Welcome to our huge and growing perennial database where you can search by many key attributes to discover the perfect perennial for you. If you want to design a garden, check out these garden design software options.
We continually update this database, so please bookmark it and check back weekly.
You can learn more about each perennial by clicking the perennial name links or images below. Ordered A to Z by default.
Each listing includes key information you may need for choosing the right perennial(s) for your yard including:
- Common and scientific names;
- Sun and water requirements (see our perennials that like sun, perennials that like shade galleries and perennial garden ideas).
- Hardiness zones;
- Soil pH;
- Special characteristics (if any); and
- Height at maturity.
Enjoy. We hope you find the gallery helpful. We’re adding hundreds of perennials to our garden directory so be sure to bookmark this page.
Click on a listing and all details will pop up (may take a few seconds)
If you are thinking about starting a garden, planting perennials is one option that gardeners use to add color, aroma, and function to their gardens.
When you first start a perennial garden, you need to consider a few different things such as if your garden will be in the ground, in a raised bed or planters. You should also consider your soil type, the climate your garden is in and if your garden will be used for flowers or food.
We have made this guide to help you make those decisions and to inspire your creativity with several different perennial garden ideas.
What are Perennial Plants?
Perennial plants (or just perennials) are flowers and plants that bloom on their own for longer than two years. Evergreen perennials don’t lose their foliage year round and the flowers or fruit return on their own year after year.
Depending on your climate and planting tactics, perennials can return from three years to much longer. Planting perennials have a few benefits as well. Their longer root systems help hold soil and prevent erosion, and they also combat weeds for space, meaning you will have fewer weeds in your garden and will use fewer herbicides.
Before you can disturb the earth and put bulbs and seeds in the ground, you need to plan all the aspects of your garden, including size, location and the types of plants you will have.
A. Garden Size
The size you allot for your garden will go a long way in determining what you can and cannot do with it. Smaller gardens will need to be planned out with a little more detail than a large one.
Because of the root systems in perennials, you will need to ensure that they have enough nutrients year round to not only bloom and flower but to survive the cold or dry months as well. If you use a planter box or are planting indoors, you will need to ensure the type of flower you choose will have enough room for its roots.
With a more extensive garden, you are allowed more space and more freedom. However, you should still plan accordingly. Since perennials are combative of their space and resources, you will see fewer weeds, but they can also fight each other for nutrients, sun, and water.
Another factor is plant size. Some perennials will stay low to the ground and not reach much over 12 inches. Others, including trees and shrubs, can get four feet or higher.
You should plan your garden according to the size of the plants and the amount of sunlight they need, this way you can avoid starving the larger ones or blocking sun and rain from getting to the shorter plants.
B. Indoor Gardens
Indoor gardening has many benefits such as improving the air quality in your home and allowing you to have a garden even in an apartment building. However, these cases need special considerations to avoid overgrowing or undernourishment of the plants.
Most of the indoor perennial gardens will be for food. Herbs are favorite indoor plants because they are functional and don’t need a whole lot of room. You can easily grow garlic, ginger, sage, and oregano in the same windowsill planter, for example.
Tomatoes also do well in single planters that can be moved to a porch or deck for the sun. Deciding how you want to utilize your indoor garden will help determine what goes in it.
You will also need to decide on the plants you use and their needs carefully. Indoor gardens don’t get exposed to as much sunlight as outdoor gardens. Because of this fact, you will either need to ensure you have enough window space to allow full natural light inside or pick plants that require less sun.
C. Outdoor Gardens
Growing in the outdoors means a more natural approach to your gardening. However, with perennials, you must ensure that either your climate is native to the perennial or you take extra precautions to prevent damage or death during the down season.
Most perennials will survive on their own just fine with little effort from you. This is great for outdoor gardens and busy lives. You will get to enjoy the garden without a ton of work after it is planted.
Perennials, however, are very temperate. They will only survive without effort in a native environment. Hibiscus, for example, is a very hardy and beautiful tropical perennial. In a desert setting, they would need a lot of extra care.
