Perennials are flowers that return to the garden year after year. While they can be slow-growing at first, there are many varieties that spread and multiply—adding to the bounty of your garden. There are thousands of varieties of perennials that vary in size, shape and overall care. In order to find the best selection for your outdoor space, you need to consider the location in which they will be planted—shade, partial sun or full sun. Refer to the USDA plant chart for perennials that will thrive in your geographical location.
Shade-loving perennials are plants that need to be planted in cool, shaded areas that are out of the direct rays of the sun. They thrive off of the limited light that they receive. One of the most popular shade-loving perennials is the hosta. Hostas come in several different varieties, such as the Aspen Gold, with solid green leaves, or the Cascades, which have green foliage leaves and a streak of white down the middle with lavender bell flowers. Most hostas have green and white foliage and sport a spiking flower midway through the summer season. Astilbe is also a shade-loving perennial that comes in a variety of pastel and bright colors of white, purple and pink. It has a delicate foliage with spikes of color throughout the summer season. Ferns are also a popular choice. While they do not spike flowers, they are attractive when placed between flowering favorites like bleeding hearts and lily of the valley.
Partial sun perennials often have more blooming flowers than shaded plants. Some popular varieties include false spirea with bright purple flowers, carpathian bellflower with a bright and bold blue flower, coreopsis that sport yellow daisy like flowers and achillea with its mounds of tiny colorful buds. Hellebourous comes in a variety of colors with solid pinks, yellows and purples and some with variegated centers. Partial sun perennial flowers are good to plant alongside shaded plants and can be planted under large trees.
Full-sun perennials are big, bold and colorful. They require more than six hours of sunlight to reach their full growth potential. Popular full sun perennials include roses, aster, clematis, coneflower and columbine. Delphinium with its tall spikes and multiple flower heads stand out in most flower gardens. Foxglove with its bell-shaped flowers on large 1 to 2 foot stems look right at home in an old-fashion country garden. Most varieties of lilies also thrive in full sun. There are a variety of colors and sizes that are perfect additions to any sun-loving garden.