Mexican Heather – Alternatives

Q: A couple of years ago I bought some Mexican heather and planted it in front of some shrubs. Although the tag said it was perennial, it died over the winter and never came back. I loved the shape and size of the plant and the fact that it bloomed all summer but I don’t care to re-plant it each year. Can you recommend a perennial that would be similar?

A: It is not typically the nature of perennials to “bloom all summer”. Most bloom for a couple of weeks or a month, then turn to gathering energy for next year. Many annuals do bloom continuously….but they have to be replaced each year. Mexican heather is perennial in Florida, blooming constantly on new growth, but it is killed in Atlanta winters.

My friend Erica Glasener says she’s gotten a long bloom season from perennials by mixing Erigeron karvinskianus ‘Profusion’, Veronica x ‘Georgia Blue’ and Veronica x ‘Waterperry Blue’ plus Geranium x ‘Rozanne’. Although these plants don’t look quite like Mexican heather they would give a long season of bloom in front of your shrubs.

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