Encore: A Second Bloom for your Perennials

As the summer fades, you may be in pre-mourning for your perennials. The traditional growing season is nearly over. Sure, you’ve got your fall interest plants and late bloomers, but the really stellar perennials are already past their prime.

However, some perennials can give you an encore if you care for them properly. August is the best time to start this process, to make sure you have time for a second bloom before it gets cold around October.

Deadheading and Cutting Back

We use the term “deadheading” around the nursery pretty frequently, but we’re not talking about following a jam band cross country.  Deadheading is simply cutting or pinching off dead blooms at the stem. Sometimes, it’s best performed by hand, and others, with scissors or very sharp garden shears. Either way, removing the dead material is great for the plant and encourages new growth.

Cutting back is slightly different. Some species require the whole shoot to be removed before new growth can happen. Removing a dead stem to the main stem can also stimulate new growth.

Encore Perennials

Keep in mind that not every perennial can bloom more than once a year. Here’s a little list of some of our favorites that can give you a second bloom, and how to get it!

  • Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan) – this is a late bloomer to begin with, but pinching off dead heads can give you a second show in the fall. Since this flower usually comes in gold and deep red, it’s a seasonally perfect perennial!
  • Echinacea (Coneflower) – like its cousin, Rudbeckia, Echinacea can also have a second showing. While dead-heading isn’t strictly necessary, it does help keep the plant neat.
  • Daisies – Shasta or Montauk, these guys can be late summer all stars. Keep up with deadheading and they’ll bloom well into fall.
  • Coreopsis – Continual deadheading throughout the growing season will keep a gorgeous display of these flowers on top of that wispy foliage.
  • Butterfly bush – Butterfly bushes may seem like a summer staple, but they can keep blooming in a warm September. Removing the spent flower spikes will promote continual growth.

Have a beloved plant you want to get more out of? Looking for more information on second blooms? Give us a call or shoot us an email!