Hot, sunny weather won't stop coneflower from producing armloads of flowers from early summer until fall. This purple-flowering native is a snap to grow and is now also available in white, yellow, orange, and red. Most varieties have single flowers, but some newer hybrids sport eye-popping double blooms. The nectar-rich flowers will also attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your garden. Zones 3-8
Equally at home in containers or the landscape, Coreopsis is a must-have perennial for novice and experienced gardeners. This cheerful plant puts on a nonstop flower show from late spring to fall, producing a treasure trove of golden, yellow, white, or bicolored daisylike flowers. Coreopsis grows 12-24 inches tall and needs a sunny spot in the garden. Zones 4-9
Brighten shady spots in your garden and landscape with hostas. These super-easy foliage plants come in an almost unlimited selection of shapes, sizes, and colors. Heights vary from ground-hugging 4-inch dwarfs to 4-foot-tall giants. Plus, as an added bonus, hosta develops graceful spikes of lavender or white blooms that will lure hummingbirds to your garden. Zones 3-8
Add peonies to your shopping list if you’re looking for a reliable, easy-to-grow perennial that will bloom every year without fail. These bushy beauties produce masses of large, highly fragrant spring blooms in colors that include pink, coral, white, red, cream, and bicolor. All peonies ask for is a sunny garden spot and well-drained soil. Zones 3-8
The more you cut the bold daisylike flowers of black-eyed Susan, the more blooms these prolific perennials will produce. Growing 24-36 inches tall, black-eyed Susan thrives in full sun and can tolerate drought. It’s also a bee and butterfly favorite. Colors include yellow, orange, cherry, and bicolor. Zones 4-9
These easy-care perennials are perfect for those just getting their start.
As fragrant as it is colorful, garden phlox is a must-have perennial for your garden. Garden phlox grows 3-5 feet tall and blooms from midsummer to fall in colors that include pink, white, rose, purple, and bicolor. Place garden phlox in a sunny location with plenty of air circulation to help keep plants healthy. This gorgeous, easy-to-grow perennial is also highly attractive to bees and butterflies. Zones 4-8
Commonly called gayfeather or blazing star, Liatris is a tough-as-nails native plant that produces lovely spikes of pink, white, or purple blooms from midsummer to fall. Although Liatris is drought-tolerant, it prefers a slightly moist soil, making it a good choice for wet spots in your landscape. The plants grow 2-4 feet tall and will attract butterflies and hummingbirds from miles around. Zones 4-9
Perk up your late-summer and fall garden with a generous helping of Helenium. These brightly colored perennials provide an unforgettable fall finale with their orange, red, yellow, or bicolor blooms. Helenium grows 3-4 feet tall and makes the perfect companion for New England asters. This easy-to-grow, sun-loving native plant is drought-resistant and attractive to butterflies. Zones 3-9
These sizzling beauties stand up to summer's heat and last into fall.
Talk about easy! With daylilies, all you have to do is plant them in a sunny spot and stand back. After that, these rugged perennials need very little care. Just be sure to mulch the plants to keep weeds and wild grasses at bay. Available in a host of colors and bloom types, daylilies are available in reblooming and seasonal flowering varieties. Zones 3-9
Prized for its pungent silver-gray foliage, Artemisia makes an ideal companion for other perennials in containers or in the landscape. Artemisia comes in a variety of sizes and shapes and can be used in fresh or dried arrangements. It’s a tough plant that can tolerate pool soil and hot, dry conditions. Artemisia needs full sun to stay healthy. Zones 3-9
Buddleia comes by its common name of butterfly weed honestly! When in bloom, this fragrant perennial shrub is smothered in butterflies of all kinds. Buddleia produces arching wands of nectar-rich purple, pink, yellow, white, or blue flowers throughout the summer. It also comes in standard varieties that grow 4-6 feet tall and dwarf types that barely reach 2 feet in height. In colder climates, Buddleia dies back to the ground each year, but the plants rebound quickly once the weather warms in the spring. Zones 5-10
Crownlike, fragrant flowers in an array of jewel-like colors make bearded iris a top pick for your spring garden. These easy-care sun-lovers also sport handsome fan-shape foliage that keeps the plant attractive in the garden even after the flowers fade. Most bearded iris varieties grow 18-36 inches tall, but there are dwarf and miniature types that only reach 8-16 inches in height. Bearded iris with variegated foliage are also available. Zones 3-9
Also called catmint, Nepeta is so easy to grow. Sporting graceful stalks of blue, white, or pink flowers in the spring, Nepeta will quickly rebloom if you cut the plants back after the first flush of flowers fade. The flowers are highly attractive to bees and butterflies. Nepeta also has fragrant foliage that you can dry to use in herbal teas. For best effect, plant Nepeta in large drifts or clumps. Nepeta needs full sun to thrive. Zones 4-8
