The Best Zone 7 Plants to Grow Regionally

Perennials That Hold Up in 0°-10°F Winter Weather

Black-eyed susan plants with small yellow flowers and buds

The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

Gardeners in zone 7 are fortunate. They exist in a swath of mild climates that sweep states extending from New Jersey to California and everywhere in between. When selecting perennials for the garden, they can focus more narrowly on aesthetics than can gardeners in the far North or the deep South. The former are plagued by cold winters, the latter by intense summer heat. This limits them in their plant selection, as many plants dislike one or the other (or both) of those extremes. Zone 7 gardeners reside comfortably between the two extremes and are freer to select the loveliest flowering plants to give their gardens color throughout spring and summer. Your choices include not only classic perennials but also bulb plants and ground covers, as well as ornamental grasses and other foliage plants. Here are 15 colorful zone 7 plants for spring and summer.

  • 01 of 15

    Mealy-Cup Sage (Salvia farinacea 'Victoria Blue')

    Planting of many Victoria Blue salvia plants in bloom.

    Anshu/Getty Images

    Mealy-cup sage, which must be treated as an annual in the North, is cold-hardy in zone 7. This perennial has striking blue flowers and is useful, for example, in red, white, and blue color schemes. For the best displays, deadhead the flowers to keep the plant fresh-looking and to promote additional blooming.

    • USDA Hardiness Zones: 7 to 10
    • Flower Color Varieties: Blue
    • Light: Full sun to partial sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, evenly moist, of average fertility
    • Mature Size: 1–3 ft. tall, 1–2 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 02 of 15

    English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

    English lavender plants with thin stems and small purple flowers

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    As a Mediterranean plant, all that lavender asks of you is to give it plenty of sunshine and soil that drains sharply. It likes its ground on the dry side; boggy soil would spell death for it. Technically a sub-shrub (and often classified as an herb because of its wonderful fragrance, so popular in potpourri), treat it as a perennial flower. It stands two to three feet tall; so if you mass it together, you can create an eye-catching display.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 8
    • Flower Color Varieties: Lavender
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium, well-drained
    • Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall, 2-4 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 03 of 15

    Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)

    Black-eyed susan flowers with yellow petals and black centers closeup

    The Spruce / Evgeniya Vlasova

    Black-eyed Susan is common but has an uncommonly lovely flower. This long-blooming perennial stands two to three feet tall. Native plant lovers in North America will want to give it a spot in the native perennial sun garden. Black-eyed Susan is drought-tolerant, so irrigating it won't take up much of your time, but it does spread. You may end up occasionally having to pull it out of areas where you don't want it growing.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Golden
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Dry to medium, well-drained
    • Mature Size: 2-3 ft. tall, 1-2 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes, once the plant matures
  • 04 of 15

    Canna Lily (Canna)

    Canna Lilies Blooming In Park

    Bijin Babu/Getty Images

    Canna lily isn't a true lily, but its flowers have all the flamboyance we associate with classic lilies. The Tropicanna type gives you the bonus of variegated leaves. Canna grows from a rhizome. A sub-tropical and tropical plant, you will have to dig the rhizomes in fall to overwinter them indoors in zone 7. Canna can grow tall enough to function (in mass) as a summertime hedge or as the backdrop for shorter plants.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 8 to 11
    • Flower Color Varieties: Orange, red, yellow
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, evenly moist, enriched with humus 
    • Mature Size: 1.5-10 ft. tall, 1.5-6 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis)

    Fritillaria with its hanging orange flowers.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Whereas canna is a tender perennial and shines in summer, crown imperial is a cold-hardy perennial in zone 7. It gives you great color on a tall plant in the spring. It grows from a bulb, which should be planted in the fall. It can be short-lived, but at least pests tend to leave it alone. This is probably due to its skunk-like odor, which repels deer as well as smaller pests such as voles. Some great landscape plants come up short in the aroma department, so think twice before declining to try crown imperial just because of its smell.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Orange, red, yellow
    • Light: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Very well-drained (mix sand into your soil to loosen it if it is too clayey)
    • Mature Size: 1-3 ft. tall, 8-12 in. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 06 of 15

    Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)

    Butterfly weed with its orange flowers.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Asclepias tuberosa is a butterfly magnet, but it is also a lovely plant in its own right. Mass several plants together whether you want to attract butterflies or just to appreciate the plant's beauty more fully. This perennial is drought-tolerant once established and may even spread naturally by seed if you don't remove the seed pods after flowering.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Orange, yellow
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained
    • Mature Size: 1–2 ft. tall, 12-18 in. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes (usually)
  • 07 of 15

    Spotted Joe-Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum)

    Joe-pye weed plants with blue sky backdrop.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Joe-Pye weed is a tall and stately plant that works well in the back row of a native plant garden. It blooms in late summer after many perennials are done flowering for the year, so it is useful for gardeners planning for sequence of bloom. Since it is a wetlands plant in the wild, its main requirement is evenly moist soil.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 2 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Pink
    • Light: Full sun to partial shade (partial shade best in zone 7)
    • Soil Needs: Moist
    • Mature Size: 5–7 ft. tall, 2–4 ft. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 08 of 15

    Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)

    Pink hollyhocks in bloom.
    Stuart McCall/Getty Images

    A traditional cottage garden plant, hollyhock is another towering specimen. A row of hollyhocks growing along a white picket fence forms a classic rustic design. The statuesque stalk is studded with flowers that cling close to it, with minimal foliage to get in the way. This makes hollyhock the ultimate tall, thin border plant. It can be a short-lived perennial or a biennial plant. Give it sun, water, and organic matter, and watch it grow.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 10
    • Flower Color Varieties: Pink, red, white, "black" ('Nigra' cultivar)
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained, enriched with humus 
    • Mature Size: 6 feet or more in height
    • Deer Resistant: Yes (usually)
    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Maiden Grass (Miscanthus sinensis 'Gracillimus')

    Maiden grass with a white house as background.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Ornamental grasses give you another option for your zone 7 perennial garden. They complement your flower choices well because they offer traits most flowers lack. Maiden grass boasts a graceful form on a large frame. It has coppery flower heads in early fall that later become silvery-white plumes. Its stems also become red in the fall. Maiden grass provides much-needed winter interest if you wait until spring to remove the old stems.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 5 to 9
    • Color Varieties: Coppery
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained (although reasonably tolerant of clay soil)
    • Mature Size: 3-8 ft. tall
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 10 of 15

    Lilyturf (Liriope spicata)

    Liriope spicata ground cover in bloom and massed together.

    Natasha Sioss/Getty Images

    Large plants have their uses, but gardeners who have small yards will generally be seeking smaller plants. Many of the latter fall under the general heading of ground covers, and lilyturf is one of the most popular of these types of plants. This tall flowering perennial is valued for its foliage as well as its flowers. It can spread via rhizomes and can be invasive, so check with your county extension before planting it. Practice slug control for this plant.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 10
    • Flower Color Varieties: Light lavender, lilac, white
    • Light: Full sun to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained
    • Mature Size: 9–18 in. tall, 12-24 in. spread
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 11 of 15

    Candytuft (Iberis sempervirens)

    Candytuft's bloom (image) has an interesting petal pattern. It is a white perennial.
    Behold the intricate petal pattern of candytuft! David Beaulieu

    Candytuft is another ground cover and a perennial with brilliant-white flowers, making it perfect for moon gardens. A plus in zone 7 is that its foliage is evergreen and holds up well enough to offer winter interest. Since it's a Mediterranean plant and craves sharp drainage, give it gravelly soil. The plant can get gangly-looking in summer, so prune off the top one-third of candytuft's growth after flowering is done. This keeps it looking tidy.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 4 to 8
    • Flower Color Varieties: White
    • Light: Full sun in zones 4 to 6, but a little shade is all right in zones 7 and 8
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained
    • Mature Size: 12–18 in. tall, 12-16 in. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 12 of 15

