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14 Sun Loving Perennials Anyone Can Grow

Paint sunny spots in your yard and garden with these colorful, carefree beauties. Perennials come back year after year, so just plant them and enjoy them! By Doug Jimerson

Blanket Flower

Blanket flower (Gaillardia) offers red-and-yellow flowers that exude color and charm. It loves hot, sunny spots, producing waves of single or double daisy-like flowers all summer and into fall. Blanket flower grows 1 to 3 feet tall and is deer resistant, too. Plus it's perfect for attracting butterflies!

Hardiness Zones: 3-11

Get tips to make a butterfly garden!


Salvia

Perenial salvia offers a range of varieties tough enough to take the cold of Minnesota and the heat and humidity of Miami (and most salvia varieties are deer resistant, too). Cool-weather-tolerant salvias include May Night, Carradona, and New Dimension. Salvias that can take the heat (zones 7 and warmer) include Wild Thing, Hot Lips, and Black and Blue.

Hardiness Zones: 3-10


Coreopsis

Add these brilliant yellow flowers to sunny beds and borders. Coreopsis offers varieties with single or double flowers. Most types grow about 18 inches tall. This prairie native needs little water or fertilizer. Some of our top coreopsis picks include dwarf-form Nana, pale yellow Moonbeam, and double-flowering Early Sunrise.

Hardiness Zones: 4-9


Purple Coneflower

Purple coneflower (Echinacea) is tough as nails. This showy perennial produces single-, double-, and triple-flowering varieties in wide range colors (beyond purple) that include white, raspberry, orange, and yellow. Purple coneflower generally grows 3 feet tall and bloom from early summer through fall. Butterflies love the flowers.

Hardiness Zones: 3-9


Delphinium

Blue is a coveted color in the perennial garden. You get all that and more when you plant delphinium. This tall bloomer (the tallest varieties can reach 7 feet, but compact types stay around 12 inches) offers spires of brilliant blue flowers in early summer. Varieties range from light sky blue to dark shades in almost purple. Some delphinium varieties also flower in white and pink.

Hardiness Zones: 3-7


Black-Eyed Susan

Commonly called black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia) develops wave after wave of cheerful daisy-like blooms from early summer to fall. Most varieties grow around 2 feet tall. These easy perennials tolerate heat and drought like a champ. Black-eyed Susan makes a long-lasting cut flower, too, so plant lots for summer bouquets. 

Hardiness Zones: 3-11


Sedum

Workhorses of the perennial border, sedums need little care to look great. Nearly impervious to heat, drought, and disease, sedums grow bigger each year. This perennial family includes ground-hugging varieties such as Angelina and Tricolor as well as taller types such as the classic 3-foot-tall Autumn Joy.

Hardiness Zones: 3-10


Dianthus

Fragrant, petal-packed perennial dianthus (cousin to the carnation) is also called “pinks” (even though it flowers in a variety of colors, such as red, white, rose, and lavender). Varieties range from creeping groundcovers to 3-foot tall plants. The leaves are blue-green -- they're very pleasing in a garden and accent most other plants in a design!

Hardiness Zones: 3-10


Daylily

Talk about easy care! Daylilies (Hemerocallis) are early risers, pushing their pretty grass-like leaves up through the soil in early spring. When summer rolls around, plants develop graceful flower stems packed with buds that open into beautiful blooms. Daylilies are named because each flower lasts for just one day. Not a worry because each plant produces a quantity of buds/blooms so there’s always color all the way to autumn!

Hardiness Zones: 3-9

Bearded Iris

One of the most sumptuous flowers in the spring garden, bearded iris is also easy to grow. It’s prized for its crown-like flowers topping tall graceful stems. The blooms come in an almost unlimited selection of colors and bi-colors, and some reblooming varieties even put on a second show of blossoms in fall.

Hardiness Zones: 3-9


Peony

Talk about dependable! Peonies last for years. In fact, many plants are known to bloom for 50 years and more. These shrubby perennials form 3-foot tall mounds of pretty foliage that are topped with large fragrant flowers in mid-spring. Flowers are available in single-, double-, or semi-double forms in a wide range of pretty pastel colors and bi-colors.

Hardiness Zones: 3-8


Asiatic Lily

Tall and colorful, Asiatic lilies grow 2 to 3 feet tall and produce clusters of upward-facing, jewel-like flowers at the top of each stem. Most Asiatic lilies bloom in red, orange, yellow, white, or bicolors. They’re extraordinarily hardy and spread slowly in the garden, forming bigger clumps each year.

Hardiness Zones: 4-8


Ice Plant

Ice plant (Delosperma) is a prolific drought-tolerant bloomer offers carpets of color. It grows well on slopes and is a favorite rock garden flower. The succulent leaves are topped with cheery daisy-like flowers in pink or yellow. Peak blooms last from late spring to early summer.

Hardiness Zones: 5-10


Artemisia

Silvery artemisia grows in lovely mounds of ferny foliage. Prized for its leaves, artemisia complements any color of perennial (and looks especially grand with blue flowers such as delphinium). Easy-care artemisia has low water needs and is deer resistant. Add the lacy foliage to flower bouquets. It looks good from spring to autumn.

Hardiness Zones: 3-9