15 Unique Perennial Plants to Transform Your August Garden

August is a peculiar month for gardeners. As summer temperatures rise and hints of fall begin to appear, finding perennials that bloom during this transitional period can be challenging. However, with a little exploration and creativity, you can discover a whole new world of late-blooming perennials that will add beauty and charm to your garden. In this article, we introduce 15 unique perennial plants that you can plant in August to bring color and vibrancy to your outdoor space.

Planting in August: A Season of Surprises

While August may not be the ideal month for planting, it can still be a fruitful time, depending on your location. With the scorching summer heat starting to wane in many regions, it’s an opportune moment to take advantage of garden center sales and expand your perennial collection. Additionally, if you have a shaded garden, August presents an excellent opportunity to introduce new plants that thrive in cooler conditions.

Bluebeard: The Late Bloomer

Caryopteris x clandonensis
Scientific Name: Caryopteris x clandonensis

One plant that shines in August is bluebeard. This flowering shrub boasts narrow silver leaves and blooms with bluish-purple flowers throughout the summer and into fall. Bluebeard is a versatile addition to any landscape, whether you use it as a hedge or border shrub. To prolong its bloom period, remember to deadhead the spent flowers.

Butterfly Bush: A Siren for Butterflies

Buddleia davidii
Scientific Name: Buddleia davidii

If you want to attract butterflies to your garden, the butterfly bush is your ally. This heat-tolerant plant features spiky colorful flowers that serve as irresistible nectar sources for butterflies. With various sizes and colors available, butterfly bushes are a fantastic late-season addition to your garden. Pruning them in spring encourages vigorous growth and abundant flowers.

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Coral Bells: Foliage That Steals the Show

Heuchera spp
Scientific Name: Heuchera spp.

Coral bells are an exquisite perennial plant known for their gorgeous foliage and delicate coral bell-shaped flowers. With almost 100 varieties available in a range of colors, coral bells can effortlessly elevate your garden’s aesthetics. These perennials make excellent border plants and provide a striking contrast to your other flowering plants. Consider nestling them in your hosta gardens for an added texture and color dimension.

Fountain Grass: Movement and Elegance

Pennisetum alopecuroides
Scientific Name: Pennisetum alopecuroides

For year-round visual interest, consider adding fountain grass to your garden. This ornamental grass boasts narrow, elegant leaves, creating a captivating waterfall effect as they arch down to the ground. The plant’s small thorn-like flowers can be used in floral arrangements. Whether as a specimen plant or in a mass planting, fountain grass adds graceful elegance to any outdoor space.

Garden Mum: Fall’s Versatile Gem

Chrysanthemum sp
Scientific Name: Chrysanthemum sp.

Embrace the classic beauty of garden mums in your garden. These gorgeous flowers require some maintenance, including regular pruning of faded buds. By continually pinching the flowers back until July, you can ensure a bushy plant brimming with buds. However, if you’re planting garden mums in August, you can skip this step. Mums are ideal for areas where foliage takes center stage during summer. Once the flowers fade, trim them back and provide protection for the plants during winter.

Hydrangea: Timeless Elegance

Hydrangea sp
Scientific Name: Hydrangea sp.

Planting hydrangeas in August may not yield immediate flowers this year, but it sets the stage for a beautiful display in the coming years. Hydrangeas are renowned for their large and captivating blooms, with blue blossoms being particularly famous. Choose a bigleaf hydrangea or Hydrangea macrophylla for vibrant blue flowers. With their versatile nature, hydrangeas can find a perfect spot in your garden, from full sun to partial shade.

Japanese Anemone: Simple Elegance in Every Color

Anemone hupehensis
Scientific Name: Anemone hupehensis

Japanese anemones enchant with their simple yet magnificent white, pink, or purple flowers. Once established, these perennials spread through rhizomes, making them an excellent choice for filling empty spaces. Enhance your border gardens by planting Japanese anemones behind lower-growing perennials or annuals for a captivating layered effect.

