30 Easy-to-Grow Perennials for Beginning Gardeners

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    Ideal Plants for Beginning Gardeners

    . A flower garden is a notoriously fickle place, where results one year can be wonderful but the next year sees bad weather, pests, and fungal diseases devastate just about everything. Seasoned gardeners understand that this is part of the gardener's life, but such experiences can be very discouraging for a novice gardener. Your chances for success in the early days of your hobby are much increased if you pick plants that have a reputation for sturdiness and low maintenance.

    Here are 30 recommended perennial garden plants that are almost foolproof. No plant thrives each and every garden season, but if you pick five or 10 plants from this list, you have a very good chance of enjoying fabulous results in your new garden

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  • 02 of 31

    Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

    Fernleaf Yarrow in garden
    LianeM / Getty Images

    This perennial is a member of the daisy family, known for its colors, lacey leaves, and reliability. Yarrow is very easy to grow in most garden soils and is available in many different cultivars. It spreads heartily and can crowd out some other plants.

    Yarrow grows 2 to 4 feet height and blooms from early summer all the way into fall. Plants benefit from a close shearing after the initial bloom fades

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 10 (depending on cultivar)
    • Color Varieties: Pastels, rust, deep red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Any well-draining soil
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  • 03 of 31

    Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

    Ajuga reptans
    kunphel / Getty Images

    Bugleweed is a great ground cover that comes in different leaf colors and spreads very nicely. It prevents weeds from growing and blooms in late spring with tiny beautiful blue flowers, though it is normally grown for its foliage. Bugleweed grows well in sun or shade, has no problems to speak of, and as it spreads, you can dig up the new plants and move them elsewhere. 

    Bugleweed can be invasive in some regions if it naturalizes, so take care to keep it confined on your property.

    Warning: All parts of this plant are poisonous if eaten. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Blue, violet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium-moisture, well-drained soils; tolerate moderately dry soil
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  • 04 of 31

    Columbine (Aquilegia spp.)

    Wild Mountain Columbines
    Created by MaryAnne Nelson / Getty Images

    Columbine is a great perennial with a cultivar that is suitable for almost any climate. Native to mountainous regions, columbine is a member of the buttercup family and includes almost 75 different species and cultivars developed for brightly colored flowers. This is a very easy-to grow flower that is perfect for beginners. These plants grow 12 to 24 inches with a similar spread and bloom in late spring and early summer. Deadheading will sometimes prompt a second, smaller flush of blooms later in the season. 

    Check on details for the species you are buying. Some prefer moist woodland conditions, others are alpine species that need good drainage.

    • USDA Growing Zones:  3 to 9 (varies depending on species)
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, lavender, peach, blue, yellow, bi-colors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 05 of 31

    Aster (Symphyotrichum spp.)

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

    Another member of the daisy family, asters are very hearty plants but they do not like too-wet or too-dry soil. Asters grow 3 to 4 feet tall with a similar spread. They self-sow very freely, and root groups need dividing every couple of years. A strong virtue is a fact that asters bloom very late in the season, after most other perennials are done for the year—asters may still be blooming when snow begins to fall. Pinching back the stems early in the season will cause the plant to bush out and produce plenty of fall blooms. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Lavender, blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil; prefers slightly acidic conditions
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  • 06 of 31

    Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla)

    Brunnera macrophylla jack frost or siberian bugloss plant
    skymoon13 / Getty Images

    Siberian bugloss is a great spring-blooming perennial for part-shade locations. It is a 12- to 18-inch high clump-forming plant that grows from rhizomatous roots. Siberian bugloss is one of the few plants that has true blue flowers. After bloom time is over, the dark green foliage is a great foil for small to medium-sized variegated shade plants such as hostas. The foliage can get a bit ratty as the weather warms, but the plant can be rejuvenated by cutting back to new growth.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Blue
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 07 of 31

    Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)

    Close-up image of the beautiful summer flowering Buddleja, or Buddleia, commonly known as the butterfly bush purple flowers
    Jacky Parker Photography / Getty Images

    The common name for this plant indicates its main virtue—its flowers draw butterflies and other pollinators, such as honeybees and hummingbirds. Butterfly bush is a large plant, growing at least 6 to 8 feet with a spread as much as 5 feet. With thick, woody stalks, it is usually considered a deciduous shrub and behaves as such in warmer climates. In colder climates, it is treated more like a herbaceous perennial, dying back to ground level each winter.

