Fall blooming perennial flowers

As we move into the fall season it is encouraging to know there are still a few choices for late color in our gardens. The classic fall blooming perennials are mums and asters, which sadly seem to have been relegated to the status of disposability. You will find most mums in the seasonal color department of the garden center rather than on the perennial benches. They are festive and, when combined with a pumpkin and some corn stalks, make for an attractive seasonal display.

If you decide to plant them after they have faded, be sure to loosen up the roots and water them in well. Don’t cut them back until spring (after you see signs of new growth) and plan on pinching them back once or twice before July or they will be 3 feet tall.

The same is true for asters, although they seem to be a bit more reliable.

There are other bloomers, like sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, Kaffir lilies, toad lilies, hardy cyclamen, and even some repeat blooming shrubs like spiraea and hydrangeas.

But the one plant that speaks fall to me is Japanese Anemone. It is easy to grow and a reliable bloomer that is quite happy in partial shade or even full sun, provided you don’t let it dry out. The plant will reach 3 feet tall by September and will bloom for almost two months, starting as early as mid-August. Japanese anemones will spread slowly and can colonize an area if left unchecked. I routinely pull out any unwanted runners so they don’t overtake the rest of my plants. There are many varieties of Japanese Anemones and most are either white or shades of pink.

The one in my garden that has brought me years of enjoyment is a white one called ‘Honorine Jobert’. It has single white flowers with yellow centers and brightens up my shady border.

Here a few other flavors to try:

•Wild Swan — It is white like ‘Honorine’ but has the added attraction of blue-violet undersides of the petals – which are simply stunning.

•Pink Kiss — A floriferous dwarf Anemone growing only about 10 inches tall that is a great choice for pots, small gardens or the front of the border. Its flower buds are a deep maroon and open to a perfect single pink flower fading to a softer pink with age.

•Lucky Charm — It’s magically delicious with leaves that start off deep purple and change to dark green with the undersides a lighter violet. Flowers are deep rich pink with very dark purple, almost black stems. It grows up to 3-feet tall.

All of these selections will be quite happy in a shady border, such as on the north side of the house or in a woodland setting where they get dappled shade. Have some fun this fall with these tried and true late summer bloomers.

Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at [email protected]


I’ve never planted a fall garden because…

I always forget.

OK… that’s really not the truth. Do you wanna know the REAL reason? You sure?

It’s because I’m usually am ready to be DONE with the whole garden-thing come October.

Yes… Jill-the-Homesteader-Girl just admitted she gets tired of gardening sometimes.

You can forgive me for saying that, right?

You see, I love living in a place where we have four seasons. By the end of summer, I’m craving homemade chai and crispy leaves. By the end of fall, I’m craving cozy crackling fires and nourishing soups. But the end of winter, I’m craving the smell of fresh green grass and new baby calves. And so on…

So yeah, I usually rather enjoy the down-shift from all the crazy summer chores as we transition into fall.

But considering how my gardening has become so much easier thanks to the deep mulch method, I am kinda excited to plan a bit of a fall garden this year… Providing my very pregnant self can still bend over to shove some seeds in the dirt.

I’ve been looking at which veggies I want to add to my fall garden rotation and which ones will hold up best with our erratic Wyoming winters.

I’ve collected this list of fall vegetable options, just in case you’re not quite ready to give up gardening season either.

21 Vegetables for Your Fall Garden


When to Plant: Plant Lettuce 4-8 weeks before the first frost. It grows best within a temperature range from 45 to approx. 75 degrees. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: This is a half-hardy vegetable that you can keep growing all season long by planting one small crop at a time. Hot weather makes it bitter and extreme cold freezes it.

Other Notes: If you use a cold frame or row cover, you can grow lettuce through the winter in most garden zones.


When to Plant: Begin planting Kale 6-8 weeks before the first frost. You can continue planting them throughout the fall in garden zones 8-10. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: Kale is a hardy vegetable. Their leaves are actually sweeter when they can mature in cooler weather. Frost enhances their flavor, and they are super tasty if harvested under a foot of snow.

Other Notes: If your fall season has a random hot spell, your kale might sulk a bit, however, when it gets cool again, those kale plants will revitalize quickly.

Helpful Links: 9 Green You Can Grow All Winter


When to Plant: Plant Collards 6-8 weeks before the first frost. In zones 8-10, you can grow them through the entire winter. Full sun to partial shade, though you should give them 4 hours of sun for the best flavor.

Cold Hardiness: Collards are one of the most cold-hardy vegetables. Like Kale, the flavor of the leaves improves after a frost.

Other Notes: Collards are heavy feeders since they produce so many harvestable leaves. Make sure to give them a rich soil in the beginning and regular feedings throughout the season.

Mustard Greens

When to Plant: Plant Mustard Greens 3-6 weeks before the first frost. Consider planting seeds every 2-3 weeks for a continual harvest. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: Mustard Greens are hardy, but not as hardy as collards and kale. They will tolerate a light frost, which makes their leaves sweeter. If you do not have killing freezes in your area, you can enjoy them all winter long.

Other Notes: Like Collards, Mustard grows very fast and produces many leaves for harvest. You must give them a rich and continually moist soil for optimal growth.


When to Plant: Parsley takes about 70-90 days to grow before you can begin harvesting. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: It is a hardy biennial: in mild climates, you can harvest parsley all year round and in the second year, it will send up a flower stalk and become too bitter to eat. It can survive the cold, but unless you protect it from snows and hard frosts, it might die back in the winter.

