10 Best Perennial Plants for Anyone's Garden
List of the Top Ten Best Perennial Plants
10 Perennials for Garden Success
Everyone wants a beautiful garden, but not everyone wants to have to coddle plants that give only limited return of bloom for a good garden show. It's not as if the modern homeowner has access to the kind of professional gardener that made the English gardens of the early twentieth century the places of garden legend. That kind of garden required a small army of laborers, run by a career head gardener. The bedding annuals, the pots of blooming bulbs, the insertion of plants to fill the place of those gone out of bloom...
As Rudyard Kipling was known to observe:
"Our England is a garden, and such gardens are not made
By singing:--"Oh, how beautiful!" and sitting in the shade,
While better men than we go out and start their working lives
At grubbing weeds from gravel-paths with broken dinner-knives"
The work of a garden was an apt analogy for the making of a great nation, wasn't it?
Most of us aren't aiming for garden legend, but we would like to have dependable bloom to brighten up our landscapes. Perennials that produce color during their bloom time, and attractive foliage when out of bloom will give a modern garden good looks without an army of gardeners.
Listed here are the top ten perennials I would pick to help give a garden a bright note of color, year after year.
Well Planted Perennial Border
Here Are My Top Ten
Long Bloom, Good Health, Ease of Growing:
- Coreopsis verticillata
- Campanula glomerata
- Chrysanthemum, cushion type
- Siberian Irises
- Echinacea, the Coneflower
- Achillea filipendulina
- Rudbeckia fulgens
Plant Profiles For More Info
"Moonbeam" Is a Lemon Yellow
Cut and Come Again Perennial
The Threadleaf Coreopsis is also called "Cut and Come Again". It is a golden yellow daisy form flower with whorled fine, bright green leaves. It is one of the longest bloomers of the perennials, and it is one tough plant. Many of the best plants for American gardens are the prairie plants, and this is one of those. When I was first gardening, every garden book seemed to have this plant on the list of a "must have". It is not quite as popular today, and some of the new varieties are not quite as tough, although very pretty. Long bloom especially when used as a cut flower ( hence the common name).
"Moonbeam" is a variety of Coreopsis verticillata which has pale yellow flowers, and is smaller in all dimensions.
- Full Sun
- Well Draining Average Soil
- Average Moisture
- Zone 4-9
- Native Plant
There are many perennial plants of the Campanula family for gardens. They are really beautiful blues, and while I love the "carpatica" species, this one will give you a taller plant with very showy blossoms.
Either Campanula species is a good choice, and provide a lavender blue color or purplish flowers. They also come in white.
- Full sun or part shade
- Average well-drained soils
- Regular moisture
- Zone: 3 to 8
Autumn Color From Mums
These are the mounds of chrysanthemum blooms you see in the fall. They are sturdy, and nothing compares to them during their fall bloom. Cushion chrysanthemums come in many colors from golden yellow through pink to maroon. They don't need staking, but they aren't quite as easy to grow as some of the other choices in my top ten.
Easy to plant, yes, but if you grow them as perennials they will need dividing every other year. Fertilizing is important because they are greedy feeders for that burst of bloom. Additionally, good culture practice is to pinch off the buds and growing points of the branches before July 4th, (after which you leave them alone, to ensure a fall rather than late summer bloom).
The labor is worth it to have their beautiful color when nothing else is so strongly blooming.
- Full sun
- Humusy, fertile soil that is well drained
- Average, but regular moisture
- Zones 3 to 9
Daylilies Grow Well
Daylilies grow in sun or shade, in all sorts of tough conditions and bloom like nobody's business! Not to be confused with the lilies that grow from bulbs, these hardy perennials come in such a huge spectrum of varieties that one can be found to meet just about any desire for a blooming flower. Except maybe for blues, although like with the rose, you can't blame the breeders for not trying! Read more about dayliliies in their own highlight on this page.
Hemerocallis is the Official Latin Name
Day lilies provide a long period of bloom, great color on a well-formed plant that stays healthy. It also grows in a wide variety of conditions. While "Stella D'Oro" is everywhere (no other day lily blooms for quite as long), there are so many wonderful colors and forms, along with some that have a fragrance that you really should plant several types. They have a span over a long season- you can get early, mid, and late bloomers. Tall, medium, and miniature heights... breeders have gone wild with the Hemerocallis group of perennials.
Home gardeners benefit!
Some of my favorites are:
Hyperion: This is an old fashioned one, with lemon yellow blooms and fine fragrance. It is also good for a period garden.
Siloam Junebug: is a cute miniature that will bloom her head off. All the varieties that come from the Siloam group are worth growing.
Moonlit Masquerade: is a prolific bloomer.
Fairy Tale Pink: for sweet, tender color.
Lullaby Baby: small, but many blooms, in a pretty white.
Golden, Yellow, and Orange Are Common Hemerocallis Hues
An Heirloom Hemerocallis
Hyperion is one of the best Daylilies
Lemon yellow with a delicious fragrance, the stature of this daylily is slender and tall.
Hyperion was introduced in 1924 and has stood the test of time in many gardens. No wonder it is one of my own favorites.
