If you are a new gardener or just do not have as much time as you’d like for your garden, perennials are the perfect option. Once you plant them, they come back year after year and require minimal care.
There are a variety of perennials available in many hues, forms, and sizes. To find the best plant for your garden, keep in mind your climate, soil type, and sun exposure. A good place to start is with some easy-to-grow perennials that don’t need a lot of extra care.
We’ve compiled a list of 17 perennials that are perfect for new gardeners looking to fill their gardens with interesting and forgiving perennials.
If you want a plant that will put up with neglect, come back year after year, and give you blooms every season, you have your pick here. The robust, lasting, and easy-going peonies have found their way to first place on our list.
All peonies need is a space in the sunny corner of your garden and well-drained soil. Just this much care, and you’ll be rewarded with huge, billowing blooms in vibrant white to vivid crimson hues every season. Peonies are known for:
- Living for decades
- Only needing pruning after the first frost
- Prolific, fragrant blooms in May-June
Hostas are an excellent choice for gardeners who want lush foliage with minimal effort. These low-maintenance plants thrive in a wide range of sun exposure (depending on the amount of yellow or white in their leaves) and moist soil, but they rarely complain even if the situation isn’t ideal.
Whether you prefer the striking variations of Hosta ‘Guacamole,’ the elegance of bicolor ‘Paul’s Glory,’ or the classic bluish-green of ‘Blue Moon,’ there are so many varieties of hostas that you’ll hardly run out of options.
The only drawback of hostas is they are a favorite of slugs, too. So, if your garden is slug-prone, you may want to take precautions before planting them. Hostas can:
- Live for 30 years under suitable conditions
- Provide colorful foliage that does not rely on flowers for interest
- Exist with little pruning
Another vivid flower for sunny gardens; this early to mid-summer performer is happy in any conditions, including full sun and dry soil. The bright cluster flowers are great for attracting butterflies and honeybees to the garden, so it’s also a favorite among pollinators.
Yarrow is an early bloomer, which means you can enjoy it for weeks on end. This hardy perennial also packs some health benefits; it is used as a tea or dried and made into a tincture to stop bleeding from wounds. Other benefits of yarrow are:
- Varying lifespan, from two to five years
- Vigorous pruning in late fall encourages growth
- Sturdy, upright plants can grow to 4 feet tall depending on the variety
Salvia is a genus of about 1000 species, native from tropical regions to cool mountainous habitats. The plant blooms bushy spikes of blue, lavender, red, and pink flowers, perfect for bouquets and vase decorations. Salvia is incredibly easy to grow and immensely rewarding.
It loves partial to full sun and is not picky about soil conditions. All that, coupled with a long bloom time, make this a favorite perennial for home gardeners who want colorful backyards. Salvia typically:
- Lives for more than ten years
- Requires pruning before bloom in early spring
- Reblooms in fall after a second cut back in late summer
5. Coreopsis (Tickseed)
These eye-catching and cheerful little flowers grow pretty much anywhere. They have a vibrant color palette with bold oranges and fiery yellows to subtle creams, and pinks.
Coreopsis is a drought-resistant plant that grows through rhizomes into a large clump that can reach a height of 3 feet. The dwarf varieties grow only 8-12 inches tall, making a beautiful ground cover that fills awkward spaces with bright colors. Coreopsis can:
- Live for three to five years
- Flower in early summer and continue to bloom till the first frost
- Be cut back when starting to turn woody
6. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)
From the blooms to the unusual seed heads, the Black-Eyed Susan is a complete charmer. It produces three or four-petaled, daisy-like flowers with prominent dark brown to black centers.
The bloom emerges in late spring and lasts through early summer. Black-eyes Susans can spread by self-seeding and are resistant to insects, making them a good choice for beginner gardeners. Other benefits are:
- Some varieties are annual
- Grow rapidly in full sun
- Should be cut back to soil in fall
Daylilies are summertime staples. They have long-blooming, often scented flowers that blossom from late spring to late summer, and some varieties bloom again in the fall.
Daylillies offers a wide color variation, including yellow, orange, crimson reds, pink, white, and purple. The name “Daylily” comes from the fact that each flower lasts just one day. However, don’t worry about it; you’ll be receiving stalks full of flowers all summer long. They are known for:
- Lasting for five or more years
- Only needing a cut back in the fall
- Being an early riser, starting bloom in late spring
Lobelia has varieties of both annuals and perennials, with very different growth habits.
Perennial lobelia is an outstanding choice for containers and borders, as they come in a wide array of colors from red to pink to blue; some varieties even sport two-toned, feather-like cardinal blooms on tall stalks. The flowers look amazing when planted en masse; they bloom from summer all the way to frost.
- Lobelias are very fond of moist soil, so they are great for a bog garden.
