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5 Easy-to-Grow Flowering Perennials for Your Garden

A Botany graduate, Nithya Venkat enjoys writing about plants that sustain life on Earth.

Bearded Iris Plant

Bearded Iris Plant

Add a pop of color to your garden with these easy-to-grow flowering perennials:

  • Georgia Aster
  • Paprika Yarrow
  • Blanket Flowers
  • Bearded Iris
  • Catmint Faassen Nepeta
Gerogia aster

Gerogia aster

1. Georgia Aster

Georgia aster (Symphyotrichum georgianum) is an easy-to-grow herbaceous perennial belonging to the family Asteraceae. This plant grows 1-3 feet tall and spreads by underground rhizomes.

The leaves grow on woody stems. They are dark green, oblong to lanceolate, and thick with a rough surface with entire or serrated margins.

The flowers of the Georgia aster are composed of up to two dozen bluish-purple ray florets around a dense center of white to lavender disc florets that turn reddish-purple as they mature. They attract bees and butterflies.

These plants prefer full sun to partial shade with medium moisture, well-draining, slightly acidic soils. Once the plants are established, they tend to be drought tolerant.

Georgia aster is a great choice for a perennial border plant or a native meadow garden. Asters are most often bought as a potted plant. The best time to plant young asters is in mid to late spring. When planting young asters, leave a space of 3-4 feet between the plants.

Add a thin layer of compost with a two-inch layer of mulch around the plant in spring to encourage vigorous growth. Pinch or cut back asters in the early summer to promote more blooms. Divide this plant every 2-3 years in the spring.

Paprika Yarrow

Paprika Yarrow

2. Paprika Yarrow

Paprika Yarrow (Achillea millefolium “Paprika”) is a long-lasting easy-to-grow perennial plant belonging to the family Asteraceae. This plant grows 1-2 feet tall with leaves with a strong spicy aroma that lasts when used in dried arrangements. The leaves are deeply dissected and fernlike.

The flowers are cherry red with yellow centers that fade to light pink and then to a creamy yellow. This plant blooms in early to late summer and continues until early fall. The flowers attract butterflies and are great as cut flowers in bouquets or dried floral arrangements.

The paprika yarrow flourishes in full sun in average, dry, medium moisture, well-draining soils. The yarrow tends to get floppy or leggy when the soil is rich and moist.

Paprika Yarrow is drought tolerant once the plant is well established. It is great in perennial borders, massed in a perennial bed, and cottage garden. Deadheading the plant will extend the bloom season. This plant is propagated by division.

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When planting this yarrow seedling, space them 12-24 inches apart. This plant can also be grown from seed. Start seeds indoors about eight to ten weeks before the last frost date and sow the seeds in moist, average potting soil.

Cover the seeds with a thin layer of potting soil and place the pot in a warm sunny location. Once the seeds have sprouted, plant them in full sun. The paprika yarrow can grow in inferior dry soils with low fertility.

Great Blanket Flowers

Great Blanket Flowers

3. Blanket Flowers

Blanket flowers (Gaillardia aristata) are easy-to-grow perennial plants belonging to the Asteraceae family. It is a wildflower with lance-shaped leaves near the base and many erect naked stems holding the flowers. These plants grow up to 1-3 feet tall, covered by fuzzy hairs.

Each flower has an orange-red disk that is surrounded by inch-long petals with tips that are yellow with a dark reddish base. The flowers bloom from May through September. The flowers attract bees and butterflies, and the seed attracts birds.

Blanket flowers thrive in full sun and are easily started from seeds or can be bought as a seedling from the nursery. Sow the seeds into well-draining soil and cover them with a thin layer of soil.

Keep the seeds moist until germination. Once these plants are well established, they need to be watered occasionally. Blanket flowers are a great addition to flower beds. Divide the plants every two to three years to prevent them from drying out.

Bearded Iris

Bearded Iris

4. Bearded Iris

Bearded Iris (Iris germanica) is a herbaceous perennial belonging to the Iridaceae family. This rhizomatous perennial plant grows up to 12-40 inches tall, with flowers measuring 2-3 inches wide. The flowers bloom in gorgeous colors, including red, orange, yellow, blue, purple, white, and pink according to the variety.

These plants flourish in full sun and well-draining soils. Fertilize the plant with low-nitrogen food in early spring and after they finish blooming. Do not cover the soil with mulch. Bearded iris plants do not thrive with mulching as the rhizomes tend to develop rot with mulching.

Water these plants when the top 2 inches of the soil feels dry. Once established, the bearded irises are drought tolerant.

Bearded iris plants reproduce through rhizomes. Plant rhizomes 12 inches apart to avoid dividing the plants for about 2 years. Some of the popular varieties of the bearded iris include "Celebration Song", "Abiqua Falls", "Again and Again" "American Classic", and "Dusky Challenger".

Catnip Nepeta x faassenii

Catnip Nepeta x faassenii

5. Catmint Faassen Nepeta

Catmint faassen nepeta (Nepeta x faassenii) plants are easy-to-grow flowering perennials. They are heat and drought-tolerant herbaceous plants belonging to the family Lamiaceae. This variety of catmints does not attract cats. The variety that attracts cats is the Nepeta cataria plant.

This catmint plant is loosely mounded with gray-green leaves and grows 12-24 inches tall. It produces spikes of ½ inch lavender-blue flowers that bloom from late spring to fall. The flowers grow over mounds of silvery gray leaves. The fragrant flowers of this catmint plant attract bees, butterflies, and humminbirds.

Catmint flourishes in sunny locations in well-draining soils. These plants are low-growing and ideal to plant near the front of a border, close to a pathway, or in a raised bed.

The best time to plant catmints is in autumn or spring. These plants can be grown in containers with adequate watering during summer. Once established, the catmint is easy to grow and requires minimal care.

The catmint faassen nepeta variety spreads vigorously and has to be divided to prevent massive clump formations. It can be divided during autumn or early spring. These plants have to be propagated only from cuttings because the seeds of this plant are sterile.

References

Florida Wildflower Foundation

The Spruce

NC State Extension

USDA NRCS

Gardenia Creating Gardens

Gardeners World


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.

© 2022 Nithya Venkat

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