Plants that thrive in Cobb County
Yarrow, or Achillea, is a great filler plant. I have all mine between my camellias which I spaced quite far apart. Every spring this is the sight that greets me. The trick to these is to cut them back as soon as the blooms fade, because it gets untidy. But if you do, you’ll get more blooms later and the new greenery that grows in is very pretty. Keep it watered.
Dianthus is a great little perennial that stays small. It only gets 8 inches tall and wide, great for small gardens. They bloom all summer long, especially if given a slow-release fertilizer and regular watering.
Tall Phlox - “Oh, Grandpa,” said little 4 year old Moira this summer. “This is the most BEAUTIFUL flower. I just LOVE it.” Of course that melted Grandpa’s heart and he promptly gave her a bouquet. But tall phlox, which comes in purple, pink, white, blue and red, is very lovely, no question. Again, once it peaks, it becomes unsightly so you have to cut it back, but it is gorgeous for several weeks in summer.
Red Penstemon – I planted this not knowing what it was and goodness, was I surprised. It grows two feet tall every spring and sports these lovely blossoms, which are very delicate. Benefits from some fertilizer and some watering. Prune to 2-8 inches in late summer or fall when it finishes its show.
Red Lilies – a friend brought me a lily in a pot from Trader Joe a few years ago. They grew and I transplanted them to a large pot, and finally into the ground because they kept multiplying. They come back faithfully every spring and have never been fussed over!
Every year, Springhill Nursery, a great plant mail order company, sells its 10 re-blooming Day Lily bulbs. I dug holes and put mine in the ground and they have all come up, every year. But I have found that these don’t do well without lots of slow-release fertilizer in March, June and August. I use Nelson’s Color Star because I love Nelson products, but I’m sure Osmocote would be good, too. Mine are all in full sun.
I noticed in 2015 that, after putting Nelson Plant food’s Color Star around my Gladioli in early spring, they bloomed twice as long as they ever did before. They started mid-June and continued for a month. I’m honestly not sure if it was the fertilizer or the weather, but I suspect it was the fertilizer. They just never looked this good before.
Speedy Sonnet Bronze Snapdragon – Zone 7-9. I bought one of these in August from Pike’s and was amazed to find it will grow back next year if planted in a sheltered spot and mulched properly. The colors are amazing. Look it up on Google! I can’t wait to see how this one does.
One of Jerry’s customers asked him to get rid of these Canna Lilies, so we tossed them in the ground at our house and they are so pretty. They are in shade most of the day, and do well. I understand they prefer full sun. I don’t do anything to them – no extra water, fertilizer or pruning except in winter after the first frost.
Here’s what I love about white Balloon Flowers: they bloom from June through November and provide excellent contrast to the nearby Knockout Roses which also bloom for a long time. I have to say, though, that my Knockouts used to bloom in June, died back for three weeks, and then reappeared in late July for a while. In 2015 when I applied Nelson Plant Food’s Color Star for the first time, they bloomed solidly, June through November, without a break. I also cut the balloon flowers back in late July when their first blooms fade and they come right back till November.
Every spring, pink Blushing Rosie Evening Primrose pops up in my garden for several weeks. It does spread, so only put it where you don’t mind if it spreads indiscriminately. But gosh, they are pretty in spring.
Purple May Nights Salvia, white Balloon Flower, and pink Knockout Roses – such a pretty combination! Just cut the May Nights Salvia back and you get new blooms, just like the balloon flower when you cut back in July or early August.
Catmint (Nepeta) is great for a rocky slope where you just need a mat of color. This one plant after eight years is 6 feet around (10 inches tall) and is covered in blooms from May all the way to the first frost. I cut it back to nothing in winter, and it comes right back every year. Cats love it. Mine frequently rolls in it and even tries to eat it. Next day it pops back up.
Scorcher Heatwave Sage is a workhorse perennial. It requires nothing. You prune it back to 6 inches in late winter and up it comes, year after year, providing blooms from June through November. Mine is on a hill, so it cascades down.
I have had great luck with Dwarf Plumbago. Don’t confuse it with Plumbago Auriculata which is a completely different plant that doesn’t do well in our zone 7A. I bought 16 Dwarf Plumbago to put on a hill under a tree where they get afternoon sunshine and they are doing great. They get about 18 inches wide, and 6 inches tall. I’ve put other plants in that spot and they all died, but not the dwarf plumbago. It seems to me that this plant can handle many different environments and be perfectly happy. They produce deep blue flowers from mid-summer into late fall.
I have not had great luck with Mums. I have planted quite a few that never came up the second year, except this red one. This started off as one plant and is now three and about to become six. You have to divide them every 2-3 years. The trick to mums is that they start growing buds in June and if you don’t want a weak crop of sporadic blooms, you shave the buds off the top when they first appear, then again in late July. By October, the bush is absolutely covered in blooms just like the mums in the stores.
Jerry French Landscaping – serving Cobb County since 1994