Plants for late-summer colour

Discover some plants that will add colour to your borders in September and October.

Don't say goodbye to summer too soon. Thanks to today's warmer climate, summer now stretches into early October, and the traditional midsummer floral display seems like a flash in the pan. Where once we threw all the big guns at June and July, you now need a second set of late-flowering plants to see you through September and October. Turn up the heat and try our plant choices to keep borders bubbling.

Flowers that peak in late-summer are pretty wide-ranging, as are shrubs, climbers and herbaceous perennials. Most fashionable annuals, exotics and tender perennial patio plants should also stay in flower until late-September, or even early October, if properly looked after. Don't overlook ornamental grasses, which can lift a border into the designer league. And don't forget to grow a few spare plants in pots, so you can slot them into gaps that may appear in a scheme.

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Crocosmia

Also known as montbretia, this spreading plant features clumps of strappy leaves alongside sprays of trumpet flowers in shades of red, yellow and orange.

Japanese anemone

This plant is ideal for the no-fuss gardener. The large, long-lasting flowers in pinks, mauves or white are held on strong, medium-tall wiry stems that don't need supporting.

Penstemon

This must-have plant has short stems of large bell-shaped flowers in purples, pinks and blues. It's drought tolerant and pretty hardy, although it's still advisable to take cuttings as a back-up, which you can then overwinter.

Sedum

Ice plants are reliable in hot, dry positions. Varieties of Sedum spectabile and S. telephium are particularly lovely. Leave flowers after they've died, as they'll continue to look attractive in winter.

Phlox paniculata

This classic late-summer border perennial comes in a wide range of colours, and one or two have variegated foliage. They're reliable and trouble-free plants.

Helenium

For a zing of blood-orange, there's little to beat heleniums, whose daisy-like flowers are loved by bees for their nectar. After flowering, the seedheads are attractive well into autumn.

Hydrangea arborescens

This plant is a gem, with huge domes of white flowers dotted like plump cushions across a light-green leafy background. The huge heads last in semi-dried form until the first frosts.

Ceanothus 'Autumnal Blue'

Reliable, evergreen, easy to grow and doesn't need pruning, this old favourite is covered in billowing deep-blue flowers from early July to the end of September.

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