Perennials common name listing:
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Nepeta: (Catmint) Full sun to part shade Hardy in zones 3-8. A member of the mint family, certain varieties are very attractive to cats, inducing a temporary euphoric state. As for gardening, ‘Catmint’ is a very easy to grow, drought tolerant, flowering perennial with few problems or pests. Nepeta is often used instead of lavendar, which is not nearly as hardy.
‘Walker’s Low’ is named for a garden in England, not for its height. It grows as high as 30” and can spread to 3 feet wide. Lavender blue flowers bloom profusely in early summer, as early as April or May in warmer climates, and then sporadically until frost. Sheering after the first heavy blooming will encourage another bloom, but the plant will not reach 30”. Sheering will also keep the foliage neat and fresh. Foliage is a soft gray green. The spicy scent is a nice addition to a vase of cut flowers, or in potpourri. In addition to attracting cats, ‘Walker’s Low’ will attract bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. Deer and rabbits are indifferent to the plant, being scented and gray foliage. ‘Walker’s Low’ is hardy enough for zone 4 and will tolerate sandy soil, salt, humidity and drought. Seeds are sterile, so this perennial must be propagated by division.
‘Blue Wonder’ is a dwarf catnip with a mounding, pushy habit that reaches only about 12” tall with a spread of 12 - 24”. Dark blue blooms are small but abundant along 6” flower spikes. The bloom season is long, usually from May through September. Aromatic foliage is gray green. ‘Blue Wonder’ is hardy from zones 3 to 8, but does not do well in the heat and humidity of the deep south. Afternoon shade will benefit the plant in hot climates. It will thrive in dry soil in full sun. Of course bees, butterflies and hummingbirds are attracted to this aromatic plant, but is not bothered by deer or rabbits. Seeds are sterile, propagate this perennial by division.
Painted Daisy: (Chrysanthemum coccineum) Full sun Hardy in zones 3-9. A very colorful and easy to grow hardy perennial that is great for cut flower with long stems. Painted daisy blooms pink, red or white in late spring and early summer. Cut the bloom stems to the ground and it may bloom again later in summer. Foliage is delicate and fern-like and grows to 2-3 feet tall. It prefers full sun and is heat and drought tolerant. Propagate by seed.
Penstemon: (Bearded Tongue) Full sun to part shade Zones 3-9. A North American native, this hardy perennial is very drought tolerant. Prolific flowering in spring or summer in brilliant blues, lavenders, pinks or red. Very tolerant of moist conditions except very wet, it does best in dry sunny, very well drained or sandy soils. Generally grows to 12-14” high. Penstemon attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. Some are hardy to zone 3 (‘Sweet Grapes’), but many varieites are only hardy to zone 6. ‘Sweet Grapes’ is lower growing at about 6” and prefers full sun. It is tolerant of drought and poor soil. Prolific lavender blooms on five inch stems appear through midsummer.
Peonies: Full sun to part shade Hardy in zones 3-8. Spectacular plump cabbage rose like flowers are the first lush look of summer. The speed at which these plants rise from beneath the soil and produce masses of flowers is utterly amazing. and when they are done blooming, you have a beautifully mounded, dark rich green “shrub”, that always looks glossy and healthy. Plant if the fall (late August or September) in a sunny spot, in soil enriched with compost. Don’t plant too close to other shrubs or trees, where roots will interfere. And do not plant too deep or flower production will be retarded. The pink “eyes” of the root should never be more than 2 inches below the surface, one inch in clay soils. Once established, little or no care is required, and you will be rewarded with blooms for a lifetime. Divide in fall (late August or September) every 15 to 30 years for the health of the plant, or divide more frequently to produce additional plants. Each division should have 3 to 5 “eyes”, the reddish buds on the tubers. This super hardy perennial is hardy to zone 3.
