The 10 best flowers for your perennial garden. These plants are easy to grow, low-maintenance and beautiful!
Perennials are the backbone of any garden. They are planted once, and if all goes well, they provide years of joy. Perennials are the perfect way to add height, foliage, texture, and color to any empty spot around your home.
So…for those of you who, like me, are longing for gardening season, I have rounded up my list of best hardy flowers for your perennial garden. Because after all…thinking and planning are part of the process, and definitely part of the fun.
I reside in Northwest Ohio, which is U.S. planting zone 6. This post features our yard and gardens at the Sutton Place house. I’m looking forward to making the garden beds around our new home just as beautiful.
What is a perennial?
A perennial is a plant that once put in the ground, lives at least two years. The opposite of a perennial is an annual. An annual is planted once, and when the growing season is over, it dies. Many perennials live much longer than two years. They “die down” in the winter, but come back up when the next growing season begins.
Low Maintenance Perennial Flowers
The following ten plants are ones I successfully planted at one time or another at our house on Sutton Place. Here at the Sugar Maple House, I have added hosta plants, but would love to plant more perennials that bloom. I especially miss my peonies!
Partial to full shade.
Hostas are perfect hardy perennial flowers for any shade garden. They benefit from good drainage, and moist soil. New gardeners should grow hosta plants because they are literally maintenance-free. Their bloom time comes later in the summer, but is definitely worth the wait. Any perennial garden design should definitely include hostas!
Find more information on growing hostas here:
Hostas Care, Transplanting Hostas, Hosta Varieties
Leucanthemum × superbum
Full sun preferred. Common Name: shasta daisy.
Shasta daisies are wonderful as a cutting flower, and for filling in bare spots in your garden. I recommend ‘Becky’ because it has strong stems, and blooms for several weeks. They have a tendency to multiply and move around due to re-seeding. Just dig them up in the spring, and plop them back where they belong. They pair beautifully in a cut arrangement with hosta, hydrangeas, or phlox.
Full sun preferred.
One of my favorites, but not widely used, is coreopsis. I think I am emotionally attached to my coreopsis because it is the only plant that has survived from my original fence row garden plan. This batch started out as 3 little plants. I kept it in control by trimming around the perimeter of the patch in the spring. Although not really a cutting flower, I can see it from my kitchen window, and it attracts butterflies. Looking out to this view always lifts my spirits.
Full sun preferred. Common Name: black-eyed Susan
Another daisy-type plant that, in my opinion, should be in every perennial garden is the black-eyed Susan. The most common cultivar is ‘American Gold Rush’ and honestly, it’s amazing. All they need, once established, is water, and the blooms are abundant.
Full to partial sun.
Next is the climbing vine, clematis. The plant pictured above was started 2 years ago. Last year it only had a few blooms, and I was a little worried. As you can see, I had nothing to worry about! It takes a year or so to become established, and then it goes crazy. Mine is GALORE, and the purple pops from the wood fence.
Hemerocallis ‘Stella de Oro’
Full to partial shade. Common Name: daylily
One perennial flower that has done very well for me is the daylily. Like hosta, they die down in the fall for easy clean-up. Their blooming time is short, but the blooms are plentiful and vivid. If you are diligent with deadheading, you will be rewarded with even more blooms. We have split these daylilies a few times, and moved some to the front yard. These are Stella D’oro, the most common variety.
Full to partial sun. Common Name: peony
Several years ago, I received three peony plants as a remembrance when my father-in-law passed away. I planted them in my fence row garden at the Sutton Place house, and waited patiently for blooms. The first growing season I had none. The next year I was blessed with several blooms on each bush. After that, they bloomed profusely. These peonies are the loveliest color, but I have no idea exactly what it is. It’s a very vibrant, dark pink.
Peonies require no care at all, with the exception of staking, which is optional. I staked mine to keep the enormous blooms off the ground. They die down in the fall, and appear again in late spring. Peonies love sun, but they did fine in my partial sun conditions.
At least 6 hours of sun.
One of the reasons I planted the dark pink peonies was because I knew they would exactly match the dianthus that was already there. The dianthus in our perennial border is a few years old, and comes up in the late spring. The blooms are so pretty, and they last for several weeks. Again, there is really nothing to do except sheer off the blooms when they die down…and this is only if you want to. Dianthus spreads and fills in nicely. If it gets too thick, it’s very easy to dig up and move.
Full sun, dry conditions. Common Name: English lavender
No perennial flower garden would be complete without lavender, and even though I have not had amazing success, my lavender has refused to die! Some years it looks better than others, and I think that depends on how much rain we get. Lavender likes to be dry.
There are many different cultivars of lavender. Mine is ‘Hidcote’ but ‘Munstead’ is also a good choice.
Full to partial sun.
The first phlox I ever planted is the popular white cultivar called ‘David’. I made a mistake though, and placed the plants too close together. Some of them were crowded out, and I ended up with just one large plant. ‘David’ has a pure white bloom, and the most beautiful scent.
Pictured above is ‘Peppermint Twist’. I bought these plants on a whim a few years ago at Kroger. They are sturdy, and have perfect blooms. Like most perennials, phlox dies down in the fall and comes up again in the early summer. Garden phlox has a tendency to get mildewy at the root, so don’t overwater. They make a lovely cut flower, but don’t last long. After a few days the petals start to fall off.
More Plants for your Perennial Garden
- Heuchera americana (Common Name: coral bells)
- Achillea filipendulina (Common Name: fern-leaf yarrow)
- Sedum (Common Name: stonecrop)
- Athyrium filix-femina (Common Name: lady fern)
- Nepeta racemosa ‘Walker’s Low’ (Common Name: catmint)
- Delphinium exaltatum (Common Name: tall larkspur)
- Salvia officinalis (Common Name: common sage)
- Perovskia atriplicifolia (Common Name: Russian sage)
All of these hardy perennial flowers are easy to grow in zones 3 thru 8. If you aren’t sure, find your growing zone here. With some extra watering, I believe this collection of perennials can be grown in zones 9 and 10 as well.
I am a self-taught gardener who loves plants that bloom. These perennials are tried and true, all-American favorites that anyone can grow. A little water, a little sun, and a prayer or two is all you need.
I hope this made you want to get your hands dirty!
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