15 best perennial flowers to plant

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Gardens are works of art. Whether you have a sprawling yard or a few tubs on the patio, your yard should reflect what you love. By using many different types of beautiful flowers, shrubs, and trees, and combining colors, shapes, and textures in a way that you like, you create an oasis that reflects your personal style.

The best way to make your garden shine is to include both annuals and perennials in your planting plan. Perennials are plants that return for many years. They typically have a short flowering time, ranging from a week or two to a few months. But by mixing and matching them with annuals that only live one season, you’ll create a garden of constant color and interest.

When choosing perennials, make sure you choose ones that can survive winters in your USDA hardiness zone (find yours here). Then find the ideal planting spot: Full sun means about 6 or more hours of direct sunlight, half sun about half. Don’t try to cheat nature! Plants that need sun will not flower well in shady conditions, and shade lovers will fry in the hot sun.

While we can’t include every beautiful perennial flower or plant, here are some of the most beautiful and dependable plants that will add seasonal beauty and color to your garden for years to come.

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These stunning flowers bloom in mid to late winter, often around the time of Lent when there is still snow on the ground. Lenten roses, also known as Hellebore, may seem fragile, but their toughness is legendary. They have evergreen foliage and mostly need shade, although they will tolerate morning sun.


Peonies can live for decades, so they’re a worthy investment for your perennial garden. These lush flowers bloom in late spring. Many have intense scents and come in many colors and shapes. The ants that visit the flowers are not pests; They just sip the nectar. Peonies need full sun.

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Penstemon, also known as penstemon, is a hardy, sun-loving summer bloomer. This drought tolerant and deer resistant plant is ideal for all types of gardens. The foliage can be deep green or burgundy, while the deep-throated pink flowers are magnets for butterflies and hummingbirds.


There are different types of lavender suitable for different conditions: English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is the most common, but you’ll also see lavandin, a hybrid that’s less picky. Spanish lavender has “bunny ear” tufts on its inflorescences, but is not as frost hardy as other species. Be sure to read the label to find one that’s right for your USDA hardiness zone. Lavender needs full sun and good drainage.


Coral bells, also called Heuchera, have grown in popularity in recent years with many new cultivars or cultivated cultivars being introduced. Grown primarily for their showy, ruffled foliage, which comes in every hue from lime green to bright plum, coral bells send out delicate spikes of flowers in summer that hummingbirds love. Coral bells like sun or shade, although they prefer afternoon shade in hot climates.


Dahlias are so perfect they don’t even look real! They are available in a range of types, sizes and colours. Their shapes range from tiny spherical flowers to those the size of a dinner plate. They are also long-lasting in the vase. In northern gardens, you’ll need to dig up and save the bulbs after the first frost kills the foliage, then replant in the spring. Dahlias need full sun.


Adorable little buds, resembling tiny balloons, open into long-lasting star-shaped blooms in mid-summer. The flowers are deep blue or pale pink. Best of all, deer usually leave them alone. Give balloon flowers full sun.


These charming perennials provide late-season color that lasts well into fall. Also called windflowers, they have a delicate beauty, with a profuse array of pink or white flowers nodding on long stalks on their undulating leaves.


Cranesbill or perennial geraniums are hardy plants that tolerate poor soil and extreme cold. Their attractive foliage has a spicy fragrance that will repel hungry rabbits. Dainty flowers crown the foliage in early summer, although newer species bloom all season. Cranesbill prefers full sun but also thrives in some shade.

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Papaver, or oriental poppies, have papery flowers that appear in spring to early summer. Plant the roots in fall for next year’s blooms; there are also annual species that often sow freely. Butterflies love papaver flowers! Poppies need full sun.


It might not have the prettiest of names, but lungwort is a pretty perennial for shady gardens. It has silvery spots and charming lilac-pink flowers in early spring. Also known as Pulmonaria, the plant got its name because it was once believed to treat respiratory diseases.


Salvia is a hardy perennial with purple, pink, or white flower spikes on undulating foliage. These summer bloomers, which attract pollinators, are hardy and trouble-free, making them a must-have in any sunny garden.


With bright colors ranging from magenta to coral to pink, coneflowers are reliable performers. They come in heights from 12 to 36 inches, so read the label to know what you’re buying to determine where to place them in your beds and borders so they don’t overwhelm shorter plants. They need full sun to bloom best.

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Irises have an elongated tuft of hair that looks more like tiny beards. With more than 70,000 cultivars registered, these pretty flowers with their sword-shaped leaves can be planted throughout most of the United States, with the exception of a few regions in the hottest parts of the South. Irises prefer full sun.


Ranunculus have exquisite, papery flowers in every color imaginable. They are particularly beautiful as cut flowers. Bulbs should be planted in spring or fall depending on where you live and will need to be dug up and replanted in spring in cold climates. They need full sun.


Arricca SanSone has written on health and lifestyle topics for prevention, country living, women’s day and more.

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