| perennials | 10 min read | By Sarah Greenfield

Perennial Picking: Tips for Choosing the Right Plants

Perennials are plants that come back year after year, offering a sense of continuity and stunning blooms in any garden design. However, proper planting and care are crucial to ensure healthy, long-lasting plants.

Learn how to choose the right perennials for your garden. Our expert guide includes top picks for sun, shade, low-maintenance and unique gardens.

Why Perennials are Essential for a Beautiful Garden

Perennials are an integral part of any garden. These plants are different from annuals, which only last one growing season. Instead, perennials come back year after year, providing a reliable source of color and texture to your landscape.

One of the biggest benefits of perennials is that they can save you money in the long run. While annuals need to be replaced every year, perennials keep coming back and can be divided to create even more plants.

Another advantage of perennials is that they require less maintenance than other types of plants. They don’t need to be replanted each year, so there’s no need to till and prep your soil as often.

They also develop stronger root systems over time, making them more resilient against pests and harsh weather conditions. However, it’s important to note that not all perennial plants are created equal.

Some will do better in certain environments than others. That’s why it’s essential to choose the right perennials for your specific garden setting.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Perennial for Your Garden

Choosing the right perennials for your garden can have a significant impact on its overall look and feel. If you select plants that aren’t suited for your particular environment or climate zone, they may not thrive or may even die off quickly after planting. Before choosing any perennials for your garden, it’s important to assess your garden’s particular environment---including soil type, sun exposure and drainage---to ensure you’re selecting varieties with the best chance of thriving in that environment.

Once you’ve identified what will work best in your space (and what won’t), it’s time to start researching individual plant options based on their size at maturity; bloom time; color; and care requirements. By doing your research and selecting the right plants for your garden, you can create a beautiful and low-maintenance landscape that will continue to thrive for years to come.

The Importance of Understanding Your Garden’s Environment

Your garden is a unique ecosystem, and it’s essential to understand the environment that you’re working with before selecting perennials. The right plant for one garden may not work in another due to differences in soil type, sun exposure, and moisture level. To create a garden that thrives year after year, you need to select perennials based on their compatibility with your specific environment.

Assessing Your Garden’s Environment

To determine the suitability of a perennial for your garden, there are several factors that you need to consider. First and foremost is soil type. Is your soil sandy or clay-based?

Does it retain water well or dry out quickly? Knowing the answer to these questions will help you select plants that are best suited for your particular soil type.

Another critical factor is sun exposure. How many hours of sunlight does your garden receive each day?

Are there areas of full sun or deep shade? Different perennials thrive in different light levels, so understanding this aspect of your garden will help narrow down your plant choices.

Take note of any other environmental factors such as wind exposure or moisture level. Some plants can tolerate harsh winds while others cannot, and some prefer damp soil while others do better in drier conditions.

Tips for Assessing Your Garden’s Environment

To assess your garden’s environment thoroughly, consider investing in a home soil testing kit to determine pH levels and nutrient content. You can also consult local gardening experts who are familiar with the climate and conditions in your area and can recommend plants accordingly.

Additionally, observe how water drains from various areas of your yard during heavy rains to identify any potential drainage issues that could affect plant growth. Take note of which areas receive the most sunlight at different times throughout the day by observing shadows cast by trees or buildings.

Overall, taking the time to assess and understand your garden’s environment is critical to selecting perennials that will thrive and flourish in your unique ecosystem. By doing so, you’ll create a beautiful, sustainable garden that delights you year after year.

Top Perennial Picks for Sun-Drenched Gardens

When it comes to selecting perennials for your garden, there are few things more important than choosing plants that will thrive in the specific environment in which they’ll be planted. For sun-drenched gardens, this means selecting plants that can handle a lot of direct sunlight and potentially high temperatures.

Fortunately, there are plenty of perennials that are more than up to the task. One great option for a sun-loving perennial is the Coneflower.

Coneflowers growing in nature

These stunning flowers come in a variety of colors, including pink, purple, and yellow. They bloom from summer through fall and can even attract butterflies and bees to your garden.

As far as maintenance goes, Coneflowers require little effort beyond occasional deadheading. Another excellent choice for a sunny garden is the Daylily.

These sturdy plants bloom from early summer through late fall and come in an array of colors ranging from yellow to red to purple. They’re also known for their hardiness and ability to tolerate drought conditions - making them perfect for those who don’t want to spend too much time watering their garden.

