Top Plant Choices to Include in Your First Garden

  • 01 of 50

    Yarrow - Achillea

    Achillea (Yarrow) 'Moonshine' and 'Coronation Gold'
    Achillea (Yarrow) 'Moonshine' and 'Coronation Gold'. Marie Iannotti

    A poll of About Gardening readers elicited quite a diversity of opinion about which plants are perfect for the new gardener. Which is great, since there's bound to be something here to please everyone.


    I still don't have photos for every plant, so if you have a great photo and would like to submit it for possible inclusion, please email it to me.


    Achillea for its colors, 'lacey' leaves and reliability. Submitted by Ruth


    • Zones: 3 - 10
    • Colors: Pastels, Rust, Deep Red
    • Height: 2 - 4' Width: 1 -...MORE 2'
    • Bloom Period: Early Summer - Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Benefits from a shearing after the initial bloom fades.

    Full Profile and Growing Suggestions for Achillea (Yarrow)


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  • 02 of 50

    Bugleweed - Ajuga

    Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip'
    Ajuga 'Chocolate Chip'. Photo Courtesy of STEPABLES®.

    Ajuga! That's another name for Bugleweed! It's a great ground cover and comes in different leaf colors. It spreads and spreads so you can plant it alone or let it wander throughout your other perennials. I love to plant it in front of Hosta beds, too. It prevents weeds from growing and boy does it look pretty when it blooms in late spring! A beautiful blue flower! The more plants, the prettier it is when it blooms. It grows well in sun or shade, has no problems to speak of and as it...MORE spreads you can dig up the new plants and move them elsewhere. What an amazing plant that can even grow in Zone 3! Submitted by Marney


    • AKA: Bugleweed, Carpet Bugle
    • Zones: 3 - 9
    • Colors: Blue
    • Height: 2 - 6" Width: Groundcover
    • Bloom Period: Late Spring / Early Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Grown for its foliage. All parts of the plant are poisonous if eaten.

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  • 03 of 50

    Aquilegia (Columbine)

    Growing Aquilegia (Columbine)
    Growing Aquilegia (Columbine). Marie Iannotti

    If I had to choose just 1, it would be the Columbine. They don't ever seem to winter-kill, no matter what our winters bring. Submitted by by Sue S


    Gotta be Columbine…there are so many different varieties, they come up early and with trimming stay around a long time. Submitted by by MargeB


    In the Colorado Rockies at high altitude and zone 3…..Columbines and Icelandic poppies. Our residence has been lived in by three generations of the same family. These Columbines and Poppies (some planted by...MORE grandmother, bed expanded and more added by mother) have been thriving and reseeding without much care since probably the 1960's! Easy, perfect perennial for our area and great color. Submitted by Nancy


    • Zones: Depends on variety 3 - 9
    • Colors: White, Pink, Lavender, Peach, Blue, Yellow, Bi-colors
    • Height: 12 - 24" Width: 12 - 24"
    • Bloom Period: Late Spring / Early Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade (They don't like to fry in summer.)
    • Notes: Check on the species you are buying. Some prefer moist woodland conditions, others are alpine species that need good drainage.

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  • 04 of 50

    New York Asters (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii)

    New York Asters (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii), Michaelmas Daisies
    New York Asters (Symphyotrichum novi-belgii), Michaelmas Daisies. Marie Iannotti

    I have discovered asters…New York aster or Michaelmas daisy looks great in late summer and gets huge fast. Redtwig dogwood, even though it is a shrub, is another fav. I love the red in the winter. Submitted by Melanie


    • Zones: 4 - 9
    • Colors: Lavender
    • Height: 3 - 4' Width: 2 - 3'
    • Bloom Period: Late Summer / Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Needs to be pinched early in the season, to produce bushy plants and fall blooming.

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  • 05 of 50

    Siberian Bugloss - Brunnera macrophylla (False Forget-Me-Not)

    Brunnera macrophylla, the False Forget-Me-Not
    Brunnera macrophylla, the False Forget-Me-Not. Marie Iannotti

    For shade, brunnera macrophylla - the generic version, although there are some named varieties that are also outstanding. Brunnera is one of the few plants that have true blue flowers and they are abundant in spring. After bloom time is over, the dark green foliage is a great foil for small to medium-sized variegated shade plants like Hostas. Submitted by Marcia Purse


    • AKA: Siberian Bugloss, False Forget-Me-Not
    • Zones: 3 - 9
    • Colors: Blue
    • Height: 12 - 18" Width: 12"
    • Bloom Period: Late Spring...MORE
    • Exposure: Shade / Partial Shade
    • Notes: The foliage can get a bit ratty as the weather warms. Cut it back to new growth, to rejuvenate.

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  • 06 of 50

    Butterfly Bush - Buddleia

    Buddleia, Butterfly Bush
    Buddleia, Butterfly Bush. Marie Iannotti

    Here in Pennsylvania, Butterfly bushes are the best. You get the beauty of the bush and the butterflies and hummingbirds love it. Submitted by Donna


    • Zones: 6 - 9
    • Colors: White, Purples, Pinks
    • Height: 5 - 10' Width:4 - 15'
    • Bloom Period:Summer (Long season of bloom)
    • Exposure:Full Sun
    • Notes:Prune to 8-12" in early spring. No need to deadhead. Yes, it really does attract butterflies.

