27 of the most popular flowers and perennials for your garden

27 of the most popular flowers and perennials for your garden

Adding flowers and perennials to your garden makes maintaining a great landscape much easier. Once your perennials take root, you'll just need to prune them, weed them, and perhaps separate some of your plants if they start to take over your garden.

But with hundreds of perennial garden plants, how do you choose the ones that will thrive – and add a little wow factor year after year? Check out the most popular flowers and perennials for a little landscaping inspiration.

How to choose flowers and perennials

If you want your flowers and perennials to come back year after year, you'll need to evaluate your microclimate, soil and sun exposure. “Research the plants that need the exact light, moisture, and soil conditions your site has, and you'll achieve the best with the least fuss,” says Kevin Lenhart, design director at Yardzen.

Choose native plants

Plants native to where you live are more likely to thrive in your soil and weather. This means they will need minimal watering, fertilization and maintenance to look great, and they can provide food and habitat for local wildlife, Lenhart says.

Understand time commitment

Be realistic about how much time you have to garden, and how much time the plants you choose will require in terms of maintenance such as deadheading or cutting. “Some are higher maintenance than others,” says Maureen Wright, plant expert at Fast Growing Trees. “Know your limits and research your plants before planting.”

Color guarantee all year round

Look at the bloom times of the plants you choose, and try to arrange for something to bloom throughout the growing season. “Choose perennials that bloom at different times throughout the growing season,” Lenhart says. “This will ensure your garden has continued color and interest.”

Don't be afraid to experiment

Many perennials are relatively inexpensive—especially if you decide to try growing them from seed—so try something new. “Have fun and look at everything in your garden as an opportunity to learn something,” Wright says. “Try different colors and varieties, create character in your garden, and look for balance and biodiversity in your garden space.”

Popular flowers and perennials for your garden

garlic

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These beautiful (and edible!) flowers are fun perennials to add to your garden, with spherical flower heads resembling seuss. You'll see flowers in late spring and early summer from these drought-tolerant plants.

Artemisia

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These native perennials, also known as sage, are prized for their silvery-green foliage, Lenhart says. You will get small yellow flowers in the summer, but the biggest benefit is the environmental benefit. “They are hardy habitat plants,” Lenhart says.

If you have a dry, sunny place, this is the perfect perennial to plant there, although it can take up some space – some varieties can reach three feet tall and 10 feet wide. Lenhart suggests smaller varieties like Powis Castle if you're short on space.

Astilbe

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Astilbe is known for growing in many different sunlight conditions, it does best in partial shade, but can tolerate full sun or full shade as well. They come in a variety of shades from white to pink to purple, and do best in moist soil.

Bee balm

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Bee balm (AKA monarda) comes by its nickname naturally, Lenhart says, because it attracts pollinators like bees, moths and hummingbirds.

This perennial flower features fringe-like petals and comes in a variety of colors to match any garden color scheme. You will need to plant it in full sun to help it grow.

Black-eyed Susan

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The black-eyed Susan is a native plant that thrives almost anywhere in the United States — and since deer aren't fans of it, it's a great choice if you have deer chomping regularly in your yard. They're also a good choice if you live in drier areas, because they're drought-tolerant plants, Lenhart says.

Blanket flower

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Wildflowers are an excellent choice for a perennial garden, since they are already known to thrive in that area. Lenhardt suggests blanket flower for its stunning bright blooms and easy-to-grow nature. It thrives in poor soils and in prairie and meadow landscapes.

Milky butterfly

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Milkweed is essential for helping butterflies grow, because it provides food and shelter for monarchs and other butterfly species. “Butterfly milkweed lacks the milky sap common to most milkweeds, and it's generally easier to get your hands on than other native milkweeds,” Lenhart says.

Butterfly weed has beautiful orange flowers, so it looks great in your garden.

chrysanthemum

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This flowering staple comes in a range of colors, from crimson, orange and fall-like yellow to white, pink and purple. They are easy-to-grow perennial flowers that thrive in a sunny, well-drained location.

Coreopsis

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While many perennial flowers have a short flowering period, the core is an exception, blooming from late spring throughout the summer. Coreopsis is also a hardy perennial. “It's hardy, it can tolerate drought, heat and moisture, and is happy in rocky, drained soil,” Lenhart says. This makes it an ideal addition to arid, desert-like landscapes. If deer are a problem, these flowers won't attract them.