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Maiden Grass: Graceful Whispers

Miscanthus sinensis
Scientific Name: Miscanthus sinensis

Maiden grass adds a touch of ethereal beauty to any landscape. Its fine green leaves with a silvery tint create a delightful waving effect. While the flowers on maiden grass are graceful and long, they are not its main attraction. Ideal for walkways or poolside areas, this grass turns bronze after a frost, making it a stunning autumn feature. Consider planting ‘Adagio,’ a popular and dependable variety of maiden grass.

Masterwort: A Pincushion of Marvel

Astrantia major
Scientific Name: Astrantia major

Masterwort, also known as pincushion, captivates with its unique flowers. These blossoms feature florets backed by bracts, resembling fireworks or pincushions. While masterwort appreciates moist soil, it thrives in partially shaded areas. Its low-maintenance nature makes it a perfect choice for shaded gardens. Use these flowers in arrangements or as an eye-catching centerpiece in your shade gardens.

Montauk Daisy: Beauty from Long Island

Nipponanthemum nipponicum
Scientific Name: Nipponanthemum nipponicum

Fill the late summer and fall void in your garden with the charming montauk daisy. This sun-loving plant, belonging to the daisy family, displays an abundance of daisy-like flowers. To prevent flopping, pinch it back around the 4th of July. With their endurance until the frost, montauk daisies are a true delight. These flowers, which have naturalized themselves in Long Island, New York, thrive in other coastal areas as well.

New England Aster: Nature’s Autumnal Canvas

Aster novae-angliae
Scientific Name: Aster novae-angliae

Asters are the perfect companions to chrysanthemums, providing a splendid autumnal display. These herbaceous perennials come in various shades of purple, pink, and white. Asters bloom until the frost, attracting a multitude of pollinators. Plant them sporadically within your perennial gardens or create a breathtaking impact by mass planting them. ‘Purple Dome’ is a notable and reliable variety of aster.

Perennial Hibiscus: Show-Stopping Beauty

Hibiscus sp
Scientific Name: Hibiscus sp.

If you seek showy flowers and low-maintenance plants, look no further than perennial hibiscus. The large, ornate foliage of this plant lends a tropical feel to your garden. When the flowers bloom later in the summer, your garden will become a breathtaking spectacle. Perennial hibiscus comes in a variety of colors, from pristine white to vibrant red. Simply cut back the branches in spring, and get ready for the stunning display.

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Russian Sage: A Purple Oasis

Perovskia atriplicifolia
Scientific name: Perovskia atriplicifolia

Russian sage evokes images of taller catmint with its stunning silver foliage and spiky purple flowers. This drought-tolerant plant blooms from summer through fall, making it an ideal late-season addition. Whether used as a border plant or nestled among other perennials, Russian sage adds a touch of elegance and tranquility to any garden.

Sedum ‘Pure Joy’: Ground Cover Delight

Sedum hybrid
Scientific Name: Sedum hybrid

Sedum, known for its beloved ‘Autumn Joy’ variety, offers a compact ground cover alternative called ‘Pure Joy.’ This sedum variety is equally dependable and beautiful. Its drought and heat tolerance make it a hassle-free addition to rock gardens and containers. In late summer, it bursts into light pink flowers that last until the frost. With Sedum ‘Pure Joy,’ you won’t have to worry about constant maintenance.

Turtlehead: A Shade-Loving Marvel

Chelone obliqua
Scientific Name: Chelone obliqua

Turtlehead is an exceptional perennial for partially shaded gardens. Its deep green and glossy foliage serves as an ideal backdrop for the plant’s snapdragon-like flowers, which come in white or pink. These blooms last for about a month, extending your summer pleasure into fall. Turtlehead appreciates moist soil, so remember to provide sufficient watering.

As August beckons, don’t let the transitional period hinder your gardening ambitions. Embrace the unique beauty of these perennial plants and transform your garden into a late summer delight. With careful planning and proper care, your outdoor space will flourish with captivating colors and textures, providing a stunning backdrop for the changing seasons.

For more gardening inspiration and to explore a wide array of perennial plants, visit Ames Farm Center.