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  • 07 of 50

    Cactus & Euphorbia Plants (A Euphorbia is Pictured Here)

    Euphorbia Plants
    Euphorbia Plants. Marie Iannotti

    Both have very pretty blossoms and are quite drought resistant which is important here in Las Vegas Submitted by Alice


    The cactus family (Cactaceae) includes over 2,000 species. They are all perennial and succulents, but the vast differences are too large to try to categorize them here.


    The Euphorbia genus also contains about 2,000 species with a lot of variation. I think the one pictured here is a E. polychroma, also known as Cushion Spurge.


    • Zones: 5 - 8
    • Colors: Yellow and Green
    • Height: 14...MORE4; Width: 12 - 24"
    • Bloom Period:Mid-spring to Mid-summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Poinsettia, Crown of Thorns, Gopher Spurge and the Living Baseball are all in the Euphorbia genus.

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  • 08 of 50

    Plumbago / Leadwort - Ceratostigma plumbaginoides

    Flowering Plumbago
    Plumbago, or Leadwort, forms a slow spreading clump that blooms in blues or white, in late summer. Photo Sumbitted by Annmarie

    Here in Zone 6 (SE PA), I like Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, a.k.a. Plumbago or Leadwort. It spreads gently, blooms for several weeks in late summer to fall in a lovely shade of blue, bears cool-looking reddish seedheads, and has red fall foliage. Submitted by Deb


    • Zones: 6 - 9
    • Colors: Blue
    • Height: 18" Width: 12"
    • Bloom Period: Late summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Spreads by rhizomes and can make a nice ground cover.

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  • 09 of 50

    Florist's Cineraria - Cineraria 'Stellata'

    Cineraria stellata
    Cineraria stellata. Photo Provided by Katherine P. Bretz. Used with Permission.

    In California, Cineraria 'Stellata'. It has gorgeous huge purple or blue flower heads. Looks great with ferns. It comes back reliably, reseeds itself, and it can grow in amazingly shallow soil! At times, I have as many as 11 deer in my garden and they ignore it. It grows best in semi shade. Prefers cool weather. Submitted by Wendy Spakowski


    • Zones: 9 - 10
    • Colors: White, Pinks, Purples, Blues
    • Height: 1 - 3' Width: 12 - 18"
    • Bloom Period: Late Winter - Early Summer
    • Exposure: Partial...MORE to Full Shade
    • Notes: True to its name, most of us only see Cineraria as cut flowers in the florist shop.

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  • 10 of 50

    Clematis

    How to Grow and Prune Clematis
    How to Grow and Prune Clematis. Marie Iannotti

    I find Hostas and Dicentra bleeding heart and clematis(Jackmanii)are the best for my garden in northern Ontario Canada zone 4-5. Also love hollyhocks easy growing and beautiful to look at.


    Clematis, queen of vines, are divided into 3 categories: Early Flowering, Late Flowering and Repeat Bloomers. Pruning can be confusing, but you'll find guidelines here.


    • Zones: Generally 4 - 9
    • Colors: White, Pink, Yellow, Purple, Burgundy
    • Height: 8 - 10' Width: 3'
    • Bloom Period: Depends on variety
    • ...MORE Exposure: Full sun, but roots need to be shaded or mulched.
    • Notes: The old saying goes: Head in the sun, feet in the shade. Clematis will climb toward the sun, but they like their roots cool. That's why they grow so well under other plants, like roses.

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  • 11 of 50

    Coreopsis, Tickseed

    Coreopsis Grandiflora Photo
    Coreopsis Grandiflora Blossom. Marie Iannotti

    Here in Western MA, zone 5, I love each and every coreopsis. They make the loveliest mounds, they bloom over the entire summer and fall season, there are lots of colors to choose from (mostly shades of yellow, but I have a beautiful raspberry and white one) and they can be split into five or six smaller plants every 2-3 years so you can spread them around or share them! Submitted by Terry


    • Zones: 4 - 9
    • Colors: Yellows, Pink, Red
    • Height: 1 - 3' Width: 1 - 2'
    • Bloom Period: Early Summer -...MORE Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Responds well to deadheading or shearing. Needs dividing every 3 years or so.

    Full Profile and Growing Suggestions for Coreopsis (Tickseed)


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  • 12 of 50

    Dicentra, Bleeding Heart

    Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis
    Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis. Marie Iannotti

    For a shady spot I love my Bleeding Hearts. They only last through early summer, but the delicate flowers in early spring are definitely worth it! Submitted by Ron


    I find Hostas and Dicentra bleeding heart and clematis(Jackmanii)are the best for my garden in northern Ontario Canada zone 4-5. Also love hollyhocks easy growing and beautiful to look at. Submitted by Diane


    • Zones: 3 - 10
    • Colors: Pastels, Rust, Deep Red
    • Height: 2 - 4' Width: 1 - 2'
    • Bloom Period: Early Summer - Fall
    • Exposure: Shad...MOREe to Partial Shade, Can tolerate sun if kept moist.
    • Notes: Benefits from a shearing after the initial bloom fades.

