Perennials That Love Sun

Pick the right plants for the brightest spots in your garden.

Daylily

Daylily. These super-easy perennials require nothing special in the way of soil and a minimum of maintenance. The blooms are available in a multitude of colors and heights; each flower lasts only a day but each stalk produces several blooms. Most varieties flower for a three-week period; combine early-, mid- and late-season varieties to have color from early summer to fall. 'Stella D'Oro' repeat blooms. Divide every three to four years. USDA Zones: 3 to 10 (Pictured: 'Stella d'Oro')

Black-eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susan. This drought-tolerant perennial (Rudbeckia fulgida) produces a mass of late-summer and early-fall color in sites where many plants don't thrive, like dry hillsides and rocky terrain. Black-eyed Susans do best in average, well-drained soil. Divide every three to four years to keep the plants vigorous; expect reseeding. Attracts butterflies. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 11

yarrow

Yarrow. This tough summer-blooming perennial performs best in average to poor soil and likes things on the dry side. In fact, give it too much moisture or a soil too rich, and the foliage flops. Varieties come in bright yellow, white, orange, red, pink and coral. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10

white night shasta daisy is herbaceous perennial

Shasta daisy. Its large, cheery flowers and troublefree foliage make Shasta daisy a natural addition to a sunny garden (also great for a moon garden). This clump-forming, perennial blooms from early summer to fall on 2-1/2-foot-tall stems. Provide support to keep the taller types from falling over. Tolerates a wide range of soils; provide consistent moisture. USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

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Purple coneflower. A dependable, drought-tolerant perennial, purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) blooms atop 2- to 3-foot stems in mid to late summer. The protruding flower centers (cones) are butterfly magnets. Cultivars come in a striking array of colors, including orange, yellow, raspberry and white. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9

Dianthus

Dianthus: Known for their long flowering season these gorgeous fringed flowers can last from spring to fall. Dianthus is a very fragrant plant working well in a scented, butterfly, cut flower or heirloom garden. The plants bloom not only solid colors, like white, red, rose, lavender and yellow, but also bicolor with interesting edging, darker centers and streaks. Stem rot is a concern so plant in a well-drained clay or sandy soil and do not mulch all the way around the plant. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10 (Pictured: Neon Star)

Salvia Nemerosa

Salvia Hundreds of species of salvia exist, and they all share the common characteristic of vertical spikes of vibrant flowers and gray-green leaves. A favorite of hummingbirds, the tubular blooms can be found in hues of blue, red, pink or violet. The variety dictates the time of bloom, and the color. Most types can withstand periods of moderate drought. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10 (Pictured: Salvia nemorosa)

Blanket Flower

Blanket flower. An excellent choice for the novice gardener, blanket flower is easy to grow and drought tolerant. Vibrant blooms come in red, yellow, orange or a combination of the three. Plant the flowers in masses for brilliant color from late spring to fall; deadhead to prolong bloom. These daisy-like flowers attract butterflies, bees and birds and are deer-resistant. Reseeds freely. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 11 (Pictured: 'Arizona Sun')

Balloon Flowers

Balloon flower. Named for the shape of its buds, this long-lived perennial blooms from mid to late summer. Blue is its most common color, but white and pink selections can also be found. Balloon flower prefers moist, well-drained soil. Once established, it's virtually maintenance free. Don't divide; the fibrous root system can be tricky to transplant. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8

Helianthus

Swamp sunflower. This cheery perennial sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) is a great choice for a moist or wet site. It blooms from late summer to fall, and, depending on the variety, can reach 6 to 10 feet tall. Space plants 3 feet apart to give them room to colonize. In early June cut the plants back about one-third to avoid having too-tall plants that get toppled by wind. USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

cranesbill geranium has blue cup like flowers

Cranebill geranium. One of the most reliable and longest blooming plants for the garden, cranebill geraniums add a burst of color that starts in spring and lasts until first frost. The small, cup-shaped blooms are available in blue, pink, rose and magenta. Select a site that has good drainage. Not related to the annual geranium used in planters. USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9 (Pictured: 'Johnson's Blue')

Gayfeather

Zoran Ivanovich

Zoran Ivanovich

Gayfeather. The dramatic spires of this sun-loving perennial create an eye-catching vertical element in the late summer garden. Reaching up to 4 feet tall, the lavender, purple, pink or white blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Gayfeather needs full sun and air circulation to avoid mildew; plant corms 8 to 10 inches apart. Can also be planted in fall. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9; needs winter mulch in Zones 3 and 4.

sunny border blue speedwell is deciduous perennial

Speedwell or veronica. Extremely low maintenance and easy to grow, speedwell is a popular summer-garden perennial for its extended bloom during a time of the year when color is welcome. Their white, blue-violet or pink spikes last from midsummer to fall. Give speedwell a sunny location with good drainage and average soil. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 11

Joe-Pye Weed

Joe-pye weed. A staple in butterfly gardens, joe-pye weed is known for its tall, stately habit, attractive foliage and oversized flower clusters that appear in midsummer and typically last until hard frost. Plant in moist soil. Varieties range from 2 to 6 feet tall. USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 10

Bee Balm

Bee balm. A must for the wildlife garden, bee balm's tubular flowers attract hummingbirds and butteflies. Dark, aromatic foliage complements the white, pink, red, or purple blooms that appear mid to late summer and often into fall. This perennial is susceptible to powdery mildew, so plant in full sun and select resistant varieties. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8

Mexican Bush Sage

Mexican bush sage. Distinguished by its velvety purple and white spires in late summer and fall, this drought-tolerant shrubby perennial is loved by butterflies and hummingbirds. Mexican bush sage needs well-drained soil. USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 10 as a shrub; to Zone 7b as a perennial

Agapanthus

Agapanthus. Also known as African lily, this tender perennial has 2- to 4-foot-tall stems bearing blue or white funnel-shaped flowers in late summer to early fall. Plant the bulbs in well-drained soil or in pots where not hardy. USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 11

Bulb Flowers Planted in the Fall-Bearded Iris

Bearded iris. This fragrant, old-fashioned spring bloomer is available in most colors. Bearded iris requires half a day of full sun and is very drought tolerant. Plant rhizome in neutral to slightly acidic soil, just above ground level, in late summer or early fall. USDA Hardiness Zones 3 to 10 (Pictured: 'Grapesicle')

Iris

SH07B179YARDSMART Feb. 19, 2007 _ With perennials like iris, selecting and buying your plants from a nursery or catalog gives you an exceptional range of color combinations. (SHNS photo courtesy Maureen Gilmer)

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must carry credit for Tesselaar

must carry credit for Tesselaar

A plant with flowers having a deep purple center and purple petals that have white spreading our from near the center

Verbena

Russian Sage

SH06B280YARDSMART Feb. 27, 2006 _ Monrovia’s blue Little Spire Russian sage. (SHNS photo courtesy of Maureen Gilmer)

Dephiniums

Pincushion Flowers

SH06D100YARDSMART April 10, 2006 _ Pincushion flowers are named for the pin-like stamens. (SHNS photo courtesy of Maureen Gilmer)

Sedum

SH05L137YARDSMART Dec. 12, 2005 _ Succulent Sedum "Autumn Joy" is a true, long-lived perennial. (SHNS photo by Maureen Gilmer)

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