When deciding on your outdoor garden, the types of plants you choose are the most important. Before you till the ground and water the mounds, you should double-check that your climate is right for the plants you want.
D. Raised Beds
Planting in a raised bed or a planter box outside is a common design goal. If you don’t have a lot of space or you have a weak base soil, a raised bed might be just what you need.
A raised bed is just an area of your garden that you have bordered off and filled with soil. Instead of planting directly into the ground, you plant in the topsoil. For perennials, this works very well.
The long root systems of perennials will benefit from the extra room the raised bed will offer. If you don’t have a good base soil (if you have sand, for example) that doesn’t hold water or nutrients, a raised bed may be your only option for a perennial garden.
When designing with a raised bed, you need to ensure that the soil you use is rich enough to feed perennials and deep enough for their root systems.
When To Plant Perennials
Knowing when to plant your perennials is very important. If you plant at the wrong time of year, your plants may not grow, bloom or will die out before they have a chance to take root. In the United States, there are zones based on your location. You can find a graphic of these zones on the back of most seed packets, or talk to your local florist or garden center.
A. Fall Planting
Fall planting for perennials is usually best. As long as the first freeze for your area hasn’t hit yet, you can plant your perennial seeds and bulbs. The still warm ground will allow the roots to take hold and by spring you will have sturdy plants with beautiful blooms.
If you already have perennials, fall is the best time to dig and separate. Using cuttings to start new plants and expand your garden is best done after the temperature begins too cool.
Food perennials such as potatoes and fruit trees are best planted in the fall so that their roots can flourish before the spring. If you are growing an edible garden fall is when you will be doing most of your work.
B. Winter Planting
Winter is never a good time to plant anything. The soil will be too hard to work, the freezing temperatures will kill almost every plant, especially seedlings and young plants, and it’s not ideal for a gardener to be out in the elements.
This doesn’t mean you can’t prep for spring, though. Using a cold box or indoor planters you can begin to plant seeds and bulbs indoors. If you decide to do this, you need to ensure that the planters are climate controlled and don’t get too warm. Otherwise, they may sprout early and not survive a transplant to your garden.
Overall, if you have missed the fall planting, it is best to wait until early spring to begin planting and give winter a complete pass.
C. Spring Planting
Other than fall, spring is the most optimal time to start your perennial garden. You should know your zone location and make special note of your freeze date. The freeze date is the date your area is expected to receive the final freezing temperatures of the year.
In general, this will happen sometime in late February or early March. However, it can vary greatly based on your exact location. It is always best to check your exact freeze date so you can be as prepared as possible.
In early spring (before the freeze date) you should limit your planting to dormant, bare root perennials only. Any seeds or active bulbs will not tolerate the still cold ground. Likewise, dormant trees can be planted before the freeze date as well. You should always ensure the ground is workable and not too wet first.
Later spring is the post-freeze date time when you can plant most of your perennials. Seeds, bulbs and active plants or cuttings can be planted or transplanted from your indoor gardens or cold boxes.
You can plant any perennial, seed, bulb, active or dormant in the summer. However, because of the warmer and usually drier weather, planting in the summer has disadvantages.
You will need to keep a closer eye on your garden when it is planted in the summer. Making sure the plants aren’t getting too much sun and have plenty of water. You also should not cut or divide your perennials in the summer as the cuttings will not likely survive.
Always check with the seed packages or your local garden center to see if your perennials are heat tolerant. If they are, you can plant them in the summer with higher success. If they are not, you should wait until fall.
Types of Perennials
You have more than a few selections to make when it comes to perennial varieties. Flowers, herbs, fruits, vegetables and even most trees and shrubs. How to plant your garden and what you want from it go a long way to deciding what to plant.
If you are looking to have a garden full of color and aroma, then a flowering perennial is what you are after. Likewise, if you want to plant an edible garden, you will find a majority of your favorites in the perennial section.
