Perennials provide color and interest to your garden from April through November. They often draw butterflies and bees to their blossoms and create beautiful cut flowers.
Perennials are simple to cultivate and are highly adaptable. It is possible to use them to mulch between plants and groundcovers under trees, placed in containers, or by themselves to make an elegant herbaceous border, making an excellent replacement for annual flowers, which return each year and get more extensive with time they mature.
Many perennial plants are available; however, if you’re looking for inspiration, look over our infographic featuring our top ten perennials to create a simple and reliable display.
Although technically a shrub, we must mention Lavender as one of our top perennial plants! Well-loved for its fragrant summer flowers and scented silver-green foliage, this hardy, evergreen shrub is versatile for edging, hedging, borders, and containers. The flowers attract bees, and butterflies have good drought tolerance, coping well with light, sandy soils. They also make superb-cut flowers or even cake flavoring and decoration!
Sedums, also known as Stonecrop, are superb for their late summer and autumn color, often flowering into November! With fantastic tolerance to poor conditions, Sedums are one of the easiest plants to grow in the garden. For a perennial border, choose Sedum spectabile (Ice Plant), which has a neat, upright growth habit and succulent, grey-green leaves. Tiny star-shaped, usually pink flowers are borne in dense, flat cymes from August to late autumn. Leave the faded flower heads intact for winter interest.
Rudbeckia is a reliable and popular perennial, valued for its long-lasting splash of color in late summer and early autumn. Sunny yellow, red, or orange petals surround prominent conical centers of green, brown, or black, which are attractive to bees and other pollinating insects. The neat, bushy, upright growth of Rudbeckia fulgida fits in nicely among other perennial plants. Rudbeckia hirta are short-lived perennials and are often treated as biennials. Plant Rudbeckia as part of a mixed or herbaceous border or alongside ornamental grasses for a prairie-style look.
Hardy Geraniums, also known as Cranesbill, are a diverse group of plants and are some of the most tolerant and long-lived perennials you could grow. These low-maintenance perennials provide color over a long period in the summer with white, pink, purple, or blue flowers. Growth habits range from trailing or spreading to taller, clump-forming varieties. Grow Geraniums as ground cover, edging, or to fill border gaps.
A hardy perennial, Salvia nemorosa is a prolific flowering plant producing purple flower spikes in abundance from summer to autumn, giving a long season of interest. Originating from hot, dry areas, Salvia plants are superb for hot and sunny borders and have good drought tolerance once established. An excellent upright accent, Salvia works well as part of a mixed border or grown with grasses.
Phlox is a diverse genus of plants, the perennial species famous for their bright, showy, and often highly fragrant flowers, produced from late spring to autumn. Phlox flowers are mainly pink, purple, or white, and some plants have variegated foliage, which adds further interest to the garden. For ground cover or rockeries, try growing Phlox subulata (Moss Phlox), a dense, evergreen perennial producing a mass of flowers.
Also known as Helen’s Flower, Heleniums are long-flowering, reliable perennial plants. With a range of hot colors from red to burnt orange and bright yellow, these fiery plants work well as part of a late summer border. The elegant flowers are abundant from midsummer to early autumn on bushy, upright growth, with protruding central florets surrounded by a ‘skirt’ of petals. Grow Heleniums as a lively addition to herbaceous borders, or try planting them with ornamental grasses for a prairie-style look. Heleniums make an excellent cut flower, too.
From large border carnations to dainty pinks, Dianthus plants are a versatile addition to the gardens. Dianthus plants are a perfect addition to cottage gardens. Grow alpine pinks such as Dianthus deltoides in a rock garden, raised bed, in patio containers, or as ground cover. These tough little perennials cope well with windy and salty coastal conditions. Grow the more prominent pinks and carnations in beds, borders, and patio containers. Dianthus flowers are also brilliant for cutting.
Japanese Anemones (Anemone x hybrida) are stunning performers in late summer and autumn when many other plants have fizzled out. Large, bright, simple blooms are produced on elegant branching stems high above mounds of green, palmate foliage. Growing up to 1.5m tall, they are superb for adding height to the back of borders, although more compact varieties are available to suit any planting scheme. Japanese Anemones work well as part of a cottage garden theme or grown in woodland gardens.
A valuable addition to summer borders, Penstemonsare smothered in tubular-bell-shaped flowers, similar in appearance to foxgloves, and come in a range of bright colors and patterns. Bees love these easy-to-grow perennials, which look fabulous planted in groups where they knit together to form sheets of color. Plant tall Penstemons in the middle of mixed or herbaceous borders to lend an informal cottage-garden feel to the planting, or grow the dwarf varieties at border fronts or in patio containers.