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Southeast Regional Reports

Late-Blooming Perennials for the Southeast

These fall bloomers will rescue a faded garden

Bright orange lion’s ear is striking against the deep purple of salvia (Salvia cv., Zones 5–11). Photo: Paula Gross

“Now, don’t you worry. He’s just a late bloomer.” This may not exactly qualify as a compliment in general conversation, but when it comes to the garden, late bloomers are the heroes that burst onto the scene of a garden running out of steam.

Southeastern summers are long! Not only do we experience the early, mid, and late summer seasons; we’ve also got late, late summer (what those north of us call fall). Late September through mid-November teases us with cool spells, yet shorts clothe the Southern gardener as often as sweaters until December. Such a long, warm growing season leads to worn-out summer bloomers by Labor Day. But it also opens up a window for the really late bloomers. As other plants are transitioning toward dormancy, these perennials are like an echo of spring, refreshing us with new blooms—a floral bonus round for sticking it out.

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