Summer is in full swing right now and the perennial garden is
bursting with color. While the spring-blooming perennials are just a
memory, it's time for the summer-blooming perennials to take center
stage. There are lots of summer-blooming perennials for shade that
span the entire season from early summer to early autumn and many are
my favorites. Click on a plant name to order it from Pernell Gerver's
spring and early summer is the season for hardy perennial geraniums.
Hardy perennial geraniums form a handsome mound of foliage that
ranges in size from a compact clump under six inches high and wide to
nearly three feet high and wide, depending on species. All have
palm-shaped, or palmate, leaves. Some are more deeply divided than
others and the leaf color varies from light green to blue gray, to
deep green. Many also have attractive fall foliage and even when they
are not in bloom they are attractive in the garden. The flowers of
hardy perennial geraniums are single and made up of five petals that
overlap each other, giving them a rounded appearance. Flower color
includes magenta, rose, pink, violet, lilac, blue, purple, and dark
purple. Some species have attractive veining on the petals and others
have a dark-black center that contrasts nicely with the flower. They
grow well in shady spots in the garden.
is a popular shade-loving perennial. There are many different types
of astilbes that offer a bloom period from late spring to fall. They
are versatile perennials that form handsome clumps in the garden.
They grow well in part sun to deep shade, are available in a range of
plant sizes from six inches tall to four feet tall, and have an
extensive range of flower colors including white, red, purple, lilac,
lavender, rose, salmon, and pink. Even after the flowers have faded,
the seed heads remain attractive in the garden. I don't cut them down
in fall, but leave them to provide winter interest. They are
especially attractive after a light dusting of snow. The foliage of
astilbes is attractive all season long. It's finely cut and ranges
from bright green to deep bronze, depending on variety. The foliage
is glossy on some types. The thunbergia species
of astilbe is the largest of the astibles with flower stems that can
reach 40 inches high. It forms large, impressive clumps and its
flower plumes stand high above the foliage. The foliage is generally
medium green and finely divided. One of the most striking varieties
is 'Ostrich Plume.' Instead of
upright plumes, it bears graceful, arching flowers. The flowers are
deep-rosy-pink in bud that open pale pink. It begins blooming in
midsummer and is in bloom for weeks. The seed heads remain attractive
well into winter on this attractive astilbe.
of the best summer-blooming perennials for shade is Ligularia
'The Rocket.' It grows in
the deepest, darkest shade there is. In my own garden, it's growing
on the north side of my potting shed under the shade of tall trees.
It never sees sun, but it's thriving and blooming. It forms a
two-foot-wide mound of interesting, triangular leaves. The leaves
have deeply-serrated edges, giving them a prehistoric look. In
summer, five-foot-tall deep purple flower stems rise through the
foliage and bear bright-yellow flowers.
anemone is a late-summer-to-autumn-blooming perennial that
thrives in the shade. One of my favorites is the variety 'Pamina.'
It forms a handsome mound of foliage not quite two feet tall - no
staking required! Flower stems rise through the foliage and stand
three feet high. Dozens and dozens of flowers bloom over a long
period from early September right through frost. The double flowers
have many petals surrounding a central cluster of orange stamens.
Flower color is rosy lavender.