Perennials are a great way to keep your garden spruced up all season long, year after year.
What Are Perennials?
Perennials differ from annuals and biennials in the way that they have a life cycle longer than two years. So in essence, perennials are plants that live longer than two years. The term is also used to differentiate non-woody plants from trees and shrubs (which are also technically perennials).
Perennials generally grow and bloom over the spring and summer, dying back in autumn and winter, and regrowing during the next spring. However, there also is a class of perennials that maintain a mantle of leaves throughout the year, always staying green.
25 Perennials that Bloom All Summer
Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are some of the most popular wildflowers grown. Native to North America, they bloom from June to October with flowers up to three inches in diameter. The plant itself can grow over three feet.
The flowers attract butterflies and bees, which helps pollination. Note that the plants can be territorial, squashing out other flowers growing near them.
Amsonia is a North-American native belonging to the dogbane family. Commonly also known as blue stars, flowers generally bloom in late spring. In autumn, the foliage turns bright yellow-gold.
Blue star plants are most at home along woodland streams or cottage gardens. They also make excellent additions to blue garden schemes. The plant grows up to three feet tall.
Baptista is herbaceous perennial species that grows best in well-drained acid soils. The foliage consists of blue-green leaves and resembles a tall bushy pea plant. They can grow up to 1.5 metres tall.
Flowers bloom in early summer, producing large seed pods later on that ripen to a deep grey and are an attractive feature. Baptistas dislike being disturbed, so save the seeds to sow in the spring, rather than trying to divide old ones.
Commonly also known as Hattie’s pincushion or masterwort are charming perennials with pincushion flowers surrounded by greenish-white bracts in the summer. They grow best when planted in groups and favour moist soil. They can be made to work with drier soils, provided that the plants receive regular mulching. Astrantias aren’t the best at spreading far but are well known for self-seeding.
Members of the Crassulaceae family are flowering plants with water-storing leaves. There are a few varieties of these, ranging from only a few inches to up to three feet tall. Also known as stonecrops due to their resilience against unfavourable and poor conditions that few other plants can thrive in. They are ideal to plant in areas of your garden that receive little sunlight or water. Growing sedum is in fact, so easy that even the most novice gardeners can excel at it.
Daylilies belong to the genus Hemerocallis of the family Hemerocallidaceae and are perennial herbs with long-stalked clusters of a funnel or bell-shaped, short-lived flowers ranging in color from yellow to red. The roots are fleshy and narrow, and the sword-shaped leaves are grouped at the base of the plant. Some species have edible flowers and buds, others are cultivated as ornamentals. The fruit is a capsule.
Digitalis purpurea, also known as foxglove or common foxglove, is a poisonous species of flowering plant in the Plantaginaceae family native to the utmost of temperate Europe. This plant is the original source of the heart medicine digoxin (also known as digitalis). The plant is biennial, but generally produces enough seeds that plants will continue to grow in a garden setting.
Foxgloves usually grow in acidic soils, from partial sunlight to deep shade. The flowering stems usually develop in the second year, growing up to 6 feet tall.
Perennial Salvias, also known as sage bloom from summer to autumn, are aromatic, and drought-tolerant! Part of the mint family (Lamiaceae), salvias appear as a colourful spike of densely-packed flowers with tubular blossoms atop square stems and velvety leaves. They grow from 18 inches to 5 feet tall, depending on the exact species. They thrive best in the full sun and well-drained soils.
Coneflowers are heat and drought-resistant perennials that usually bloom from June to August with flower colors ranging from purple to orange, white, and green depending on the variety cultivated. They typically thrive in the full sun, with different varieties ranging from two to five feet in height and one to two feet in spread. The composite flowers attract a range of winged beauties from butterflies to songbirds.
Native to the Middle East, India, and the Mediterranean, Lavandula or commonly known as lavender is a member of the Lamiaceae (mint) family. Flowers are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage, the spikes being branched in some species. Some species produce colored bracts at the tips of the inflorescences.
Generally planted in spring, the plants dislike excess moisture and love the blazing hot sun since they are indigenous to Mediterranean climates. For cooler climates, English lavenders are a good choice.
With evergreen foliage in all but the harshest cold climates, hellebores (also called Lenten roses) are tolerant of a variety of growing conditions. They thrive best in partial shade when planted in rich, well-drained soil. Soaking the soil really helps the plant look its best.
Asters are daisy-like perennials with starry-shaped flower heads ranging from white to purple in colour. They generally bloom in late summer or autumn and attract a great number of bees and butterflies. Depending on the variety you choose to decorate your garden with, asters can grow from 8 inches to 8 feet. Due to their late-blooming time, they’re sometimes also called Michaelmas daisies.