Other Notes: Parsley is fussy with germination. Soak the seeds 24 hours before planting for a higher success rate for germination.

Helpful Links: How to preserve your herbs (including parsley) in salt.


When to Plant: Arugula is ready to harvest 30-40 days after planting. Consider planting Arugula every 2 weeks for a continual harvest. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: This peppery leaf is a tender annual. Arugula hates heat, which makes it bolt, and it also gets heavy damage with hard frosts and snow. Row covers can help your Arugula last longer in the season. They can survive winters in zone 7 or even zone 6 if under a row cover and thick mulch.

Other Notes: If you pick only the outer leaves, the plant will keep growing, which means each arugula plant will yield a large harvest for you.


When to Plant: Plant Spinach 4-8 weeks before your first hard frost. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: Spinach is a hardy winter vegetable; it can survive temperatures below freezing IF the plant is grown to its’ mature size beforehand. They will have a higher success rate in colder garden zones with a cold frame or row cover.

Other Notes: Harvest the outer leaves only and your spinach plants will continue to give you harvests throughout the fall and winter.

Helpful Links: One of our favorite ways to eat spinach (and other greens): Cheesy Spinach Quesadilla Recipe

Swiss Chard

When to Plant: Swiss Chard should be started 10 weeks before your first frost date. It’s best to start them indoors and set the seedlings out when they are 4 weeks old. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: It is a hardy vegetable since Swiss Chard can tolerate light frosts, however, it cannot tolerate deep freezes like collards and kale.

Other Notes: You can harvest anytime the leaves are large enough to eat. The young small leaves are the most flavorful.


When to Plant: Broccoli should be started indoors 85-100 days before your first frost date. Transplant to your garden when your plants are 3 weeks old. They prefer full sun.

Cold Hardiness: Broccoli is a hardy vegetable. It is very tolerant of cold temperatures and will survive many hard frosts. In mild climates, Broccoli might survive all winter. It does not like temperatures over 70 degrees.

Other Notes: Make sure to give your Broccoli plenty of constant water, they need steady moisture for optimal growth.

Helpful Links: A post all about the details of growing broccoli and other cole crops in your fall garden

Brussels Sprouts

When to Plant: Brussels Sprouts should be planted 85-100 days before your first frost. You can either directly sow the seeds into the garden (cooler climates) or start them indoors and transplant (warmer climates). They need full sun.

Cold Hardiness: These are some of the hardiest vegetables from the Cole Crop family. Brussels Sprouts can survive freezing temperatures and even some snow.

Other Notes: Wait until after your first frost to start harvesting your Brussels Sprouts because frost improves the flavor of your Sprouts.


When to Plant: Start your Cauliflower seeds indoors 12 weeks before your first frost. Transplant them outdoors 6-8 weeks before the first frost. They need at least 6 hours of sun a day, however, some shade during the heat of the day is good too.

Cold Hardiness: Cauliflower are a challenging half-hardy vegetable. They are more sensitive to both cold and heat than most cole crops. They are only frost-tolerant if the heads are mature before a deep freeze. You should harvest them after a deep freeze so you don’t risk losing your crop.

Other Notes: Make sure your Cauliflower gets steady moisture: not too much or too little in order to get the best crop. You might find it beneficial to plant a few plants each week to get the best possibility of a good harvest.


When to Plant: Kohlrabi should be started 6-10 weeks before your first frost. If you sow your seeds directly, sow them 8-10 weeks before the frost date; if you start them indoors, start them 6-8 weeks before the frost date. They need full sun.

Cold Hardiness: These are a hardy vegetable. Kohlrabi is more hardy to hot weather than many Cole crops and they will survive light frosts.

Other Notes: Kohlrabi is a great vegetable for most fall gardens because they are mature very quickly: in 65 days, you can harvest them.

Bunching Onions

When to Plant: Plant your bunching onions 8 weeks before the first frost date. It is best to start them indoors and then transplant, however, you can try direct sowing as well. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: These are a very hardy plant: if given some protection from severe winters, they can survive below freezing temperatures, frosts, and snow just fine.


When to Plant: Start your Leek seeds indoors 8-12 weeks before your first frost date. Make sure you get a variety that works for fall and winter harvests. They need full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: Leeks are a very cold-hardy plant. In places with mild winters (zone 7-10), you can harvest leeks all winter long. In colder areas, you need to mulch deeply around the Leeks (around 1 foot deep) because you do not want your leeks to become frozen in the ground.

Other Notes: Leeks taste better if grown in cooler weather. Make sure you blanch your plants as they grow by covering up their stalks.


When to Plant: Start your Cabbage plants indoors anywhere from 6-12 weeks before your first frost. You can narrow this time down depending on the early/late Cabbage variety you have chosen. Transplant to the garden when they are 3-4 weeks old. They prefer full sun.

Cold Hardiness: Cabbage is a hardy vegetable that can tolerate frost very well. They will keep thriving through frosts and temperatures as low as 20 degrees.

Other Notes: Cool temperatures and constant water will give you deliciously sweet Cabbage. Uneven watering might result in stunted growth or cracked heads.