- Full to Part Sun
- Moist, well-drained soil
- Zones 4 to 9
Daylilies are Everyones Favorite
Plant Harmonies Made Easy
Color Wheel For Gardeners
A tool like this can be very important for combining your plants in the border. If you have tried and failed to produce the plant pictures you wanted, try this quick way to use the ten best plant choices with some companions.
The main flower feature always needs a number of secondary flowering plants to create a garden picture. That is a good garden tip to remember when putting together even small borders.
Arrange plants by height, then factor in bloom time, sun requirements and color choices, reduces planning time and increases successful combinations.
All White Daylilies Are Rare
Amount of Daylight Needed
Remember the light requirements of the plants when situating them in the garden. Most flowering perennials require full sun or at least part sun. If you give less than they need they won't grow well, and may not bloom.
Peonies and Irises
The Easiest Iris
These are graceful and bring beauty to a garden in the sun or shade. Unbothered by diseases, they bloom in the early summer or late spring, and have beautiful foliage for the rest of the season, which is no small benefit. I've always loved this plant and there are some exciting new varieties to grow, Most are purple and blue in color.
- Full Sun or Partial Shade
- Average to moist soils
- Zone 2 to 8
- Needs moisture
Old fashioned, fragrant, beautiful foliage, with big showy flowers . . . a perennial favorite for generations. Another great flower for the period garden, it is a great cut flower, and makes a fine looking herbaceous bush for the time it is out of bloom- which is all of the summer, since these bloom only in springtime. But what a show they give!
- Full sun
- Fertile soils, love potassium
- Well-drained soil
- Average moisture
- Zones 2 to 8
The coneflower is another native flower from the prairies and has rightfully become extremely popular. It is one perennial that is very easy to grow from seed and can be divided as well. There are some new colors and sizes that are now available. The foliage is a little coarse and the plants grow strongly vertical. The cone seed-heads remain for winter interest, so this is a long season perennial.
- Full Sun
- Average, well-drained soil
- Drought tolerant, but best with average moisture
- Zones 3 to 9
Achilleas Make Good Dried Flowers
I told you prairie flowers are some of the best for garden success and here is another one. The flat plate-like flowers rise medium to tall in the garden, are excellent dried flowers and will be sturdy, strong growers when given full sun. Fine textured green foliage. These flowers are an interesting form that is good for all types of gardens. AKA "Yarrow". If you are tired of Black-eyed Susans grow these plants instead. Or better yet, combine them.
- Full sun
- Drought tolerant
- Zones 3-9
- Average well-drained soils, but loamy is preferred
Hostas Have Flowers
The 'Must-Have' Plant
Hostas are some of the preeminently useful perennials of the garden. The only thing they don't do so well is grow in full sun, but some of them even tolerate that. Mainly grown for the gorgeous foliage and the full shape of their plant, they also have flowers, which are a fine feature in some of the varieties.
If you have any partly sunny /partly shady spot at all, you ought to have some hostas growing there. They are hardy, and grow somewhat slowly, but many become giants if given time. They also work as groundcovers.
- Moist, humus-rich soil
- Part sun to part shade
- Zone 3-9
Growing Tips for Hosta Plants
Rudbeckia fulgens, Black-eyed Susans
By now, you are probably all too familiar with the Black-eyed Susan daisies. Landscaper's darlings, they produce along period of bloom with interesting seed heads through the winter. But don't snub the Susan's since they will mix very nicely with other plants in your garden and have a very long flowering time.
They also bloom during a later season than many plants. Breeders are producing many types and some different colors, but I prefer mid-sized golden ones. Goldsturm is a good one.
- Full sun
- Drought tolerant
- Average soils
- Zone 4 to 9
Mixed Flower Garden
A Word About Perennial Plants
Characteristics of This Herbaceous Form
When landscaping, we all have a wish list of less work, more bloom, and all season interest. The bad news is it is impossible to fulfill those wishes with just one kind of plant. The good news is that if you know what plants can do, you can combine them to get something very close to your landscape wishes.
Perennials, the Good Things
- They come back year after year (with proper care).
- Perennial blooming plants often have substantial form.
- There are choices for every climate and every garden growing condition.
- There is less work for most perennials than for biennials or annual flowers.
- They will multiply in proper growing conditions.
Perennials, the Not-So-Good Things
- They have a specific season of bloom.
- They do need dividing, fertilizing, and other care.
- You do need to plant the right plant in the right place (creates a learning curve).
- The plants take time to "settle in", and produce the desired effect.
Just so you understand that it is not possible to pop plants into the ground and get back a full season of non-stop color, I wanted to start off with this information. Instant effect is something that a gardener can get with annuals, for the cost of the plants replaced every year and the annual renewed efforts of planting. But by choosing wisely, a chosen month of the growing season can be spectacular, and a longer time of continuous bloom can be achieved.
Would you like to mull over the ten plants that I think will give you the best results for a blooming garden?
Do you have favorite perennials that do well in your garden? Which ones add the most to your garden, which ones can't you live without? Tell us about it!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
Where can I find seeds for perennial plants?
It is often possible to buy seeds for these plants on Amazon, as well as online seed companies. Many home improvement stores carry flower seeds in the spring, but they may or may not be these particular plants.
I would order them during January or February of the coming year.Helpful 11
Do you have a book that would recommend perennials?
I recommend books authored by others but have not yet written recommendations in book form. I write articles on my blog and here on HubPages.Helpful 3