16 Flowering Perennials That Add Garden Color from Spring to Fall

rudbeckia fulgida black-eyed susan
Photo: David Speer

Want a garden that looks colorful from early spring to frost? Plant these perennials that have a variety of bloom times. Each of these easy-to-grow plants will come back year after year to put on a gorgeous show in your yard.

01 of 16

Hellebore

hellebore perennial shade
Robert Cardillo

What a tough beauty! Hellebores are one of the earliest perennials to bloom. The large bowl- or saucer-shaped flowers are delicate and lovely. Flowers bloom in white with splashy pink, yellow, or maroon markings. Hellebores are cold-hardy, deer-resistant, and do best in lightly shaded locations.

Season of Bloom: Winter/early spring

Growing Conditions: Part to full shade in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 4-9

Buy It: 'Romantic Getaway' Hellebore ($19, Etsy)

02 of 16

Virginia Bluebells

virginia bluebells perennials
Bob Stefko

Perfect for brightening up woodland gardens, Virginia bluebells create a sea of bell-like, blue flowers in spring. After flowering, these plants virtually disappear, so place other perennials around them to continue the color after they fade. They make ideal companions for daffodils and other spring-blooming bulbs.

Season of Bloom: Mid to late spring

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

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

03 of 16

Viola

Viola perennials flowers
Justin Hancock

This smaller cousin to the pansy offers masses of tiny, delicate flowers in spring. Violas bloom in a wide selection of colors, including white, blue, purple, yellow, and many color mixes. They add perky color to spring container gardens and window boxes. Their blooms are edible and make a colorful addition to a salad.

Season of Bloom: Early to late spring

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

Size: Up to 12 inches tall

Zones: 2-11

Buy It: Viola 'Bambini Mix' Seeds ($5, Etsy)

04 of 16

Peony

Peony garden house in background
Blaine Moats

One of the most-loved spring flowers, this bushy perennial produces big round buds that open to large fragrant blooms. Peonies offer a variety of flower types: Petal-packed doubles, semi-doubles, anemone-centered, and singles. Flowers come in bright and pastel shades: Red, rose, pink, salmon, white, and yellow. Peony plants are famously long-lived and can bloom happily for decades with little care.

Season of Bloom: Spring

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

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

05 of 16

Nepeta

'Six Hills Giant' Catmint
Denny Schrock

The soft purplish blue flowers of catmint begin appearing in spring and continue throughout the summer. The gray-green foliage is pretty, too. If you shear back plants when their blooms start to wane, you can encourage another flush of bloom. Catmint tolerates hot weather and can grow through times of drought. There's a type of catmint for every garden; short varieties that make excellent edging plants and taller types that can add color to a flower border or mixed shrub landscape plan. Plus, bees and butterflies love it!

Season of Bloom: Spring and summer

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

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-9

Buy It: 'Cat's Pajamas' Catmint ($10, Etsy)

06 of 16

Iris

red yellow iris perennials
Bob Stefko

The delicate crepe-paper petals and intricate bloom of the iris make it a must-have in mixed flower borders. This easy-to-grow perennial produces spearlike foliage and long stems topped with fabulous flowers. Siberian iris blooms in spring. Classic bearded iris blooms in early summer (some varieties such as 'Peach Jam' can rebloom later in the season, too). Flower colors include white, blue, purple, orange, yellow, and pink.

Season of Bloom: Late spring into summer

Growing Conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-9

Buy It: 'Peach Jam' Reblooming Bearded Iris ($14, Breck's)

07 of 16

Baptisia

baptisia perennials flowers
Bob Stefko

This native prairie plant looks stunning when in full bloom. Also called false indigo, baptisia plants are hefty; they measure 3 to 4 feet tall and wide. In spring, the plants send up sturdy spires of blue, white, yellow, or bicolor pealike blooms. They make elegant additions to cut flower arrangements. Baptisia is drought tolerant and takes very little care in order to bloom for years.

Season of Bloom: Late spring

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

Size: Up to 4 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: Baptisia Decadence Blueberry Sundae ($29, Walmart)

08 of 16

Perennial Geranium

bright purple rozanne geranium blooms
Justin Hancock

Hardy, perennial geraniums differ greatly from the annual plant with the same name. The flowers of perennial geranium continue blooming for a long time so they're a big asset in perennial borders. Besides the colorful blossoms, the foliage forms tidy, low-growing mounds, making these perennials ideal bed edging plants. Plus, perennial geraniums often take on pretty fall color, and are generally easy to grow.

