14 Giant Perennials That Will Make a Big Impact in Your Garden

Close up of purple and white Hollyhock
Photo: Jim Westphalen

Extra-tall perennials can quickly create a living privacy screen, hide an ugly fence, or add a beautiful backdrop for smaller plants to have a moment. These species all can grow 6 feet tall or more, and when in bloom, they'll really take your garden to new heights.

01 of 14

Perennial Hibiscus

Red Perennial Hibiscus
Peter Krumhardt

It may look like a tender tropical plant, but native perennial hibiscus is hardy enough to withstand freezing winters. This giant plant produces 12-inch-wide flowers in stunning shades of red, pink, and white on stems that can tower over your garden. It's slow to emerge in spring, but once it does it grows quickly.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil (hibiscus plants don't like drying out)

Size: Up to 7 feet tall

Zones: 5-10

Buy It: Exotic Hibiscus Collection ($60, Breck's)

02 of 14

Oriental Lily

oriental lily flowers
Jon Jensen

Grow Oriental lilies for a colorful and fragrant living screen. These hardy beauties reach 4-6 feet tall (or more) and produce huge flowers in red, pink, and white. The cut flowers will also make bouquets more dramatic and eye-catching thanks to their enormous, intricate blooms.

Growing conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil that's rich in organic matter

Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

Buy It: Oriental Lilies Stargazer Bulbs ($13, The Home Depot)

03 of 14

Joe Pye Weed

Joe Pye Weed
Marty Baldwin

Attract butterflies to your garden with Joe Pye weed. It's a tough-as-nails native perennial that will quickly spring up in your garden. In late summer, the plant produces waves of nectar-rich pink flowers that butterflies love.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 8 feet tall

Zones: 3-10

Buy It: Joe Pye Weed Native Wildflower Seeds ($3, Walmart)

04 of 14

Delphinium

delphinium 'blue bird' in garden
David McDonald

Make stunning cut-flower arrangements with delphiniums. This summer-garden classic bears spikes of intensely colored blossoms in shades of blue, purple, white, and pink. The biggest varieties can reach 6 feet tall, though you can also find dwarf selections if you have a small garden. Cut down spent blossoms to coax another flush of blooms.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and rich, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Zones: 3-7

Buy It: Multi-Colored Flowers Delphinium Mixture ($13, The Home Depot)

05 of 14

'Herbstonne' Black-Eyed Susan

'Herbstonne' Black-Eyed Susan
Marty Baldwin

Heat- and drought-resistant, easy-care 'Herbstonne' black-eyed Susan will add a burst of cheery yellow color to the back of the border. This perennial soars to 6 feet tall and produces bright blooms from midsummer to early fall.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained soil

Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Zones: 5-9

Buy It: Herbstonne Black-Eyed Susan

06 of 14

Hollyhock

Close up of purple and white Hollyhock
Jim Westphalen

Lend a little cottage garden charm to your perennial border with hollyhock. Known for its tall spires of colorful blooms, hollyhock is the perfect back-of-the-border plant. Just take note: If you live in a windy area, you may need to stake these plants to keep them standing upright. Also, these plants are biennials, meaning they have a 2-year lifespan.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 8 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Double Pink Hollyhock ($11, The Home Depot)

07 of 14

Boltonia

Close up of purple Boltonia
Bill Holt

Try edging your back fence with stunning boltonia. This underused North American native plant looks like a 6-foot-tall aster. It puts on a big fall show when covered in starry white or pink flowers.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and well-drained soil

Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

Buy It: Boltonia Asteroides Seeds ($10, Etsy)

08 of 14

Goatsbeard

Large Goatsbeard growing outdoors
Peter Krumhardt

Create color and interest in hard-to-landscape shady spots with goatsbeard. This fun plant looks like a giant astilbe with its finely divided foliage and early-summer plumes of creamy-white flowers.

Growing Conditions: Full to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Zones: 3-7

Buy It: Goatsbeard Live Plant

09 of 14

Giant Lily

Giant Lily growing on wooden walkway
Allan Mandell

This amazing bulb lives up to its name. In summer, giant lily (Cardiocrinum giganteum) produces spikes of up to 20 trumpet-shape white flowers with maroon stripes and a strong fragrance. The plant itself can easily reach towering heights and thrives in part shade.

Growing Conditions: Part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 9 feet tall

Zones: 7-9

Buy It: Cardiocrinum Giganteum Bulb

10 of 14

Queen of the Prairie

Queen of the Prairie growing near house
Peter Krumhardt

Give your garden a festive appearance with queen of the prairie's fluffy, cotton-candylike heads of fragrant pink flowers. Also called meadowsweet, this easy-growing native wildflower has toothed, dark-green foliage that's a great accent to the blooms and a striking backdrop for other perennials.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 8 feet tall

Zones: 3-9

Buy It: Queen Of The Prairie Seeds

11 of 14

Plume Poppy

Plume Poppy growing in field
Matthew Benson

A perfect perennial if you have a lot of space and want to make a big statement, plume poppy produces airy clusters of flowers over big, tropical-looking leaves. One note: It's a fast spreader and needs lots of room to grow.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soil

Size: Up to 7 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Plume Poppy ($10, Etsy)

12 of 14

Gunnera

Gunnera growing near water
Bill Holt

Give your garden a touch of the exotic with gunnera. Everything about this perennial seems prehistoric, from its 6-foot-wide leaves to its weird flowers and spiny stems. Get an established specimen going in your garden and it might seem like a dinosaur could be hiding behind the 8-foot-tall mound.

Growing Conditions: Part shade and consistently moist, fertile soil

Size: Up to 10 feet tall

Zones: 7-10

Buy It: Gunnera Manicata Seeds ($10, Etsy)

13 of 14

Canna

Canna growing in garden
Blaine Moats

Make a statement in your garden with cannas. Their big leaves and brilliantly colored blooms in shades of yellow, orange, red, and pink will instantly lend your garden a tropical feel. You can also find varieties with variegated leaves that make an even bigger statement. Dwarf cannas may only grow 3 feet tall, while others can soar much higher.

Growing Conditions: Full sun to part shade and consistently moist soil

Size: Up to 8 feet tall

Zones: 7-10; in colder areas you can dig and store the tubers in a frost-free place for the winter

Buy It: Giant Canna Bulbs ($21, The Home Depot)

14 of 14

Cup Plant

Cup Plant growing in foggy field
Rob Cardillo

Standing tall over the prairies of North America (or your garden), cup plant produces golden daisies on sturdy 8-foot-tall stems from midsummer to early fall. Wondering where its name comes from? The upper leaves attach and clasp the stem, creating a "cup" that holds water for birds and other critters.

Growing Conditions: Full sun and well-drained, consistently moist soil

Size: Up to 8 feet tall

Zones: 3-9

Buy It: Cup Plant Seeds ($3, Walmart)

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