It is time for us to select our top perennials for the year. As we have previously mentioned, perennials are an excellent choice for anyone who is looking to have a low-maintenance garden. There are many different perennials that can be used in gardens, and they come in many different colors, shapes, and sizes.

The benefits of perennials include:

  • Lower maintenance
  • Longer blooming period
  • Higher resistance to pests and diseases

We are going to start with our fifth selection, which is Oriental Poppy (Papaver orientale). We love the large, colorful blooms that look like crepe paper. The most common colors are orange or red, but they also come in maroon, peach, pink, purple, and salmon. The petals usually have a dark blotch as their base. When the large buds first appear they are downward facing, but as the flowers open, they raise their heads.  These spring-blooming flowers grow one to three feet tall and one to two feet wide. In the summer after the flowers bloom the above-ground growth dies back. Plant these beauties in the spring or fall in a location with full sun and well-draining soil.  Hardiness zones 3-9.

Fourth on our list is Anemone. This plant is also known as a windflower. They are eye-catching flowers that bloom in early spring, summer, or fall, depending on the species.  These easy-to-grow flowers come in many colors depending on species and variety. The flowers are known for having a simple single bloom, but there are some that have double flowers. Popular colors are blue, orange, pink, purple, and white. They can grow from 6 inches to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet wide. Plant the spring bloomers in the fall and fall bloomers in the spring, which are typically sold as corms or bare roots. This plant needs at least half a day of direct sunlight and moist well-draining soil. These plants prefer cooler weather.  Hardiness zones 3-10 (varies by species).

Next on our list is Rudbeckia hirta.  It is a native perennial also known as Black-Eyed Susan or Gloriosa Daisy. While the plant was native to the Eastern United States it is now grown throughout North America. This easy-to-grow plant is recognized for having a black center surrounded by bright yellow or orange petals. The plant blooms in mid-summer and if you consistently deadhead will continue flowering through the fall.  The fast-growing plant will bloom in its first year and it freely self-seeds.  The plant is moderately drought tolerant and will do well even if it is neglected. Plant it in well-drained soil in sun to partial shade. Full sun is preferred. Rudbeckia hirta grows 2 to 3 feet tall and spreads 1 to 2 feet. Hardiness zones 3-7. 

Number two on our list is Bearded Iris. This was one of my father’s favorite flowers.  It is the most popular iris and easiest to grow when planted in a sunny location (6-8 hours); in well-draining soil. Bearded iris flowers are a beautiful addition to any garden. It has sword-shaped leaves, which are green on the top and silver underneath. The plant is identified by thick, bushy beards on each of the lower petals (falls) of the blossom. The flowers are usually blue, brown, orange, pink, purple, red, white, yellow, and many bicolors with a yellow beard at the bottom of each petal. They grow 12-40 inches tall and 1-2 feet wide. This plant will need routine dividing to keep the plant healthy and productive. There are reblooming irises and they grow faster than regular irises but need to be divided more often. Remember do not use mulch with these plants as it can lead to root rot. It is also deer resistant. Hardiness zones 3-9.

Our top perennial of the year is Delphinium. Delphinium plants are perennial flowering plants that belong to the buttercup family and are referred to as the “Queen of the Border”.  The plant can bring height and a splash of color to your garden with its showy spikes of flowers in June and July. Delphiniums come in many different colors, including blue, pink, purple, red, white, and yellow. The blue is our favorite. These flowers have different forms depending on the number of their sepals and petals. They can be single, semi-double, or double.  Plant height varies depending on the variety, with dwarf varieties growing 1 to 2 ft and taller varieties growing 6 to 8 ft tall.  Grow your plants in full sun to light shade in well-draining soil. Shelter it from the wind and you will also need plant supports as it grows. Hardiness zones 3-7.

Let us know what your favorite perennial was this year!

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