Helpful Links: How to make sauerkraut with your homegrown cabbage

Garlic (for harvest next year)

When to Plant: You can plant next year’s garlic harvest anytime in late fall when your soil is around 50 degrees F. The trick is to plant it before your ground freezes over. An approximate time is 1-3 weeks before your first frost date through 2-3 weeks after your first frost date. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: Garlic is a very hardy and easy plant to grow. Make sure you plant the best garlic for your garden zone: Hardneck varieties are best for zones 3-6; softneck varieties are best for zones 5-9.

Other Notes: Garlic takes almost 1 year to grow, but the long growing season needs very little work from you: plant in the fall, eat or cut the garlic scapes in the spring, harvest next fall when the leaves turn brown, cure for 2-3 weeks. Then enjoy!


When to Plant: For a fall harvest, plant Turnips about 2 months before your first frost date. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: Turnips are a hardy vegetable; they can tolerate light frosts and can continue through early winter if you cover them with a thick mulch.

Other Notes: Since Turnips are a root vegetable, you need to harvest them before the ground becomes frozen. Of course, a thick mulch will help slow down the ground becoming too frozen.


When to Plant: Beets should be started 10-12 weeks before your first frost date. Full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: Beets are a hardy vegetable. They can handle light frosts and can survive winter with some row cover protection and heavy mulch in garden zones 6 and higher.

Other Notes: You can eat the beet greens anytime while they are growing. They taste best when they are still small, around 4-5 inches long. Only pick a few leaves from each Beet plant so that you don’t stress the plants.

Helpful Links: How to Can Pickled Beets


When to Plant: Plant your radishes 4 weeks before your first frost in the fall.

Cold Hardiness: Radishes are a cold hardy veggie and can tolerate a decent amount of frost. Many winter varieties are also early maturing, so you’ll probably be able to harvest even before the temps really drop.

Other Notes: Radishes are easy to grow and mature quickly, so be sure to check them frequently and don’t leave them in the ground too long.


When to Plant: Peas can be a challenge for fall gardens because you have to take a bit of a gamble on the weather. You might get an unexpected heat wave or an early hard frost, both of which can damage your fall Pea harvest. You can to plant your peas so that the first flowers appear before the first frost of the fall season. Depending on the variety, you should start your fall Peas 70-90 days before your first frost date. They prefer full sun to partial shade.

Cold Hardiness: Peas are a half-hardy vegetable: heat will damage them, but they will tolerate light frosts (if they are at least somewhat mature plants at the time of the frost).

Other Notes: For a good fall crop, you need to give extra care to your Peas during the late summer heat by giving them some shade and lots of water.

Bush Beans

When to Plant: For a fall crop of Bush Beans, start planting them 10-12 weeks before your first frost date. Try planting in small batches every 10 days for a steady crop of beans. Make sure to grow a variety of beans that grows quickly, around 45 days to maturity.

Cold Hardiness: Bush Beans are a tender annual vegetable. They will be finished producing beans with the first frost. They can also be damaged by cold temperatures. You can often prolong your harvest season with row covers and heavy mulch.

Other Notes: Many people say that the flavor of bush beans is tastier in fall beans rather than those grown in spring. The soil temperatures will probably be hotter than your bean seeds prefer when you try to plant them. Regular watering and heavy mulch can help keep that soil cooler for better germination rates. Most people will agree that the flavor of the fall-grown green beans far exceeds that of those produced in the spring.

Helpful Links: How to freeze green beans (the easy way)

Best Fall-Blooming Annuals and Perennials

Outdoors may not look or feel like it, but autumn approaches, marking the time for perennial gardening. Whether you want to try cabbage or chrysanthemums, are looking for flowering perennials, perennials for shade or perennials for sun, it’s really easy to get started.

Fall mums fill the color void in your garden, while the days are still warm and your summer annuals are winding down. Mums are great for borders, mass plantings, containers — anywhere you want color. They’re incredibly easy to grow.

The gradually diminishing sunlight of autumn prompts fall mums to bloom just at the right time. Chrysanthemums offer one of the widest varieties of shape and color found in any ornamental plant. The color spectrum includes everything but blue. The traditional fall colors are numerous shades of yellow, orange, maroon, rust and red.

What to Look For:

Select tightly closed buds that are showing only a small bit of color. Keep in mind that new shapes and colors are often available.

What to Do:

  • Plant mums in full sun, and keep the soil moist but well drained.
  • In warmer areas, mums are hardy and return the following year. Cut them back after they finish blooming and mulch well. See the Cold Hardiness Map to find which zone you live in.
  • The following year, pinch them back during spring and summer (stop pinching in July for fuller plants with more blooms).
  • In the spring, give them a good feeding of general plant food.
  • Those in cooler climates will need replanting each season.

The changing track of sunlight in your garden allows you to create a seemingly whole-new garden in autumn. Mix mums with other fall annuals and perennials, like autumn sage, aster, ornamental kale or cabbage, pansies and moss verbena. Keep the fundamentals of color and design in mind when planting your fall garden.

Purple perennial flowers: 24 brilliant choices for big and small gardens

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Purple is a powerful color. When the Pantone Color Institute declared a shade of purple named Ultra Violet to be the Color of the Year, they called it “complex and contemplative,” noting that purple has long been “symbolic of unconventionality and artistic brilliance.” While I don’t know much about using purple for interior design, art, or fashion, I do know how to use it in a garden. The power and bravado of purple in the landscape is undeniable, especially when it comes to perennials. Today, I’d like to share my favorite purple perennial flowers. Whether their shade of purple is dark and regal or light and luscious, these beauties add depth, richness, and a pop of color to your garden.