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  • 13 of 50

    Echinacea, Cone Flowers

    Echinacea, Purple Cone Flower
    Echinacea, Purple Cone Flower. Marie Iannotti

    I would say 'Coneflower' I don't say purple because there are so many new colors out now. It blooms all summer, here in Indiana, attracts butterflies and is a good cut flower. Submitted by Nancy


    I live in Illinois (zone 5). I'm an avid perennial gardener thanks to their beauty and ease of care. For a sunny location I have to go with Purple Coneflower. They bloom all summer and attract birds (mostly finches) and butterflies. The birds like the seed heads in winter too. Submitted by Ron


    Purple cone...MORE flower, long blooming and birds like the seeds. Submitted by Irene


    Living in Wisconsin-there's nothing as easy to grow and showy as Coneflower. The blooms and foliage are great in summer. Seedheads provide great winter interest. Leave some in the fall. Finches and other birds will eat from them. They also will spread by reseeding and can be divided for more plants. Submitted by Sharon


    Here in Southern Ontario Canada I love coneflowers. This year I put in some double ones and I can't wait to see how they bush out next year. Submitted by Lynda


    The first plants that I purchased were two daylilys, a purple daisy, and catmint. They are still alive and hardy in an Edmonton winter. Zone 3 The catmint was almost devoured by my cats before I planted it and the cats love to eat them and roll around on them and they still survive. Submitted by bryan


    • Zones: 2 - 10
    • Colors: Purple, Pink-Purple, White, Yellow, Orange (and more coming)
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 2 - 3'
    • Bloom Period: Mid-Summer - Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Deer resistant. Self-sows. Seeds are popular with birds.

    Full Profile and Growing Suggestions for Echinacea (Coneflower)


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  • 14 of 50

    Euonymus europaeus, Spindle Bush, European Euonymus

    Euonymus europaeus, (Spindle Bush, European Euonymus)
    Euonymus europaeus, (Spindle Bush, European Euonymus). Marie Iannotti

    I live north and right of York in Yorkshire, England. My favourite plant is the Spindle bush. You can keep it clipped shortish. It really comes into its own in the Autumn when it turns to a fiery red before the leaves fall. An absolutely magnificent specimen indeed. Comment by Ken G


    • Zones: 3 - 7
    • Colors: Flowers are non-descript, but the fall berries are red with orange seeds
    • Height: 12 - 30' Width: 10 - 25'
    • Bloom Period: Spring flowers, fall berries
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade...MORE
    • Notes: This is actually a woody tree, which can still be considered a perennial and, as Ken says, can be kept in check with pruning. Watch out for scale.

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  • 15 of 50

    Japanese Painted Fern

    Japanese Painted Fern Photo
    Japanese Painted Fern. Marie Iannotti

    I could go on for hours, but if only one perennial was available I would have to pick my ferns, tons of variety, easy to grow, they spread and fill up the dark holes in the beds. I'm in Seattle area, zone 5. Comment by marie I love Ferns of all varieties in all my shady spots along with Hostas and Lewsia Tweedy. Bearded Iris, Siberian Iris, Phlox, and all kinds of Lilies. Submitted by Sharon


    Ferns are a large and diverse group. The photo and information given here are for the Japanese Painted...MORE Fern (Athyrium niponicum, which does well in many areas.


    • Zones: 4 - 9
    • Colors: Gray-Green tinged with Burgundy
    • Height: 18 - 24" Width: 18 - 24"
    • Bloom Period: Grown for Foliage
    • Exposure: Partial Shade / Shade
    • Notes: Color is best in the shade.

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  • 16 of 50

    Four O'Clock's - Mirabilis jalapa

    Mirabilis jalapa (Four O'Clocks)
    Mirabilis jalapa (Four O'Clocks). Photo: © Marie Iannotti (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.

    For a novice I can think of no other flower like the ol' time 4 O'clock. It takes little effort on the part of the grower, smells great and the hummers love it! Submitted by bonnie


    • Zones: 7 - 11 (Can be grown as an annual elsewhere and the tubers can be lifted and over-wintered.)
    • Colors: Red, Pink, Yellow, Cream
    • Height: 3 - 4' Width: 15 - 18"
    • Bloom Period: Mid-Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Plant parts are poisonous if ingested. Called 4 O'clocks because they bloom in late afternoon.

    Read...MORE more tips for growing 4 O'Clocks


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  • 17 of 50

    Gaillardia, Blanket Flower

    Gaillardia, Blanket Flower Photo
    Gaillardia, Blanket Flower. Marie Iannotti

    Here in South Central Oklahoma, Gaillardia, our state flower is a hands-down winner. Tough, drought tolerant (it has to be to survive here), performs well even our clay soils, beautiful daisy-like blooms of red/orange/yellow all summer long, and they readily reseed themselves so there are plenty to share with friends and neighbors! Submitted by Melinda B


    • Zones: 4 - 10
    • Colors: Mahogany, Red, Yellow, Orange, Bi-color
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 2 - 3'
    • Bloom Period: Mid-Summer - Fall
    • Exposure:...MORE Full Sun
    • Notes: Very drought tolerant. Attractive to bees and butterflies. Will self-seed, but not always true to seed.