    Yellow Alyssum (Aurinia saxatilis)

    Yellow alyssum flowers amid phlox flowers and rocks.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    A third ground cover that is a must-have for your zone 7 garden is yellow alyssum. This is an ideal perennial to grow behind a retaining wall. Its trailing stems, packed with bright yellow flowers, will cascade down the wall and brighten it up. It's also a good plant for rock gardens. Thriving in poor soil, its main requirement is good drainage. Divide it to keep it vigorous and for propagation purposes. Mix it with other rock garden plants for an even more colorful display.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 7
    • Flower Color Varieties: Yellow
    • Light: Full sun
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained
    • Mature Size: 6-12 in. tall and 12-18 in. wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Plantain Lily (Hosta)

    Ferns and hosta line shaded walkway leading to garden statue.
    Jason Smalley/Getty Images

    Hosta is one of the most popular outdoor foliage plants for zone 7 and with good reason. There are a variety of sizes and colors to choose from, and it's easy to grow as long as you can keep the deer and slugs at bay. Divide it in spring to propagate it and rejuvenate it. Hosta makes a great edging plant. It can also serve as a backdrop for other plants, especially a good-sized cultivar such as 'Big Daddy.' One of the blue-leaved types, it boasts large leaves (a foot long) on a tall plant. The more colorful plantain lilies often lose some of their color as the summer progresses, but Big Daddy holds onto its blue color longer if grown in full shade.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Flower Color Varieties: White, lavender
    • Light: Partial shade to full shade
    • Soil Needs: Well-drained
    • Mature Size: 1.5-2.5 ft. tall
    • Deer Resistant: No
  • 14 of 15

    Fringed Bleeding Heart (Dicentra eximia)

    Fringed bleeding heart with pink flowers.

    The Spruce / David Beaulieu

    Not as well known as the common bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis), the fringed type is actually favored by some gardeners due to its more attractive foliage. One trade-off is that the plant is smaller (12 to 18 inches tall), and another is that the flowers are less impressive. Although this perennial can survive full shade, it flowers better in partial shade.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 9
    • Flower Color Varieties: Pink, reddish-purple, white
    • Light: Full shade to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Moist, loamy, well-drained
    • Mature Size: 12-18 in. tall with similar spread
    • Deer Resistant: Yes
  • 15 of 15

    Japanese Painted Fern (Athyrium niponicum)

    Fronds of Japanese painted fern.

    kimmac/Getty Images

    Japanese painted fern is a short fern. Its maximum height is 18 inches, but it usually stays smaller than that. It's valued for its tricolored foliage which is silvery, purplish, or grayish-green. It's easy to grow once you get it established. To that end, work humus into the soil when you first plant it. Japanese painted fern dislikes too much sun and too little water, so your main care tasks are installing it in at least partial shade and mulching it so that the soil retains moisture. The fronds will lose some color in summer but not as much if you give the plant full shade. Remove fronds that have browned to keep it looking good.

    • USDA Growing Zones: 3 to 8
    • Color Varieties: Silvery green, purplish, grayish-green foliage
    • Light: Full shade to partial shade
    • Soil Needs: Consistently moist, loamy, well-drained
    • Mature Size: About 18 in. tall and wide
    • Deer Resistant: Yes

More Info on Best Types of Plants for Zone 7

You may wonder just where is Zone 7 in the United States? It passes through numerous states across the country, but it's not a definitive horizontal swath, nor is it only in the middle of the country. It also helps to know the difference between zone 7a and 7b: 7a's lowest temps fall between 9 and 5 F. and 7b's lowest temps fall between 5 and 10 F. so it's best to double check a plant's cold tolerance before putting it in the ground.

Article Sources
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  1. USDA's Plant Hardiness Zone Map. USDA.