Whether dark and regal or soft and luscious, purple brings a touch of brilliance to the garden.

Types of perennials with purple flowers

Fans of purple in the garden are always pleased to learn that there are violet-hued blooming perennials in a broad range of sizes and shapes. From purple-flowering ground covers to the tallest purple perennials, there’s a purple plant for every garden no matter its size or style.

In creating this list of purple perennial flowers, I found it easiest to divide them into groups based on their stature. Most gardeners use the mature height of a plant to determine its placement in the garden and whether or not it works in the space.

Below, the list is divided into three sections:

  • Tall purple perennials
  • Medium height purple perennials
  • Short purple perennial flowers

In addition to each plant’s botanical name, details on their site preferences, growth habits, hardiness, and bloom times are also included. In addition, I noted which of these perennials with purple flowers are deer-resistant.

I’m sure you’ll find these purple perennial flowers to be excellent additions to your garden. And be sure to tell me about any other varieties you adore in the comment section at the end of the post. I always love to learn about reader favorites!

There are many purple-flowering perennials worth growing in your garden.

Tall purple perennials

Garden phlox is such a classically beautiful perennial, and purple varieties of phlox, such as ‘Flame Blue’ or ‘Blue Paradise’, offer added flair. Averaging 2 to 3 feet tall, with round globes of blooms, phlox perform best in areas with full sun. Though the deer are quite fond of them, these purple perennial flowers are in bloom from mid summer through fall. Deadhead them regularly to generate more blooms, and pinch the stems back by a third in late spring to increase branching. Hardy down to -30 degrees F, purple phlox are adored by butterflies, bumblebees, hummingbird moths, and other pollinators.

Phlox is an exceptional perennial for many climates, and purple varieties are truly stunning.

Vervain (Verbena stricta)

If you’re looking for a North American native perennial with purple flowers, vervain is an excellent choice. The tall purple perennial flowers produced on these plants are real standouts in the garden. Topping out at 4 to 5 feet in height, sun-loving vervain is among the most underused purple-flowering perennials. Plants are somewhat difficult to find in the nursery trade, but it’s easy to start from seed. The deer don’t bother it, and many of our native bees find its nectar delicious. Vervain is hardy to -30 degrees F.

The airy blooms of vervain are tall and stately in the landscape.

German bearded iris (Iris germanica)

German bearded iris come in a rainbow of colors, but my favorite hue by far is violet. Thankfully, there are many varieties to fulfill your desire to add purple flowering perennials to your garden. Iris thrive in full to partial sun, and they’re tough as nails. Don’t bury the rhizomes too deeply, though, or they rot. Of the many deer-resistant purple perennials available, German iris are among the easiest to grow. Fully hardy down to -40 degrees F and reaching 2 to 3 feet in height, iris are early spring bloomers with a carefree nature.

Though bearded iris are common, you can’t beat them for their resilience and ease of care.

Bear’s breeches (Acanthus mollis)

If you’re looking for a large perennial with purple flowers, bear’s breeches has you covered. Big, bold, spine-covered leaves are topped with 3-foot-tall spires of hooded flowers every summer. Thriving in full sun, bear’s breeches’s blooms last for months. Winter hardy down to -20 degrees F, give this purple perennial tons of room in the garden. And with all those spines, the deer and rabbits leave it alone.

No plant is bolder in the garden than bear’s breeches. The big spiny leaves and hooded blooms are amazing.

Monkshood (Aconitum napellus or A. carmichaelli)

This plant is a real treat for gardeners looking to add purple perennials that bloom in the fall. My monkshood is the latest blooming flower in my landscape. Tall spires of flowers don’t open until very late summer and last well into autumn. Give this plant full sun and the flowers stand tall. In the shade, they’re a bit floppier. Hardy to -40 degrees F, monkshood tops out at 3 to 4 feet in height. Be warned, however, that all parts of this plant are poisonous, so wash your hands thoroughly after working with it. This trait also makes monkshood deer-resistant, which is certainly an added bonus.

Monkshood is among the latest flowering perennials in the garden, often in bloom well beyond fall’s first frost.

Tatarian aster (Aster tataricus)

Of all the tall purple perennials out there, Tatarian aster is my hands-down favorite. A magnet for migrating monarchs, this late-blooming perennial with purple flowers stands a whopping 6 feet tall! It’s smothered with clusters of small, pale purple flowers that are relished by many different pollinators at a time when little else is blooming in the landscape. Thriving in full sun and requiring no staking for support, Tatarian aster is hardy to -40 degrees F. Though the deer don’t eat it in my garden, I have heard from other gardeners who find their plants nibbled by deer from time to time.

Pollinators love, love, love the late blooms of Tatarian asters. You’ll love them, too!

False indigo (Baptisia australis)

False indigo is an exceptional early-blooming perennial. I enjoy watching the chubby bumblebees pop open the lidded blooms each spring. They’re among the only bees heavy enough to open the flowers and pollinate them. False indigo is another plant on the list of purple flowering perennials the deer don’t eat, which is certainly a nice bonus. The straight species of false indigo produces spikes of purple-blue flowers, but there are other varieties that bloom in shades of yellow, burgundy, and white. Growing to 3 feet in height in sunny spots and with a winter hardiness down to -40 degrees F, false indigo doesn’t have a particularly long bloom time, but the foliage itself is quite lovely.