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  • 18 of 50

    Gaura lindheimeri, Wand Flower

    Gaura, Wand Flower Photo
    Gaura, Wand Flower Photo. Marie Iannotti

    Gaura lindheimeri 'Siskiyou Pink' - my new fave perennial this year. We've already had our first frost here in Massachusetts and this flower is still thriving. I have several in a slope garden that receives full sun. Love this one! Submitted by Lynn


    • Zones: 6 - 9
    • Colors: Pinks and Whites
    • Height: 1 - 2' Width: 2 - 3'
    • Bloom Period: Mid-Summer - Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Profuse bloomer without deadheading. The photo is of G. 'Ballerina'

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  • 19 of 50

    True (Perennial) Geranium (Geranium sanguineum)

    Geranium sanguineum Photo
    Geranium sanguineum Photo. Marie Iannotti

    Here I am in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada Trying to think of my favorite. Well here it is: Of ALL of the plants that I love, the one I would have to recommend would be the perennial geranium…so easy to grow and flowers profusely all summer..A great plant for our Canadian climate. Submitted by Sharon


    • Zones: 4 - 9
    • Colors: Pinks, Blues
    • Height: 8 - 12" Width: Spreads
    • Bloom Period: Early - Mid-Summer, Will probably repeat bloom
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Geraniums can look...MORE ragged after their first bloom. Shear back and new growth and flowers will follow.

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  • 20 of 50

    Gerber Daisies, Transvaal Daisy, African Daisy - Gerbera jamesonii

    Gerbera jamesonii (Gerber Daisy)
    Gerbera jamesonii (Gerber Daisy). Photo Courtesy of Norhayati Ibrahim

    I live in southern Georgia. Tthe perennials I have had the best luck from and bloom all year for me are Gerber daisies. They are beautiful. Submitted by diane


    • Zones: 9 - 10, often grown as annuals
    • Colors: Shades of white and vivid yellow, orange, pink and red
    • Height: 6 - 18" Width: 12 - 18"
    • Bloom Period: Repeat bloomer, mid-spring through fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Deer resistant and very popular with butterflies & bees. Gerber daisies don't like to dry out.

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  • 21 of 50

    Lenten Rose - Helleborus orientalis

    How to Grow Hellebores
    How to Grow Hellebores. Marie Iannotti

    Here in zone 6 upper middle Tennessee US, I have to go for Hellebores ( Lenten Rose ) Just when I am sick of winter, there they are with their beautiful blooms. Submitted by Kay


    • Zones: 4 - 9
    • Colors: Usually multiple colors of white, pink, red, yellow and green
    • Height: 12 - 18" Width: 12 - 18"
    • Bloom Period: Late winter / early spring to mid-spring
    • Exposure: Partial Shade / Shade
    • Notes: H. orientalis will push their way out through snow covering. Deer resistant.

    Full Profile and Growing...MORE Suggestions for Helleborus (Hellabores)


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  • 22 of 50

    Day Lilies (Hemerocallis)

    Hemerocallis (Day Lily)
    Hemerocallis (Day Lily). Marie Iannotti

    I like day lilies, they work well here in Vermont. Submitted by Amanda


    My number one recommendation to a new gardener would be daylilies. They are disease, deer, and insect resistant. There is an endless choice of colors, bloom shapes and sizes, and bloom times. Here in central Maine, that is an unbeatable list of prerequisites for success. Submitted by Kim


    In zone 6, Hemerocallis (daylilies) would be the perfect perennial for a new gardener. *Big color range (except blue), *heights from 8 to 48...MORE ins., *early, mid and late-season blooms, *price ranges from zero to the sky! Submitted by Myra


    For the new gardener I would recommend the daylily because it requires no maintenance, pest free, is hard to kill, many colors. Zone 7 Submitted by brenda


    The first plants that I purchased were two daylilys, a purple daisy, and catmint. They are still alive and hardy in an Edmonton winter. Zone 3 The catmint was almost devoured by my cats before I planted it and the cats love to eat them and roll around on them and they still survive. Submitted by bryan


    • Zones: 4 - 10
    • Colors: Pastels, Yellow, Orange, Red
    • Height: 2 - 5' Width: 2 - 4'
    • Bloom Period: Either Summer or Repeat Blooming, depending on variety
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: There is a lot of variety in daylilies

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  • 23 of 50

    Coral Bells - Heuchera

    Heuchera (Coral Bells)
    Heuchera (Coral Bells). Marie Iannotti

    Depending on whether you want them for foliage or blooms, there is a variety of Coral Bell to suit almost everyone's needs. Submitted by gbttown


    • Zones: 4 - 8 (depends on variety)
    • Colors: Grown for their foliage, which is being bred in many patterns of variegation as well as leaves of burgundy, silver, butterscotch, bronze and yellow.
    • Height: 12 - 18" Width: 12 - 18"
    • Bloom Period: Late spring / Early Summer
    • Exposure: Full sun to Partial Shade
    • Notes: Heuchera are currently very...MORE popular with breeders and many new varieties are introduced each year.