    The stems should be pruned down to 8 to 12 inches above the ground in early spring, which prompts new growth. Not all varieties are hardy in northern climates, so check carefully before buying.

    Warning: Butterfly bush is considered an invasive plant in some regions, so check before you plant it, and make sure it does not spread outside the garden. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: White, purple, pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 08 of 31

    Cineraria (Senecio x hybrida)

    Cineraria Aster
    florintt / Getty Images

    Cineraria is a shade-loving warm-weather perennial that is usually planted as an annual. It is a mounding plant growing 9 to 12 inches high. Often planted in containers, cineraria has gorgeous huge purple, blue, or white daisy-like flower heads that look great with ferns. It blooms more or less constantly. Cineraria comes back reliably, reseeds itself, and it can grow in amazingly shallow soil. The perennial requires even, moderate moisture; constant wetness will rot the roots, while underwatering hinders flowering. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: Perennial in zones 9 to 11; planted as an annual in all zones
    • Color Varieties:  White, pinks, purples, blue
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade
    • Soil Needs: Cool, moist, well-drained soil
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  • 09 of 31

    Clematis (Clematis spp.)

    Purple clematis
    -lvinst- / Getty Images

    Most clematis varieties are climbing vines with huge, colorful flowers, among the most spectacular of ornamental garden plants. There are also mounding low forms available. Clematis plants are not hard to grow but the root areas require cool shade while the tops of the plants need full sun. Planting them among low perennials is a good idea, or shading the root area with thick mulch can also help them grow robustly.

    Clematis, the queen of vines, is divided into three categories: early flowering, late flowering, and repeat bloomers. Make sure you understand the care and pruning needs of the type you buy. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9, depending on species and variety
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, yellow, purple, burgundy, bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun, but roots need to be shaded or mulched.
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 10 of 31

    Tickseed/Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata, C. vericillata)

    Coreopsis Grandiflora Photo
    Marie Iannotti

    Like other members of the perennial daisy family, coreopsis/tickseed is a very easy-to-grow, durable plant. An upright plant growing 1 to 3 feet tall, tickseed blooms for a longer period than almost any other perennial. There are two major forms: lanceolata and verticillata, also known as threadleaf coreopsis. Coreopsis plants bloom over the entire summer and fall season, and there are lots of colors to choose from. Tickseed plants can be split into five or six smaller plants every two to three years. The plants respond well to deadheading or shearing by growing new flower buds. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, pink, red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 11 of 31

    Bleeding Heart (Lamprocapnos spectabilis or Dicentra spectabilis)

    Bleeding Heart, Dicentra spectabilis
    Marie Iannotti

    Bleeding heart is a rather delicate perennial shade plant with small flowers. Growing 2 to 4 feet high on upright stems, the plant requires deep shade and very moist soil, making it good for shady natural gardens but not suitable for other conditions. The delicate flowers in spring make them worth a try, even for novice gardeners. Once they find a suitable spot, bleeding hearts are very dependable and easy to care for. The plant benefits from shearing it back after the initial bloom fades.

    This plant was formerly categorized as Dicentra spectabalis, but was recently reassigned to the Lamprocapnos genus. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 10
    • Color Varieties: Pink with white, solid white
    • Sun Exposure: Part shade to full shade; tolerates some sun in cool climates
    • Soil Needs: Moist, rich, well-drained soil
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  • 12 of 31

    Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea and Hybrids)

    Close-Up Of Purple Flowering Plants
    Hhdeyuki Tominaga / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Coneflower is another long-blooming perennial member of the daisy family and another sun-lover. Coneflowers grow on upright stems to a height of 2 to 3 feet and bloom through summer and into fall. This is one of the easiest of all perennials to grow. 

