Types of Perennials

Welcome to our perennial gallery.

Below you’ll see our massive (and growing) list of perennials organized in alphabetical order.

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
  • Hardiness zones;
  • Soil pH;
  • Special characteristics (if any); and
  • Height at maturity.

In many cases, we include an informative video showing how to grow/care for the specific perennial.

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.

Types of Perennials

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.

Garden Planning

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.

D. Summer

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:

  • Hibiscus
  • Peruvian Lily
  • Guara
  • Heuchera
  • 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:

  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Thyme
  • Oregano

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:

  • Apple
  • Avocado
  • Tomato
  • Strawberry
  • Raspberry
  • Plum
  • Grape
  • Pear
  • Asparagus
  • Leek
  • Potato
  • Watercress
  • Turnip greens
  • Mustard greens
  • Kale
  • 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.

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