The spires of blooms on false indigo stand tall above the foliage in mid spring.

Russell blue lupine (Lupinus ‘Russell Blue’)

Lupines are classics in the sunny perennial garden, though I struggle to grow them in mine due to heavy clay and acidic soil. Lupines bloom in late spring and produce tall spires of dense blooms. ‘Russell Blue’ is actually more purple than blue, despite its cultivar name. For those seeking plants with purple flowers, it’s a variety well worth growing. Deer-resistant and winter hardy to -30 degrees F.

Long-blooming purple perennials such as lupines add so much to the garden.

Clustered bellflower (Campanula glomerata)

The dark purple flowers of clustered bellflower stop garden visitors in their tracks. Thriving in both full and partial sun, bellflower is hardy down to -40 degrees F. A favorite of pollinators, clustered bellflower is a purple flowering perennial that blooms all summer, as long as you keep the plant deadheaded. Reported to be deer resistant, the blooms of bellflower are grouped into balls atop the flower stems.

Clustered bellflower adds a spark of color to the garden in mid summer.

Blazing star (Liatris spicata)

A North American native purple perennial, blazing stars are relished by butterflies and bees. Their 12-inch-tall bloom spikes emerge from thin, strap-like leaves each summer. The blooms open in succession down the stem, giving this plant a long bloom time. Preferring full sun conditions, blazing star plants grow from a bulb-like structure called a corm. They’re easy to plant, deer-resistant perennials with purple blooms that also make great cut flowers, and they are hardy to -40 degrees F.

Blazing star blooms are absolutely adored by pollinators.

Salvia (Salvia nemorosa)

Another purple flowering perennial that blooms all summer, salvia thrives in hot, sunny, and dry garden beds. The skinny spikes of flowers have square stems, indicating that this plant is a member of the mint family. Keep the plant deadheaded, and you’re rewarded with blooms for months on end. Topping out at 18 inches, this deer-resistant purple flower deserves a place in every garden. There are many purple-flowered varieties worth growing, including ‘Cardonna’ and ‘Amethyst’. Another personal favorite salvia is S. sylvestris ‘May Night’. Most varieties are hardy to -30 degrees F.

The slender bloom spikes of perennial salvia blend well with other garden plants.

Anise hyssop (Agastache foeniculum ‘Blue Fortune’)

If pollinator-friendly purple perennial flowers are on your must-have list, than write down the name anise hyssop. ‘Blue Fortune’ produces chubby spikes of light purple blooms atop licorice-scented foliage. Adored by bees and butterflies, but loathed by deer, anise hyssop is in non-stop bloom for months. Pinch the plant back by a third in late May, and you’ll have twice as many blooms! Hardy to -20 degrees F. Full sun conditions are best for this plant, but it can also tolerate light shade.

There are many deer-resistant perennials with purple blooms, but the only one with licorice-scented foliage is the anise hyssop in the lower left corner of this garden.

Mistflower (Conoclinium coelestinum)

Another North American native plant with purple flowers, mistflower reminds many gardeners of common annual ageratum. The powder puff-like blooms appear in clusters, just like ageratum, but this late-blooming purple flower doesn’t produce its blooms until very late in the season. Also unlike ageratum, mistflower is a perennial that’s fully hardy down to -20 degrees F. Plant it in full sun to partial shade, and your late-season garden will be filled with pale purple, fuzzy blooms on 1-foot-tall stems. It’s moderately resistant to deer, and spreads quite prolifically (occasionally to the point of being obnoxious).

The fuzzy blooms of mistflower look a lot like annual ageratum, but this is a long-lived native perennial.

Spike speedwell (Veronica spicata)

Veronica is an old-fashioned, deer-resistant, purple flowering perennial that gardeners have loved for generations. Unfortunately, some varieties are prone to powdery mildew, so choose resistant varieties, such as ‘Royal Candles’. Reaching about 12 inches in height, spike speedwell has pointy spires of densely packed purple flowers that open from the bottom up. It remains in bloom for weeks. When planted in full sun the plant does not need to be staked and survives winters down to -40 degrees F.

Spike speedwell is an long-time favorite of gardeners everywhere.

Pikes Peak beardstongue (Penstemon x mexicali ‘Pikes Peak Purple’)

Yet another purple perennial for the bees, ‘Pikes Peak Purple’ beardstongue has it all. Gorgeous looks, prolific dark purple flowers, and ease of care separate this plant from the rest. Winter hardy to -20 degrees F, Pikes Peak Purple’s tubular blooms are shaped like little trumpets. Choose a full sun site with well-drained soil, and this plant thrives.

Give Pikes Peak Penstemon well-drained soil and full sun, and it’s as happy as can be.

Short purple perennial flowers

Wood phlox is a shade-loving, purple perennial that produces early-season blooms. Often finished blooming right along with the tulips, this native of the woodlands of eastern North America, is nothing short of lovely. The pale purple blooms bear five petals each, and they are borne in clusters atop 6-inch-tall, wiry stems. In bloom for just a few short weeks each spring, wood phlox is hardy to -40 degrees F. It’s resistant to deer and dry soil, too.

Wood phlox is a shade lover with lots to offer, including it’s early-season blooms.