Phlox paniculata hybrids: Full sun Hardy in zones 3-9. Indispensable in the perennial garden, there continues to be more color selection available, from white, through pinks and purples, and on to reds and coral. Tall, leafed stems are topped with large clusters of showy flowers. Phlox grows and spreads easily, prefers good well drained soil in the sun, but doesn’t seem to mind poor soil or neglect too much. Tall garden Phlox does best in full sun, which helps to produce larger blooms and stronger stems. Will tolerate hot dry weather nicely, and light shade. Phlox is susceptible to powdery mildew, take care to water early in the day or with a drip method. Propagate by division in fall. Generally hardy to zone 4, some to zone 3.
‘Bright Eyes’ has soft pink blooms with deep magenta to red eyes. Individual blooms top a long corolla tubes and are quite densely produced on very strong stems. Blooming begins in mid summer and continues through late summer. Blooming can be extended into fall if your cut the flowers for arrangements and/or remove spent blooms, which will encourage additional blooming and prevent self seeding. The fragrant blooms will attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Like most garden phlox, ‘Bright Eyes’ prefers full sun and good air circulation to deter powdery mildew. Summer mulching will keep the roots cool. The plant will not tolerate drought, so water during dry periods with the drip method to discourage mildew. ‘Bright Eyes’ grows to 1 1/2 - 2 feet tall, spreading 1 - 1/2 feet wide. Hardy in zones 4 - 8.
‘David’ is a pure white perennial garden phlox with huge flowering clusters that are lightly fragrant. The bloom clusters are tightly packed in a pyramidal cluster. ‘David’ blooms from July through September, and reaches 2 - 4 feet tall and spreads 2 -3 feet. Remove spent blooms to encourage more bloom and discourage seeding. Cut flowers are very nice in an arrangement. ‘David’ requires average water and will not tolerate drought periods, but avoid overhead watering to deter mildew. It may attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The foliage is light green and is mildew resistant. Mulch to keep the roots cool in summer. Prefers a rich, moist soil and is hardy in zones 3 - 8.
‘Eva Callum’ produces pink blooms with dark pink to red centers. The fragrant flowers are densely arranged on large pyramid shaped clusters. A long blooming season begins in midsummer through late summer. The bloom period may be extended into early fall by removing spent blooms, which will also discourage seeding. Or cut for arrangements, this is an excellent cut flower. Flower stalks are sturdy and should not need staking unless exposed to strong winds. ‘Eva Callum’ grows to 2 - 2 1/2 feet tall with a similar spread. Space well and keep the stalks thinned to discourage powdery mildew. Grow in rich moist soil in full sun to light shade, but this phlox will do best in full sun. Hardy in zones 4 - 8, and has been found to be hardy in zones 3, mulch heavily before winter.
Phlox subulata: (creeping phlox) Part to full sun Hardy in zones 3 - 9, Creeping phlox is a short groundcover perennial that is widely used in rock gardens, on slopes, along paths and spilling over garden walls. It grows and spreads slowly, forming a dense mat. Mature size is usually about 6” tall and 2 feet wide. Like tall garden phlox, it prefers moist well drained soil that is slightly alkaline. They both will tolerate poorer and dry soils as well as slightly acidic conditions. Each spring after flowering, the plants should be sheared back about one third to one half to renew vigor and to reduce the large topgrowth that a shallow root system is trying to support. Phlox subulata is evergreen, however in zones 3 and 4 it should be covered (evergreen boughs or reliable snow cover). A show stopping carpet of color is produces in late April or early May. To help extend bloom time, fertilize in early spring just after the plant tips begin to emerge from the soil. Sprinkle a granular timed release 9-12-12 fertilizer into the soil and mulch over. After two to three weeks of blooming fertilize again, but do not sprinkle directly onto the plants or you may burn them. Pull/rake back the mulch and sprinkle into the soil, then replace the mulch. Water well.
