22 Perennial Flowers Perfect for Any Garden

bright orange day lilies against grassy field

Peg Aloi

Perennials are the main dishes of the flower garden. They lend structure and stability, and over time, as they increase in size, they help a garden to look established and full. Perennials can be divided and replanted, and moved around for better design or care considerations. Below is an overview of some of the best choices of perennial plants for gardeners, with considerations such as hardiness, ease of maintenance, beauty, fragrance, pollinator attraction, and sustainability.

  • 01 of 22

    Peony

    Bright pink peonies growing inn a clump in foreground, green lawn and purple flowers in background

    merrilyanne / Getty Images

    Majestic peonies will live over a hundred years if they're planted in a good location: sunny with rich, well-drained soil. Once the beautiful, fragrant flowers (long lasting in vases) in spring are finished blooming, deadhead the stems and enjoy the attractive glossy foliage.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile; top dress with manure in autumn
    • Popular Varieties: Sarah Bernhardt (medium pink, very fragrant), Festiva Maxima (white with red accents), Moonstone (white to pale blush, fragrant), Karl Rosenfield (deep crimson)
  • 02 of 22

    Hosta

    Hostas and ferns planted along a red brick walkway next to a shingled house

    Solidago / Getty Images

    A classic shade perennial that's easy to grow and maintain, hostas, also known as plantain lilies, come in a huge array of sizes, colors and textures. Divide them in fall to protect the spring shoots. If you have deer wandering nearby, be warned that they tend to love eating hostas. Most hostas love shade but some varieties tolerate full sun.

    • USDA Zones: 4 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Part sun to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, tolerant of many soil conditions
    • Popular Varieties: Blue Angel (large blue puckered leaves), Patriot (medium size, deep green with wide white margins), Krossa Regal (vase shaped with pointed blue leaves), Royal Standard (glossy green leaves, white flowers)
  • 03 of 22

    Daylily (Hemerocalis)

    Pink daylily flowers with bright pink centers surrounded by green foliage

    minzar / Getty Images

    Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are familiar to most gardeners and are one of the easiest perennials to grow. Their only requirements are adequate sun and water, and well-draining soil. Daylilies fill bare areas in a large garden bed nicely, growing well near early spring bulbs like daffodils, and their thick root system helps keep weeds at bay. They're also resistant to most pests and diseases. Native daylilies can be a bit invasive in the garden, but fortunately there are hundreds of varieties of gorgeous species daylilies.

    • USDA Zones: 4 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, tolerant of many soil conditions
    • Popular Varieties: Strawberry Candy (two tone pink), Bela Lugosi (deep burgundy, green throat), Stella D'Oro (yellow, compact plants, re-blooms in late summer), Summer Wine (magenta pink)
  • 04 of 22

    Coreopsis

    Clump of bright yellow flowers with orange centers

    watcherfox / Getty Images

    Coreopsis, also known as tickseed, is an easy perennial with an airy look, with its slender, spiky leaves and delicate flowers. But it's a workhorse in the garden. Long-lasting blooms, easily-divided roots, and a tough disposition make it a good choice for the cottage garden. It comes in a wide range of colors. Note that some newer varieties are not as cold hardy as others.

    • USDA Zones: 4 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, tolerant of many soil conditions
    • Popular Varieties: Moonbeam (pale yellow), Route 66 (medium yellow with bright red markings), Jethro Tull (golden yellow fluted petals)
    Continue to 5 of 22 below.
  • 05 of 22

    Sedum

    Light green fleshy leaves and pale pink blossom heads with dark pink flowers opening on sedum plants

    Catherine McQueen / Getty Images

    Also called stonecrop, this sun-loving succulent is super hardy, and tolerates being moved around and replanted at almost any point during the season. The attractive fleshy foliage and colorful blooms offer a long period of visual interest from spring to fall, as the buds form and flowers hues over time. It comes in many size and shape variations, from creeping ground covers to tall clumps. Easy care, pest-resistant, and drought-tolerant, it is a must-have.