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  • 24 of 50

    Plantain Lily - Hosta

    Hosta
    Hosta. Marie Iannotti

    I'd pick Hostas for shade areas. So many to chose from with different textures and colors and so many different blooms at different times. Submitted by LaWana


    Hosta with all it's variety of colors and leaf shapes draws one close to the earth and increases wonder and appreciation for all of nature. From the unfolding apple greens that announce Spring to the glowing golden leaves of Autumn, Hosta are undemanding and beautiful. Submitted by Louise


    I love Hosta as well. They are great here in Ohio....MORE Second is the oriental lily. Submitted by Marchell


    Hostas - so many different ones available, even from seeds for pleasant surprises. Just try for a little shade. Cornflowers next choice. Submitted by John K


    I find Hostas and Dicentra bleeding heart and clematis(Jackmanii)are the best for my garden in northern Ontario Canada zone 4-5. Also love hollyhocks easy growing and beautiful to look at. Submitted by Diane


    • Zones: 3 - 8
    • Colors: Grown for their foliage, in greens, blues and yellows
    • Height: 6" - 2' Width: 8" - 5'
    • Bloom Period: Grown for their foliage. The flowers are usually removed.
    • Exposure: Partial Shade (Some varieties can tolerate more sun.)
    • Notes: One of the easiest plants to grow. Unfortunately they are also popular with all kinds of animal pests.

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  • 25 of 50

    Iris

    Iris (Bearded Iris)
    Iris (Bearded Iris). Marie Iannotti

    Definitely iris, the prettiest and easiest flower to grow. Submitted by Geri H


    There are hundreds of different species of Iris; some that favor warm areas, others that like a period of cold. The tall bearded iris, shown here, is one of the first perennial plants to become popular in home gardens. It is widely adaptable.


    • Zones: 3 - 9
    • Colors: White, yellow, shades of purple
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 1 - 2'
    • Bloom Period: Mid-spring / Early summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: The're not...MORE called tall without good reason. Staking is usually required. One good rain will toppled these top heavy bloomers.

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  • 26 of 50

    Deadnettle - Lamium

    Lamium (Deadnettle)
    Lamium (Deadnettle). Marie Iannotti

    Lamium would be my suggestion - especially the pink ones - they do spread and you will have a sea of pink on top of the white/green leaves - they last for quit a while and then will rebloom in the season. Submitted by Claire


    • Zones: 4- 8
    • Colors: White, Pink, Purple
    • Height: 6" - 8" Width: Spreads
    • Bloom Period: Summer
    • Exposure: Partial Shade
    • Notes: Different species and varieties will spread faster than others. The ornamental Lamiums are related to the invasive weed Henbit, so be...MORE warned. However in the right spot, Lamium makes a welcome carpet.

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  • 27 of 50

    Lantana

    Lantana (Shrub Verbena)
    Lantana (Shrub Verbena). Marie Iannotti

    In North Florida we see a lot of Lantana and that's a fabulous bloomer! Submitted by Karen


    • Zones: 8 - 11 Often grown as an annual bedding plant.
    • Colors: Yellow, Orange, Reds and Pinks
    • Height: 12" - 6' Width: 18" - 3'
    • Bloom Period: Summer through Fall
    • Exposure: Sun - Partial Shade
    • Notes: All parts of the plant are poisonous and may be a skin irritant. Where hardy, Lantana can be trained into a standard.

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  • 28 of 50

    Lavender - Lavendula

    Lavendula (Lavender)
    Lavendula (Lavender). Marie Iannotti

    In California lavender is great all year. Submitted by joyce


    Lavender, lavender, lavender!! And when in doubt……more lavender!! Gorgeous color and fragrance…..spread so beautifully, and then dry them in the fall. Enjoy! Submitted by Caec


    • Zones: 5 - 10, depending on species
    • Colors: Lavender and white
    • Height: 1 - 3'' Width: 2 - 5'
    • Bloom Period: Summer (May repeat)
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Lavender's hardiness is affected by winter dampness. Lavender does not like to sit in wet soil.

    Growing...MORE Lavender Anywhere


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  • 29 of 50

    Shasta Daisy - Leucanthemum x superbum

    Shasta Daisy Photo
    Shasta Daisy. Marie Iannotti

    Shasta Daisies are nice and bright! They one of the few perennials that grew from seed for me, and they spread very well. Submitted by Jen


    There are definitely a lot of good ones but I love daisies, especially the new ones. They stand up well and have such large, beautiful flowers. I do not get a lot of sun in any area of my lawn but they have done well in all locations. Submitted by Linda


    • Zones: 4 - 10
    • Colors: White with Gold Center (New varieties can be double petaled and ruffled, even...MORE scented.)
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 18 - 24"
    • Bloom Period: Mid-Summer - Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Extremely drought tolerant. Attracts bees and butterflies. Will self-seed.

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  • 30 of 50

    Oriental Lily - Lilium orientalis

    Lily 'Casa Blanca'
    Lily 'Casa Blanca'. Marie Iannotti

    For a beginner I would recommend Lilies. There are so many to choose from and once planted they are just about trouble free. Day lilies do get rust, blight and some times leaf miners but not very often. Deer do love Day lilies. I find that the Hybrid lilies once planted, if planted properly, are trouble free. Then you have the toad lily which is great for shade. With the many shades of Cone flowers now, they will be hard to beat too. Submitted by Shelby


    I love Hosta as well. They are great here...MORE in Ohio. Second is the oriental lily. Submitted by Marchell


    • Zones: 4 - 8, depending on species
    • Colors: White, yellows, pinks, reds and orange
    • Height: 2 - 5' Width: 18" - 2'
    • Bloom Period: Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: There is great variety, even among lilies of the same species. Some require a period of cold dormancy. Many, like the 'Casablanca' Oriental Lily pictured here, are fragrant.

