Is it time to add a bit of a splash to your surroundings? Want to add color, interest, attract butterflies, resist deer and keep things low- maintenance? If so, here’s a vibrant collection of annuals and perennials that do especially well in our area’s planting zones, 5 and 6.
If you want to attract butterflies, the Purple Coneflower is a winner for your garden. Needing little care, they grow in poor soil conditions, are drought tolerant and pest and disease resistant. They bloom all summer long. Coneflowers typically are available in pink to purple shades, but white and yellow varieties can be found.
Asters begin blooming in the summer and carry on colorfully—in a wide range of purple hues—into the fall. They are relatively easy to grow and prefer moist soil. Depending on the variety selected, Asters can grow as tall as two feet and should be divided in the spring every three years or so. Asters work beautifully as cut flowers.
Even though each of their flowers only lasts one day, daylilies bloom repeatedly throughout the summer. This is an incredibly low- maintenance plant…it can take on poor soil, uneven sunlight and drought conditions.
With a purple, pink—or occasionally white—pom-pom head, Alliums are a garden standout when planted in groups. Members of the onion family—chives are one variety—they begin as a bulb. Most offer a pleasant fragrance and attract pollinators, but typically resist deer and rodents. While some are low-growing, the dramatic ones stand up to five-feet.
Their soft pink buds tease us in the spring, then soon blossom into pink or purple blooms. Virginia Bluebells grow happily in sun or shade and reach one to two-foot tall. Left to their own devices, their footprint will spread out over the years, as Bluebells reseed themselves.
If the goal is to attract butterflies and hummingbirds, this is a definite must have for your garden. With clusters of bright orange-yellow flowers from late spring until late summer, Butterfly Weed blooms are rich with nectar and pollen. Large seed pods that disperse small seeds that if left in place, can make the plant invasive.
Zinnias are the only annuals in this feature, but they deserve to be included. This is a flower that will provide eye-catching bursts of color all summer long—and well into the fall. Easy to grow, they bloom heavily with bright, daisy-like heads, up to 30 inches tall. They make great cut flowers and an attractive source of food for butterflies.
Article originally appeared in May 2023