Featured Bloom: Garden Phlox
Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata) is a staple in many perennial gardens, providing blooms from mid-summer to early autumn. The trumpet-shaped flowers bloom in clusters and range from 2-4 feet in height. Phlox come in a variety of colors, including white, purple, pink and bi-color. While phlox can be susceptible to powdery mildew, many recent introductions have been bred for powdery mildew resistance.
Find Garden Phlox throughout our grounds, including the Elizabeth Carr Slade Perennial Garden, MacMillan Terrace Garden and Spiegel Entry Garden.
Learn more about growing Garden Phlox in your own garden with Garden Phlox tips from University of Minnesota Extension.
What Else Is Blooming
You know that the summer solstice has passed when the Annual Garden is bursting with color. This year, the annual garden is a literal rainbow with flowers ranging all the way from the cool end of the color spectrum to the warm end.
Royal Catchfly (Silene regia)
You can’t miss the royal catchfly when in bloom, as the vibrant red blooms stand out next to any color. Usually blooming in July and August, this plant is a favorite snack for the ruby-throated hummingbird. Royal catchfly actually depends on this hummingbird for pollination.
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida var. sullivantii 'Goldsturm')
A winner of the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticulture Society in 1993, ‘Goldsturm’ thrives in full sun to partial shade and blooms from mid-summer to fall. This plant is known for being low maintenance and highly resistant to disease.
Panicle Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata ‘Limelight’)
Blooming in late summer, the ‘Limelight’ panicle hydrangea has won several awards for its reliable flowering and easy care. As they mature, the panicles of flowers change from lime green to white. They can even add winter interest with their spent flowers.
Dwarf Golden Ray (Ligularia ‘Little Rocket')
A shade-loving perennial, Ligularia ‘Little Rocket’ will produce racemes of bright yellow flowers in mid-summer. This plant does well in moist soils so avoid planting in too sunny of a location or make sure to keep it watered.
Dotted Horsemint (Monarda punctata)
Native to the United States and hardy to zone 3, dotted horsemint blooms in mid to late summer. Don’t mistake the showy pink bracts for the flowers. When in bloom, the actual flowers are yellow and quite small. A pollinator magnet, this perennial forms dense clumps, however, is susceptible to powdery mildew.
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
The cardinal flower, known for its vibrant red flowers, relies on hummingbirds for pollination. Native to the Americas, the cardinal flower typically blooms from mid to late summer and can reach heights of up to 6 feet.
Flowering Spurge (Euphorbia corollata)
A North American, native perennial, this species of flowering spurge produces flowers that are reminiscent of baby’s breath. The true flowers are found in the golden center as the white petal-like structures are actually bracts. This plant typically blooms from July to August.
Grey-headed Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata)
A member of the aster family, the grey-headed coneflower is native to the central and eastern United States. This plant can easily reach heights of seven feet and blooms in mid to late summer. It is best suited for native gardens and meadow or prairie restorations.
Western Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata)
A member of the Aster family, Western Ironweed grows from two to four feet tall and blooms in late summer. The purple flowers will attract butterflies, and the plant also serves as a larval host for the American painted lady.
Wild Bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Wild Bergamot is known for its lavender to pink flowers that bloom from midsummer to early fall. Reblooming can be promoted by deadheading the plant when blooms become spent. This plant works well in native gardens or prairie restoration projects.
Black Snakeroot (Actaea racemosa)
Native to eastern North America, black snakeroot will bloom from mid-summer to early fall, producing small, white flowers on racemes that can reach 1 to 2 feet long. This plant prefers part shade to full shade and moderately moist soil conditions.
Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata)
Swamp milkweed is native to North America and is used commonly in gardens to attract pollinators, especially butterflies. Adorned in pink flowers during mid- to late-summer, the swamp milkweed is an important food source for the larval Monarch butterflies.
Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
The Russian sage was the perennial plant of the year in 1995. Known for its silvery foliage and lavender flowers, this plant will bloom from mid-summer to fall. For best flowering, plant in full sun and make sure to avoid moist soils as this plant proves to be drought tolerant.
An annual favorite among most gardeners, Dahlias are known for their flamboyant display of flowers. Their blooms span the whole spectrum of the rainbow. Grown from tubers, these annuals are highly collectible and provide mid to late summer interest. They are also a huge attraction to pollinators, including butterflies.
There are more than 35,000 cultivated varieties of daylily to choose from and new varieties are introduced every year. In Minnesota, the varieties that grow best are noted for their ability to withstand our cooler temperatures. They typically bloom between June and September.
Moon Carrot (Seseli gummiferum)
You might believe this plant is from the moon by the looks of it. Covered in lacey silvery-blue foliage, this plant blooms from mid to late summer. This perennial is short-lived with a short habit that makes it suitable for rock gardens or border plantings.
Balloon Flower (Platycodon grandiflorus)
Balloon flower gets its name from the immature buds that blow up like balloons before bursting into bell-shaped flowers. Native to East Asia, this herbaceous perennial typically blooms from June to August. This plant will produce more blooms from deadheading.
Compass Plant (Silphium laciniatum)
Known for its towering heights of 6 to 12 feet, the compass plant begins blooming in mid-summer. The flowers are sunflower-like and sit atop the stems. This plant works excellent in gardens that allow plants to naturalize such as native and wildflower gardens.
Globe Thistle (Echinops ritro 'Veitch's Blue')
If you think these flowers look like blue hedgehogs, you wouldn’t be too far off as the Greek name Echinops loosely translates to hedgehog (echinos) flower heads (ops). Blooming from mid to late summer, this plant will add interesting texture and color in the midground or background.
The hydrangea is a showy shrub that blooms throughout the summer and into early fall. They like dappled or occasional shade and typically won’t bloom in heavy shade. The further north your garden is located, the more sunlight your hydrangeas need. They prefer morning sun and partial shade in the later parts of the day. Hydrangeas can grow to a height of 15-feet and adapt to their place quickly; they often fill in space in just one summer.
The Wilson Rose Garden is one of our most colorful collections featuring the pinks, reds, whites and oranges of a myriad of rose species, selections and hybrids.
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Native to the central United States, the black-eyed Susan is a herbaceous perennial that starts blooming in early summer and can continue to bloom through late summer or early fall. It’s a pollinator magnet, especially for butterflies.
Updated July 20, 2021