Kansas City is located in the Midwest and straddles both Kansas and Missouri. The climate in Kansas City can have rapid fluctuations, particularly in the spring months. Perennial plants (which return yearly) need to be tolerant of fluctuating temperatures, scorching summers and drought to survive in this area. If you live in Kansas City, planting perennials that are recommended for the area will produce the best outcome.
The peony plant (Paeonia lactiflora) produces large, fragrant flowers in mid-to-late spring. At full maturity, peonies will grow up to 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The average peony blooms within the first three years and may live up to 100 years, reports Karen Russ, Horticultural Specialist and Bob Polomski, Consumer Horticulturist at Clemson University Cooperative Extension. Peonies need at least six hours of sun a day for optimal blooming. Loamy soil with good drainage and a soil PH of 6.5 to 7.0 are ideal for good growth.
There are many cultivars of peonies, including Kansas, Flame, Festiva Maxima, Do Tell, Felix Crousse, Blaze, Bride's Dream, Coral Charm and America. Few pests or diseases affect peonies.
The bearded iris (Iris germanica) can grow up to 4 feet tall in a sunny location and blooms in the months of May and June. In the Kansas City area, they grow well with six to eight hours of full sun and afternoon shade to provide relief from the heat. The bearded iris does well in a well-drained, alkaline soil. They need good air circulation to prevent diseases such as bacterial soft rot. Iris borers are the most problematic pest for irises.
There are numerous species and cultivars of bearded iris, ranging in size and color. A few of the varieties include Bantam, Scribe, Bay Ruffles, Starlight, Watercolor, Brighten Up, Piece of Cake and Red Zinger.
The daylily (Hemerocallis hybrids) has trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom from June to October. The plant is prolific, but each flower lasts only one day. The daylily tolerates heat, drought, flooding and various soil and lighting conditions. They grow up to 5 feet tall and may bloom the first year they are planted. Daylilies can live many years with average care and are generally not affected by pests or disease. Divide the tuberous roots of the daylily every four to six years.
Daylilies come in a wide array of colors and sizes. Cultivars include Always Afternoon, Dragon Eye, Fairy Tale Pink, Gentle Shepherd and Happy Returns.
The hosta (Hosta spp.) is a long-lived perennial, if given proper care. Hostas are usually grown for their attractive foliage, and they bloom with white, blue or lavender flowers. These shade-loving perennials are easy to grow and can vary in size, with the average hosta being about 2 1/2 feet tall. Anthracnose (a fungus), foliar nematodes (worms) and slugs are problematic for hostas.
There are several cultivars of hostas, including Royal Standard, Aphrodite, August Moon, Honeybells, Albomarginata and Hyacinthina.