Zone 5 & 6 Perennials
Perennials is a term that describes what many gardeners and homeowners strive for, which is a plant that comes back every spring. There are perennial plants that can meet just about every landscape need.
Perennials range from low growing plants to tall growing plants, from those that produce colorful flowers to those that provide visual pleasure with glowing seed heads, such as those exhibited by some ornamental grasses.
Perennials will bring joy to your garden year after year with their continuous blooms. The perennials on this list are not only easy to care for (with just some slight pruning in the spring), but they will become the workhorses of your garden.
1. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea): A perennial garden favorite and an Illinois native. The daisy like flowers are cheery and attract butterflies and birds. A popular, low maintenance and long-lived plant. They are drought tolerant for the most part. Now available in many different colors from pink, yellow, orange, white and now red. A terrific addition to any garden. I’m looking forward to trying a new variety called ‘Green Envy’ a bicolor beauty of pale green and magenta pink. Stunning combination!
2. Phlox Paniculata ‘Becky Towe': Summer blooming phlox are generally taller, more upright and clump forming than the spring blooming varieties. This one has salmon colored flowers with a magenta eye. The neat variegated foliage adds interest to your garden. A disease resistant, fragrant plant that attracts butterflies. Being a huge dog lover, another reason I like this perennial – it was named after the discoverer’s dog, a flat coated retriever.
3. Baptisia: Baptisias are vigorous shrub-like plants that have attractive blue-green foliage and sweet pea like blooms that are followed by dark seedpods. This one is extremely long-lived, easy to grow and floriferous. Features pretty periwinkle blue flowers and is known for being rabbit resistant.4. Campanula ‘Pink Octopus': These easy care plants are great for borders and rock gardens. This one features unique Japanese lantern buds which open to striking pink, octopus-like flowers.The blooms gracefully flutter down from upright flowering branches. A great trouble free variety.
5. Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Goldstrum): Beloved by generations of gardeners, rudbeckias are vigorous, colorful and showy. Easy to grow in sun or part shade. They are versatile, have a long bloom time, and make excellent cut flowers. The golden yellow daisy-like flowers have distinct dark brown central cones.
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6. Hosta (White Edge): Who doesn’t love the hosta? This particular one has attractive shiny green foliage with white borders. It has a fast growth rate and although it does well in heavy shade, it also has suprisingly excellent sun tolerance. This leafy hosta will bring great texture to your partly shaded garden and is easy to grow.
7. Bee Balm (Monarda): Monardas add a welcome burst of color to the garden. The flowers are wonderful for cutting and are attractive for bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. There are a variety of color combinations available … we particularly like the variety featuring buds that resemble red raspberries that open to beautiful raspberry red blooms.
8. Yarrow ‘Strawberry Seduction’ (Achillea): Yarrow are old-fashioned long blooming garden staples that are extremely easy to grow. They are drought and salt tolerant so hold up well planted next to roads, driveways, or mailbox plantings. As the name suggests, this selection has velvety red florets with bright gold centers. The gray-green foliage forms a compact mound. Deer and rabbit resistant.
9. Russian Sage (Perovskia): Just like the yarrow above, russian sage are drought resistant. They work nicely along with sedums and grasses for a hardy combination with fall interest. Richly aromatic silver foliage with airy spikes of lavender-blue flowers. I have a mass of these at one end of my perennial garden.
10. Potentilla ‘Pygmaea’ (Cinquefoils): Potentillas are showy plants that offer a long season of bloom with out much care. The plants have a sprawling habit so make a good groundcover. This one has small, bright yellow flowers on low growing dark green foliage. A cheery addition to the edge of a path or in a rock garden.