Purple-leaved spiderwort (Tradescantia pallida ‘Purple Queen’)

While this perennial does have tiny lavender flowers, it’s more prized for its purple leaves. Though it is hardy only in warmer climates that don’t fall below 0 degrees F, it’s well worth growing, even if you have to replace it each spring. Of all the plants with purple leaves available to gardeners, ‘Purple Queen’ is a real standout. It makes a dramatic display, and with a height of just 12 inches, it tumbles nicely over the edges of containers and retaining walls.

Purple tradescantia looks terrific in containers, too!

Lalla aster (Symphyotrichum x ‘Lalla’)

A hybrid of a North American native aster, ‘Lalla’ has so much bloom power it’s not even funny. Low-growing and spreading, this purple perennial is hardy to -40 degrees F. It produces a bazillion small purple flowers very late in the season, and it’s a magnet for tiny native pollinators. Though the deer may nibble it from time to time, ‘Lalla’ provides much-needed late-season color in the perennial border. It enjoys full sun, though it’s at home in dappled shade, too. If you can’t find this variety of aster, try the more common ‘Purple Dome’ as an alternative.

‘Lalla’ asters are low-growing and spreading, making them a perfect fit for the front of the border.

Lavender (Lavandula species)

Lavender is among the most familiar of all plants with purple flowers. Prized for its heavenly scent and essential oil content, lavender is both deer-resistant and sun-loving. Plant it in well-drained soil for the best results. There are many different species and varieties of lavender available. Choose one that’s hardy in your climate as there are many to choose from. Lavandula x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’ and ‘Grosso’ are personal favorites.

A list of purple-flowered perennials wouldn’t be complete without lavender!

Creeping speedwell (Veronica x ‘Waterperry Blue’)

A low-growing perennial with purple flowers, creeping speedwell makes a great ground cover. Though it’s only in bloom for a short time each spring, creeping speedwell looks lovely year-round. It’s semi-evergreen and needs nothing more than a light haircut in the very early spring. Hardy to -30 degrees F, this purple-flowering groundcover is deer resistant and produces pretty little blooms in full sun.

‘Waterperry Blue’ is a great plant to use as a ground cover.

Lungwort (Pulmonaria species)

Those seeking purple perennial flowers that bloom early, thrive in the shade, and are deer resistant, should put lungwort on their list. There are many varieties of lungwort with purple blooms, including ‘Diana Clare’, ‘Mrs. Moon’, and ‘Blue Ensign’. Other selections produce pink or white flowers. Some have mottled or spotted foliage, too. Plant lungwort in a shady spot and give it ample water. Hardy to -40 degrees F.

There are many different varieties of Pulmonaria. Some even have spotted leaves.

Coralbells (Heuchera species)

Okay, I’m cheating a little here, because coralbells aren’t purple perennial flowers. Instead, they’re purple-leaved perennials. There are dozens, if not hundreds, of different coralbell cultivars, with all manner of interestingly colored foliage. From bronze and chartreuse to silver, green, and peach, coralbells are standout foliage plants for the shade, but purple coralbell varieties, such as ‘Plum Pudding’, ‘Dark Secret’, ‘Forever Purple’, and ‘Wildberry’, are really something special. And because it’s their foliage that’s colored, the splash of purple lasts all season long.

Heucheras are known for their purple foliage, not their flowers.

Millenium flowering onion (Allium ‘Millenium’)

This is a rabbit-, vole-, and deer-resistant plant with purple blooms that has so much to offer! The orb-shaped bloom clusters last for weeks, and they play host to oodles of pollinators, including butterflies and bees. Full sun is best for this perennial, and it’s hardy to -20 degrees F. ‘Millenium’ cannot be beat for its compact growth habit, ease of care, and long bloom time. It’s a winner all around.

Allium ‘Millenium’ knocks your socks off with its long-lasting blooms. Here, it looks spectacular combined with dark-leaved dahlias, hostas, and coleus.

Pasque flower (Pulsatilla vulgaris)

Pasque flowers are so sweet! Their cheery blooms pop out of the soil to welcome spring, soon followed by fine, fern-like foliage. This early-blooming purple perennial also produces little poufy seed heads that wave in the wind. Hardy all the way down to -40 degrees F and thriving in well-drained soils, they reseed quite nicely if they’re happy. Pasque flower is among the earliest blooming purple perennial flowers, and it’s at home in full to partial sun. Deer resistant.

The blooms of pasque flower are absolutely delightful additions to the spring garden.

I hope you’ve discovered some new favorite purple perennials to add to your own garden. If you’re fond of one that’s not on our list, be sure to tell us about it in the comment section below.

For more on growing beautiful perennials, check out the following articles:

  • Perennials with long bloom times
  • The best evergreen ground covers
  • 15 exceptional perennials for the shade
  • Plants for cottage gardens

7 Fall-Blooming Perennials

White Snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum)

Photo by <a href=”http://www.twofrog.com” target=”_blank”>Sonja Keohane</a>

Long-lasting white flower heads in loose, flattened clusters on stiff brown stems with gray-green leaves; grows up to 5-6 feet tall; easily grown in medium-wet to wet well-drained soils in full sun to partial shade; hardy to -30 degrees F; Zones 4 to 9

Yellow Waxbells (Kirengeshoma palmate)

Photo by Courtesy of <a href=”http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp” target=”_blank”>Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder</a>

This fall-blooming perennial has arching purplish steams with oval, slightly hairy and toothed pale-green leaves and pale-yellow, drooping flowers; grows from 2 to 4 feet high; enjoys moist, acidic soil in part to full shade; hardy to -20 degrees F; Zones 5 to 8

