The Best Perennials to Plant in Late July and August

By Sourav - Jul-20-2023

Late July and August are crucial months for planting perennials due to their ability to establish strong root systems before the onset of winter. This ensures their survival and promotes healthy growth in the following spring. Additionally, planting perennials during this time allows them to take advantage of the warm soil temperatures and abundant moisture, providing optimal conditions for successful establishment. 

Benefits of choosing the right perennials for this period include increased chances of blooming and flowering in the following spring, as well as a higher resistance to diseases and pests. Furthermore, selecting perennials that are well-suited for the specific climate and soil conditions of the region can result in long-lasting and low-maintenance plants that require minimal care throughout the year. 


But hey, first we should know how to properly prepare the soil for late summer planting, check this tip:  Properly preparing the soil for late summer planting is crucial for ensuring the success of your perennials. Start by removing any weeds or debris from the planting area and loosening the soil with a garden fork or tiller. It is also recommended to amend the soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to improve its fertility and drainage. And also, testing the soil pH and adjusting it if necessary can create optimal growing conditions for your plants. 


Choosing the Right Perennials

Late summer planting offers a unique opportunity to add vibrant colors and textures to your garden. When selecting perennials for this time of year, consider these factors to ensure success:


  1. Heat Tolerance: Look for perennials that can withstand the intense summer heat and still bloom beautifully. Sun-loving varieties like coneflowers and black-eyed Susans are excellent choices.
  2. Drought Resistance: Opt for perennials that are known for their ability to tolerate dry conditions. Plants like lavender and sedum are not only hardy but also require less watering.
  3. Long Blooming Period: Choose perennials that extend their blooming season well into late summer, providing continuous bursts of color. Dahlias and asters are known for their stunning and long-lasting displays.
  4. Soil Adaptability: Consider the soil conditions in your garden and select perennials that thrive in your specific soil type. Some plants, like daylilies and yarrow, are adaptable and can grow well in various soil compositions.


Now, let's explore some popular perennial varieties that flourish in the late July and August timeframe:


  1. Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia): This drought-tolerant perennial boasts airy lavender-blue flowers and silver-gray foliage, adding a touch of elegance to any garden.
  2. Helenium (Helenium autumnale): With its vibrant yellow, orange, and red blooms, Helenium brings a splash of warm, fiery hues to late summer gardens, attracting pollinators with its nectar-rich flowers.
  3. Japanese Anemone (Anemone hupehensis): These graceful perennials produce charming pink or white flowers that sway delicately on tall stems, creating an enchanting atmosphere in the garden.
  4. Joe-Pye Weed (Eutrochium purpureum): Known for its tall stature and clusters of mauve-pink flowers, Joe-Pye Weed adds vertical interest and attracts butterflies with its abundant nectar.
  5. Coneflowers (Echinacea): Renowned for their vibrant and long-lasting blooms, coneflowers are a staple of late summer gardens. These hardy perennials come in a variety of stunning colors and attract pollinators, making them a must-have for any late-season garden.
  6. Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia): With their bright yellow petals and dark centers, black-eyed Susans bring a cheerful burst of sunshine to late summer landscapes. These tough and reliable


Planting and Care Tips

Now that you've chosen the perfect late-summer perennials for your garden, it's time to ensure they receive the proper care and attention they need to thrive. From preparing the soil to watering, mulching, and fertilizing, here are some essential planting and care tips to help your perennials flourish and create a breathtaking late-season garden.


1. Preparing the soil for planting:

Before planting your late-summer perennials, it's crucial to prepare the soil to provide them with the best possible growing conditions. Follow these steps for optimal results:

  • Clear the area: Remove any weeds, rocks, or debris from the planting area to create a clean space for your perennials.
  • Loosen the soil: Use a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil, breaking up any compacted areas and improving drainage.
  • Amend the soil: Incorporate organic matter like compost or well-rotted manure into the soil to enhance its fertility and structure.
  • Mix well: Thoroughly blend the organic matter with the existing soil, ensuring an even distribution of nutrients.
  • Level the surface: Smooth out the soil surface, creating a flat and even planting bed for your perennials.


2. Proper planting techniques for perennials:

To give your late-summer perennials the best chance of success, follow these planting guidelines:

  • Dig the hole: Create a hole that is wider and deeper than the root ball of the perennial.
  • Remove the plant from its container: Carefully take the plant out of its container, untangling any bound roots if necessary.
  • Place the plant in the hole: Position the plant in the center of the hole, making sure it sits at the same level as it was in the container.
  • Backfill and firm the soil: Fill the hole with soil, gently firming it around the roots to remove air pockets.
  • Water thoroughly: Give the newly planted perennial a thorough watering to help it settle into its new home.


3. Watering and mulching guidelines:

Proper watering and mulching are essential for maintaining healthy late-summer perennials. Follow these guidelines to keep your plants hydrated and protected:

  • Water deeply and infrequently: Provide deep watering once or twice a week to promote deep root growth.
  • Mulch to retain moisture: Apply organic mulch around the base of perennials to conserve soil moisture.
  • Monitor soil moisture: Check soil moisture regularly and water when the top inch feels dry.


4. Fertilization and maintenance requirements:

To keep your late-summer perennials healthy and thriving, consider the following fertilization and maintenance tips:

  • Fertilize strategically: Apply slow-release, balanced fertilizer in spring for steady nutrient supply.
  • Deadhead spent blooms: Remove faded flowers to encourage continuous blooming.
  • Monitor pests and diseases: Keep an eye out for common issues and take appropriate measures.
  • Divide and rejuvenate: Divide overcrowded perennials every few years for healthier growth.

Common Challenges and Troubleshooting

Growing perennials in late July and August can present specific challenges, from dealing with pests and diseases to addressing common issues that arise during this time of the year. In this section, we will explore some of these challenges and provide helpful tips for managing them effectively.

  • Address heat stress: Water deeply and provide temporary shade or afternoon shade to protect plants from excessive heat.
  • Combat drought stress: Water consistently and apply organic mulch to retain soil moisture.
  • Prevent nutrient deficiencies: Apply a balanced, slow-release fertilizer to replenish essential nutrients.
  • Manage pests: Handpick pests and use organic pest control methods like insecticidal soaps and neem oil.

And hopefully, you'll promote the health and vitality of your perennials during the late summer months.


Harvesting and Enjoying Perennials

Tips for harvesting blooms or foliage for arrangements or culinary purposes:

  • Harvest flowers early in the morning when they are well-hydrated and have the highest nutrient content.
  • Use clean, sharp pruners or scissors to make clean cuts at an angle, just above a leaf node or bud.
  • Place cut flowers immediately in a bucket of water to keep them hydrated and fresh.
  • For culinary use, harvest edible parts such as leaves or flowers just before using them in recipes for optimal flavor.

Preserving perennials for long-lasting enjoyment:

  • Dry flowers by hanging them upside down in a cool, well-ventilated area. This method helps retain their shape and color.
  • Press flowers between heavy books or in a flower press to create pressed flower art or decorative pieces.
  • Consider drying or preserving foliage to use in wreaths, potpourri, or other craft projects.
  • Freeze edible flowers or herbs in ice cubes for a decorative addition to beverages or recipes.


Late summer planting allows perennials to establish their roots before winter, resulting in stronger growth the following year. Many perennials bloom in late summer, adding vibrant colors and beauty to your garden. Late-season planting can take advantage of end-of-season sales or clearance discounts at nurseries.


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Happy gardening!