Peonies are long-living perennials with some known to thrive for up to a hundred years. They bloom from late spring through early summer, depending on the variety you choose. With six different flowers to choose from, and with scents ranging from rose-like to lemony to none at all, there are quite a few choices from the range. They thrive best under six to eight hours of direct sunlight every day in deep, fertile, humus-rich, well-drained moist soil. The best pH for soil is a neutral one.
Catmint is a perennial herb that produces grey-green foliage with clusters of lavender-blue flowers. Catmint can be grown in sun or partial shade with average, well-draining soil. They are even heat and drought tolerant, making them excellent plants for dry garden areas. Catmint is most often grown by seed or through division. Planted in spring, they require open spacing since overcrowded plants can be susceptible to powdery mildew or leaf spot, particularly in hot and humid settings.
Also known as beardtongues, penstemons are adept to harsh western habitats, with some 300 species to choose from. Height can range from 10 cm to as much as 3 metres. Usually, they thrive best under full sun in infertile, fast-draining soils such as sand or gravel. Overly enriched and wet clay soils aren’t compatible.
Native to North America, Bee Balms thrive in woodland areas and are highly attractive to bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The flowers are open and daisy-like, with tube-shaped petals in various shades of red, pink, white, and purple.
The plants grow best in moist, rich soil in a sunny location. Most varieties grow between 2½ to 4 feet, but there are shorter varieties that grow to less than 10 inches tall. The bee balm plant is susceptible to powdery mildew, appearing as grey, powdery dust on the buds and leaves in moist, cool weather. If your bee balm plant develops mildew, you can treat it with natural remedies or a fungicide spray from the local garden centre. Mildew may also be prevented by planting bee balm where it will have good air circulation and avoid watering from overhead.
Tradescantia is an herbaceous perennial wildflower belonging to the Commelinaceae family. The blooms are white, purple, or pink depending on the species and variety, and appear regularly. Members of the genus have common names such as wandering jew, spiderwort, spider-lily, cradle-lily, oyster plant, and flowering inch plant. They can grow up to 2 feet tall. The plants like consistently moist soil but don’t like being soggy or water-logged. They thrive very well in indirect natural light and partial shade.
Also known as sea pink, common thrift is a low-growing evergreen perennial that grows slowly and produces flowers in colours such as sea pink, purple, violet, red, and white. The round flowers appear in clusters atop the slender stems. These bloom from late spring to early summer. Thrift plants do well in well-drained soils under the full sun in northern climates and part-sun in the southern climates. Sandy soils are preferable compared to overly fertile soils. Soils too moist or fertile can lead to rot in the plant.
The Lamb’s ear plant (Stachys byzantina) is an easy-care perennial with velvety soft, woolly evergreen leaves that are grey to green in colour. The foliage also resembles a lamb’s ear in shape. When blooming in summer, the plant produces pink to purple coloured flowers.
The plant is very hardy and can grow in nearly all conditions. For it to truly thrive, however, full sun and well-drained soils work very well.
Astilbe is a flowering shade-tolerant perennial that produces tall, fluffy fumes and frilly foliage. They bloom at different times depending on the variety, and are available in different heights ranging from a few inches to a few feet. The flowers range from whites to dark purples in colour, but are often pastel.
Astilbes prefer rich and organic well-drained soil.
Thyme is a hardy low-growing perennial herb that is fragrant with slender stems and often used in cooking. It is drought-resistant with practically non-existent watering needs, and the flowers attract pollinators. The plant thrives well in the full sun with well drained soil so the plant doesn’t get “wet-feet”, as with other drought-friendly plants. The plant grows six to twelve inches in height.
Also known as pinks and/or Sweet Williams, dianthus plants grow between six to eighteen inches with slender foliage. Flowers bloom from May to October, displaying shades of pink, salmon, red, and white hues.
Pinks prefer at least six hours of sunlight, so they are best planted in full sun or partial shade in well-drained, fertile, and alkaline soils.
Coral bells are evergreen perennials that exhibit flamboyant colours, both in foliage and flowers. The plants bloom at different times of the year, depending on the variety you plant. Coral bells prefer partial shade or filtered sun in moist but well-drained soil. Once established, these plants require little in the way of maintenance.
Roman Chamomile is a cheery herb with small daisy-like flowers with yellow centres and white petals. The leaves are feathery. The plants are perennial and can grow to a height one to two feet. Chamomile grows best in cool conditions, partial shade, and dry soil. The plant is drought-resistant and needs very little care after it has been established
Chrysanthemums (shortened as “mums”) are daisy-like perennials that bloom in late summer and autumn. Each bloom consists of tiny flowers called florets. The plants range vastly in life depending on the specific variety you choose to plant.
Mums flourish under the full sun in evenly moist and well-drained soil since the mums can rot if left standing in the water
Perennials are plants that will continue to bloom in your garden and indoor pots for years to come. They can be evergreen, or may revert to an overwintering structure to grow back fully in the summer. There are quite a few types of perennials for every soil type, water availability, and other conditions out there so you can feast your senses throughout the seasons.