- Perennial Lobelia is biannual; lives for two years
- Pinching the tips in young plants produce well kept, tidy clumps
- They require a complete cut back after first bloom
These beauties are sure to grab anyone’s attention with their complex, colorful blooms.
Native to the woodlands, they bloom in late spring and early summer with tall stalks of stunning flowers. Columbine also provides a variety in color; some are white or yellow, while others sport exquisite bi-colored blooms. It thrives in partial shade and loves well-drained, rich soil. Columbine usually:
- Lives for three to four years
- Should be pruned in early spring
- Is a great plant to grow on the edge of beds
Lavender is a classic favorite of beginner gardeners. Not only do they bloom profusely, but their wonderful scents and beautiful purple flowers add a taste of refinement to any landscape.
Lavender thrives in hot, arid conditions and only requires the most basic of maintenance practices. There are many varieties of lavender that can be grown in different climates and soils with varying results. Lavender characteristics include:
- Typical life span of five to seven years; some hardy types last up to fifteen years
- Needing pruning when the stems turns woody
- Requires full sun exposure, will not survive in shady areas
11. Campanula (Bellflowers)
Campanula is a perennial plant with delicate, cup-shaped flowers that come in various pink, white, and mostly purple hues. It’s a winter-hardy plant, native to moderate to cool temperate regions, and grows best in the full or partial shade. It grows exponentially and quickly covers the ground with dense mounds of flowers.
- Some species are biennial – live for two years
- Needs a cut back after bloom to prevent invasive reseeding
- Cannot survive in humid tropical climates
12. Amsonia (Blue star)
Amsonia is a bushy plant, which grows into a neat mound. The plants produce clusters of fragrant, pale blue to purple flowers. They are an ideal choice for large borders or the back of the garden where they will grow happily under the bright sun.
Amsonia turns into a magnificent yellow-gold in fall and looks stunning when paired with purple asters and goldenrod. Amsonia benefits include:
- Lives for more than five years
- Will need basal cutting in fall after turning gold
- Blooms in late spring to summer
13. Sea Thrift (Armeria)
Thrift, or armeria, is a beautiful and unusual perennial that looks especially good planted along garden edges. This slow-growing evergreen with pink flowers and bushy foliage is a good ground cover for dry, sunny areas. The plant is a very slow grower and keeps its shape for years.
Thrifts are native to coastlines, so it is good to include a few thrifts on the sides if you have a seaside garden. This evergreen plant lives for many years and:
- Likes well-drained, sandy soils with lots of sun exposure
- Needs minimal grooming before bloom
- Tends to bloom late in the spring
14. Beardtongues (Penstemon)
Penstemon, commonly known as beardtongue, is a lovely native plant that will come back year after year. It has long been a staple of the perennial garden because it is incredibly hardy and easy to grow.
This beauty attracts hummingbirds and butterflies with clusters of tubular flowers in reds, pinks, and whites. Penstemons come in many varieties, from dwarf to tall, full sun to part shade, and different colors; you’ll be sure to find the perfect penstemon for your garden. They can:
- Live for three to five years
- Bloom for up to 4 weeks in the mid-summer
- Require vigorous pruning in winters
15. Bleeding Heart
Bleeding heart is another classic, old-fashioned perennial. It blooms lovely heart-shaped flowers with a dangling pendulum that gives it the name bleeding heart.
It’s a shade-loving plant that blooms in the cool of spring and stays in bloom for many weeks. Each plant puts up several flower stalks with each bloom hanging on slender, wiry stems. Bleeding hearts:
- Go dormant with the heat of summer and reemerge the following spring
- Can live for 15 years
- Like regular watering but not waterlogged soil
- Flowers can be toxic to dogs
Lupines are lovely plants that bloom from early summer to late fall. These flowers are large and majestic, but they’re effortless to grow with the right soil conditions.
They produce spikes of spectacular blooms that look great planted en masse or as borders or accents around the garden. The flowers come in shades of pink, purple, white, yellow, and red. Lupines typically:
- Like full sun exposure
- Live for two to six years
- Require cleaning up in the autumn
17. Russian Sage
Russian sage is a flowering perennial with silver leaves and lavender flowers. It’s a hardy, drought-tolerant, deer-resistant plant that thrives in hot conditions. This gorgeous beauty blooms prolifically all summer long.
It’s a particularly lovely plant to grow in the middle of a sunny flower bed and pairs well with flowering annuals and dryland shrubs. Russian sage:
- Can live for decades
- Likes a hard prune in early spring
- Has an earthy, spicy fragrance to the leaves and blooms
It is possible to have a gorgeous garden without spending lots of money or having years of gardening experience. Simply choose from the list above and plant your first perennial. We are sure, in no time, your entire garden will be vibrant with perennials blooming all summer long.
Do tell us what your favorite perennial plant is? We would love to hear from you!