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A border of mauve scabious with yellow achillea and silvery stachys

Repeat-flowering perennials to grow

Published: Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 at 8:00 am

Discover some of the best repeat-flowering perennials to grow for spring, summer and autumn colour.

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.

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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.

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Discover some of the best repeat-flowering perennials to grow, below.


Penstemons

Penstemon 'Hidcote Pink' in flower
Penstemon 'Hidcote Pink' in flower

Popular with bees, penstemons are renowned for their long-flowering qualities. Deadhead them by cutting back spent flower spikes.


Hemerocallis

Hemerocallis
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.


Nepeta

Nepeta subsessilis
Purple-blue catmint flowers

Loved by pollinators, catmints (nepeta) can be deadheaded 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.


Alchemilla

Alchemilla sericata 'Gold Strike'
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.


Tradescantias

Tradescantia 'Bilberry Ice'
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.


Dahlias

Dahlia 'Sylvia Orange'
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.


Hardy geraniums

Hardy geranium Patricia
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.


Astrantias

Astrantias growing with hostas and acanthus
Maroon astrantias

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

Scabiosa columbaria 'Pink Mist'
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.


Anthemis tinctoria 'Sauce Hollandaise'
Yellow and white anthemis 'Sauce Hollandaise'

More repeat-flowering plants to grow


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This article was last updated in March 2022. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.

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