8 Types of Perennials & How to Grow Them

Perennials are colourful plants that last for three seasons or more and the term perennials is used to differentiate longer living plants from similar shorter living annuals and biennials. A feature unique to perennials is that the top part withers out every winter and then grows anew in spring usually from the same roots, such as purple coneflower. A great number of perennials maintain their leaves all year round; providing striking borders along with great groundcover all year round.

There is one important observation that is usually made as far as perennials are concerned. When you start a perennial plant from a particular seed; you will observe flowers in spring or even summer of the following year and for additional years after that.

What Are Perennials?

If you are fond of colourful flowers then perennial flowers is what you should look for.

perennials plantA great number of people use these flowers for borders when they want their bordres to be broad and multicolored as perennial flowers of different colors and textures are easily available.

You can use these flowers in various ways in the garden. These flowers emerge steadily every year and they usually get larger and spread the older the plant gets.

Perennial plants are usually tough and long lived; however, the flowers of some perennials are delicate and require more care than their counterparts.

Perennials are very hardy plants and they can survive in some tough places, such as pavement cracks and shallow soil. Unlike annuals though you have to select between types that thrive in sun and shade.

Types of Perennial Flowers


This flower brings together the best characteristics of its genus with a hybrid natural vigor.

Perennials - SpeedwellThese flowers grow into thick clusters of about eighteen inches tall to twenty four inches across. The well-appointed leaves are apple green, well-textured and fixed oppositely on the straight stems.

The flowering spikes emerge from the stem tips.

Each speedwell flower is an intense blue and is described as fugacious or fast falling. The parts of the plant that is usually brightly colored are very short lived. This is so since they drop off fast.

These flowers start blooming in late June and keep going for up to eighteen weeks.

Their rich, dark violet blue flower color mix easily with most other colors in the garden.

Moonshine Yarrow

Also known as yarrow is one of the finest perennials that grow in dry, sunny and hot conditions.

perennials - moonshine yarrowThe flowers are defined by exceptional bright yellow color, especially during summer.

The plant itself does not run out of flowers for a long time. When the weather conditions are not conducive, the plant starts to produce flowers in June with a big flush of flat three-inch wide flower heads.

Blossoming continues at a reduced speed until September when the flowers put on another flush of blossoms before frosting begins. When planted along borders, the flowers appear extremely attractive to the eyes.

The yarrow flowers can be dried and used for posies.


Cornflowers have rounded thistle-like flower heads with cone-like bases that are made up of scaly, fringed, toothed or spiny bracts. The individual flower heads are made up of clusters of small, deeply lobed florets that give the flowers an exploded appearance.

Perennials - CornflowersBlossoms appear in colors ranging from deep rich blue to mauve, pale pink, white, hot pink and yellow.

The plant’s leaves may be complete or lobbed in a pinnate style. Generally, they present a prickling rising of color. They usually start to show up in May and continue to July.

You can use cornflowers in garden beds and borders and they make good cut flowers and you can dry them as well.

Bleeding Heart

This is a unique plant that carries productive stems of delicate, heart-shaped flowers.

The most popular bleeding heart plant is the Japanese native with dangling, white and pink blossoms in late spring to early summer. It is therefore often incorporated into a Japanese garden and is a favourite of romantic garden designers.

perennials - bleeding heartBleeding heart flowers are the trinkets of your garden. The heart-shaped blossoms dangle like living lockets when in blooms. The flowers are usually adjourned in rows from curving stems that curve over knolls of tantalizing and delicate foliage.

These flowers are known to thrive in woodland conditions of speckled shade and moist soil made rich by decomposing leaves.

The plant itself is known to tolerate complete sunshine in places where summers are cool.

If you wish to grow them, then you should avoid places with standing water, since this can lead to rotting stems.

Cardinal Flower

This is one of the most striking wild flowers that thrive well in damp places and they can also grow in shallow standing water. The plant is remarkably elegant as well as attractive.

Pernennials - Cardinal FlowerCardinal flowers are usually viewed as a modest add-on to your garden.

Normally, small rosettes of foliage squat at ground level through winter and spring.

The central stem shoots up and grows two to four feet above ground by late summer and it is surrounded by purplish leaves.

Once the stem has reached is maturity height; vivid red flowers start to open along the highest being eight to twelve inches. When you examine these flowers closely, you will see the conspicuous sexual part.

The flowers’ petals are colorful flags for attracting ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Blue Star Flowers

These are among the most colorful perennials in the garden.

Perennials - Blue StarThe plant has rounded clusters of sky-blue flowers. The plant is native to the eastern U.S. and it does thrive in almost any type of soil.

You can grow the plant beside ponds and creeks because it is tolerant enough.

Blue Star is known to have high tolerance of heat and cold and it remains reliable one year after another. Usually the stalks that reach for the sunlight become long and may flop over under the weight of the flowers.

Unlike other flowers in the garden, you should not be worried about bluestar flowers because they can effectively thrive in the sun.

One of the most unique aspects of these flowers is the fact that they attract butterflies to the shade.

Catmint Flowers

Native to North Africa, the catmint plant is a relative to salvia and coleus.

perennials - catmintThe plant propagation style involves division and cutting and the zone ranges from 5 to 9.

The sunlight required by the plant is Sun to part shade.

The Catmint plant is known to be drought tolerant and durable; therefore, you can grow it in any garden regardless of the water conditions and is a great choice for a dry climate garden.