Pineapple Sage (Salvia elegans)

Photo by Courtesy of <a href=”http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp” target=”_blank”>Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder</a>

Edible, mildly pineapple-scented, mid-green oval and toothed leaves with loose panicles of vibrant-scarlet flowers; grows up to 6 feet tall; enjoys moist soil in full sun; hardy to 10 degrees F; Zones 8 to 10

False Aster (Boltonia asteroids ‘Pink Beauty’)

Photo by Courtesy of <a href=”http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp” target=”_blank”>Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder</a>

Panicles of pale-pink to white flowers with yellow centers and narrow, finely toothed blue-green leaves; grows up to 6 feet high; prefers medium moist soil in full sun to part shade; hardy to -30 degrees F; Zones 4 to 9

Monkshood (Aconitum carmichaelii)

Photo by <a href=”http://www.gardenerspath.com/” target=”_blank”>Lise LePage</a>

Dense panicles of large violet or blue flowers and oval, leathery dark-green leaves; grows 5–6 feet high; prefers cool, moist soil in partial shade but tolerant of most soils and full sun; hardy to -30 degrees F; Zones 4 to 7

Toad Lily (Tricyrtis formosana)

Photo by Courtesy of <a href=”http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp” target=”_blank”>Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder</a>

Upward-facing star-shaped lilylike white, pink, and purple flowers with glossy, dark-green leaves; grows up to 32 inches high; prefers medium-wet to wet soil and part to full shade; hardy to -10 degrees F; Zones 6 to 9

Blazing Star (Liatris scariosa)

Photo by Courtesy of <a href=”http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/Alpha.asp” target=”_blank”>Missouri Botanical Garden PlantFinder</a>

Long, spiky, reddish purple flower heads with narrow to oval leaves on strong, hairy stems; grows 2–4 feet high; prefers dry to medium soil in full sun; hardy to -20 degrees F; Zones 5 to 9

Zone Map for Native Plants

Map Courtesy of Jane Marinelli

Native Plant Climate Zone Map

1. Northern Pacific Coastal/Cascade Mountain Forests

2. Palouse

3. Great Basin Desert

4. Sierran Foothills/Alpine Vegetation

5. California Grasslands, Chaparral, and Woodland

6. Mojave and Sonoran Deserts

7. Rocky Mountain Forests/Alpine Vegetation

8. Central Prairies and Plains

9. Eastern Deciduous Forests

10. Boreal Forests

11. Coastal Plain Forests

12. Tropical

Trying to decide which flowers to plant next? Perennials might be your most viable option.

These popular florals are a garden must-have, but with so many types to choose from it can be hard to make a decision. We’ve compiled a list of the best perennial flowers and classified each based on vital success factors and growing tips specific to your needs. Whether you have a green thumb or more of a black one, you won’t regret planting from this selection and will have a beautiful garden to prove it.

Before browsing our complete guide and top-picks, find out more about the easy-to-care for flowers below. You can also use the links below to quickly navigate to a section of your choice.

    • What Are Perennials?
    • What is The Difference Between Annual and Perennial Flowers?
    • Best Perennials for Sun
    • Best Perennials for Shade
    • Shareable Guide

What are Perennials?

Perennials are flowers or plants that live for more than two years and return year after year blooming on their own. This is due to the flowers far-reaching roots which allow for better access to nutrients meaning a longer lifespan and less upkeep for you!

As if their easy-to-grow nature didn’t just bump them up to the top of your must-have list, these flowers also tend to be low maintenance, have the ability to withstand harsh climates and come in a wide variety of colors, shapes and sizes. They are also a great option if you’re looking to add vertical interest to your garden since they are known for building on their growth over time.

What is The Difference Between Annuals and Perennials?

Plants and flowers are commonly categorized as either annual, biennial or perennial and knowing the difference between these common terms will help you make a more educated selection for your garden.

Annual plants are those that live for only one growing season before producing seeds and dying. Biennial plants are those that live for two growing seasons and perennial plants are those that live for more than two years.

In general, annual and biennial plants will require more upkeep from you. Not to mention, at the end of their growing seasons you’ll have to pull them from your garden and start anew.

Perennials are just what you should consider to keep your garden sustainably beautiful for years to come. Find the best flowers for your needs by scrolling through our handy guide below categorized by the sun needs of each flower.

Best Perennials For Sun

Give the sunny spots in your garden the splash of color they deserve. Scroll through our list of the best blooms for the sun below. With gardening information and helpful facts, you’ll have the right flower picked out in no time at all.

1. Blanket Flower

The blanket flower is best known for it’s long seasonal bloom and daisy-like flowers that can be found in rich shades of orange, wine red and yellow. Petals have a tubular shape and are frilled at the edges.

2. Pineapple Sage

Known for it’s attractive pineapple scent, this seasonal treat features red tubular flowers and leafy stems that thrive in full sunlight and well-drained soil.

3. May Night Sage

This showy flower grows in tall spikes of indigo flowers with lush green foliage. The flower also has an outstanding cold hardiness and is the perfect fit if you live in cooler climates.

4. Tickseed

This bloom is prized for its long bloom period where you can find bright yellow petals with a dark brown center. Tickseed is known as one of the easiest-to-grow perennials and stands anywhere between 1-2 feet tall.

5. Black-eyed Susan

A few black-eyed susans will add a vast amount of color to any garden. They provide bright yellow and orange blossoms and also make for great cut flowers.

