer, that doesn’t mean the show’s over in the garden come August. Plenty of perennials and shrubs wait until August to flower, not to mention the many annual flowers that should be hitting full stride by now – if you’ve kept them watered in the heat.

The trick is making sure at plant-buying time that you’ve planned for August color. That’s easy to overlook because most gardeners shop for plants in spring to early summer and tend to buy what’s in bloom then.

August color requires imagining what a plant will look like in bloom later, even if there’s not so much as a flower bud on it at buying time.

Five best August-blooming perennials

1. Agastache

These deer-resistant prairie natives send up 2- to 3-foot-tall spikes of licorice-scented blue, purple, or pastel flowers.

Agastache

2. Purple coneflower 

Another native, the classic form features drooping pinkish-lavender petals around a central golden-brown cone. New varieties come in rose, red, orange, and gold.

Purple Coneflower

3. Hardy hibiscus

One of the showiest of all flowers, hardy hibiscus grow into bush-like 4-footers that produce large trumpet-shaped flowers ranging from white to pink to red. Some have burgundy foliage.

Hardy Hibiscus

4. Russian sage

This drought-tough sun-lover has upright stems with small, silvery-gray lacy leaves and small flowers of purple or lavender. Varieties range from 15 inches to 3 feet tall.

Russian Sage

5. Sedum

Another drought-tough sun-lover, sedums have succulent leaves and umbrella-like flowers of pink that mature to rust.

Sedum

Five best August-blooming shrubs

1. Panicle hydrangeas

This type of hydrangea differs from the more common big-leaf hydrangea in that it blooms later, has cone-shaped flowers instead of round ones, and is more sun-tolerant. Panicle hydrangea flowers open white and typically morph to pink. Plants come in sizes ranging from 4 to 8 feet tall.

Pink Hydrangeas

2. Shrub roses

These bushy, durable roses offer the advantages of disease resistance in addition to flowers that keep coming throughout summer into early fall, especially if spent flowers are trimmed off. Bloom colors are mostly red, pink, and white on 3- to 4-foot plants.

Rose Bush

3. Blue mist shrub (Caryopteris)

Sun-loving, drought-tough, and resistant to deer, this bushy 4-footer has silvery-gray leaves and August flowers of blue to blue-lavender.

Caryopteris

4. Beautyberry

While the pink August flowers of this arching 4- to 5-footer are small and not terribly showy, they’ll hand off into metallic, purple, BB-sized fruits in September and October.

Beauty Berry

5. Butterfly bush

A long-time yard staple, butterfly bushes are being banned in many states for invasive seeding into the wild. However, sterile varieties are available that are exempted from the bans to give August color without the unwanted viable seeds. Cone-shaped flowers come in lavender, pink, purple, white, and blue-purple.

Butterfly Bush

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