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These plants can take worst of the a hot summer (heat, lack of water, and humidity) and still manage to perform well. They generally live four to five years before they need replacing, but during that time, they offer dependable foliage and pretty blue flowers from mid- to late summer. Blue-mist shrubs form low-growing, finely-textured mounds and are deer-resistant.
‘Sixteen Candles’ summersweet is a newer cultivar of a popular native shrub. This compact selection reaches 3 to 5 feet tall. In summer, ‘Sixteen Candles’ is topped with aromatic, erect, butterfly-enticing white blooms for 4 to 6 weeks. In fall, the leaves turn an attractive yellow.
This cultivar has dark green leaves with a faint bronze sheen. Its narrow, dangling, red and purple flowers bloom throughout the season.
This evergreen shrub is often grown as a tender perennial where not hardy. It sports long spikes of red, dangling, bell-shaped flowers with yellow throats in summer. It makes a beautiful and unique addition to a perennial or shrub border.
Pale yellow, four-inch-long flowers dangle all around the stems of this evergreen, fuchsia look-alike. Given a long enough growing season, it can reach 5 feet tall and as wide. Where not hardy, grow it as a tender perennial.
From late spring to fall, this easy-going perennial bears deep orange-red flowers on 3- to 4-foot-tall spikes that rise above a loose, 6-foot-wide mound of heart-shaped, sticky leaves. The native habitat for this brightly colored salvia is a very limited area at an altitude of 9,000 feet in the narrow range of the Mexican Sierra Madre Oriental Mountains.
This unusual tender perennial displays an electric color combination when its vibrant purple-blue flowers open from bright chartreuse calyces. Fortunately, glossy, bright green leaves hold their own until the show gets started in August (and continues until frost). It forms a tall bush, 6 feet tall by 6 feet wide, which is great for the back of the border. Salvias are some of the showiest plants for containers, annual borders, and mixed borders. Butterflies and hummingbirds love them.
This notably beautiful plant produces huge, elongated banana-shaped leaves, which are arfully edged in luminescent yellow. The rosette sits at 18 inches tall, and in early summer the plant bears clusters of mauve-pink bells atop stems that are 4 to 5 feet tall.
From the Fairytail series of dwarf lilacs, this petite cultivar bears single, light pink flowers in mid- to late season. It has a rounded, compact habit, 6 feet high by 5 feet wide. It shows good resistance to powdery mildew.
A deciduous shrub, wiegela has gracefully arching branches studded with pink tubular flowers. Dwarf, medium, and tall cultivars are now available for the front, middle, or back of the border: 'Midnight Wine' has dark burgundy foliage and pink flowers; 2- to 3-foot-tall and wide 'Minuet' has purplish-green foliage and magenta-rose and pale purple flowers; and 'Dark Horse' has dark burgundy foliage and deep pink flowers. Many other garden-worthy cultivars are available.
This easy to grow evergreen yucca bears dramatic, sword-shaped yellow leaves with a dark green edge. Not as staunchly upright as some yuccas, its leaf tips sometimes droop with age. Its foliage color is best from fall to spring. Plants grow to nearly 2 feet in height and 3 feet in width. In summer, it produces a 6-foot-tall spike covered with nodding, fragrant, white bell-shaped flowers.
Building Better Borders
Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms
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