Amsonia adds a billowy, finely textured element to the landscape. It grows into a dense mass, much like a small shrub. The cool blue flowers can be useful in toning down adjacent flower colors. The most valuable feature of amsonia is its fall color; the entire plant turns a stunning shade of golden yellow. It makes an excellent backdrop for fall-blooming perennials such as sedums and garden mums.
Dubbed the “monarch of the prairie”, this native grass was once the dominant component of the American tallgrass prairie. It adapts easily to a wide range of soil and moisture conditions as long as full sun is provided. This long-lived grass has a variety of uses including screening, naturalizing, restoring prairies, and nesting materials for birds and mammals.
As its name implies, Sea Pinks are found naturally along coastlines where few other plants can handle the high salt concentration. Inland, this attribute makes them useful for planting along sidewalks or driveways that are salted in winter. They are also good candidates for rock gardens, troughs, or between pavers.
Bergenia can be used in a variety of ways in the landscape. It is most impressive when used as a durable, evergreen groundcover, but it can also be used in containers and rock gardens. It is quite effective at softening the hard edges of pavement and also works well as an edging or filler plant in flower borders. Bergenias are reliable evergreen perennials and are rabbit and deer resistant.
Everything about this perennial is dainty and refined. Fresh green, fern-like leaves are held in softly falling tiers, resembling the fronds of Maiden-Hair Fern. Though blooming is heaviest in late spring, C. lutea will continue to produce flowers thru mid-fall if plants are kept moist. Use this plant in cottage gardens, shaded rock gardens, or in containers. Reseeds prolifically.
After putting on this fantastic display, Old-Fashioned Bleeding Hearts usually go dormant until the following spring. However, if plants are kept well-watered during the spring, dormancy may be delayed until late summer or early fall. Other bushy perennials, such as Hosta, Geranium, or Sedge, should be planted nearby to fill in the resulting gaps.
A hybrid of Digitalis (Foxglove) and Isoplexis, this tropical looking beauty is one the longest blooming perennials, blooming strong from late spring to frost, so gardeners can count on flowers all season. If you live in a place that is colder than zone 8, expect Digiplexis to be an annual.
These perennials require little care once established. They are heat tolerant and actually prefer to be grown in poorer soils. They get their name from the manner in which they used to blanket North American prairies with their blooms. They can still be found in fields and along roadsides in the prairie region and into the Rockies.
One of the most common and most cultivated perennials, there are thousands of different varieties of daylilies coming in just about every size shade and color(except blue!) Daylilies can survive many harsh conditions that other plants cannot including: polluted city environments, slopes, poor and dry soils, near pavement that is salted in winter, and under Black Walnut trees.
Hostas are exceedingly popular perennials in today's gardens due to their versatility in the landscape. Their subtle colors, tall flower scapes, and broad, coarse leaves fill a niche in garden designs that few other plants can achieve. Their large leaves provide excellent coverage for dying bulb foliage. Hostas also grow well in city environments where the air may be polluted by car exhaust, etc.
No garden would be complete without Tall Bearded Irises. Though they have been grown for decades, new and improved hybrids continue to be developed every year and fabulous color combinations have been achieved. The Tall Beardeds bloom after the Dwarf Irises but before the Japanese and Siberian Irises. They are wonderful accent plants for late spring gardens.
Shasta Daisies are all-time favorites for the perennial border. The cheery flowers begin to appear in early summer and continue on for several months if faithfully deadheaded. Shastas mix so effortlessly with other perennials that no garden should be without them!
Blue Lily-turf can be grown in either sun or shade, though it prefers light shade and rich soil of dry to average moisture. This is an ideal plant for southern regions due to its extreme tolerance of heat, humidity, and drought. Insects and diseases do not seem to bother this plant either, so it is very low maintenance.
Nepetas are easy to grow perennials that provide a beautiful show of color all summer long. They prefer to be planted in full sun and ordinary, well-drained soil. When Nepeta's stems are broken, they release an aroma into the air that tends to attract cats, thus its common name, Catmint.
Peonies are classic garden plants that add a bit of nostalgia and charm to the garden. Their fragrant blooms and lush foliage have made them popular for years, and with the recent resurgence in breeding, they will continue to improve. Peonies are simple to grow and can be utilized in many ways, including mass plantings, specimens, or hedges. By choosing a mixture of early, midseason, and late blooming varieties, you can have blooms for up to 6 weeks.
Switch grass gets its name from the peaceful swishing sound it makes when blowing in the wind. All parts of this grass are very sturdy, and will remain standing thru winter unless snows are heavy. This provides important cover for birds during the coldest days of winter. This grass is very versitile from a design standpoint; it is effective as a specimen, in masses, for screening, alongside ponds or streams, or even in large containers.
The ideal plant for hot, dry climates! Russian Sage is classified as a subshrub or woody perennial. It performs very well in full sun and any well-drained soil. Average to dry moisture levels are ideal, and few pests bother this plant. If pruning is necessary, do so in Spring when new growth appears. Prune back to just above the lowest bud.
Salvia is easy to grow in almost any climate. Though it is drought tolerant, it will bloom better with regular watering. Deadheading encourages a longer bloom time. If plants get leggy during the season, cut them all the way back to the newly developed foliage. If cut back, plants may rebloom in fall but often the flowers are fewer and smaller.
Tall, upright sedums form substantial clumps of foliage which can be substituted for shrubs in the landscape. Their stout, sturdy stems support the massive flower heads which develop in summer and burst into bloom in fall. If left standing, they provide winter interest and food for birds.
Sempervivum is comprised of one large rosette called the "hen" which sprouts many smaller rosettes around it called "chicks". As the plants age, the "hen" may die out and be replaced by the "chicks". Plants can be divided easily at any time by pulling up some of the "chicks" and replanting them elsewhere. This plant is particularly effective when planted in the cracks and crevices of stone walls or walkways. It is also very attractive in containers.
Stokesia is a native North American wildflower. It has been grown for many years for its beautiful flowers and ease of culture. Because of its heat tolerance, it is widely grown in the south. Blooming from midsummer to early fall (if deadheaded), it is a tremendous accent to yellow, pink, or white mums and other late bloomers.
This perennial is tolerant of a wide range of well-drained soil types. Amending soils, especially very heavy and light types, with generous amounts of organic matter will result in improved performance. Although tolerant of partial shade, it will flower better in full sun.
Yuccas thrive in any type of well-drained soil including those that are very dry. Though they will grow in partial shade, they reach their full potential only if they receive sun all day long. Many yuccas do not bloom until they are mature. Once they start, though, you will see that they were worth the wait. The flower stalks retain some ornamental value after the blooms have faded.