Trying to decide which flowers to plant next? Perennials might be your most viable option.
These popular florals are a garden must-have, but with so many types of perennials to choose from it can be hard to make a decision. We’ve compiled a list of the best perennial flowers and classified each based on vital success factors and growing tips specific to your needs. Whether you have a green thumb or a more black one, you won’t regret planting from this selection and will have a beautiful garden to prove it.
Before browsing our complete guide and top-picks, find out more about the easy-to-care for flowers below. You can also use the links below to quickly navigate to a section of your choice.
What are Perennials?
Perennials are flowers or plants that live for more than two years and return year after year blooming on their own. This is due to the flowers far-reaching roots which allow for better access to nutrients meaning a longer lifespan and less upkeep for you!
As if their easy-to-grow nature didn’t just bump them up to the top of your must-have list, these flowers also tend to be low maintenance, have the ability to withstand harsh climates and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. Perennial flowers are also a great option if you’re looking to add vertical interest to your garden since they are known for building on their growth year after year.
Although a strong contender, perennials aren’t the only flower on the market. Plants and flowers are commonly categorized as either annual, biennial or perennial and knowing the difference between these common terms will help you make a more educated selection for your garden.
What is The Difference Between Annual and Perennial?
Annual plants are those that live for only one growing season before producing seeds and dying. Biennial plants are those that live for two growing seasons and perennial plants are those that live for more than two years.
In general, annual and biennial plants will require more upkeep from you. Not to mention, at the end of their growing seasons you’ll have to pull them from your garden and start anew.
Whether you’re looking to enjoy full foliage or beautiful blooms, perennials are just what you should consider to keep your garden sustainably beautiful for years to come. Find the best flowers for your needs by scrolling through our handy guide below categorized by the sun needs of each flower. Planting perennials where they are most likely to thrive will make it easier for you to grow a successful and beautiful garden.
Best Perennials For Sun
Give the sunny spots in your garden the splash of color they deserve. Scroll through our list of the best perennials for the sun below. With gardening information and helpful facts, you’ll have the right flower picked out in no time at all.
1. Blanket Flower
The blanket flower is best known for it’s long seasonal bloom and daisy-like flowers that can be found in rich shades of orange, wine red and yellow. Petals have a tubular shape and are frilled at the edges.
2. Pineapple Sage
Known for it’s attractive pineapple scent, this seasonal treat features red tubular flowers and leafy stems that thrive in full sunlight and well-drained soil.
3. May Night Sage
This showy perennial grows in tall spikes of indigo flowers with lush green foliage. The flower also has an outstanding cold hardiness and is the perfect fit if you live in cooler climates.
This perennial flower is prized for its long bloom period where you can find bright yellow petals with a dark brown center. Tickseed is known as one of the easiest-to-grow perennials and stands anywhere between 1-2 feet tall.
5. Black-eyed Susan
A few black-eyed susans will add a vast amount of color to any garden. These perennials provide bright yellow and orange blossoms and also make for great cut flowers.
This perennial flower is commonly mistaken for a daisy because of it’s bright bloom in a variety of colors including pink, purple, red and white. Coneflowers are relatively drought-tolerant, good for cut flowers and also invite songbirds where they are planted.
The daylily is oftentimes referred to as “the perfect perennial” because of its vibrant colors and ability to thrive in both frost-like climates as well as the heat. The beautiful flowers are short lived with a lifespan of only one day, although a mature daylily can produce over 200-400 blooms per month. With a shorter blooming season, this perennial would be a nice surprise blossom in any garden.
One of the more beautiful perennials, peonies offer a gorgeous bloom in springtime with colors including pink, red, white and yellow. Peonies are a popular cut flower, make for gorgeous bouquets and have a wonderful fragrance. Fun fact: Some peonies have been known to live over 100 years old.
9. Russian sage
This tall and airy perennial grows in spike-like clusters that feature a lavender-blue color and offer a more fragrant foliage. This heat-loving and drought resistant plant is superb for any garden.
