Early Summer Perennials for Utah

  • The peak blooms of spring are now gone and the fullest bloom of summer is yet to arrive.  We're in the "lull" in between peak seasonal bloom.  Gardens which rely primarily on flowers to achieve color are looking a bit tired as plants start to complain about the near 100 degree temperatures-- with hotter yet to come.  

    There are plenty of native and adapted perennials that are happy to grow and bloom in our arid Utah summers.  In this post, we'll focus primarily on commonly available perennials that are blooming right now, many of which will still be blooming come August.  Most of the plants below would be considered "moderate" in terms of water use and all are happiest in sunny conditions.  That means you can plant Ozark Sundrops in front of Shasta Daisies and be confident that they'll happily interact.  Any of the 12 perennials below can be mixed and matched in the same planting beds.  A high percentage of the featured plants originate from the Midwest prairies and would look even more "at home" if ornamental grasses are thrown into the mix.

    Native plants are more xeric than the 12 featured here so we'll cover those in a separate post. Suffice it to say, we've got more interesting native plants than you might imagine.  Utah is a fabulous place to garden!

    Designer Tip: Foliage 

    When selecting plants, I use a general rule of thumb that 1 out of every 3 plants should be selected primarily for foliage traits.  That doesn't mean the plant won't also contribute blooms, just that it's also attractive when NOT in bloom.  Remember that beauty is created through contrast and flowers are just one form of contrast.