As far as this plant is concerned, you will always observe an abundance of beautiful lavender blue flowers during spring and a colorful summer. The sweet-smelling gray-green leaves provide added interest to your garden.

The plant appears beautiful when you plant it in beds of contrasting color filled with yellow and purple flowers. In addition, shorter varieties of the flowers are exquisite under plantings to roses.

Oriental poppy

This plant has some of the most dazzlingly attention-grabbing flowers as far as perennials are concerned.

Perennials - Oriental PoppyThe flowers are large and some grow to over six inches wide. You will always love the bright spot of color during early summer.

When you buy and plant your first orange-flowering poppy, nothing can prepare you for the outrageously beautiful blossom that emerges in June. However they come in a variety of colors.

Regardless of the fact that the cut flowers are gorgeous, they only last a short time in flower arrangements. You must seal the tips of the cut stems by searing it with a perfect match.

These flowers are exceptional in cottage gardens, since their flowers appear to float above all other perennials.

The plant prefers rich and loamy soil that has the best drainage.

How to Grow Perennials

In order for you to be able to grow perennials successfully, you need to have extensive knowledge about them.

This includes but not limited to: preparing the soil, eradicating weeds, fertilization and choosing perennials.

Preparing the Soil

You cannot possibly grow perennial flowers in your garden if the soil is undesirable. Therefore, you are urged to test the soil in the fall in order to establish the pH level as well as the nutrients needed.

Although standard soil tests sold on Amazon are very easy to use you can always hire a professional to test and interpret the results on your behalf. You should know that soil tests carried out by experts are exceptionally accurate and reliable.

Do not make the mistake of waiting until spring to test the soil. What you should be doing during spring is preparing beds. You can use a garden hose to determine the plan of the individual beds or borders.

Make sure you sufficiently work the soil in order to establish the required space for the root system.

Eradicating Weeds & Fertilization

You need to get rid of weeds while you are preparing the soil. Perennial weeds, including quack grass and bindweed can lead to untold difficulties, which can potentially destroy your perennial flowers.

It is advisable to kill weeds with perennial herbicides instead of chemicals. This will ensure that you do not interfere with the healthy plants. You are advised to eliminate all weeds out of your beds a year before planting.

The most appropriate time for you to apply fertilizer is when you are preparing the soil.

Always remember to follow all the instructions from the soil test report when applying fertilizers. As you apply fertilizers, you should check the report to confirm whether or not the soil pH is at the desired level.

The desired soil pH range for perennials is 6.0 to 6.8.

Choosing Perennial Plants

You need to be cautious when selecting perennials.

Try as much as possible to settle for fresh as well as green perennials that are not only bushy but also compact. You should remove any flowers when you are planting.

At times, you may receive perennial plants in the winter or when the ground is thick with snow. To ensure your plants stay alive they should not be planted when it is very cold. If you find yourself in possession of perennials in cold weather you need to store them in a dark, cool place where the temperature is above freezing point.

You need to watch your plants carefully when the temperature rises to 50°F or above. In very hot weather your perennials will turn a dead-like-yellow and start to depreciate very quickly.

sun or shade perennialsYou can easily handle your freshly bought plants without worry of damaging them and tend to them in containers allowing them to grow before planting them in a more permanent place in your garden when the weather is appropriate.

The above mentioned and discussed perennials are among the best you can use.

However, you need to consider where in your garden you plan to plant your perennials.

Are they going to get lots of sun or are they in a shaded area behind bushes, a fence, outbuildings etc., where the sunshine is limited?

Sun or Shade

Although perennials are fairly hardy plants as a rule-of-thumb consider that they fall into two categories:

    • Perennials that can thrive in the sun.Perennials that can survive in the sun include but are not limited to: Amsonia, Rock Cress, Daylily Blanket Flower, Bellflower, Purple Dome, Tickseed, Achillea, Lavetera, Salvia, Helianthemum, Gaura and Stachys to mention a few.


  • Perennials that can thrive in the shade.Perennials that can survive in the shade include: Helleborus, Heuchera, Plantain Lily, Lilyturf, Actea, Bleeding Heart, Comfrey, Digitalis, Bugelweed, Tassel Fern and Primrose to mention a few.


Once you have settled for the correct perennial and plant it, you need to go ahead and maintain it accordingly. Maintenance includes anything from mulching, fertilizing and watering.

There are specific maintenance practices that can help your plants bloom for longer durations, such as dead heading, pinching and thinning.

According to research, an inch of water every week is sufficient for plant establishment. As far as most perennials are concerned, you are only required to water them mostly during dry seasons. You have to ensure that the watering is directly to the soil, infrequent and deep.

Make a habit of deadheading the plants, this practice ensures that you develop stronger as well as healthier root systems.

In addition, there are specific perennials that need you to divide them periodically. Periodic division of the plants promotes vigor and maximum blossoming.

In Conclusion

Perennials are the best flowering plants to grow in your garden for bursts of color and fragrance.

As long as you maintain your plants correctly, most perennials will provide you with many years of blossoms. They are fairly easy to grow from cuttings if they are already thriving and you are planting in the same soil type. So you can grow new plants elsewhere in your garden from your perennial cuttings to create different mixes.

With time, you will learn how adaptable perennials can be and how they can enrich your garden with beautiful and colorful flowers as well as pleasant fragrances.

Perennials will usually continue to blossom one season after the other with very little input from you. Though using some plant feed in the summer months is always advisable.

Generally speaking, most perennials last for at least three years. However, there are some perennials, such as peonies that can keep your garden flourishing for many, many years with some outlasting their owners.

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