    Once known primarily as "purple coneflower," cultivars with other colors have recently been developed, often through hybridization with other Echinacea species. These plants are known to attract birds (mostly finches) and butterflies. Birds like the seed heads in winter, too, so leave the stems and flower heads in place rather than cutting them back after frost.

    Coneflower readily spreads by self-sowing its seeds, or you can propagate new plants by dividing the roots.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Purple, pink-purple, white, yellow, orange (and more coming)
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 13 of 31

    Four-O-Clock (Mirabilis jalapa)

    Mirabilis jalapa four o'clock flower. Yellow with red spots!
    Goldfinch4ever / Getty Images

    The four-o-clock is unusual in that a single plant can have flowers of different colors. As the name implies, the flowers open up in the late afternoon, then close up again in the morning. The individual flowers, which appear in mid-summer, are short-lived, but new ones open constantly. Four-o-clock grows 2 to 3 feet hight from tuberous roots, which can be lifted and divided in the fall to propagate new plants. Store the tubers over winter, then plant in the spring. 

    Warning: All parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested and have been known to kill pets. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: Perennial in zones 7to 11; grown as an annual everywhere 
    • Color Varieties: Red, pink, magenta, yellow, creamy white
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Tolerates any well-drained soil
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  • 14 of 31

    Blanket Flower (Gaillardia spp.)

    Gaillardia, Blanket Flower Photo
    Marie Iannotti

    Galilardia is a genus that includes many species of perennial and annual flowering plants native to both North and South America. Blanket flowers are related to the common sunflower, with flowers that resemble that plant. Blanket flowers grow 2 to 3 feet high with a similar spread. They are tolerant of just about any soil and produce beautiful daisy-like blooms of red/orange/yellow all summer long and into fall.

    The varieties normally grown are annuals, but they readily reseed themselves in the garden. Be forewarned that when hybrid varieties self-seed, the offspring may revert to a different appearance.  

    Like many daisy-like plants, blanket flowers are attractive to butterflies and birds, and if the dried seed heads are left on the plants, birds will feast on them into the winter. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 10; usually grown as annuals
    • Color Varieties: Mahogany, red, yellow, orange, bi-color
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 15 of 31

    Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum)

    Geranium sanguineum Striatum beautiful ornamental park flowering plant, group of light pink white flowers in bloom, green leaves
    Iva Vagnerova / Getty Images

    A delicate-looking perennial that is surprisingly sturdy, bloody cranesbill, once established, will last for many years. It blooms first in early- to mid-summer, and often reblooms in early fall. Growing 9 to 18 inches tall with a clumping form, cranesbill is one of the easiest flowers to grow and is great at the forefront of the garden.

    After the first flowering period is complete, lightly shear back the foliage to shape the plant and revitalize it for a second fall bloom period. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Blue, pinkish purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun / partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 16 of 31

    Gerber Daisy, African Daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)

    Gerbera jamesonii
    Maria Mosolova / Getty Images

    Another member of the perennial daisy family, gerber daisies are usually grown as annuals in all but the warmest climates. Plants grow to 6 to 18 inches tall, depending on variety. They are very easy to grow, with flowers of very vivid hues that continue to bloom for many months. This plant is a must for gardeners who love bright colors. Gerber daisies don't like to dry out, so make sure to water regularly. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: Perennial in zones 8 to 10, usually grown as annuals
    • Color Varieties: Shades of white and vivid yellow, orange, pink and red
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 17 of 31

    Daylily (Hemerocallis spp.)

    Hemerocallis fulva, the orange day-lily, tawny daylily, tiger daylily, fulvous daylily or ditch lily
    Jacky Parker Photography / Getty Images

    Daylily is one of the very best (and oldest) groups of ornamental perennial flowers, with literally hundreds of varieties available. Those commercially sold are generally hybrids and cultivars derived from a few native species. From arching clumps of narrow leaves, upright flower stems 2 to 5 feet tall produce trumpet-like flowers, each of which lasts for one day. Ideally suited for new gardeners, daylilies are disease-, deer-, and insect-resistant. Most types bloom for a few weeks in the summer, but some are repeat bloomers that provide color all summer and into fall. When it comes to daylilies, there is an endless choice of colors, bloom shapes and sizes, and bloom times. 

