22 Perennial Flowers Perfect for Any Garden

Peony flowers with light pink and white petals surrounding yellow centers in garden

The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

Perennial flowering plants are the main dishes of a flower garden. They add structure and beauty to a garden, and as they increase in size the garden becomes established and full. Most perennials are very adaptable; they can be divided and replanted, relocated to create a different design, or moved to a location better suited to meet their requirements.

Here is an overview of some of the best choices for perennial plants considering 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 the right location: full sun with rich, well-drained soil. Once the beautiful, fragrant spring flowers (long lasting in vases) are finished blooming, deadhead the stems and enjoy the attractive glossy foliage.

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

    Hosta

    Hosta plant with large ribbed green and white leaves stacked on each other

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    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 in your area, be warned that they tend to love eating hostas. Most hostas grow best in full to part shade but some varieties tolerate full sun.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9
    • Sun Exposure: Full to partial shade, some tolerate full sun
    • 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' (heart-shaped, 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 hybrids that are well behaved.

    • USDA Hardiness 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 Hardiness 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, compact plant)
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  • 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 can offer a long period of visual interest from spring to fall, as the buds form and flower heads change hues over time. Bees are very attracted to the late-season, fall-blooming varieties. Sedum comes in many sizes and shapes, from creeping ground covers to tall border varieties. Sedums are easy to care for, pest-resistant, and drought-tolerant perennials.

    • USDA Hardiness 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 and 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. To prevent powdery mildew, phlox needs plenty of room to allow adequate air circulation, but otherwise its an an easy-going 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 tall, and some new hybrids are a more compact 24 inches.

    • USDA Hardiness 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 with a dark red eye)
  • 07 of 22

    German or Bearded 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 most bearded irises (Iris germanica) only bloom for two weeks in spring, some have been bred to re-bloom again in late summer. Irises are easy to grow if planted properly (half of the rhizome must be exposed above ground). Dig and divide rhizomes every two to three years in late summer. They love full sun but will bloom in partial sun. Once the flowers have faded, remove the stems and enjoy the dramatic green spikey foliage. Heirloom varieties have a delightful sweet fragrance.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10
    • Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, tolerant of many soil conditions except overly moist conditions
    • Popular Varieties: 'Beverly Sills' (coral pink petals, orange beard), 'Jurassic Park' (yellow standards, purple falls), 'Best Bet' (pale blue standards, dark blue falls, re-blooms), 'Immortality' (white, yellow beards, re-blooms)
  • 08 of 22

    Chrysanthemums

    Chrysanthemum flowers with ruffled pink and white flowers clustered together

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    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. 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 at 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 Hardiness 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, raspberry, pale purple, and more. They like rich, moist soil, but are otherwise carefree and easy to grow. Leaving the flower spikes intact provides winter interest in the landscape.

    • USDA Hardiness 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), 'Amethyst' (light purple)
  • 10 of 22

    Columbine

    Columbine flowers with purple and white trumpet-shaped petals surrounded by star-shaped petals on thin stem

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    These multi-colored perennials provide delicate, airy flowers for several weeks in mid-spring, bridging the gap between early-blooming spring bulbs and later-blooming 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 Hardiness 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 Hardiness 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

    Japanese anemone plant with thin stems growing deep red buds and a light pink flower with yellow center

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    Also known as windflowers, these late-season bloomers produce delicate blooms on sturdy stems and 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 Hardiness Zones: 4 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, rich
    • Popular Varieties: 'Robustissima' (pale lavender pink), 'Honorine Jobert' (white), 'Pink Saucer' (pale warm pink), 'Pamina' (deep rose pink)
    Continue to 13 of 22 below.
  • 13 of 22

    Heuchera

    Heuchera plant with rose pink flowers on end of thin stems

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    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 can be rounded or pointed with scalloped edges and veining in contrasting colors. Foliage can be many 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 Hardiness 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

    Yarrow plant with small pink and white flower clumps

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    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 Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
    • Sun Exposure: Part sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained
    • Popular Varieties: 'Apple Blossom' (soft pink that fades to white), 'Strawberry Seduction' (red flowers with a bright gold center), 'Summer Pastels' (variety of soft 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 native 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 Hardiness 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 with a mounding habit), 'Flore Pleno' (double pink flowers)
  • 16 of 22

    Hardy 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, hardy geraniums are long-blooming perennials that 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 Hardiness 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' (periwinkle blue)
    Continue to 17 of 22 below.
  • 17 of 22

    Echinacea

    Echinacea plant with pink radiating petals surrounding orange cones in center closeup

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    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 are not too fussy about soil. Newer hybrids come in a stunning array of colors.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, tolerant of clay soils.
    • Popular Varieties: 'White Swan' (sturdy pure white flowers), 'Harvest Moon' (peach-orange petals tinged with golden yellow), 'Sombrero Salsa Red' (orange-red flowers, long lasting), 'Green Twister' (lime green petals that transition to pale pink near the core)



  • 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 makes 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 Hardiness 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

    Dianthus plant with bright red flowers clumped together closeup

    The Spruce / Adrienne Legault

    Also known as pinks (for their wide range of pink shades), 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 varieties will put on a show year after year.

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



  • 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, and hummingbirds. 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 nicely fill out bare spaces in cottage gardens.

    • USDA Hardiness 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 is a magnet for pollinators, and hummingbirds cannot resist it. 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 suited for a large cottage garden with room for it to form large clumps, but it's easily divided to control spread. It loves full sun but will tolerate some shade, especially in areas with hot summers.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 7
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, fertile, moist
    • Popular Varieties: 'Raspberry Wine' (berry red flowers), 'Cambridge Scarlet' (deep scarlet flowers), 'Balmy Pink' (bright 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 ten inches to four 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 Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, loamy
    • Popular Varieties: 'Wood's Blue' (compact plant with pale blue flowers), 'Crimson Brocade' (tall plant with magenta-red flowers), 'Professor Kippenburg' (dwarf plant with clear blue flowers and yellow centers)