10. Sea Holly
Noted for its silvery-blue bracts, the sea holly features thistle-like blooms that are great for flower bouquets. This perennial is sure to add some interest to any garden, backyard or flower bouquet.
This perennial is commonly known by a few names including stonecrop, orpine or live-forever. It typically grows upright with branched stems featuring small star-like flowers in hues of pink to reddish purple.
The Yarrow wildflower is loved for providing a vast amount of blooms featuring tightly-packed clusters of small flowers. These hardy perennials blossom in summertime and feature a variety of colors including mustard yellow, pink and red.
Known as one of the most recognizable perennials and a sure sign that spring is here, daffodils have attractive flowers with six outer petals and a trumpet or cup-shaped center. They thrive in full sun and grow anywhere between 1-1.5 feet tall.
You won’t be able to forget this perennial flower with blossoms that feature five baby blue petals with yellow centers. Forget-me-nots can also be found in pink and white colors, although the baby blue is the most favored.
The lavender flowers of this drought-tolerant perennial are found in violet and white hues. Blooms grow in a spike-like fashion with abundant foliage that make for attractive hedges.
Best Perennials for Shade
Looking for a flower that will thrive in the shady areas of your garden? Browse our list of shade-loving perennials to find the best solution for you!
16. False Goat’s Beard
Astilbe are shade-loving perennials that feature feathery, plume-like flowers in a handful of colors including pink, red and white. The blossoms rise above the flowers fern-like foliage and will surely make a statement in your garden.
17. Bleeding Heart
Once you get a look at this perennial you’ll understand its common name. The heart-shaped flowers that bloom in hues of pink or white will bring welcomed attention to any garden. Bleeding hearts thrive in the shade and are also commonly used for cut flowers
Bugleweed prefer the shade and are known for their shiny, dark green leaves and full foliage. Blue-violet flowers can appear anytime from mid to late spring and rise above the foliage when in bloom. This perennial is known for “carpeting” the ground, so be sure to maintain it because this fast spreading perennial is known to take over quickly.
19. Spiked Speedwell
Commonly known as the spiked speedwell, this clump-forming perennial produces a summer bloom of small star-shaped flowers with tall upright stems. They grow in shades of violet-blue, pink and white and also feature medium green foliage.
20. Garden Phlox
The garden phlox is an upright perennial that grows in clumps that bloom between July and September. The flower features five flat-like petals that can be found in a handful of colors including white, lavender, pink rose, red and bicolor.
Commonly known as asters, the latin word for “star,” this perennial blooms between late spring and early fall. Its blossoms offer a handful of colors, including white, blue, indigo, violet, red and pink. Pinching in the early summer will increase the yield of flower buds you’ll get and be sure to plant them in a shady area of your garden.
22. Toad Lily
This hardy perennial offers flowers that are often mistaken as orchids spotted with hues of blue or purple. The toad lily prefers light shade and it’s late bloom makes this flower the perfect addition for a fall garden.
This perennial grows upright and features bluish-green leaves that are arranged in a spiral along the stems. Atop the stems grow small bushels of yellow or green flowers. These perennials thrive in a Mediterranean-type climate.
Chrysanthemums, also known as “Mums,” bloom in a variety of colors including, blue, green, orange, pink, red and white. This late-season flower delivers color and also makes for great cut flowers and beautiful groundcover.
The cranesbill flower is said to be one of the toughest shade-loving perennials due to its ability to withstand heat and drought conditions. The flowers small petals blossom in spring and feature a variety of colors including pink and white among its deep green leaves. Also, makes for great groundcover.
Bellflowers get their common name from the upright bell-shaped flowers they produce among their medium foliage. This perennial comes in a handful of varieties assuring you’ll find the right fit for your gardens needs.
Now that you’re convinced your garden needs a few perennials, don’t forget about the option of gifting them too. There’s nothing quite like a gift that keeps on giving and a perennial will remind any recipient of your thoughtfulness year after year.