    Daylilies rarely need dividing, but they can be lifted and split in early spring to increase your stock or share plants with others. This is perhaps the most essential of all flowering plants for beginning gardeners. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 1 to 11, depending on species and variety
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange, red, purple, white, pastels, bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun  to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 18 of 31

    Coral Bells (Heuchera americana)

    Ground Cover - Heuchera - full frame
    2ndLookGraphics / Getty Images

    Coral bells are grown mostly for their foliage, which can range from deep bronze red to a pale yellow-green. This is a clumping perennial plant growing 12 to 18 inches high that sends up wiry shoots of tiny pink, red, or white flowers from late spring through the summer. There is a variety of coral bells to suit almost everyone's needs. Leaves of many varieties have attractive veined patterns; the flowers are usually less showy. This plant is a prime choice for shade gardens, but will also grow in sun, especially in cooler climates. 

    If growing coral bells in full sun, make sure to keep it well watered to prevent foliage from declining. Remove the stems of spent flowers to prompt additional blooms. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Foliage colors include burgundy, silver, butterscotch, bronze, and yellow; flowers are red, white, coral, or pink
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil 
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  • 19 of 31

    Hosta or Plantain Lily (Hosta spp.)

    Hosta Growing in a Shade Garden
    Grace Cary / Getty Images

    A widely popular shade perennial, hostas are available in hundreds of varieties, from the tiny 'Mouse Ears' cultivar to 'Elegans', with enormous blue-green leaves. The genus includes as many as 70 species, although a relatively small number of species form the basis for most cultivars sold commercially. Hostas do bloom, usually with white or lavender flowers that appear in late summer,  but it is the varying shades of yellow, green, or blue leaves, often variegated or ruffled, that are the real draw.

    Hostas are incredibly easy to grow, but they are susceptible to damage from slugs and snails. Hostas do best with morning sun but afternoon shade.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Foliage ranges from pale yellow to deep blue-green; flowers are white or lavender
    • Sun Exposure: Partial shade to full shade; yellow varieties are best at tolerating sun
    • Soil Needs: Rich, moist, well-drained soil
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  • 20 of 31

    Bearded Iris (Iris germanica)

    bearded iris with dew growing
    Liudmyla Liudmyla / Getty Images

    Among the many species of iris in the genus, the cultivars of Iris germanica, known as the bearded iris, are the most popular. This is among the showiest plants in spring, with elaborate flowers that appear in late spring and early summer atop long stalks emerging from arching clumps of narrow leaves. Bearded iris is also among the easiest flowers to grow, though it can be susceptible to worm damage in the rhizomes from borer insects.

    Some varieties favor warmer climates, but there are iris suitable for even subarctic environments. The most popular type, the tall bearded iris, may need staking to prevent the flower stalks from falling over.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties:  White, yellow, shades of purple and blue, bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 21 of 31

    Lavender (Lavendula spp.)

    Backlit lavender on the Plateau de Valensole, France.
    Julian Elliott Photography / Getty Images

    The various varieties of lavender are short-lived perennials or annuals, depending on the zone in which they are planted. The pale lavender, purple, or light blue flowers are both attractive in the landscape and also can be used in cooking or essential oils. The plants grow 20 to 24 inches tall and flower in late spring and early summer. 

    Lavender's hardiness is affected by winter dampness. It may die out if it sits in cold, wet soil.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 10, depending on species; grown as annuals in cooler climates
    • Color Varieties: Lavender, white, yellow
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 22 of 31

    Shasta Daisy (Leucanthemum x superbum)

    Shasta Daisy Photo
    Marie Iannotti

    Shasta daisies are the "classic" daisy, a legacy perennial plant popular in cottage gardens everywhere. Very popular for cut flowers, this is a rare perennial that can be easily started from seed. It spreads very well in the garden and tolerates some amount of partial shade, though it thrives best in full sun. Plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall, with fairly simple leaves. Shasta daisies bloom from mid-summer into fall. Some varieties have flowers that are double petaled and ruffled, even scented. Remove the spent flower heads to stimulate more flowers. 