    • USDA Zones: 4 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, sandy, loam
    • Popular Varieties: Autumn Joy (blooms open pink, mature to red & maroon), Neon (pale green foliage, hot pink flowers), Matrona (dark red stems, green leaves, pink flowers)
  • 06 of 22

    Tall Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

    Bright pink flowers atop tall green leafed stems in front of a woodland setting

    beekeepx / Getty Images

    The summer cottage garden feels bare without beautiful tall phlox, also known as garden phlox (Phlox paniculata). Its vivid colors and fragrant blooms make it a favorite of pollinators, too. Phlox needs a bit of space around it for airflow to prevent mildew, but is otherwise an easygoing perennial, increasing in size each year, and easily divided. Most varieties are between 30-36 inches tall, but some heirlooms grow up to five feet, and some new hybrids are a more compact 24 inches.

    • USDA Zones: 4 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, and moist
    • Popular Varieties: David (tall with showy white flowers), Tenor (bright solid magenta flowers), Nicki (rich purple flowers), Eva Callum (pink flowers, red eye)
  • 07 of 22

    German Iris

    Pale purple iris with pale yellow beards, three blooms in front of a faded wooden fence.

    Peg Aloi

    Well-loved for their seemingly-endless array of colors, the name iris is the Greek name of the goddess of the rainbow. Although irises only bloom for two weeks in spring and then go dormant, there are re-blooming varieties that flower again in late summer. Irises are easy to grow, if planted properly (leave a bit of the rhizome above ground), divide them every 2-3 years. They love full sun but will bloom in partial sun. Once the flowers are done, remove the stems and enjoy the dramatic green foliage. Heirloom varieties have a delightful sweet fragrance.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, tolerant of many soil conditions
    • Popular Varieties: Beverly Sills (pink, orange beards), Jurassic Park (yellow standards, purple falls), Best Bet (pale blue standards, dark blue falls), Immortality (white, yellow beards, re-blooms)
  • 08 of 22

    Chrysanthemums

    A close-up of orange chrysanthemums

    Cappi Thompson / Getty Images

    Those big bushy baskets of chrysanthemums from the flower shop don't tend to perennialize well, but smaller plants will do just fine in your garden and reward you with abundant blooms year after year, increasing in size. There are a number of varieties with different forms, shapes, and sizes, including large football mums, spider mums, daisy mums, and button mums. Pinching back the leaves until the end of June yields more abundant blooms in late summer through autumn, when the many brilliant colors of mums put on a glorious show.

    • USDA Zones: 5 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, rich
    • Popular Varieties: Clara Curtis (pale lavender pink daisy), Honeycomb (orange button), Cherish (pale peach garden mum), Grenadine (rich rose red garden mum)
    Continue to 9 of 22 below.
  • 09 of 22

    Astilbe

    Airy sprays of pink and red flowers with delicate green leaves in a shade garden

    Michel VIARD / Getty Images

    Astilbes provide much-needed color in the shade garden, with their tall airy spikes of tiny flowers in shades ranging from creamy white to deep red, peachy pink, pale purple, and more. They like a rich, moist soil, but are otherwise carefree and easy to grow. Leaving the flower spikes intact provides winter interest in the landscape.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full shade to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, rich
    • Popular Varieties: Red Sentinel (bright crimson), Rheinland (bright pink), Milk and Honey (pale blush), Ameythst (light purple)
  • 10 of 22

    Columbine

    Pink and purple columbines in garden with hosta

    Wren Walker

    These multi-colored perennials provide delicate, airy flowers for several weeks in mid-spring, bridging the gap between early-blooming spring bulbs and later perennials like peonies and irises. Columbines (Aquilegia) reseed freely, and will even hybridize with each other, creating new color combinations. They do well in sun or shade.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full shade to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, rich
    • Popular Varieties: Barlow (solid colors of dark pink, red, purple, or blue), Cardinal (red and white), Tequila Sunrise (red-orange and pale yellow), Bluebird (light blue and white)
  • 11 of 22

    Woodland Phlox

    Woodland phlox naturalizes readily, and makes a gorgeous spring-blooming ground cover