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  • 31 of 50

    Lupin (Lupine)- Lupinus

    Lupins - Growing Lupins
    Lupins - Growing Lupins. Photo Courtesy of Anna Runesson Hedin / Stock.xchng. Used with Permission.

    I'm in Scotland, but I'm sure you get Lupins over in the States?? They'd be my recommended perennial .. lots of gorgeous single and bi-colours; hugely easy to grow from seed .. in fact stopping self seeding would be more of a problem! And as cut flowers they bend artistically, and have a lovely scent to top it all off! Submitted by Susie


    • Zones: 4 - 8
    • Colors: White, yellows, pinks, blue / purple
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 12 - 18"
    • Bloom Period: Early - mid-Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun /...MORE Partial Shade
    • Notes: More lupines are done in by hot summers, than cold winters. They aren't usually long lived, but they are worth growing even as annuals. Lupines self-seed freely, where they are happy.

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  • 32 of 50

    Daffodils - Narcissis

    Narcissis (Daffodils)
    Narcissis (Daffodils). Marie Iannotti

    ……daffodils, coreopsis, daylilies, Submitted by Vivian Martinez Louisville, KY/Zone 7


    • Zones: 4 - 11
    • Colors: Whites, yellows, pinks
    • Height: 6 - 12" Width: 9 - 12"
    • Bloom Period: Early - mid-Spring
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: The American Daffodil Society the words daffodil and Narcissus are synonyms. Whatever you call them, they signal spring in many areas. Daffodils are deer and rodent resistant and many will naturalize over time. You can often tell where houses used to...MORE be, by the sweep of narcissus that were once planted along the foundation.

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  • 33 of 50

    Catmint - Nepeta

    Nepeta Siberica (Catmint)
    Nepeta Siberica (Catmint). Marie Iannotti

    Catmint is very easy and seems to tolerate anything. Submitted by Melanie


    I like catmint or "nepeta". It is a continuous blooming perennial here during the summer into fall with pretty purple flowers. Just chop it back and it reblooms. It also makes a nice draping ground cover. We love it here in Michigan (zone4-5). Submitted by sandee


    The first plants that I purchased were two daylilys, a purple daisy, and catmint. They are still alive and hardy in an Edmonton winter. Zone 3 The catmint was...MORE almost devoured by my cats before I planted it and the cats love to eat them and roll around on them and they still survive. Submitted by bryan


    • Zones: 4 - 8
    • Colors: White, Pink and Purples
    • Height: 18" - 3' Width: 18" - 2'
    • Bloom Period: Summer (Will repeat bloom if sheared after initial flowering.)
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Catmint and catnip are often used interchangeably. I've seen catnip used specifically for Nepeta cataria, which makes sense from the spelling, but I've never gotten a definitive answer. Oddly, my cats have loved just about all my Nepeta. The photo here is the tall Nepeta siberica or Siberian Catmint.

    Full Profile and Growing Suggestions for Nepeta (Catmint)


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  • 34 of 50

    Ozark Sundrop, Missouri Evening Primrose - Oenothera macrocarpa/O. missouriensi

    Ozark Sundrop (Oenothera macrocarpa)
    Ozark Sundrop (Oenothera macrocarpa). Photo Submitted by Marita Patterson.

    The common Sundrop is absolutely wonderful for any sunny spot. It will put up with almost any soil, reproduce rapidly, choke out "weeds", needs little maintenance or water, and blooms for at least two months with a great reddish cast before and after. Zone 4, Minnesota is where I am from. Submitted by Bevely Benter


    • Zones: 4 - 8, depending on species
    • Colors: Yellow
    • Height: 6 - 18" Width: 12 - 18"
    • Bloom Period: Summer through Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Unlike its cousin O. biennis,...MORE the Evening Primrose, O. macrocarpa stays in bloom all day. It can become invasive, so pick a good spot for it.

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  • 35 of 50

    Peonies (Paeonia)

    Paeonia (Peony)
    Paeonia (Peony). Marie Iannotti

    Granted it's got a relatively short bloom season, but for it's spectacular flowers, robust foliage and near-immortality, I've got to put a plug in for peonies. Submitted by Lawrence


    Peonies, zinnia, lilies, lilies of the valley, African daisies, sun-glo, there are many! but mostly I'd say test your soil before you kill your roses with acid soil or broil your Hostas in the full sun. Submitted by Joan


    Peony "Scarlett O'Hara", a beautiful red single. Even better in a small group. Submitted by Gina


    • Z...MOREones: 3 - 8
    • Colors: Whites, Pinks, Reds
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 2 - 3'
    • Bloom Period: Late Spring / Early Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Long-lived plants that hate to be disturbed.

    Full Profile and Growing Suggestions for Paeonia (Peony)


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  • 36 of 50

    Papaver nudicaule, Iceland poppy, Arctic Poppy

    Iceland Poppies
    Iceland Poppies. Provided by chan pham / Stock.xchng.

