With a little effort, many perennials will reward you with a second flush of flowers. This will prevent gaps of colour and interest in the garden, providing you with a longer season of colour.
For some repeat-flowering perennials, you just need to snip off old flowers before they start producing seed to prompt another flush of flowers. Others can be cut back completely after the first set of flowers has gone over, to encourage a fresh growth. As with any plants that are cut back completely, keep them well fed and watered to give them the best chance to reflower.
While your plants are flowering, check for blooms that are past their best every other day. By deadheading your plants you’ll prolong flowering, providing extra pollen and nectar for pollinators, and will improve their appearance by removing tatty blooms.
Discover some of the best repeat-flowering perennials to grow, below.
Penstemon ‘Hidcote Pink’ in flower
Popular with bees, penstemons are renowned for their long-flowering qualities. Deadhead them by cutting back spent flower spikes.
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Flowering throughout summer and into autumn, this collection of four hardy varieties (blue, pink, dark purple and white) will provide reliable colour for months on end, year-after-year.
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Orange, trumpet-shaped hemerocallis bloom
Daylilies (hemerocallis) have short-lived blooms that typically last a day or so, but they’re produced in a large number over a long period, typically from late spring to late summer. Daylilies are brilliant plants for clay soils, too. Find out how to plant daylilies.
Purple-blue catmint flowers
Loved by pollinators, catmints (nepeta) can be deadhead in a number of ways to produce further blooms. You can either deadhead individual flower spikes as they fade, or cut the whole plant back after flowering to get a second flush of flowers.
Golden-lime flowers of lady’s mantle ‘Gold Strike’
Lady’s mantle is a cottage garden favourite, bearing beautiful toothed leaves that are water-repellent, so water drops sit on their surface, creating a beautiful sparkling effect. The lime-green flowers are long-lasting, but you can shear back the whole plant in late summer to encourage fresh foliage and flowers.
Mauve and white flower of tradescantia ‘Bilberry Ice’
Hardy tradescantias like Tradescantia virginiana and Tradescantia x andersoniana and their cultivars provide short-lived but frequently produced flowers, set against grassy foliage. Expect them to be in flower from late spring to late summer.
Pink-orange, pompom blooms of dahlia ‘Sylvia Orange’
Beginning their display in midsummer, dahlias will flower until the first frosts if deadheaded regularly. Watch Monty show you how to deadhead dahlias, plus cosmos and buddleias, which can also be deadheaded to prolong flowering.
Vivid-purple hardy geranium ‘Patricia’
Both hardy geraniums and tender pelargoniums are fantastic repeat-flowerers. Hardy geraniums can be sheared back after the first flush of flowers to produce further colour, whereas the flowering stems of pelargoniums are normally deadheaded individually to encourage more blooms.
These elegant shade-lovers have starry flowers that first appear in early summer. Once your astrantias have finished flowering, the whole plant can be cut back to get more foliage and flowers. Leave the first or second set of flowers if you want them to self-seed.
Scabious ‘Pink Mist’
Deadhead spent scabious flowers individually, cutting flowering stems to the base, to get more of the pollinator-friendly blooms. When siting, choose a sunny, well-drained spot to get the best flowering performance.
Yellow and white anthemis ‘Sauce Hollandaise’
More repeat-flowering plants to grow