Growing a garden full of beautiful flowering perennials doesn’t have to be difficult or labor intensive. It doesn’t have to involve heavy pruning, fertilizing and daily watering. When you choose the right easy-to-grow perennials, you will enjoy a colorful display of blooms without breaking a sweat.
So take a break from traditional fussy flowers and consider a collection of the most reliable perennials. The five easy-to-grow perennials featured below are drought-tolerant, bloom for several weeks or more, and provide beauty year after year.
What perennial garden is complete without lavender? This little shrub-like perennial has it all– beautiful silvery foliage, fragrant flowers that bloom for weeks, and low water and pruning requirements. There are dozens of lavender varieties to choose from. English and French lavender are the most fragrant of all, and are ideal for enjoying lavender’s aromatherapy properties. Use the flowers in homemade potpourri, in essential oils, and even in scones, cakes and lemonade for a unique refreshing flavor. All varieties attract bees and butterflies, and their smell brings a sense of tranquility to the garden.
Plant something truly unique this year with the head-turning pink flowers of ‘Rosea’ lavender. It’s the first true pink variety that boasts all of lavender’s best qualities, and contrasts wonderfully with the traditional blue and purple varieties. Seeds are available at www.parkseed.com/rosea-lavender-seeds/p/01118-PK-P1/
Sedum is about as drought-tolerant as a perennial can get. This ornamental succulent features lovely, textured leaves and bright flowers that attract pollinators in summer. In autumn, sedum’s flowers make way for seed heads that attract songbirds and provide valuable winter interest. Only needing minimal pruning and dividing every few years, sedum is truly a “plant and forget” perennial.
‘Sunsparkler Firecraker’ is a great variety that boasts red foliage and hot pink flowers that stand up to hot summer days. Plant it to brighten up a rock garden, or in a sunny perennial bed for a year-round splash of color and interest. Plants are available at www.waysidegardens.com/sedum/c/GE_1003_255/ .
Sometimes known as “tickseed,” coreopsis is a perennial prized for its durability and waves of daisy-like flowers. Perfect for a cutting garden, coreopsis blooms profusely in a wide variety of conditions, and it doesn’t require any fussing-over. One of the garden’s most dependable performers, coreopsis is a bright, cheery plant that will thrive just about anywhere. Plant it in a formal garden bed, in a container, or out in a meadow, where it will spread and naturalize.
White and yellow are the most common coreopsis flower colors, but the aptly-named ‘Sienna Sunset’ coreopsis is perhaps the most beautiful of all. Its flowers range in color from pale orange to apricot-salmon. Plant it in a sunny, well-drained spot, and enjoy its incredible profusion of flowers from early summer through fall. Another plus: ‘Sienna Sunset’ is disease resistant. Plants are available at www.parkseed.com/sienna-sunset-coreopsis/p/v1888/.
Daylilies are often spoken of as the “powerhouse” of flowering perennials. These lovely plants aren’t true lilies, but they bring a sense of lush beauty to the garden that belies their tough nature. Daylilies make a wonderful border, and they complement other plants very well in garden beds. Daylilies bloom throughout the summer with bright, fragrant flowers. If growing fussy Asiatic or Easter lilies isn’t right for you, daylilies are a fantastic alternative.
You can choose from dozens of daylily colors and varieties, but a variety called ‘Happy Returns’ is an especially striking daylily. Featuring buttercream-yellow flowers and a compact habit, it is one profuse bloomer, with wave after wave of fragrant flowers lasting from spring through fall. Plants are available from www.naturehills.com/daylily-happy-returns.
Also known as coral flowers, coral bells and alumroot, heuchera is a show-stopping perennial that gives you great “bang for your buck.” A healthy heuchera practically glows with its mound of heart-shaped leaves with bold veins, which can vary in color from deep burgundy, bright silver, and even multiple colors of red, orange and green. Unlike many easy-to-grow perennials, heucheras thrive in part shade.
For a dazzling effect, try growing the new ‘Champagne’ heuchera. It features gorgeous foliage that ranges from bright gold to soft pink, with delicate apricot flowers that sway in the slightest breeze. Plants are available at http://www.waysidegardens.com/champagne-heuchera/p/38016/ .
All of these easy-to-grow perennials thrive in many different garden conditions, but make sure you do your research to determine what grows best in your area. Like all new plants, these perennials will require mulch and regular watering during the first year to get established. But if you get your new flowering perennials off to a great start, you will be rewarded with beautiful blooms year after year after year.