Unusual Summer Perennials

These little-known plants can help pull any gardener out of a planting rut.



Stachys officinalis

Agastache spp are easy to grow in well-draining soil with full sun or light shade and they're drought-tolerant. They bloom from June to October and their bright, tubular flowers attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Both the flowers and the leaves are very fragrant when brushed or crushed. Varieties include Cana, Pink Panther, Summer Luster, Mexicana, Summer Breeze and Tutti Frutti. Good matches for Agastaches include any number of ornamental grasses, yarrows, Salvia, Gaura, Echinacea, and different varieties of lavender.

Hardy Ornamental Oregano

Hardy Ornamental Oregano

Photo by: DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

DK - Simple Steps to Success: Herbs, 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Ornamental oregano will bloom all summer and into fall. It likes well-draining soil and full sun. It grows really well in containers and looks particularly great growing out of a chimney flue. It has sprawling clumps of small, dark green leaves and tiny, violet-red flowers. 'Kent Beauty' is the common variety and it's quite showy. Other varieties: 'Hopley's Purple,' 'Showy Pink' and woolly Oregano.



Stachys officinalis will tolerate many conditions. It grows best in partial shade but it's not fussy about soil or water. It will produce attractive, tight clumps of rich green leaves and tubular flowers with 30-inch stems. This typically blooms from mid June through July. Ornamental oregano really looks great on its own in a container or alongside any other container plantings.



These two astilbes , 'Heart and Soul' (right) and 'Boogie Woogie' (left) make excellent cut flowers. In the garden, they attract butterflies with their mid-summer blooms.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Longfield Gardens

Image courtesy of Longfield Gardens

Astilbes like moist, well-draining soil. Astilbe tacqueti superba will tolerate more sun than others. It grows to 4 feet tall and flowers in late summer. Astilbe chinensis pumilla grows as a groundcover. It produces 12-inch spikes of rosy purple flowers in mid July. Astilbes will fit right in with coralbells, columbines and hardy geraniums. Stachys look great along a shaded border, planted with columbines and hellebores.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Flavorful Herbs Enhance Summer Dishes

Herbs fresh from the garden add layers of taste to both cooked and raw foods.

Tips for Watering a Lawn in Summer

Watering the lawn efficiently and appropriately involves more than simply watering every day.

Flowering Bulbs for Fall Planting

Plant these bulbs in fall for a glorious show of color in your spring or summer garden.

To-Do List for Fall Gardening

October and November are good months to do some gardening and landscaping. Here are just a few things a gardener could -- or should -- be doing.

Cloches and Cold Frames

Protect crops from pests and bring on their growth in cold weather by covering them with cloches or growing them in permanent cold frames.

Growing Food Through the Cold Season

Your garden doesn't have to stop producing just because the cold weather has arrived.

Plants with Fall Interest: Keep the Color Coming

Extend the gardening season with this list of herbaceous perennials, shrubs and trees with autumn interest.

Indoor Spring Cleaning and Home Maintenance

The warm weather has finally arrived. Throw open the windows and get started on these chores that head off potential problems and help prevent costly home repairs.

6 Must-Do Outdoor Spring Home Maintenance Tasks

Preventive maintenance is crucial to the value of your home. Keep your place in tiptop shape with regular check-ups to save you the headache and cost of emergency repairs.

Autumn Maintenance Tips

Use these must-do fall maintenance tips to keep your house in shape and help keep you warm this winter.
More from:

Easy Summer Living


Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.