Comprising a large variety of flowering plants and shrubs, perennials have roots that survive year to year. Some are evergreen. Most, however, die to the ground in winter and reemerge in the spring, says University of Missouri Extension Associate Professor David H. Trinklein, PhD. Perennial flowers and shrubs are available for a variety of garden uses. Plant perennial flowers with similar characteristics in water, rock or woodland gardens. Use shrubs as ornamental backgrounds for annual flowers.
Native to North America, windflower (Anemone canadensis) is a perennial flower hardy minus 40 degrees F. Reaching 2 feet high and 30 inches wide, it forms colonies along floodplains and rivers or in wet meadows and thickets. Between April and June, its upright stems bear yellow-stamened, white 2-inch blossoms. Plant this vigorously spreading perennial in a wildflower garden, recommends the Missouri Botanical Garden. It does best in moist, rich, well-drained oil and partial shade.
Hollyhock (Alcea rugosa), a tall perennnial flower of the mallow family, is native to southern Russia and the Ukraine. It withstands winter temperatures as low as minus 30 degrees F. Its single, sturdy 4-to-9-foot stem rises from a large clump of lobed, roughly textured heart-shaped green leaves. From late spring into summer, showy flowers open along the stem from the bottom up. Cultivars in a wide range of colors, including white, yellow, pink, red and purple, are commercially available. Use hollyhock, recommends the Missouri Botanical Garden, along fences and walls or at the rear of flower borders. Give it full sun and medium, well-drained soil. It suffers in wet winter soil. Stake taller plants in windy locations. Seeds from its spent flowerheads will self-sow.
Juneberry (Amalanchier alnifolia) is a perennial shrub native to streambanks and woods in Canada and the northern central, Great Basin and western United States regions. Juneberry reaches 3 to 18 feet high, where it grows as a shrub. In fertile areas, it may grow as a 30-foot tree. Before leafing out between April and June, its branches bear clusters of aromatic white flowers. Small, oval pale-green leaves follow, providing extended red or orange autumn color. Sweet, edible blue berries ripen in early summer. The branches shelter wildlife, according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Plant Juneberry in sun or shade and well-drained soil. It may suffer in drought.
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), an evergreen perennial shrub, grows on the wooded slopes and meadow and pasturelands of the eastern United States. It often forms thickets. Its thick, spreading branches have glossy, dark-green leaves that become purple in autumn. In June and July, their large clusters of showy, pale pink or white bell-shaped blossoms light the mountain woods. Plant mountain laurel in partial shade and moist, cool rocky soil. Ingesting any part of this plant is toxic, cautions the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.