    Zone 3 - Calgary Alberta Canada - poppies ! Submitted by Coline Bettson


    In the Colorado Rockies at high altitude and zone 3…..Columbines and Icelandic poppies. Our residence has been lived in by three generations of the same family. These Columbines and Poppies (some planted by grandmother, bed expanded and more added by mother) have been thriving and reseeding without much care since probably the 1960's! Easy, perfect perennial for our area and great color. Submitted by Nancy


    • Zones: 3 - 10
    • Color...MOREs: White, Yellow & Orange
    • Height: 18 - 24" Width: 12 - 18"
    • Bloom Period: Late Spring / Early Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: All parts of this plant are poisonous. Start from seed scattered either in the fall or in the spring before the last frost.

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  • 37 of 50

    Rock Rose - Pavonia lasiopetala

    Pavonia lasiopetala (Rock Rose, Texas Swampmallow))
    Pavonia lasiopetala (Rock Rose, Texas Swampmallow).

    One of my faves here in Sugar Land (suburban Houston, Zone 9) is Rock Rose (Pavonia lasiopetala) This lovely, graceful plant blooms from early spring to frost. Its raspberry pink blossoms close in late afternoon, but they greet you in the morning and throughout the day, nodding their heads in the slightest breeze. Rock Rose is easy to propagate, and you may find volunteers where the seeds have fallen. A second choice would be almost any of the cupheas. Submitted by EFrank


    • Zones: 8 - 11
    • Colors: R...MOREose pink
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 2 - 3'
    • Bloom Period: Late Spring through Early Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Drought tolerant and deer resistant. Careful though; it self-seeds freely.

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  • 38 of 50

    Russian Sage - Perovskia

    Perovskia (Russian Sage)
    Perovskia (Russian Sage). Marie Iannotti

    I have had great luck with Russian Sage here in New Hampshire - it is so tough and looks beautiful massed. Also, Rudbeckia is a winner here. Both plants are reliable, undemanding, and have a long bloom period that lasts far beyond when most other plants are tired out. Submitted by Laura


    • Zones: 5 - 9
    • Colors: Shades of Purple
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 2 - 3'
    • Bloom Period: Mid to Late Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Extremely drought tolerant sub-shrub. Deer resistant.

    Full...MORE Profile and Growing Suggestions for Perovskia (Russian Sage)


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  • 39 of 50

    Obedient Plant - Physostegia virginiana

    Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant)
    Physostegia virginiana (Obedient Plant). Marie Iannotti

    I think we all love Daylilies but here in central florida I also grow Obedient plant, the kids love that you can shape it any way and it stays, not the same can be said of my grandchildren. Also verbenas, Hot Lips and Homestead Purple cover the ground and bloom all year here. Submitted by Gail P


    • Zones: 3 - 10
    • Colors: White, Pink & Lavender
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 18 - 24"
    • Bloom Period: Late Summer through Early Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Can spread rapidly by...MORE seed or rhyzome.

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  • 40 of 50

    Lungwort / Bethlehem Sage - Pulmonaria

    Pulmonaria (Lungwort)
    Pulmonaria (Lungwort). Marie Iannotti

    For those in deer country I'd go with Pulmonaria (Lungwort) - pink/blue flowers in the spring, great leaves and spreads without misbehaving (as opposed to my first choice, Columbine) Submitted by MargeB


    • Zones: 4 - 9
    • Colors: White, Pink & Blue
    • Height: 12 - 18" Width: 18 - 24"
    • Bloom Period: Early to Mid-Spring
    • Exposure: Shade / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Some varieties change flower color from pink to blue, when pollinated. The foliage is often speckled or splashed with silver and...MORE remains attractive long after the flowers are gone.

    Full Profile and Growing Suggestions for Pulmonaria (Lungwort)


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  • 41 of 50

    David Austin English Rose & Rosa x centifolia (Cabbage Rose, Provence Rose)

    Rosa (Rose)
    Rosa (Rose).

    We have all forgotten the garden Queen, Roses, yes some are fussy but the "English Roses" are a breeze to grow and come in just about every size and color. Merry Christmas to all and don't forget to add stuff for your favorite gardener to your list. Submitted by Gail P


    Here in Illinois even in the winter, I enjoy my Cabbage Rose, can take sun or shade. Grows to a plump small bush size. Submitted by Linda


    David Austin English Rose


    • Zones: 5 - 9
    • Colors: White, Pink, Coral, Yellow & Red
    • Height: ...MORE18" - 4' Width: 3 - 4'
    • Bloom Period: Summer (Repeat Bloomers)
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: David Austin crossed roses with old-fashioned fragrance and modern disease resistance to come up what many consider the perfect garden rose. New introductions come out yearly.

    Rosa x centifolia, Cabbage Rose, Provence Rose


    • Zones: 4 - 9
    • Colors: White, Pink & Red
    • Height: 5' Width: 4'
    • Bloom Period: Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Dense, double blossoms with a wonderful rich fragrance.

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  • 42 of 50

    Black-Eyed Susan - Rudbeckia fulgida, R. hirta

    Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan)
    Rudbeckia (Black-Eyed Susan).

    When all else fails, I can rely on Black eyed Susan as large as shrubs. Submitted by kay


    • Zones: 3 - 9
    • Colors: Yellows
    • Height: 18 - 24" Width: 18 - 30"'
    • Bloom Period: Early Summer through Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Not all Black-eyed Susan's are perennial.

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  • 43 of 50

    Autumn Sage - Salvia greggii

    Salvia greggii (Autumn Sage)
    Salvia greggii (Autumn Sage).