    Shasta daisy will attract pollinator insects and it is extremely drought-tolerant. Plants will readily self-seed in the garden. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 10
    • Color Varieties: White with gold centers
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun / partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 23 of 31

    Oriental Lily (Lilium orientalis)

    Yellow lily in the garden, Lilium orientalis
    Tunatura / Getty Images

    Planted from perennial bulbs, oriental lilies flower in early summer, after the Asiatic lilies have seen their day and just before most of the daylilies get started. They have a delightful aroma, often with spicy overtones. Many varieties will produce tiny bulblets and will gradually, but controllably, spread in the garden. They thrive in slightly acidic soil, or if fed with an acid fertilizer.

    Many varieties are available, ranging from 1 to 8 feet in height with a wide range of bloom colors. The flowers appearing in mid to late summer are bowl or flat-shaped and usually extremely fragrant—too much so for some people. Removing spent flowers will often prompt additional blooming. Some types require a period of cold cold dormancy and aren't suitable for warmer climates. 

    The related group of lilies, the Asiatic lilies, are equally easy to grow for beginning gardeners. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White, yellow, pink, red, orange
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil; does best slightly acidic soil
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  • 24 of 31

    Lupines (Lupinus × Hybrida)

    English country garden with pink lupins.
    Rosemary Calvert / Getty Images

    Most varieties of lupines are fairly short-lived perennials, but they start so easily from seeds that they are worth planting as a mainstay in the garden. Plants grow 2 to 3 feet tall, with flowers that appear in dense clusters around vertical stalks. Lupines produce beautiful, exotic flowers in early to mid-summer, and they sometimes rebloom in early fall with a less-showy display. Deadheading will encourage additional blooms. Lupines may readily self-seed in soils that are very favorable. 

    Lupines can sometimes be brought down by unusually hot summers. Hot, humid weather can also foster slugs and aphids that destroy the plants, but it is no great challenge to plant more seeds. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White, red, pink, yellow, blue, purple, bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium-moisture soil; prefers slightly acidic conditions
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  • 25 of 31

    Daffodils (Narcissis Group)

    Close-Up Of Yellow Daffodil Flowers On Field
    Anatoli Weingart / EyeEm / Getty Images

    The Narcissus genus includes a large number of species of spring-flowering bulbs, and a select number of those species form the basis for hundreds of cultivars developed for commercial sale. Daffodils look great in the garden or naturalized in a lawn or woodland area, blooming very early, just after crocus and at the same time as the earliest tulips. Growing 6 to as much as 12 inches high, depending on variety, daffodils are sometimes used in a shady garden since they bloom before trees and shrubs leaf out. They make great cut flowers for spring arrangements. Daffodils can be propagated by lifting and dividing the bulbs in the fall.

    If you want daffodils to naturize in your lawn (a popular strategy), then you will need to limit your use of lawn chemicals and weed killers on the lawn, since these will quickly ruin your daffodil bulbs. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 11
    • Color Varieties: White, yellow, peach, pink, bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil; prefers slightly acidic conditions
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  • 26 of 31

    Peonies (Paeonia spp.)

    Pink red sunny peony flowers in botanical garden in spring in Moscow
    ABGlavin / Getty Images

    Granted, they've got a relatively short bloom season, but considering the spectacular flowers, robust foliage, and near-immortality, peonies can't be beaten. Once established, peonies will last virtually forever, even outliving a home's owners. They do not like to be moved, however, so plant peonies in a location where you want them to stay. Garden peonies generally form upright clumps atop sturdy stems, 2 to 3 feet tall. They bloom in late spring and early summer.

    Paeonia is a large genus of flowering perennials, but the familiar garden peony consists mostly of cultivars of the P. lactifllora species. Recent cultivars have returned to single flowers that don't collapse under their own weight. A delightful specimen plant is the fern-leaf peony (Peonia tenuifolia), expensive to purchase but a true conversation piece in the garden. So-called tree peonies are shrubby hybrids derived from Paeonia suffruticosa; these are not the same easy-care garden peonies best suited for beginning gardeners. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: White, pink, red, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun / partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Rich, medium moisture, well-drained soil
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    Black-Eyed, Brown-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

    Black-Eyed Susan
    AlpamayoPhoto / Getty Images

    Black-eyed Susan is an upright, daisy-like flower native to North American prairies. It is now widely grown as an ornamental garden plant, where its very long bloom period from summer into fall makes it very appealing. Some gardeners use large clumps as shrubby shapes in the garden. Plants grow 18 to 24 inches tall, with flower heads that resemble small sunflowers.