6. Coneflower

This flower is commonly mistaken for a daisy because of its bright bloom in a variety of colors including pink, purple, red and white. Coneflowers are relatively drought-tolerant, good for bouquets and also invite songbirds where they are planted.

7. Daylily

The daylily is oftentimes referred to as “the perfect perennial” because of its vibrant colors and ability to thrive in both frost-like climates as well as the heat. The beautiful flowers are short lived with a lifespan of only one day, although a mature daylily can produce over 200-400 blooms per month. With a shorter blooming season, this would be a nice surprise blossom in any garden.

8. Peony

Peonies offer a gorgeous bloom in springtime with colors including pink, red, white and yellow. Peonies are a popular cut flower, make for gorgeous bouquets and have a wonderful fragrance. Fun fact: Some peonies have been known to live over 100 years old.

9. Russian sage

This tall and airy, the Russian sage grows in spike-like clusters that feature a lavender-blue color and offer a more fragrant foliage. This heat-loving and drought-resistant plant is superb for any garden.

10. Sea Holly

Noted for its silvery-blue bracts, the sea holly features thistle-like blooms that are great for flower bouquets. It is sure to add some interest to any garden, backyard or flower bouquet.

11. Stonecrop

This flower is commonly known by a few names including stonecrop, orpine or live-forever. It typically grows upright with branched stems featuring small star-like flowers in hues of pink to reddish purple.

12. Yarrow

The Yarrow wildflower is loved for providing a vast amount of blooms featuring tightly-packed clusters of small flowers. They blossom in summertime and feature a variety of colors including mustard yellow, pink and red.

13. Daffodils

This recognizable bloom is a sure sign that spring is here. Daffodils have attractive flowers with six outer petals and a trumpet or cup-shaped center. They thrive in full sun and grow anywhere between 1-1.5 feet tall.

14. Forget-me-not

You won’t be able to forget this flower with blossoms that feature five baby blue petals with yellow centers. Forget-me-nots can also be found in pink and white colors, although the baby blue is the most favored.

15. Catmint

The lavender flowers of this drought-tolerant perennial are found in violet and white hues. Blooms grow in a spike-like fashion with abundant foliage that make for attractive hedges.

Best Perennials for Shade

Looking for a flower that will thrive in the shady areas of your garden? Browse our list of shade-loving plants to find the best solution for you!

16. False Goat’s Beard

Astilbe are shade-loving florals that feature feathery, plume-like flowers in a handful of colors including pink, red and white. The blossoms rise above the flowers fern-like foliage and will surely make a statement in your garden.

17. Bleeding Heart

Once you get a look at this, you’ll understand its common name. The heart-shaped flowers that bloom in hues of pink or white will bring welcomed attention to any garden. Bleeding hearts thrive in the shade and are also commonly used for bouquets.

18. Bugleweed

Bugleweed prefer the shade and are known for their shiny, dark green leaves and full foliage. Blue-violet flowers can appear anytime from mid to late spring and rise above the foliage when in bloom. This plant is known for “carpeting” the ground, so be sure to maintain it because it can take over quickly.

19. Spiked Speedwell

Commonly known as the spiked speedwell, this plant produces a summer bloom of small star-shaped flowers with tall upright stems. They grow in shades of violet-blue, pink and white and also feature medium green foliage.

20. Garden Phlox

The garden phlox blooms between July and September. The flower features five flat-like petals that can be found in a handful of colors including white, lavender, pink rose, red and bicolor.

21. Asters

Commonly known as asters, the latin word for “star,” this flower blooms between late spring and early fall. Its blossoms offer a handful of colors, including white, blue, indigo, violet, red and pink. Pinching in the early summer will increase the yield of flower buds you’ll get and be sure to plant them in a shady area of your garden.

22. Toad Lily

This hardy plant offers flowers that are often mistaken as orchids spotted with hues of blue or purple. The toad lily prefers light shade and its late bloom makes this flower the perfect addition for a fall garden.

23. Spurge

This plant grows upright and features bluish-green leaves that are arranged in a spiral along the stems. Atop the stems grow small bushels of yellow or green flowers. These perennials thrive in a Mediterranean-type climate.

24. Mums

Chrysanthemums, also known as “Mums,” bloom in a variety of colors including, blue, green, orange, pink, red and white. This late-season flower delivers color that will add live to a garden or vase.

25. Cranesbill

The cranesbill flower is known as a tough plant due to its ability to withstand heat and drought conditions. The flower’s small petals blossom in spring and feature a variety of colors including pink and white among its deep green leaves. Also, makes for great groundcover.

26. Bellflowers

Bellflowers get their common name from the upright bell-shaped flowers they produce among their medium foliage. It comes in a handful of varieties assuring you’ll find the right fit for your gardens needs.

After browsing through our complete guide, reference the graphic below to easily save, share and utilize for all of your needs.

27. Bee Balm

Bee balm gets its name for its ability to attract bees and hummingbirds. It’s unique purple, red and pink blooms will add a splash of color to your garden.

Now that you’re convinced your garden needs a few perennials, don’t forget about the option of gifting them too. There’s nothing quite like a gift that keeps on giving and a perennial will remind any recipient of your thoughtfulness for years to come.

Browse our selection of fresh lilies or send a seasonal plant to brighten someone’s day and don’t forget to include tips for repotting plants!

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