Perennial Plants for Gardens

Growing year after year, with a one-time planting, perennial flowers are the backbone of the garden. Grown in many varieties, each with its own distinct, color and shape, perennial plants and flowers oftentimes require well-drained soils to thrive. Perennial plants are versatile and tolerate a wide range of soil types, including dry and clay soils. Tucked against a border or amidst a bed, perennial plants create a showy garden display.

Lamb's Ears

Lamb's ears (Stachys byzantine) are a summer-blooming perennial with furry silver to green leaves that resemble a lamb ear. Growing 12 to 15 inches tall and wide, lamb's ears have a spreading, mat-forming growth habit. The 4-inch-long leaves bear 6- to 12-inch flower-tipped spikes with bright purple to pink flowers. Drought-tolerant, lamb's ears have the ability to crowd out weeds to create a carpet of soft color. Planted in a container or lining a garden pathway, lamb's ears create a subtle garden display. Lamb's ears require full sun to light shade and moist, well-drained soil to thrive. Lamb's ears do not tolerate high humidity or heat. To grow in other areas of the garden, divide lamb's ear in spring. The USDA Hardiness Zones for planting are 4 to 8.

Cushion Euphorbia

Cushion euphorbia (Euphorbia polychroma) is a perennial ground cover that has a moderate growth rate and mound-like habit. Growing 1 to 3 feet tall and wide, cushion euphorbia is an ideal perennial to plant as a ground cover along the front of a flowerbed or tucked amidst a rock garden for a bright splash of color. Deer-tolerant, cushion euphorbia has green, stemless foliage that grows 2 inches wide. Beginning in fall, cushion euphorbia casts a red, orange and purple tinge to the garden for a fiery pattern. The poinsettia-like blooms of cushion euphorbia grow in 1-inch clusters. Drought-tolerant, cushion euphorbia requires a 14- to 20-inch spacing to ensure adequate room for maximum growth. Cushion euphorbia requires full sun to part shade and moist, well-drained soils to flourish. The zones for planting are 4 to 9.

Bleeding Heart

Bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) is a spring-blooming perennial flower with heart-shaped flowers that appear as if they are nodding down. Growing in upright clumps, bleeding heart grows 14 to 24 inches tall. The arching stems of bleeding heart hold the 1-inch pink to white flowers that light up the garden with their unusual shape. The soft, pale-green foliage of the bleeding heart contrasts with the bright flower blooms and is striking when planted as a spring border. Bleeding heart requires partial shade and moist, nutrient-rich soils that are neutral to alkaline in nature. The zones for planting are 2 to 9.

Keywords: garden perennial plants, perennial flowers, lamb's ears, cushion euphorbia, bleeding heart

About this Author

Callie Barber is a writer, designer and photographer in North Carolina. Barber's love for design and writing inspired her to create Design Your Revolution, a blog that shares creative and affordable ways to decorate your indoor and outdoor living environment. Her articles have appeared in Travels.com and GardenGuides.com and her photography has been featured in "Automotive News" magazine and Forbes.com.