A. Flower Perennials
Perennial flowers will come in any color, shape, and size you can imagine. One of the great things about the perennial flowers is that most of them will have bright colored foliage as well, so even when the flowers aren’t in bloom, you will still have a vividly colored garden.
Some of the most popular are:
- Peruvian Lily
- Pineapple Sage
B. Herb Perennials
Herbs are fun and easy to grow, which make them very popular with gardeners and chefs alike. Very aromatic, they also serve a purpose. Growing your own herbs and spices is one of the many benefits to perennials.
Some of the most popular herbs are:
C. Fruits and Vegetable Perennials
Another foodie favorite is the ability to grow fruits and vegetables. These perennials will give you years of produce that can quickly become a favorite hobby. When taken care of, fruit and vegetable plants will supply a single family with enough harvest to last the entire year.
Some of the most popular fruit and vegetable perennials to grow are:
- Turnip greens
- Mustard greens
- Sweet Potato
Whatever your garden desires, choosing perennials is always a wise choice. Whether you want a lavish colored floral garden or rows of juicy fruits and aromatic herbs and spices, the perennial garden is sure to please.
Once the initial planting is done, most perennial gardens require little effort on the part of the gardener. Trimming and taking cuttings to replant next year and ensuring the plants are growing right with enough sun and water is all that is required to enjoy your garden.
Look through our perennial galleries for more ideas and inspirations. With a little planning and some work in the dirt, your perennial garden will be something you quickly become proud of.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to common questions about perennials.
Are perennials evergreen?
Some are, some are not. Read the plant label before purchasing to determine if the desired plant is, or is not, evergreen.
Are perennials hardy?
All perennial plants will have a hardiness zone in which they grow best. Some perennials can withstand the frigid winters of the northern states, others cannot. Some perennials can withstand the hot, humid tropical climates and some cannot.
Perennials by nature are hardy plants, since they will return (under the right conditions) for at least two growing seasons.
Are perennials shrubs?
There are both perennial shrubs and perennial flowers. Roses are a popular perennial shrub. They are deciduous but will live for many years under the right growing conditions.
Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), gardenia (Gardenia) which is both a perennial and evergreen shrub, wisteria (Wisteria sinensis) and hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla), are examples of common perennial shrubs.
Are perennials bulbs?
There are many varieties of perennial bulbs, including the popular spring beauties like tulips and daffodils. Some popular perennials are grown from seeds or plants.
Perennial bulbs that produce flowers in the spring are planted in the fall for best results. Bulbs that produce flowers in summer and early fall, like dahlias (D. × pinnata), tuberose begonia (Polianthes tuberosa), and canna lilies (canna indica), are planted in spring.
Fall blooming perennial flower bulbs, like nerine (Nerine bowdenii), and sternbergia (Sternbergia lutea), should be planted in spring for fall beauty.
All flower bulbs will naturalize and produce new bulbs within a few growing seasons. Bulbs will need to be removed from soil, separated and transplanted if plants begin to outgrow their space. Plant perennial bulbs with pointy side up, no more than 2 inches deep in loose, well-draining soil.
Are perennials indoor plants?
Perennials can be grown indoors, outdoors or a combination of both. Many gardeners with limited outdoor space or who enjoy container gardening, plant perennials in containers and allow them to grow outdoors during warm weather, then bring them indoors during the winter months.
Perennials, unless evergreen, will drop their leaves and go through a dormant stage during the winter even when grown indoors. Evergreen perennials will retain their leaves, but growth will slow down significantly during the winter months even when the plant is grown indoors.
Containers of spring bulbs, like tulips and daffodils, are often planted and grown indoors for an early burst of springtime color. Begonia, aloe vera, peace lily, and Gerbera daisy are popular perennial plants that can be grown successfully indoors or outdoors.
Are perennials deer-resistant?
Deer enjoy nibbling on most perennial flowers. The blooms are a tasty treat to them and keeping the deer away is a difficult task.
