Three Perennials to Try

With more people working remotely this year we have received an abundance of calls this summer.  Callers are looking to spruce up their flowerbeds.  Some just wanted something new.  Others were wanting to expanding gardens.  Here are a few plants that are well known but often not used.

Astrantia (as-TRAN-shi-a) or Mastewort is a perennial that offers flowers throughout most of the summer.  Most gardeners consider this plant care free needing only to be deadheaded to keep the plant looking fresh and to encourage more blooms.  Flowers can be cut for dried arrangements or used in bouquets.  Typically it will grow between 28” and 36” tall and the flowers resemble Queens-Anne’s-Lace but less weedy in appearance.  There are numerous cultivars on the market with flowers ranging from white, blush, to vivid red. 

Ceratostigma (se-ra-toh-STIG-ma) or leadwort is a perennial groundcover that offers mid-summer flowers extending into early fall.  The standout features of this plant are the true blue flowers and the burgundy red fall foliage.  As a groundcover this plant can meander and escape it’s confines but is easily kept in place by selective pruning.  However, a word of caution, this plant is picky.  It is hardy to Nebraska if it is in the right location.  Protection from winter winds and overly damp soils is a must.  If you are lucky to find such a location you will be rewarded with outstanding beauty.

Scabiosa (skay-bee-OH-sa) or pincushion flower is often a plant that people forget about.  This perennial is must have for any flowerbed.  Blooms range from white, pink, and purple and with deadheading will continue to offer flowers for six to eight weeks.  When planted in mass you will be rewarded with a dense cluster of plants with abundant flowers extending about 12” above the foliage.       

Scott Evans
Scott Evans is a horticulture assistant with Nebraska Extension in Douglas-Sarpy Counties. A certified arborist through International Society of Arboirculture and Nebraska Arborist Association. Scott is also Tree Risk Assessment Qualified through ISA. Scott co-leads the Master Gardener program in Douglas & Sarpy counties. Along with volunteer management he provides his expertise with disease and insect identification, lawn and landscape weed management, plant health, and I.P.M. practices. He also enjoys growing many houseplants ranging from African violets to cacti and succulents. Scott has two Bachelors of Science, one in Biology (emphasis in Botany, Ecology and Environmental Science) and second in Environmental Geology from Northwest Missouri State University. He earned his Master of Agriculture from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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