We’ve highlighted the attributes of 17 outstanding perennials and noted the contribution of each to a unified landscape design. Get ready for some beauties!
The following flowering perennials are easy-to-grow and have exemplary characteristics that make them garden essentials. And they will grown almost anywhere in the USA or UK.
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1. Balloon Flower
Balloon flower (Platycodon) is an especially easy-to-grow plant that prefers full sun to part shade and organically-rich, well-drained soil.
Choose cultivars with blossoms of blue, white, purple, or pink, in single- or double-petal varieties. Silvery-green stems may exceed two feet in height, bearing balloon-like buds that open into starry blossoms in July and August.
Balloon flower functions as a focal point, and interplanting it among other flora creates a pleasant repetition that draws the eye through a landscape.
In addition, blue brings out the best in other colors, making them seem to pop just a little bit more. I like to place blue balloon flower beside red bee balm and white Montauk daisy for a patriotic July display.
2. Black-Eyed Susan
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) is a native wildflower that does best in full sun and organically-rich soil but tolerates average soil and even drought.
Varieties range from native Rudbeckia hirta, with its yellow-orange petals and dark brown centers, to hybrids in shades of deep orange and red.
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This garden classic blooms from June to September on stalks of up to three feet tall.
Varieties range from blue to white with shiny green, purple, and variegated foliage, upright blossom spikes, and a height about six inches.
There are spring and summer bloomers, and some are fragrant.
Large, showy blossoms range from velvety burgundy to downy white, strewn along vines reaching over 12 feet long.
Clematis functions as “window dressing” in the garden. Train it up and over lattice frameworks, arbors, and fences to create privacy.
Coneflower (echinacea) is a garden staple in my family. It prefers full sun and organically-rich, sandy, well-drained soil. Native purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) and its cultivars often outperform today’s yellow and orange hybrids.
Prized for centuries for its medicinal qualities, coneflower blooms from summer to fall, and its seed heads attract songbirds like goldfinches.
15. Montauk Daisy
Montauk daisy (Nipponanthemum nipponicum, formerly Chrysanthemum nipponicum), or Nippon daisy, requires full sun and average, well-drained soil.
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It’s a clumping daisy with white petals and greenish centers that makes a showy entrance to the landscape in July and August.
I like its shiny, succulent-like bright green leaves, and the fact that early in the summer, even before it blooms, it’s attractive. Some, I leave alone for color around July.
Others, I prune it back a few inches around Mother’s Day, and then again around July 4th, to put off blooming until autumn. I like this type of versatility.
At a height of one and a half to three feet, I find Montauk daisy makes a good companion to my wild and weedy bee balm, and more reserved balloon flower; when the stars align just right, I have a red, white, and blue display for a patriotic fourth.
It performs best mid-story, with flora in front for support that also mask the bare legs that come as it matures.
Sow seeds or plants in early spring in Zones 5 to 9. Leggy growth may require staking. Divide over time as needed.
Read more about growing Montauk daisies here.
16. Perennial Tickseed
Perennial tickseed (Coreopsis lanceolata) or lance-leaved coreopsis thrives in the poorest of soil, provided it drains well.
With slender stems and bright yellow-orange blossoms, tickseed is a low-maintenance, sun-lover that performs beautifully in mixed beds and borders.
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