‘Candy Stripe’ is a newer variety with fuscia pink blooms banded white. ‘Candy Stripe’ grows vigorously and the delicate foliage is attractive when not in bloom. Prefers full sun but will do all right in partial sun. Soil should be rich, dry and well drained, can tolerate drought. ‘Candy Stripe’ phlox can reach up to 1 foot in height but generally will be 6 - 8” high, and will spread 12 - 15”. May attract bees and butterfiles. Hardy in zones 3 - 8. In zone 3, plants should be mulched for winter protection after the soil freezes.
‘Emerald Blue’ (also known as ‘Blue Emerald’) is a hard to find “true blue” in any perennial, or annual for that matter. The rich emerald blue is a great addition to a blue and white garden, or any rock garden, hillside, etc. Looks fabulous when grown with ‘Candy Stripe’. Foliage is glossy dark green with a compact growth habit, and grows more slowly than many creeping phlox. ‘Emerald Blue’ generally reaches 4 - 6” high and spreads to around 18” or more. The bloom period begins in early spring and may last into early summer. Shear back dead foliage after blooming to refresh the plant and encourage denser growth and possible rebloom. Grow in full sun, but will tolerate part sun. Hardy in zones 3 - 8.
‘Emerald Cushion Blue’ is a lavender blue with blue eyes. Blooming begins in late spring and continues through late spring. The bloom period may be extended into June by deadheading spent blooms and withered foliage. Deep green, needle like foliage forms a dense evergreen mat. ‘Emerald Cushion Blue’ grows about 4 - 6” high and spreads to 18 - 24”. Prefers full sun and fertile, well drained soil. Hardy in zones 3 - 8.
Pinks: (Dianthus) Part to full sun Hardy in zones 3-8**. Cottage garden pinks are excellent low growing, prolific bloomers for the front of a border, rock garden, or edging. Many varieties are hardy to zone 3 or 4. Some self seed. Pay careful attention when selecting dianthus - some are hardy perennials, some are biennials and some are annuals in the northern garden. ‘Bath’s Pink’ is the northern garden’s favorite and is hardy to zone 3. Clove scented pink blooms cover the plant all summer. ‘Heart Attack’, a perennial Sweet William Dianthus, is hardy to zone 4, living 5 years or more. but Sweet William ‘Crimson Velvet’ is a bienniel. Dianthus Desmond is hardy to zone 5, and Cranberry Ice to zone 3. Dianthus chinensis is an annual. Carnations are also part of the Dianthus family, some are hardy and some are not. CONFUSING!, be careful. Look for Dianthus plumarius, and ask at the garden center if the hardiness is not well labeled. Annual and perennial varieties should be in separate sections, which helps. more info...
Poppies: (Papaver oreintale) Full sun Hardy in zones 3-8. Perennial poppies have recently become popular in the north and midwest. Lavishly blooming in May and June, the 5-8” blooms are available in pinks, plum, red, whites and creams. They can grow well in nearly any soil, but do prefer rich loam. Make sure they get enough water in dry spells, and that is about all you need to do. They should be hardy to zone 3 and easy to grow, but I believe the jury is still out on those questions. Gorgeous blooms if they work out well in your garden.
Potentilla: (Cinquefoil) Full sun to part shade Hardy in zones 2-7. Not the woody bush, this cinquefoil is a herbaceous (no woody stems) sub shrub, generally low growing anywhere from an inch or two high to 2 feet. It resembles a strawberry plant and produces tiny bright flowers similar to the commonly know shrub potentilla. The lines are blurry between the herbaceous perennial and the woody shrub, as you will find some referred to as “semi-woody”. Cinquefoil is simply the old French common name, but cinquefoil is often used specifically to refer to the herbaceous sub shrub. You will find both types called potentilla and/or cinquefoil. Look for ‘tridentata sibbaldiopsis’. If you select one hardy to your zone, with the physical characteristics you choose, it doesn’t really matter. They generally bloom from June through August and are low maintenance. Perfect for rock gardens or to tuck into small spots. Hardiness varies, but are generally hardy up to zones 2, 3 or 4.
