Perennials are favored by gardeners because once planted and established they appear year after year with little maintenance. The perennial gardener has the best luck with native perennials because the plants have evolved to survive and thrive in climates and soil conditions of the local area.
Numerous perennials are considered native to Pennsylvania. Gardeners can easily find the perfect native perennial to complement any area of the garden.
Monarda didyma , or bee balm, is also known as bergamot and Oswego tea. A moderate growing perennial, bee balm is especially attractive in a wildlife garden. The flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. The summer flowers can be purple, pink or scarlet and smell of mint. The leaves of the bee balm also are fragrant.
Bee balm likes well-drained, moist soil and grows equally well in full sun or partial shade, reaching heights of 1 to 3 feet.
The moonbeam, Coreopsis verticillata, is a hardy perennial, even though it looks very delicate with foliage that is finely textured. Growing 1 to 3 feet high, this plant is beautiful when planted in drifts alongside contrasting foliage. The pale yellow star-like flowers of the moonbeam blooms from late spring well into the fall and attracts butterflies.
Thriving in a variety of soils, the moonbeam tolerates drought, humidity and heat. The best planting conditions are in well-drained soil, either in the full sun or in partial shade. If the plants are deadheaded in the summer it will rebloom.
The moonbeam can spread, so to keep it contained remove spent blooms.
The popular coneflower, Echinacea has daisy-like flowers with cone-shaped central disks of orange or brownish yellow. The petals are white, pink or purple. A single flower appears on each hairy stem. The dark green leaves are bristly.
Bees and butterflies are attracted to the coneflower in the summer, and birds will find it in the winter if the cones are left on.
Plant the coneflower in an area with full sun and well-drained soil. Cut spent blooms to encourage more flowers and to prevent self seeding.
Hibiscus moscheutos , known as common rose mallow or swamp rose mallow, can reach heights of 8 feet. The funnel shaped flowers can grow to a width of 8 inches. The rose mallow can be found in varying shades of crimson, pink and white.
This woody-based perennial grows in humus-rich but well-drained soil. Plant it in the full sun for the showiest flowers that make their appearance in the summer.