    Galina Sandalova / Getty Images

    This spring-blooming perennial offers delicate textured colors as the garden is still waking up, offsetting the bigger, bolder spring bulbs like tulips and hyacinths. Hardy and a reliable bloomer in shade, woodland phlox (Phlox divaricata) likes a somewhat rich, well-drained soil to get started. It naturalizes readily, increases each year and is easily divided.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full shade to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, rich
    • Popular Varieties: Blue Moon (periwinkle blue), Sherwood Purple (light purple), May Breeze (pale blue-white)
  • 12 of 22

    Japanese Anemone

    pink and white petalled flowers in a green garden setting

    mtreasure / Getty Images

    Also known as windflowers, these delicate blooms on sturdy stems grow nicely in partial shade. They come in shades of white and pink with yellow centers. They like a fairly moist, rich soil, amended with compost, and they spread freely in the garden.

    • USDA Zones: 4 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, rich
    • Popular Varieties: Robustissima (pale lavender pink), Honorine (white), Pink Saucer (pale warm pink), Pamina (deep rose pink)
    Continue to 13 of 22 below.
  • 13 of 22

    Heuchera

    Bright gold, orange and purple leaves of heuchera plants

    itasun / Getty Images

    Also known as coral bells, the heirloom varieties of this robust perennial have tiny, delicate flowers atop thin stalks. Newer hybrid varieties are better known for their dramatic foliage colors than for their flowers; heuchera's foliage has leaves with rounded or pointed scalloped edges and veining in contrasting colors, and come in shades of green, gold, red, orange, purple, silver, and rose pink. Adaptable to sun or shade, these hardy plants provide three seasons of vibrant color and are virtually trouble-free if planted in healthy, moist soil.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 7
    • Sun Exposure: Part sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, rich
    • Popular Varieties: Tiramisu (green, gold, & orange), Pewter (silvery green), Georgia Peach (red, orange & peach), Palace Purple (deep purple and green leaves)
  • 14 of 22

    Yarrow

    Bright pink yarrow flowers with irises in background

    Peg Aloi

    With its grey-green lacy foliage and textured flat flower heads in a range of colors, yarrow (Achillea) is a familiar sight in the cottage garden and a versatile perennial in many types of garden designs. There are two basic varieties: one that grows in a clump and one that spreads via thin roots. Bees and butterflies love it, and the flowers remain colorful for weeks in mid to late summer.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 7
    • Sun Exposure: Part sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained
    • Popular Varieties: Apple Blossom (shades of pink and white), Strawberry Seduction (red flowers fading to yellow), Summer Pastels (variety of hues including pink, peach, pale yellow), Moonshine (bright yellow), Cerise Queen (medium to bright pink)



  • 15 of 22

    Meadowsweet

    Fluffy tiny pink flowers growing in a clump on pale yellow-green stems

    mr_coffee / Getty Images

    Also known as Queen of the Prairie, this tall, graceful plant bears slender stems topped with spikes of delicate frothy pink or white flowers in summer. Meadowsweet (Filipendula rubra) likes a moist planting site with plenty of sun, and in good conditions will increase rapidly, though it is easy to divide and control as needed.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, moist, acidic
    • Popular Varieties: Alba (white flowers). Kahome (deep pink flowers), Flora Pleno (double pink flowers)
  • 16 of 22

    Cranesbill Geraniums

    Bright blue five petalled flowers in a sunny meadow setting

    Jacky Parker Photography / Getty Images

    With their wide range of colors and flowers on long meandering stems that gently flow around other plants, these long-blooming perennials are a staple in the cottage garden. They're very hardy and the attractive foliage looks great even after the flowers have faded. The clumps of stringy roots divide easily. Colors range from rich blue to pale pink.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, rich
    • Popular Varieties: Johnson's Blue (violet blue), Brookside (luminous cobalt blue), Shepherd's Warning (hot pink), Rozanne (pale lavender)
    Continue to 17 of 22 below.
  • 17 of 22

    Echinacea

    Pink echinacea flowers in field at sunrise or sunset, with orange and white butterfly in foreground on flower