Rudbeckia Full to part sun Hardy in zones Commonly referred to as Coneflower or Black Eyed Susan, the genus and species are quite broad and not that simple. ‘Black Eyed Susan’ for example is a species in the Rudbeckia genus, and there are many cultivars within the ‘Black Eyed Susan’ species. Most are known for their long blooming period. Whichever perennial Rudbeckia you select for your gardens, you can expect a tough, native perennial that withstands a wide range of conditions and neglect. Some cultivars are bienniel (self seeding) or annual.
‘Henry Eilers’ (R. subtomentosa) The unusual narrow quilled petals of ‘Henry Eilers’ are quite striking. Rather than the “Rudbeckia gold” petals, they are a true and vivid yellow. Abundant blooms are produced on tall stems in summer, full bloom occurring in August and extending into autumn.. Plenty of striking blooms for cut flowers. The foliage is lightly vanilla scented. ‘Henry Eilers’ prefers average to moist soil where it will put on the best show, but will hold up to heat and humidity, but will not tolerate long drought periods. Afternoon shade will benefit the plant in hot regions. Reaches 4-5 feet high with a 2-3 foot spread. Self seeds. Attracts butterfiles and hummingbirds. Hardy in zones 5-7.
‘Sonora’ (Rudbeckia hirta) Also referred to as gloriosa daisy. The large 4-5” blooms of ‘Sonora’ are tipped in rich gold with a wide mahogany inner ring and dark brown center. Blooms heavily for at least 4 weeks with lighter blooming through summer to early fall. The plant reaches 2’ tall and about 1’ wide. Each plant reproduces readily by seed and dies after reproduction (biennial). Deadhead spent blooms to increase blooming and limit seeding. Hardy in zones 3-8.
‘Cherokee Sunset’ (Rudbekia hirta) ‘Cherokee Sunset boasts double and semi double blooms of yellow, red, orange bronze and mahogany, each bloom bearing different coloring. The large 3-4” blooms last more than 4 weeks, blooming from early summer until early autumn. Strong stems hold the heavy blooms erect. ‘Cherokee Sunset’ likes full sun and will deal with clay or sandy soil, but prefers moist and well drained. Drought tolerant. The plant grows to 24” high and 12” across. A biennel, ‘Cherokee Sunset’ self seeds readily. Deadhead to reduce seeding. An excellent cut flower that attracts butterflies and is deer resistant. Hardy in zones 5-8.
‘Goldsturm’ (fulgida var sullivantii ‘Goldsturm’) Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ sets the standard for Black-Eyed Susans, and is most likely the common cultivar generally referred to. It blooms nonstop from mid summer to fall with golden yellow single blooms and dark brown centers. Plants are bushy and upright with strong stems, reaching 24-30’ high and 18-24” across. ‘Goldsturm’ prefers full sun to part sun, and average well-drained soil. Will tolerate drought periods. Excellent flower for massing and for cut flowers. Deadhead spent blooms to encourage re-blooming, but do not dead head if you would like the black seed heads to provide winter interest and attract birds. Self seeding. Attracts butterflies. Hardy in zones 3-9.
‘Prairie Sun’ (R. hirta) ‘Prairie Sun’ blooms sport lovely orange petals tipped with yellow, surrounding a green center. The blooms are quite large, up to 5”, are borne atop strong leafy stems, and are long lasting. Bloom period is long, from summer to fall. ‘Prairie Sun’ does well in average well drained soil with average moisture, and does like a little space for good air circulation. It does prefer moist, enriched, well drained soil, but will tolerate drought periods. Deadhead to increase blooming. Excellent plant in borders and beds, mass plantings, and cut flower. ‘Prairie Sun’ is a biennial but best treated as an annual in northern climates.
