When you are planting perennials in the fall it is good to know which ones can handle colder temperatures and the perennials which can handle freezing temperatures. We put together a mix of plants that can hold their own in cold winters. There are several where the cold weather even helps improve their blooms.
Here are 8 perennials that will survive cold winters:
Bee Balm - Bee Balm is native to eastern North America and is a member of the Mint family. It is also known as Wild Bergamot. The unique blooms of Bee Balm are found in pink, purple, red, and white. The foliage on the plant is fragrant. The flower blooms in the mid to late summer. Native Americans and colonists used bee balm leaves and flowers to make tea and medicinal salves. Bee balm can also be used to make potpourris and lotions. This plant is a great addition to any pollinator garden. The flowers attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The seed heads will attract birds in the fall and winter. Plant bee balm in the spring or fall in rich well-drained soil. The plant will grow best in full sunshine and is easy to grow from seeds. Find a location where there is good air circulation or it can develop powdery mildew. To encourage re-blooming deadhead faded blooms.
Catmint – Catmint is also known as Nepeta and is part of the Mint family. The plant has a long bloom time. It has blue-green foliage and pretty lavender-blue flowers. The plant will bloom from late spring to early fall. These low-maintenance plants can be used in many parts of the garden. You will find it is drought resistant as well as resistant to pests and diseases. Make sure you give Catmint a lot of room to grow as it tends to grow wider than taller. They love being in the full sun but will also do well in the afternoon shade, especially in a hot location. Catmint will do well in any type of well-drained soil. If the soil is too wet the plant can get root rot. It attracts bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Hardiness zones 3 to 8.
Coneflower – Coneflowers are also known as Echinacea and are a member of the Daisy family. It is an easy to grow Native American plant that is tough and attracts pollinators. Coneflowers grow 2 to 4 feet tall and have dark green foliage. They are typically known for their purple flowers but with breeding, you can also find them in pretty shades of orange, pink, red, and yellow. There is also a range of flower forms to check out. With these new species, you will find they are not as vigorous and a little picky, so you will have to give them a little more TLC. The plant can grow in almost any kind of soil and will survive cold winters and hot, dry summers. Check your species but most of them are hardy for zones 3-9.
Heliopsis – Heliopsis is a member of the Sunflower family and is native to the dry prairies of North and South America. It also goes by the name False Sunflower, Smooth Oxeye, and Oxeye Sunflower. This cheery, hardy flower is very easy to grow. The blooms on the plant are mostly found in yellow and they flower from summer to autumn. They grow on stiff stems from 3-5 feet tall. Plant them in full sun in moist well-drained soil. Deadheading is encouraged to keep the blooms going. Stake the plant as needed. The plant can be divided every 2-3 years in spring or fall. These plants are loved by butterflies. They are hardy for zones 4-9.
Lily Of The Valley – Lily of the Valley is an old-fashioned favorite. It is a woodland flowering plant that is fragrant and has bell-shaped white flowers that bloom in the spring. It is a groundcover that grows and spreads rapidly. When grown in a cool, moist environment, it is an enthusiast grower. It is often seen in a rock garden and can also be used as a cut flower. Lily of the Valley is a shade loving flower that can grow in a full to partial shade environment. The plant is hardy for zones 2 to 7. This hardy perennial is a cool-weather lover, which encourages better flowering in the spring. Although it will tolerate the warmer weather of zones 6 and 7, it struggles in zones 8 and above.
Peony – Peonies are a shrub which is native to Asia, Europe, and Western North America. They are known for their beautiful, fragrant blooms which flower from late spring to early summer. There are more than 30 species of Peonies. There is even a Peony species that can be grown in Alaska. This plant does take some time to establish, but they can thrive for over 100 years. There are six types of Peony flowers available: anemone, single, Japanese, semi-double, double, and bomb. Grow this shrub in full sun and well-drained soil. They enjoy cold winters because they need the cold weather for bud formation. This shrub is hardy for zone 3 and some will grow into zones 7-8.
Sedum – Sedum is a diverse group of succulents that have hundreds of varieties that range from groundcovers, trailing plants to shrubs and tall spiked-flowering plants. Sedum is also known as Stonecrop and has a rosette form. Most of the plants produce flowers. The leaves are thick, semi-glossy, and fleshy for storing water. The plant comes in blue, green, orange, purple, and red with color changes occurring during the seasons. The flowers on the plants are typically pink, white, or yellow. These succulents are drought tolerant and will survive deep freezes. Plant them in well-draining soil to prevent root rot. They also do well in poor soil and you do not need to add fertilizer. They need a bright, sunny spot and just watch them grow. You can use them in a garden bed, a container, a hanging basket, and even a living wall or roof. Sedum can be regrown easily from cuttings. These plants are among the hardiest succulents.
Siberian Iris – Siberian Irises are one of the easiest Irises to grow. They have tall, graceful stems and beautiful flowers, with grassy foliage. They grow 2 to 4 feet tall and are an adaptable and hardy plant. The flowers bloom in mid-spring to early summer. In the spring, they need lots of moisture and can survive dry periods in the summer. They love full sun but will grow in partial shade. When planting them they do not like to have their rhizomes exposed to sunlight. This is unlike Bearded Irises. Instead, cover the rhizomes of the bare-root plants with one to two inches of soil. Remove spent flowers after they bloom to keep seed heads from forming. In the fall cut back the foliage to discourage pests from overwintering. Cut foliage to the ground and mulch well after the ground has frozen. The plant is hardy in zones 2 to 9.
Let us know your experience growing any of these perennials.