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What Are Some Long-Flowering Perennials in Zone 3? (archived thread)

10 years ago
Any long flowering perennials in zone 3 ?????

Posted by violet_zone_3 z3 Ont/Canada on Mon, Sep 9, 02 at 20:24s
I have read with the interest the similiar question from a fellow gardener in zone 7 and wondered if anyone in my zone could respond with some good suggestions. I find that the books and seed packets say "June to frost" and the plants barely flower for 4 weeks sometimes. Any good old standbys???

Posted by: ABgardeneer 3, Calgary on Tue, Sep 10, 02 at 0:24
Yes, lots!
In no particular order, these perennials bloom for me from early summer to frost: yellow perennial flax (Linum flavum compactum), Veronica whitleyi (a groundcover that starts blooming with the tulips), Delphinium grandiflorum 'Blue Elf', astrantia (even after the flower has dried up in very late summer, it still has the appearance of a fresh bloom), western Canada violet (Viola rugulosa), Corydalis lutea and also the blue-flowered types, Symphyandra hoffmannii, lady's mantle, Aquilegia vulgaris (they bloom throughout the summer here), Clematis integrifolia, fern-leafed bleeding hearts, tiarella's, lamium, repeat-blooming shrub roses...

Those with very long blooms (though not as long as those above because they start a bit later): Primula florindae and alpicola (both from midsummer to fall), Campanula punctata, Campanula persicifolia, Digitalis grandiflora (perennial yellow foxglove), Jerusalem sage (Phlomis tuberosa), Heliopsis helianthoides 'Summer Sun', repeat-blooming daylilies (e.g. Stella D'Oro), potentilla's (the shrubs), sea holly (this gives the impression of long bloom because the flower dries but looks fresh)...

Just by planting different kinds of asiatic lilies and daylilies, you can have bloom from early June into September (though not from the same plant). Add oriental lilies and various species lilies for even more late bloom.

Whew, this is all I can think of off the top of my head... Don't limit yourself only to plants with very long bloom times - it's great to collect plants that bloom early (spring bulbs, irises, peonies, etc.) and late (goldenrod, Morden mums, late asters, Joe Pye, culver's root, etc.), so that there's always a good variety of bloom and color. It's great fun and very rewarding to achieve this! Go for it! Lori

Posted by: violet_zone_3 z3 Ont/Canada on Wed, Sep 11, 02 at 15:20
Lori, thanks for your long list, many of which I don't recognize. I will be searching seed catalogues for them. You're right, not to think of long bloomers for all plants, but I just wanted a core group of such plants and then branch out into early, mid and late bloomers for that continuous colour in the garden. Your being in the same zone will really be a help to me, as seed catalogues and books say one thing and reality is often diffrent in Zone 3! Thanks again for your reply. And happy gardening!

Posted by: Barb1963 CanadaZ3a on Fri, Sep 13, 02 at 11:33
Just a few to add that have been long bloomers for me here in zone 3.

Dianthus Zing rose (started mid June and still blooming)
Coral Bells Brandon Pink (mid June and still blooming)
Golden Marguerite Kelways (same as above)
Rudbeckia Goldstrum (same)
Heliopsis Summer Sun(mentioned above, I love this plant)

Hope this helps.


Posted by: Elvis 4b Wisc on Fri, Sep 27, 02 at 23:48
Veronica spicata, viola (Johnny jump up), malva.

Posted by: Monarda brooklyn 6b7a on Sat, Sep 28, 02 at 8:50
Gosh! Just reading about the exquisitely beautiful flowers that flourish in cool climes (and only in cool climes) makes my heat beat faster!

And I always thought I wished for a warmer zone!

Posted by: Corrie 2b MB Canada on Sun, Sep 29, 02 at 11:36
Wow, Lori, as usual you've shared some great information with all us northern gardeners, thanks! Just wondering how long you've had the delphinium "Blue Elf"? The info I've read often suggests these are not very long-lived plants; has that been your experience or does our colder zone affect their longevity, as it does the taller kinds? Also suprised to see an aquilegia on this list; do you deadhead faithfully? I have an older blue-flowering A. vulgaris and it doesn't give a very long performance, but then I tend to be forgetful about the deadheading. One more question if you don't mind; how tall does the Clematis integrifolia get for you? Do you give it something to climb or just let it sprawl, and how do you like it? It looks like a really beautiful plant; have been considering adding it to my garden for a while now, and I'm really glad to see it's also long flowering.

As for my contributions to the long-flowering list:

Achilleas - all kinds, especially if kept deadheaded, but particularly "Paprika", which I've had for two years, bloomed continuously from early summer well into frosts. Reminds me to deadhead because the flowers turn paler as they age, so deadheading keeps it looking good and blooming.

Champlain rose - not really a perennial, but a wonderful source of red, red roses all summer and into hard frost. At less than three feet tall, I think it qualifies as a perennial.

Stella d'Oro daylily - I know, overdone in parking lot plantings, but definitly a long-blooming source of bright golden yellow colour, still looked great at the front of my border until several nights of hard frost (down to -6) recently snuffed most everything.

Tiarella "Ninja" - beautiful little plant; a mound of layered, deeply cut leaves with ink-blot centres, decorated with delicately cream/pink bottlebrush spikes most of the summer. Always looks neat and fresh.

Campanula carpatica - mine are two years old and have clumped up tifully; flowers from mid-spring into fall with a couple of shearings to remove old flowerstems. Still have a few bells laughing at the frost out there now.


Posted by: ABgardeneer 3, Calgary on Sun, Sep 29, 02 at 19:24

Thank you for the very nice compliments, but I can never tell how much the weird Calgary climate and conditions affect plant behavior! I'm not sure to what extent my observations can always be generalized.

To answer your questions:
I've had Delphinium grandiflorum 'Blue Elf' for many years now (probably since '96 or '97) and have not noticed that individual plants are particularly short-lived (I'd guess they live over 3 years definitely). On the other hand, they also reseed very well, so I don't exactly keep track of where they started! If they are short-lived in your area, the solution is probably just to let them seed; I believe they bloom in the first year from seed. I let them seed wherever, since they're such a beautiful, colorful and useful plant with long bloom.

Re Aquilegia. I find that "species" columbines (i.e. non-vulgaris) have defined bloom seasons, usually early, but that A. vulgaris blooms throughout the season, with secondary stems following the earlier ones. I still have a couple yellow and pink/yellow ones with a few flowers now. I don't deadhead, although I find that A. vulgaris is prone to mildew later on, so I SHOULD be cutting them off for aesthetic reasons (although since they are in bloom, I usually don't cut them off!) Not sure if the continual bloom is a factor of our strange climate in Calgary (cold nights) or what.

I just went out and measured Clematis integrifolia - it's about 42" and still has 3 flowers on it. I've struggled for years with how best to support it. This year, I finally used a hoop that is criss-crossed with wires at right angles, about 3" apart, and supported on 3 legs - I put it in place so that the plant would grow up through it. (These also worked well for huge oriental poppies.) It's been the best so far, but not yet ideal in that strong winds will bend the stems over the top of the hoop, though the plant doesn't seem to mind this. A hoop on a single support doesn't work too well, since the plant itself has a lot of volume, and a high wind will push on the plant and turn the hoop around the wrong way (at least with the way I have the support post situated, given the direction of our prevailing winds).

Knautia macedonica is another really long blooming one, and definitely hardy in Z3 - wouldn't be surprised if it was hardy in Z2. Let me know if you would like seeds - unique burgundy colored flowers, small but abundant. Lori