    Cappi Thompson / Getty Images

    These colorful flowers offer plentiful nectar for pollinators. Also known as coneflowers, their distinctive centers form a sturdy cone of seeds that birds love to snack on. They're also long-blooming in mid-summer and not too fussy about soil. Newer hybrids come in a stunning array of colors.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 7
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, tolerant of clay soils.
    • Popular Varieties: Tiramisu (green, gold, & orange tones, white flowers), Pewter (silvery green leaves, pink flowers), Georgia Peach (red, orange & peach tones, pink flowers), Palace Purple (deep purple leaves with green undersides, white flowers)



  • 18 of 22

    Epimedium

    delicate pale orange flowers above green teardrop shaped leaves in shady garden

    ULADZIMIR ZGURSKI / Getty Images

    Also known as barrenwort, bishop's hat, and fairy wings, this shade-lover features beautiful, resilient foliage and a matted root system that spreads slowly over time. It making a great ground cover that's also deer- and rabbit-resistant. The delicate flowers appear in late spring in shades ranging from white to yellow to pink to orange. Divide by cutting the roots into sections.

    • USDA Zones: 5 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade, shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, moist
    • Popular Varieties: Cherry Blossom (two-tone magenta and pink flowers), Orange Queen (orange and red flowers), Enchantress (sickle shaped leaves, pale pink flowers)
  • 19 of 22

    Dianthus

    Flowers with fringed petals in shades of white, pink and red in a garden

    Michel VIARD / Getty Images

    Also known as pinks (for their wide range of pink shades) or carnations, this sprightly flower grows via tidy rounded clumps with green strappy leaves, or spreading mounds with needle-like grey-green foliage. The clove-like fragrance is subtle and nostalgic, befitting a romantic perennial favorite. The clumping varieties tend to get scraggly after a few years, but the thread-leaf ones will put on a show year after year.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 7
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile
    • Popular Varieties: Bath's Pink (pale pink flowers, heirloom), Greystoke (silvery white flowers, grey-green foliage), Firewitch (hot pink flowers)



  • 20 of 22

    Catmint

    Pale purple-blue flowers on leafy green spikes

    ikuyan / Getty Images

    Flowering catmint (Calamintha nepeta) is a reliable perennial that is loved by bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and cats. The flowers range from pale blue to deep violet or white, and the silvery green leaves have a minty aroma. It's easy to grow and divide. The airy flower spikes fill out bare spaces in cottage gardens nicely.

    • USDA Zones: 4 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, loamy
    • Popular Varieties: Walker's Low (periwinkle blue flowers), Cat's Pajamas (intense lavender flowers), Blue Wonder (wisteria blue flowers)
    Continue to 21 of 22 below.
  • 21 of 22

    Bee Balm

    bright red spiky flowers on tall stems in a field

    Jacky Parker Photography / Getty Images

    Bee balm (Monarda) is, as the name suggests, a magnet for pollinators. It has an herby, somewhat minty fragrance, and bright flowers ranging from pale pink to dark purple. It tends to spread quickly, so it's best for a large cottage garden with room for it to form large clumps, but it's easily divided to control spread also. It loves sun but will tolerate shade, especially in areas with hot summers.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 7
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, moist
    • Popular Varieties: Raspberry Wine (magenta pink flowers), Cambridge Scarlet (bright red flowers), Balmy Pink (bright bubble gum pink flowers)
  • 22 of 22

    Asters

    bee on purple aster in focus surrounded by blurrier images of similar flowers

    Teddy Yaeger Photography / Getty Images

    These late-summer bloomers add color just when the garden needs it. Ranging in height from 10 inches to 4 feet, there are asters for every setting. Colors are a rich range too, including white, blue, purple, pink and red, usually with yellow centers. They're super easy to grow and maintain: just deadhead spent blooms and watch more replace them! Asters attract a wide variety of pollinators and spread easily.

    • USDA Zones: 3 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, loamy
    • Popular Varieties: Woods Blue (short, pale blue flowers), Crimson Brocade (tall, crimson red flowers), Professor Kippenburg (lavender flowers with orange centers)