Stage a colorful fall finale in your garden by including a generous supply of sedum. Sedum comes in an almost unlimited selection of heights and colors, from ground huggers that barely grow 6 inches tall to stately big-head bloomers that can reach 3 feet in height. Sedums are prized for their showy, nectar-rich flowers that feed hordes of hungry insects in the late summer and fall. And, when not in flower, you can still enjoy the plants’ brightly colored fleshy foliage. Zones 3-9
Enjoy pretty spikes of blue, purple, yellow, or white pealike blooms every spring with Baptisia. Occasionally called false indigo, Baptisia is truly reliable, often blooming every year in the same spot for decades. Baptisia is a drought-resistant sun-lover with a bushy shrublike form that looks terrific in the landscape. Its blue-green foliage is an added bonus. Baptisia grows slowly, so buy the largest plants you can find in the nursery. Zones 4-8
Do you remember the scene in the movie The Wizard of Oz when the entire landscape magically goes from black and white to color? Well that’s what will happen in your own shady backyard when you let Heuchera steal the show. These gemlike beauties grow about 10-20 inches tall and come in a wild assortment of leaf colors that include orange, chartreuse, purple, cherry, bronze, red, bright green, and bicolor. The plants also develop pretty stalks of tiny pink or white bell-shape flowers from early to midsummer. Heuchera makes an excellent groundcover or container plant. Zones 4-8
Let Gaillardia, also called blanket flower, cover your landscape in shades of yellow, orange, and red. This drought-tolerant sun-lover is a snap to grow if you plant it in a well-drained location that doesn’t remain wet for long periods. Gaillardia grows 8-30 inches tall, depending on variety, and its cheerful flowers are highly attractive to bees and butterflies. Because Gaillardia is not a long-lived perennial, it’s a good idea to add new plants every two or three years to keep the color show going. Zones 3-9
It’s no surprise that Mondarda is commonly called bee balm. This vigorous perennial develops masses of sweet, crown-shape blooms that bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds flock to. Monarda thrives in full sun or partial shade and prefers slightly moist soil. Flower colors include red, pink, white, and lavender. The plants bloom from spring to fall and grow 2-4 feet tall, depending on variety. Select mildew-resistant varieties if you live in a warm, humid climate. Zones 4-9
Tired of plants that tire after a season or two? Try these plants with staying power.
Instant impact! That's what you'll get when you plant ready-to-bloom chrysanthemums in flowerbeds or containers. These luminous beauties are the rock stars of the fall garden, offering flowers in different shapes and sizes in a host of colors that include white, yellow, pink, orange, red, lavender, and bicolor. Most chrysanthemums grow 18-30 inches tall, forming rounded mounds of bloom. Chrysanthemums are relatively short-lived, so replant every year or two to keep your garden colorful. Zones 4-9
Some perennials seem to thrive on neglect. Yarrow, for example, blooms its head off even in poor soil or during times of drought. The plant's fragrant, ferny foliage supports a midsummer explosion of gorgeous flowers in yellow, rose, white, pink, or lavender. Yarrow grows 18-30 inches tall and will bloom in full sun or partial shade. It's deer- and rabbit-resistant, too. Zones 3-9
No fall garden is complete without asters. These late-flowering beauties add a much-needed color boost just when the garden starts to fade. They are also prized by migrating Monarch butterflies who dine on the nectar-rich blooms on their trip south. Asters grow 15-36 inches tall, depending on variety. Colors include blue, purple, burgundy, pink, and white. Small varieties of aster also thrive in containers. Zones 4-8
Bursting into bloom in early summer, perennial salvia develops bold spikes of purple, blue, or pink flowers atop pretty gray-green foliage. A sun worshipper, salvia isn't too fussy about soil type and will bloom again if you shear away the flower spikes after they fade. Perennial salvia grows about 18-24 inches tall and attracts hordes of bees and butterflies when in bloom. It pairs beautifully with black-eyed Susan and Coreopsis. Zones 4-9
The perfect partner for coneflower and black-eyed Susan, Russian sage produces clouds of blue flowers in the late summer and fall. This easy-to-grow woody perennial loves full sun and dry soil and can grow 2-5 feet tall, depending on variety. It also has fragrant gray-green leaves that look terrific even when the plant isn't in bloom. Zones 5-9
A big, bold native perennial, Joe Pye weed will quickly fill sunny spots in your landscape. Growing 3-6 feet tall, Joe Pye weed thrives in moist soil so use it to fill in problem wet spots in your landscape. It's also a reliable fall bloomer, developing rounded heads of pinkish purple flowers that will attract scores of colorful butterflies. Joe Pye weed has a tendency to spread, so plant it where you can keep it under control. This hardy native thrives in sun and partial shade. Zones 3-7
The chalice-shape, upward-facing flowers of Asiatic lily are always a highlight in the summer garden. Available in a host of colors and bicolors, Asiatic lily seems to glow when the sun touches its petals. Although Asiatic lily can be planted in the spring, the plants to do better when started in August or September. For best results, plant Asiatic lily in full sun and well-drained soil. Zones 4-9
See which plants will continue to provide pops of color as temperatures fall and the rest of the landscape fizzles.