Russian Sage: (Perovskia) Full sun to light shade Hardy in zones 3-9. Aromatic silvery-blue stalks with tiny lavender flowers from mid to late summer. It grows to 3-4’ in a nice shrub form, and tolerates heat and drought, perfect for dry soil. Excellent for neglected areas, such as roadside plantings where the sprinklers won’t reach. Also sets a nice cooling backdrop for bright warm colored flowers, especially reds and orange. ‘Filigran’ is the hardiest, to zone 3. It is elegant with feathery dense foliage, and with the strongest upright stalks. ‘Blue Spires’ has wonderful dark blue flowers all summer and is hardy to zone 3. Rabbits and deer don’t care for Russian Sage, but bees love it. Spreads by seed and underground runners. Cut plant back to the ground sometime between late fall and early spring.
Salvia: Full sun to part shade Hardy in zones 3-9. Salvia is an easy to grow hardy perennial that is heat and drought tolerant. It is long blooming, generally midsummer to early fall. Brilliant spire are covered with mini-flowers in rosy or lavender pinks, or blues and purples grow anywhere from 18” to 4 or 5 feet tall. Cut back after the blooms fade and keep them watered for another bloom. Cut back to the ground in very early spring, and divide every few years as needed to control size.
Sedum: (Stonecrop) Full sun Hardy in zones 3-8. One of the easiest perennials to care for, Sedum is tolerant of heat, humidity, drought and neglect. When not in bloom the plant adds interest to rock gardens or a sunny perennial border, each variety has interesting foliage characteristics: brown/burgundy leaves; or bright gold spiky stems; or large purply black leaves. Most bloom in summer, ‘Autumn Joy’ blooms in fall with more traditionally colored green foliage. With well drained soil, sedum lives a very long life. Divide every 3 to 5 years to discourage crown rot.
Scabiosa: (Pincushion Flower) Full sun to light shade Hardy in zones 3-9. Loved by bees and butterflies, Scabiosa is easy to grow and makes a wonderful cut flower. Distinctive textures and flower petals have vivid colors, crimson, blues, lavenders, pinks and even yellow, creating a nice effect when planted in groups. This very long blooming perennial blooms from early summer into fall. ‘Butterfly Blue’ has very large lavender blue flowers from April to frost, grows to about 12-18” tall, and is hardy to zone 5. It does not do well with long hot summers, but is great in the north and midwest. Most varieties are hardy to zone 3, some only to zone 5. Divide every few years.
Spotted Dead Nettle, or Lamium: (Lamium maculaturm) Part to full shade Hardy in zones 3-8. A vigorous growing groundcover reaching only about 10” high. It blooms in pink, purple or white in late spring to early summer. ‘Beacon Silver’ has silvery foliage with green edges and pink flowers. Lamium needs evenly moist well drained soil. It does not like poor soil, wet soil, clay or compacted soil, heat, drought or sun. Lovely, if you have the right spot.
Veronica (Speedwell): Sun to part sun Hardy in zones 3-9. Plentiful spiky blooms, displaying best color in sun, but will do fine in light shade. Veronica is onne of the most trouble free hardy perennials, with beautiful plants when not in bloom. Varieties range from short ground covers to tall back of the border plants. Very long living when grown in well drained soil and sun, and is very resistant to drought, insects and disease. Most are hardy to zones 3 or 4, but some only to zone 6.
Windflower: (Anemone) Light shade to filtered shade Hardy in zones 5-9. Perrenial anenome includes a tremendous number of species which includes spring flowering bulbs, alpine plants, woodland plants, as well as garden plants. The blanda species includes what is commonly referred to as Grecian Windflowers, which are commonly available. Windflower is produced on fleshy tubers rather than bulbs. Windflower prefers filtered shade with humus enriched soil. Once established, they require virtually no care. Blooms are produced in early spring. In areas protected from the wind the blooms will remain for a longer period. Many of the varieties are only 6-12” tall, making them an excellent choice for rock gardens or at the base of larger shrubs.
