Top 20 Perennials For Every Garden

Reliability is a great quality in any plant.  Annuals keep the blooms coming all season, but perennial plants provide beauty with staying power.

Perennials can be used anywhere in your landscape.  Plant a few here and there, or plant them in masses for the greatest impact.

Plant according to size and bloom time for the best effect.  Traditionally tallest perennials are planted toward the back of the bed or the middle if you’re planting an island bed.  Most varieties are long blooming (4-6 weeks at a time), but not all perennials bloom at the same time.  Stagger your spring, summer, and fall bloomers for color throughout the season.  Don’t over-think it though, some of the best perennial beds are happy accidents of a not so well laid plan.

When planning your perennial garden, consider using a backdrop (the side of your house, a fence, a privacy hedge), create an island bed, or plant along a tree line.  If space allows, anchor your bed with small ornamental trees or shrubs to fill the space quickly and to combine multiple colors and textures to give your space a finished look.

If you ask any garden professional, listing his/her Top 20 Perennials is like naming your favorite children.  There are many plants beyond this list that would make excellent companions for your perennial garden.  Stop in and ask Nursery Manager Kerry or a member of his team for additional recommendations.

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BLACK-EYED SUSAN

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

18″ – 36″

DESCRIPTION

A classic perennial, native to North America.  Golden blooms begin to show mid-summer and last for weeks at a time.  Tough and forgiving of just about any environment.  Multiplies quickly.  A great plant for the beginning perennial gardener.

2012 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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BUTTERFLY WEED

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

18″ – 36″

DESCRIPTION

A type of native milkweed and a butterfly favorite!  Especially popular as a host and nectar source for monarchs and swallowtails.  Long lasting blooms.  Low maintenance.

2017 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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CATMINT

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

18″ – 36″

DESCRIPTION

Long blooming, and easy to grow.  Lovely lavender-blue flower spike appear early summer and continue for many weeks.  Has fragrant foliage too!

2007 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


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CONEFLOWER

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

18″ – 36″

DESCRIPTION

Something for everyone!  Coneflowers come in all colors and sizes.  Native, tough, and striking when planted in masses.  Well known for attracting goldfinches and other songbirds.

1998 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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CORAL BELLS

SUN/SHADE

HEIGHT

8″ – 12″

DESCRIPTION

Coral Bells come in just about every color you can imagine.  Brighten a shady spot or plant near Hostas for amazing contrast.  Though Coral Bells flower, the main attraction is the foliage.  A native perennial.

1991 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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COREOPSIS

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

15″ – 36″

DESCRIPTION

Delicate blooms hover above feathery or compact, tidy foliage…depending on the variety.  Profuse blooms through summer.  Striking addition to a mixed perennial garden.  A native perennial.

1992 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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DAYLILY

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

15″ – 36″

DESCRIPTION

Oh so easy!  Daylilies can take the harshest environments and preform beautifully year after year.  Trumpet shaped blooms appear from a fountain of shiny green foliage.  Some varieties will re-bloom if previous blooms and stems are removed.


 

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DIANTHUS

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

8″ – 12″

DESCRIPTION

Perky pink to scarlet blooms atop compact silvery blue-green foliage.  Perfect for the perennial bed border.

2006 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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FERNS

PART SUN/SHADE

HEIGHT

18″ – 36″

DESCRIPTION

Ferns provide an air of sophistication when planted en mass or among other part shade/shade perennials.  Who needs blooms to impress?  Not this plant.

2004 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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(ORNAMENTAL) GRASSES

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

12″ & up

DESCRIPTION

Ornamental grasses work double duty as a fantastic filler and year-long entertainer.   Most varieties sprout furry to feathery plumes from  summer to fall.

2001 & 2014 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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(HARDY) GERANIUM

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

18″ – 24″

DESCRIPTION

Violet-blue, lavender, pink, or white saucer-shaped blooms atop a delicate mound of lobed foliage.  One of the longest blooming perennials for our area.  So many blooms it can be used in container gardens then planted in the landscape at the end of the season.  That’s impressive blooming power!

2008 & 2015 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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HELIOPSIS

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

24″ – 36″

DESCRIPTION

Also known as false sunflower, likely due to its sunny personality, Heliopsis is a native, sturdy perennial that’s very adaptable to most environments.  A cheerful addition to the middle of the perennial bed.


 

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HOSTA

PART SUN/SHADE

HEIGHT

18″ – 48″

DESCRIPTION

One of the most recognizable perennials, with good reason.  A beautiful plant for shadier environments, and it not only survives but thrives!  There is a nearly endless list of Hosta varieties.  A very dependable perennial (just keep the deer away).


 

liriope

LIRIOPE

SUN/SHADE

HEIGHT

12″ – 18″

DESCRIPTION

Liriope is another perennial that is exceptionally impressive planted in clusters.  A favorite for use in landscape plans as a border plant.  Versatile and tough, Liriope does well in sun or shade.  Lavender-purple flower shoots appear late summer.


 

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MONARDA

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

10″ – 48″

DESCRIPTION

Fuzzy flowers with tubular fingers atop sweetly scented foliage, Monarda (Bee Balm) is a hummingbird and butterfly favorite. A native perennial.


 

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PLUMBAGO

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

8″ – 12″

DESCRIPTION

Cobalt blue blooms appear late season.  Foliage turns red tipped as temperatures drop in fall.  A must for the perennial garden border.  Easy care, attractive tear shaped foliage, and spreads easily in the landscape without being invasive.


 

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SALVIA

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

8″ – 30″

DESCRIPTION

Salvia is another perennial that makes the longest bloom list.  If deadheaded, it will re-bloom throughout the summer.  This is an all around good perennial that is well known by new and seasoned gardeners because it’s a reliable performer in the garden.

1997 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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SHASTA DAISY

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

12″ – 42″

DESCRIPTION

Daisy delights!  Sturdy and easy to care for, Shasta Daisies bloom and bloom.  When you think they’re done they bloom some more.  A native perennial.

2003Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association


 

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butterflyshadowhummingshadowdeershadow

SEDUM

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

4″ – 24″

DESCRIPTION

Sedum have many faces, but they all have the same great features.  Fleshy foliage that stores water to sustain the plant even in the harshest conditions.  A minimum maintenance plant with maximum interest in any environment.


 

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butterflyshadowhummingshadowdeershadow

TALL PHLOX

FULL/PART SUN

HEIGHT

15″ – 42″

DESCRIPTION

Another classic favorite with pretty bloom clusters that last for weeks at a time.   New varieties have been introduced over time.  A native perennial.

2002 Perennial Plant of the Year, Perennial Plant Association

 

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