Scarlet Runner Bean
Phaseolus coccineus • annual to Zone 7
The scarlet runner bean is grown for its lavish flowers. This fast-growing vine thrives in full sun but tolerates shade. Most runner bean flowers are bright red, but if you’d rather have white ones, try the Dutch cultivar.
- Luc Klinkhammer
Varieties include Athyrium and Osmunda • Zones 2 to 10
This leafy plant is so popular that an entire society is devoted to them. The American Fern Society celebrates the 12,000-plus species available today.
Why we love it: Ferns are so versatile, you can find a plant for just about any growing condition: sun or shade, indoors or out.
Coreopsis spp. • Zones 3 to 11
Also known as tickseed and butter daisy, coreopsis blooms from late spring through late summer. All varieties are pretty as cut flowers, and their bright hues entice butterflies.
Panicum virgatum • Zones 4 to 9
The drooping spikes of this grass grab attention all year long, especially once the purple-green flowers emerge in early fall. Reaching up to 7 feet high, switchgrass thrives in moderately fertile soil.
Iris ensata • Zones 4 to 9
Among the showiest and most recognizable garden flowers, Japanese iris is a beloved beardless variety and a great plant for clay soil. As long as the soil is moist, it’s more adaptable than bearded types.
Rudbeckia spp. • Zones 3 to 9
Blooming from summer to fall, this beauty comes in reds, oranges and yellows. No matter what flowers you already have growing in your garden, black-eyed Susan will be a winning addition.
- Ball Horticultural Company
Viburnum spp. • Zones 2 to 9
Boasting large clusters, viburnums are real head-turners, reaching up to 30 feet high. Ample and consistent moisture is the only requirement for these, apart from some pruning to maintain their good looks.
Aster spp. • Zones 3 to 8
Wonderful as cut flowers, asters make any garden burst with color, particularly at the end of the growing season. From tiny alpine varieties to giants that reach 6 feet tall, this plant prefers full sun to partial shade.
Gardener’s Secret: If you live in a northern area, plant asters early so they have time to settle in before winter.
- Proven Winners, ProvenWinners.com
Potentilla fruticosa • Zones 2 to 7
When many other flowering shrubs’ colorful show is all but a memory, potentilla, or bush cinquefoil, is just beginning its long blooming season. The blossoms of this drought-tolerant plant will last until the first hard frost and is one of the best plants for clay soil.
Hemerocallis • Zones 3 to 10
In summer breezes, trumpet-shaped daylilies seem to nod on their 10-inch to 4-foot stems. Reliable, hardy plants, daylily varieties bloom from early summer to first frost, each flower lasting just one day.
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