    Submitted by Dadeo1, from California


    • Zones: 7 - 9
    • Colors: Whites, Pinks, Red, Purples
    • Height: 18 - 24" Width: 12 - 15"
    • Bloom Period: Mid-Summer through Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Blooms in early spring in warmer areas. Benefits from a shearing once or twice a year.

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  • 44 of 50

    Baby Sage - Salvia microphylla

    Salvia microphylla (Baby Sage)
    Salvia microphylla (Baby Sage).

    My all time favorite perennial is Salvia microphylla. It comes as 'Lipstick' - all red and 'Hot Lips' - half red & half white. These wonderful bushy plants (roughly 3? by 3?) bloom from early spring until late fall. We've had a few frosts here in Virginia and mine are still blooming. Submitted by Patt


    • Zones: 8 - 11
    • Colors: Red and White & Red
    • Height: 3 - 4' Width: 18 - 24"'
    • Bloom Period: Mid-Summer through Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Very drought tolerant...MORE and deer resistant.

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  • 45 of 50

    Meadow Sage - Salvia nemorosa

    Salvia nemorosa (Meadow Sage)
    Salvia nemorosa (Meadow Sage).

    I am in Zone 5 in Michigan and I have had very good luck with Meadow Sage. It blooms from late spring until the first hard freeze. Submitted by Charlotte


    • Zones: 4 - 9
    • Colors: Violet-Blue
    • Height: 1 - 3' Width: 15 - 18"'
    • Bloom Period: Spring through Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun
    • Notes: Very drought tolerant. Seed pods are attractive, but plants won't grow true from seed.

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  • 46 of 50

    Bog Salvia - Salvia uliginosa

    Salvia uliginosa (Bog Salvia)
    Salvia uliginosa (Bog Salvia).

    I would have to say Bog Salvia here in Atlanta. Its height (4-5 feet), bright blue color and length of bloom is always a long awaited joy every spring. Submitted by Lauren Noah


    • Zones: 6 - 10
    • Colors: Bright, light blue
    • Height: 4- 6' Width: 3 - 4'
    • Bloom Period: Spring through Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Gardeners are always surprised and delighted by how tall and gorgeous this plant grows.

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  • 47 of 50

    Pincushion Flower - Scabiosa columbaria

    Scabiosa 'Blue Butterfly'
    Scabiosa 'Blue Butterfly'. Marie Iannotti

    Pink or blue scabiosa for sunny areas. [Hostas for shade.] Submitted by LaWana


    After years of working in (hort.) retail, I would recommend scabiosa-blue, pink, or the newer Pink Lemonade for a new gardener. They bloom non-stop like an annual, attract butterflies, only requiring some deadheading to keep the blooms going. In October here in St. Louis (zone 6) they are still blooming along with newly planted pansies! Submitted by MaryAdams


    • Zones: 3 - 9
    • Colors: Pink & Blue
    • Height: 1 - 2' Wid...MOREth: 12 - 18"
    • Bloom Period: Late Spring through Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Blooms longer if deadheaded. Can be short-lived (2 yrs.)

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  • 48 of 50

    Sedum 'Autumn Joy'(Herbstfreude) & Sedum 'Autumn Fire'

    Sedum 'Autumn Joy'
    Sedum 'Autumn Joy'. Marie Iannotti

    I ditto the Sedum, Marie's choice, but I understand the variety 'Autumn Fire' doesn't flop over like the 'Autumn Joy' often do. Submitted by Suzie Q


    • Zones: 3 - 9
    • Colors: Mauve Pink
    • Height: 2 - 3' Width: 18 - 24"
    • Bloom Period: Late Summer / Early Fall
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Looks good all season.

    Full Profile and Growing Suggestions for Sedum (Showy Stonecrop)


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  • 49 of 50

    Lamb's Ears - Stachys byzantina

    Lamb's Ears (Stachys) Photo
    Lamb's Ears (Stachys) Photo. Marie Iannotti

    Here in Wisconsin Lamb's Ear is a winner. It lasts well into Fall and spreads like crazy. It's light green color adds a good contrast to the other "greens" of the garden. Submitted by Becky


    • Zones: 4 - 8
    • Colors: Purple-Pink
    • Height: 12 - 18"Width: 18 - 24"
    • Bloom Period: Mid-Summer
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: Lamb's Ears are really grown for their fuzzy, silver foliage. Once the flowers fade, the plants will look much better if your trim them back and remove any dead leaves.

    Full...MORE Profile and Growing Suggestions for Stachys (Lambs Ears)


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  • 50 of 50

    Tulips - Tulipa

    Tulips
    Tulips. Photo: © Marie Iannotti (2008) licensed to About.com, Inc.

    What happened to tulips? Ya gotta love em'. They always make me smile. Submitted by Robin


    • Zones: 4 - 6 (There are a few that can survive in Zones 7 & 8.)
    • Colors: White, Yellow, Pink, Red, Purple
    • Height: 6" - 2' Width: 12 - 24"
    • Bloom Period: Spring
    • Exposure: Full Sun / Partial Shade
    • Notes: There are about 100 species of tulips and many more varieties within those species. There should be a tulip for every taste, but since deer and squirrels haven't met a tulip whose taste...MORE they didn't like, many gardeners have given up growing tulips.