Fortunately, there are some perennials that deer seem to dislike and will typically not bother.
Ornamental onion (allium), red hot poker (Kniphofia), yarrow (Achillea), monkshood (Aconitum), and catmint (Nepeta), are perennial plants that deer usually leave alone. However, deer resistant does not mean deer-proof. A hungry deer will eat these plants and any other greenery it can find.
Can perennials survive in pots?
If all of the plant needs are met, a perennial will live happily in a pot. The perennial will need a pot large enough for its roots to spread out, and it may need re-potted every 3-5 years to prevent it from becoming root-bound.
The potted plant will also need to be in a location that provides it with plenty of sunlight. This can be an indoor or outdoor location. Water and food are also considerations for keeping a perennial surviving and thriving in a pot.
Research plant to determine how much water and food it needs. More potted plants are killed from drowning rather than dying of thirst.
Can perennials be planted in the fall?
Fall is a great time of year to plant perennials. It gives the bulb or plant time to adjust to its new environment before it has to start growing.
Transplanting shocks a plant, and it takes a little time for it to adjust and roots to become established. When planted in the fall, all this adjustment will take place over the winter and when the soil warms in spring the plant will be ready to produce above-ground growth.
Can perennials be planted in the summer?
Fall blooming perennials can be planted in summer, though it’s not the ideal time. If you must plant perennials in the summer, choose an overcast day and wait until late evening to plant. This will provide the plant with the coolest temperature possible and keep it out of direct sunlight for a few hours after planting.
Keep soil consistently moist and provide shade from the afternoon sun if possible for the first week so the plant will be under less stress.
Can perennials be planted in raised beds?
Raised beds are great places to grow perennials. Raised beds are easier to tend, the soil warms quicker in the spring and the soil has less of a tendency to become compacted since there is no foot traffic in a raised bed.
One thing to bear in mind about raised beds is that the soil dries out quicker than the flat ground. Be sure to water perennials in a raised bed frequently.
Can perennials grow in clay soil?
Most plants prefer loose, well-draining soil that allows them to easily spread their roots. There are few plants that will tolerate clay soil and actually grow quite well in the hard, compact soil.
Hosta (Funkia), aster (Aster amellus), and iris (Iris germanica) are three perennials that are right at home in clay soil.
Can perennials be moved in the summer?
Spring blooming and fall-blooming perennials can be moved during the summer without issue. However, if the plant blooms in summer, the shock of transplanting may prove to be too much.
To move any perennial, dig far enough around and under it to get all the roots and keep them intact. Have new planting hole prepared before moving perennial and water thoroughly after transplanting.
Do not feed plant after moving it. Fertilizer will encourage the plant to produce top growth and blooms at a time when it needs to direct all of its energy towards becoming established in different growing conditions.
Can perennials grow through mulch?
Mulch should be placed around the perennials, not on top of them. Bulbs and seeds developing underground produce tender new growth which can push its way up through loose soil, but it’s not strong enough to grow through mulch.
Wait unto plants are 4-6 inches tall before applying mulch on the soil.
Can perennials survive frost?
Frost sends the signal to perennials that it’s time to rest. The plant roots will survive frost, but not the above ground growth. Any foliage on a perennial plant (except for evergreens) will turn brown and fall off after frost touches it.
Allow foliage to die back naturally, then add a layer of mulch to protect plants during winter.
Can perennials grow in containers?
Any perennial can be grown in a container if all the plant’s needs are met. Select the proper size container to provide plenty of growing room for the perennial, place it in the right light, and give it the right amount of food and water.
Can perennials be cut back (pruned)?
Perennials can and should be pruned to encourage more blooms and to keep them looking well kept. Prune branches and shape perennial shrubs immediately after they have finished blooming.
Removing the old blooms from flowers is called ‘dead-heading’ and this will encourage the plant to produce more blooms. This can be done throughout the blooming season to keep plants looking good.