Season of Bloom: Summer

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

Size: Up to 18 inches tall

Zones: 5-9

09 of 16

Black-Eyed Susan

rudbeckia fulgida black-eyed susan
David Speer

Perennial black-eyed Susan offers beautiful sunny hues (yellow or orange flowers depending on the variety) for beds and borders. Plus, they make long-lasting cut flowers for bouquets. These prairie natives are easy-care, drought-tolerant, deer-resistant, and pollinator friendly.

Season of Bloom: Summer into fall

Growing Conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-11

Buy It: Black-Eyed Susan 'Goldsturm' ($8, Etsy)

10 of 16

Coreopsis

Yellow Coreopsis 'Moonbeam'
Andy Lyons

Airy, sunny coreopsis is one of the easiest-care perennials in the garden. It blooms for quite a while, starting up in summer and continuing through autumn. The daisylike flowers bloom in bright yellow, but there are also varieties with golden yellow, pale yellow, pink, or bicolor blooms. Deadhead flowers to encourage additional blooms.

Season of Bloom: Summer into fall

Growing Condition: Full sun in well-drained, slightly dry soil

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 3-9

Buy It: Coreopsis 'Moonbeam' ($16, Etsy)

11 of 16

Echinacea

echinacea purpurea coneflower
Bob Stefko

Purple coneflower is a prairie native and a wildlife magnet. This hardy, sturdy plant features daisylike flowers. Originally, coneflower came in pinkish purple or white, but recent hybrids have produced flowers in a rainbow of colors: Yellow, orange, burgundy, cream, and shades in between. Coneflower is nearly pest and disease-free. Plus, it makes a lovely and long-lasting cut flower.

Season of Bloom: Summer

Growing Conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 3 feet tall

Zones: 3-9

12 of 16

Phlox

pink phlox perennials
Bob Stefko

By growing several different types of phlox, you can have something in bloom for months. Garden and meadow phlox produce large flower heads in white, pink, lavender, purple, and red in summer. These taller beauties are ideal toward the back of mixed borders. There are also lower-growing types such as creeping phlox and woodland phlox, that make colorful groundcovers and they bloom in spring.

Season of Bloom: Spring or summer (depending on type)

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

Size: Up to 4 feet tall

Zones: 4-8

Buy It: Double Phlox Mix ($15, Walmart)

13 of 16

Foxglove

foxglove perennials
Bob Stefko

If you're looking for a tall, showy plant for your back border, try foxglove. The tall spires are covered with a mass of blooms. Most foxgloves are actually biennials (they need two years to bloom and then die in the fall). But once you get foxglove established, they reseed, so they seem like perennials. If plants are in an open area, the tall spires may need staking to protect them from wind gusts.

Season of Bloom: Summer

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

Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

Buy It: 'Excelsior' Foxglove Mixture ($30, Breck's)

14 of 16

'Autumn Joy' Sedum

autumn joy sedum pink blooms detail
Peter Krumhardt

Add russet hues to your fall garden with the lovely flowers of 'Autumn Joy'. This large sedum grows 2 feet tall. The gray-green succulent leaves look stunning all summer. In late summer, they bear large green budded heads that open pink and turn russet red in autumn. Pollinators will flock to the blooms. Because it's a succulent, 'Autumn Joy' doesn't mind drought or heat.

Season of Bloom: Late summer into fall

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

Size: Up to 2 feet tall

Zones: 3-8

15 of 16

Russian Sage

light purple full-sun russian sage perennial
Peter Krumhardt

Color and texture in one plant! Russian sage offers wispy wands of lavender or blue flowers surrounded by silvery foliage. This large, shrubby perennial offers color when you need it most: In late summer and autumn. The foot-long flowers stay in bloom for weeks. Plant in drifts to enjoy the intense color; plus close planting helps avoid staking because these tall plants are prone to flopping over.

Season of Bloom: Summer into fall

Growing Conditions: Full sun in well-drained soil

Size: Up to 5 feet tall

Zones: 4-9

Buy It: 'Blue Jean Baby' Russian Sage ($23, Breck's)

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Asters

aster perennial flowers in bloom
Denny Schrock

The starlike flowers of asters are the fall finale of the garden, almost completely covering the plants late in the summer and often lasting until the first frost. Asters typically flower in deep purple and lush lavender, but there are also white and pink varieties. Plants can reach up to 6 feet tall, but there are also compact versions, some of which can grow in containers or window boxes. Bees and butterflies love asters, sipping up nectar as one of the garden's last big meals.

Season of Bloom: Late summer into fall

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

Size: Up to 6 feet tall

Zones: 3-9

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