    Black-eyed Susan is a short-lived perennial or biennial, but it grows easily from seeds and will readily self-seed itself in the garden. Leave the flower heads in place; they will serve as food for winter birds. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Yellow, orange-yellow with dark centers
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Average moisture, well-drained soil
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    Meadow Sage (Salvia nemorosa)

    Blooming purple sage on meadow
    serezniy / Getty Images

    This tough perennial grows 1 to 3 feet tall and forms clusters of flowers in spring through summer. It has the virtue of being very tolerant of drought. The flowers of violet, purple, or white will rebloom if the spent flowers are deadheaded promptly, extending the bloom period into fall. It will survive light frosts.

    Meadow sage is a favorite of butterflies and other pollinators. If planting it as part of a butterfly garden, make sure to avoid the use of pesticides of any kind. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Color Varieties:  White, Violet-blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
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  • 29 of 31

    Pincushion Flower (Scabiosa columbaria)

    A Group of Lavender Scabiosa Flowers
    Maria Mosolova / Getty Images

    These members of the honeysuckle family can be either annual or perennial, depending on the type. The most common are the pink or blue types, which lend a nice pastel tone to the garden. This is a clump-forming perennial growing 18 to 24 inches tall, with single flowers that appear on sturdy stems from spring to mid-summer. 

    Pincushion flowers bloom non-stop, attract butterflies, and require little more than some deadheading to keep the blooms going. This is a very easy-care plant, though the roots may rot if it soaks in wet soil. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
    • Color Varieties: Pink, blue
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Light, well-drained soil; doesn't tolerate wet soils
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    Showy Stonecrop/ Sedum 'Autumn Joy' (Hylotelephium 'Herbstfreude' Autumn Joy)

    Flowering Autumn Joy Succulent Plant
    Andrew Waugh / Getty Images

    "Autumn Joy" is the commercial name for the Hylotelphium 'Herbstfreude' cultivar. For years, this plant was part of the Sedum genus, but was recently reassigned to the Hylotelephium genus.  It is still commonly known as Sedum 'Autumn Joy'.

    Like other sedums, this is a fleshy-leaved perennial. 'Autumn Joy' is one of the taller forms at 2 to 3 feet in height. The dense flat-topped clusters of mauve pink, rust, or red  flowers appear in very late summer through fall, gradually deepening in color. The 'Autumn Fire' cultivar had a tighter growth habit that doesn't flop over as readily as does 'Autumn Joy'. Avoid the flopping problem by planting 'Autumn Joy' in full sun and in dry soil.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Mauve pink, rust red, purple
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun  to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium moisture, well-drained soil
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    Tulip (Tulipa Group)

    Close-Up Of Fresh Crocus Flowers Blooming In Field
    Martin Joachim Kuehn / EyeEm / Getty Images

    No list would be complete without tulips to lend bright color to the early spring garden. Garden tulips are very large plant group of cultivars and hybrids derived from species in the Tulipa genus. Many, many varieties are available, some native species and others wildly creative hybrids with double petals or ruffled petals. Dozens of new varieties of tulips are created each year.

    Tulips will naturalize easily in colder climates, but in warmer climates the bulbs need to be planted as annuals, as the bulbs require a cooling period to bloom. In cooler climates, fall is the time to plant tulip bulbs for the following spring. Tulips are all spring bloomers, but within the group are varieties that bloom in very early spring, mid-spring, and late spring into early summer. 

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 6 (There are a few that can survive in Zones 7 and 8.)
    • Color Varieties: White, yellow, pink, red, purple, bicolors
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun to part shade
    • Soil Needs: Medium moisture, well-drained soil