‘Honorine Jobert’ is a hybrid Anemone that is rumored to be hardy to Zone 4, but generally considered hardy to zone 5. May need winter protection in zone 5 without snow cover. It is tall, reaching a height of 3-4’ tall and 1-2’ wide. ‘Honorine Jobert’ is tolerant of average soil if it is well drained, and will also tolerate full sun in cooler climates. It does prefer part shade, moist rich soil and protection from wind. The plant may not due well in humid climates. Soil should be kept consistently moist. Large, single white blooms with yellow stamens are freely produced on long graceful stems in August through September. The plant is compact, forming an attractive mound and grows vigorously once established, spreading by underground shoots. Deer and rabbit resistant, attracts butterflies. Good cut flower. more info...
‘Prince Henry’ is a Japanese Anemone. It is a tall garden plant reaching 18” high and spreading about 20”. Blooms are double in a deep pink, appearing in late summer and continuing through fall. The vivid bloom color makes it a great accent or border plant. ‘Prince Henry’ prefers moist, average, well drained soil, but will tolerate clay. It is hardy in zones 5-8, but may require winter protection in zone 5 where snowcover is not reliable. The flowers are excellent for cutting. Deer and rabbit resistant, attracts butterflies. more info...
Yarrow: (Achillea) Full sun Hardy in zones 3-8. There are many varieties and colors of yarrow with a wide range of characteristics. Some spread aggressively, some are bienniel. They are sun loving, hardy perennials with long bloom times. Carefully selected, they are a wonderful addition to the perennial garden, excellent for drying or accenting floral arrangements. Achillea is a drought tolerant plant and should not be ground in moist conditions. Rich soil, moist conditions and part shade may cause the usually strong stems to flop over. Resistance to salt also makes yarrow and excellent choice for roadside plantings.
‘The Pearl’ has small, round, pure white double flowers on 3 to 4 foot stalks. Blooms will appear in late spring and last through at least June and July. ‘The Pearl’ does not spread aggressively, but will absolutely establish quickly and fill as much space as you give it. To discourage spreading, frequently cut the blooms when most are fully open for vases. This will encourage repeat blooming instead of the plant putting all it’s energy into spreading. Foliage is fernlike and aromatic, and ‘The Pearl’ attracts butterflies. Well drained soil and full sun is preferred, but will manage with less. Commonly referred to as Sneezewort. Hardy in zones 3 - 9. more info...
‘Coronation Gold’ displays the flat, tight clusters of upward facing blooms common to Achillea. The golden yellow clusters are 3 - 4” wide and contrast nicely with gray green fernlike foliage. ‘Coronation Gold’ blooms from June through July and reaches 30 -36” high with a 30” spread. Cutting blooms for vases and removing spent blooms with their stems will encourage blooming into August and even September. The foliage has a spicy scent, which will persist even when the flowers are cut and dried for arrangements. ‘Coronation Gold’ attracts butterflies, and resists deer and rabbits. This yarrow is sterile and will not set seed. The plant will spread up to 3 feet however, so divide every year or two if you prefer to maintain size and to keep the plant growing vigorously. Hardy in zones 3 - 8. more info...
‘Ortel’s Rose’ bloom color changes from vivid pink, to rose pink, and finally to pastel pink. Blooms are displayed in the classic flat manner of most yarrows, but the blooms are somewhat loose in the cluster. Foliage is a deep green. This is one of the shorter varieties of achillea at about 12 - 24” and can spread somewhat aggressively. Cut flowers for arrangements or remove spent blooms with their stems to encourage blooming beyond June and July. ‘Ortel’s Rose’ can be divided every 4 or 5 years in either spring or fall. Attracts butterflies, resists deer and rabbits, drought tolerant, humidity tolerant and salt tolerant. more info...
‘Paprika’ has ruby red blooms with bright yellow centers. It grows and blooms vigorously, forming a rich red mat of blooms in early spring. But it spreads just as vigorously, forming a dense mat that is ideal for ground cover. The plants reproduce by underground rhizomes sending up new plants, and over time can spread to a substantial naturalized colony. It grows to a height of 2 feet with an equal spread. more info...
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