Daylilies

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Although they're not true lilies, daylilies—each gorgeous flower lasting only one day—are very popular perennials. “We love them because they are very low-maintenance, energetic and have long flowering times,” says Wright.

Mohly Bay

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When planning a perennial garden, don't sleep on perennials. “People tend to focus on flowering perennials, but non-flowering perennials like ornamental grasses and fine sagebrush often dominate modern planting designs,” Lenhart says. Muhly Bay is an easy-to-grow grass that thrives throughout the Southeast, featuring gorgeous pink blooms in the fall. “It looks like a pink cloud,” Lenhart says.

Heuchera

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This shade-loving perennial often sprouts small flowers, but it also has gorgeous colorful foliage that can brighten dark spots in your garden. “Heuchera cultivars come in a variety of colors, from peachy orange to deep purple, but I often steer clients toward the green-leaved varieties, which avoid the risk of a gaudy appearance and tend to settle more comfortably among other varieties,” Lenhart says.

Hosta

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Shade-loving perennials are hard to find, but the classic hosta is one that not only provides gorgeous, interesting foliage, but also blooms beautifully. “Hostas create an air of simple elegance in garden spaces and complement more colorful plants and trees,” says Wright.

Hydrangea

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Hydrangea shrubs are a perennial favourite, producing very long-lasting blooms in a variety of colours. They can work well in a variety of lighting conditions and are very low maintenance.

Irises

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Iris are an exciting choice for the perennial garden, with their bold purple, yellow, white, blue or pink flowers appearing in late spring or early summer. “We love it because there are so many color variations and the flowers have a distinct, unique shape,” says Wright. “Pollinators love them too.”

Lavender

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Add a touch of calm with this perennial flower, featuring sweet-smelling summer blooms that last long in sunny spots in your garden. It's a favorite of many bees, but it's also a great plant for keeping away unwanted insects that don't enjoy the smell as much as humans, Wright says.

lily

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True lilies, such as Asiatic lilies, Easter lilies, and oriental lilies, make a great addition to your garden – and are popular perennial flower choices. They provide long-lasting blooms during the summer.

Little bluestem

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Little bluestem is a colorful ornamental grass that starts out blue-green but turns rusty red in the fall and throughout the winter, Lenhart says. “It is deer-resistant, and is an important habitat plant throughout much of the United States.”

Peony

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They may not bloom for long, but peonies make up for this by producing dramatic flowers. “Peonies have full, abundant blooms full of fragrance and staying power,” says Wright. The plant requires full sun and a drier location and should be planted in the fall to give it time to establish.

Phlox

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There are many different types of phlox, including ground cover and taller versions that will add beauty to your garden. It thrives in partial shade, with small pink, blue, white and purple flowers.

Purple coneflower

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Purple coneflowers are a native plant that thrives in most parts of the United States, producing long-lasting flowers that attract plenty of pollinators to your garden. If you are planting a pollinator garden, this is a must.

Roses

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Perhaps the most popular perennial flower is the rose, which comes in a variety of sizes (including climbing and miniature varieties) and colors that suit pretty much any color scheme or style in the garden, Wright says.

Roses grow best in full sun and well-drained soil to thrive in your garden.

Salvia

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Lenhart and Wright both recommend this native plant, which can thrive even in extreme conditions such as dry, hot climates and rocky soil. Salvia attracts pollinators to its long-lasting, spiky flowers.

Scabies

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Also known as pincushion, these tiny flowers come in a variety of colors – red, pink, white, ivory and purple – and bloom through summer and into early fall. You'll need to deadhead the flowers to keep them open and keep them in a sunny or partly sunny location to help them grow.

Sedum or stonecrop

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Sedum comes in many different cultivars that can work in almost every landscape. “It is drought-tolerant and low-maintenance, making it a favorite for areas with high temperatures and low rainfall,” says Wright. “It works well where other perennials might struggle, for example, it can thrive in rock gardens and desert-like landscapes.”

Sideoats grams

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If you're looking for a great ornamental grass to spruce up a perennial garden, Lenhart loves this particular variety. Sideoats Grama is deer and drought resistant, native to most of the United States, and a favorite of bees and butterflies.

Yarrow

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You may not have heard of yarrow, but this perennial flower is a perfect addition to gardens. “It is native to most of the United States, drought-tolerant, and attractive to a wide range of pollinator species,” Lenhart says. It is the type of plant that can thrive in almost any type of soil, and comes in a range of colors to suit garden design aesthetics.

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