If you’re looking for something with a bit more height, consider adding some Russian Sage to your garden. These tall perennials can grow up to 4 feet tall and boast beautiful blue-purple flowers that bloom from midsummer through early fall.

Russian Sage Flower

While they do require cutting back in the springtime, Russian Sage is otherwise relatively low-maintenance - making it perfect for those who want big results without too much work. If you have a sunny spot in your garden that needs filling with gorgeous blooms year after year then consider Coneflowers or Daylilies or Russian Sage as these sturdy perennials will handle direct sunlight without burning out quickly!

Best Perennial Choices for Shaded Gardens

If you’re fortunate enough to have a shaded garden, you know that finding the right plants can be a challenge. But fear not, there are plenty of perennials that do well in shaded environments.

It’s important to note that shade doesn’t necessarily mean complete darkness; most shade-loving perennials prefer dappled or partial shade. Here are some of our top picks for shaded gardens:


Hosta leaves

Hostas are a classic choice for shaded gardens, and for good reason. They come in a wide range of sizes and colors, from tiny varieties with delicate blue-green leaves to large specimens with variegated foliage.

Most hostas bloom in mid-summer, producing spikes of lavender or white flowers. Hostas are extremely low-maintenance and require minimal watering and fertilization.


Picture of Astilbe growing outside

Astilbes are another popular choice for shady areas. Their fluffy plumes of pink, white, or red flowers add texture and interest to any garden bed.

Astilbes prefer moist soil and regular watering but can tolerate some drought once established. They bloom in early summer and come in dwarf varieties as well as taller forms that can reach up to four feet tall.


Brunnera is a lesser-known perennial that deserves more attention. Its heart-shaped leaves create a beautiful backdrop for delicate sprays of blue flowers that bloom in late spring or early summer. Brunnera prefers partial shade but can handle full sun if kept consistently moist.

It’s also deer-resistant, making it an excellent choice for gardens prone to wildlife damage. Don’t let your shaded garden get you down!

There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing perennials that will thrive in less-than-ideal conditions. Hostas, astilbes, and brunnera are just a few of our top picks for shaded gardens - be sure to check them out!

Low-Maintenance Perennials for Busy Gardeners

The Joy of Low-Maintenance Perennials

Let’s face it, not everyone has the time or energy to devote to maintaining a high-maintenance garden. Thankfully, there are plenty of low-maintenance perennials out there that can still provide plenty of beauty and interest without requiring constant fussing and attention. One of the main benefits of low-maintenance perennials is that they tend to be quite hardy and resilient.

This means they can often withstand changes in weather conditions and droughts better than their more high-maintenance counterparts. They also tend to have longer bloom periods than some other plants, so you can enjoy their beauty for longer without having to worry about deadheading or pruning.

Hardy Perennials for Easy Care

When it comes to choosing low-maintenance perennials, it’s important to look for plants that are hardy and well-suited to your garden’s specific environment. Some good options include:

  • Sedum: These succulent plants come in a variety of colors and require very little water or care. - Yarrow: Yarrow is a hardy plant that does well in sunny locations with well-draining soil.

  • Coneflower: Also known as echinacea, coneflowers are easy-to-grow perennials that do well in full sun. When selecting low-maintenance perennials, keep an eye out for those labeled as “drought-tolerant” or “easy-care.” These are often excellent choices for busy gardeners who want beautiful plants without all the extra work.

Sedum growing in a pot

Gardening Made Simple

Gardening should be enjoyable, not stressful. That’s why I always recommend low-maintenance perennials for anyone who wants a beautiful garden without all the extra fuss. With these easy-to-grow plants, you can sit back and relax while your garden does its thing.

So why not give low-maintenance perennials a try? Your garden (and your schedule) will thank you.

Unusual Perennial Picks for Unique Gardens

As a gardening expert, I’ve seen far too many cookie-cutter gardens that lack personality and creativity. If you want to make your garden stand out, it’s time to think outside the box when choosing your perennials. Here are some unusual perennial picks that will add flair to any unique garden:

1. Helleborus foetidus - Also known as the stinking hellebore, this plant is anything but stinky in appearance. Its striking green foliage makes a bold statement in any garden, and its unusual flowers bloom in winter when most other plants are dormant.

2. Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’ - This striking plant boasts deep purple blooms with bright blue accents, making it a showstopper in any garden setting. It’s also a favorite of hummingbirds and bees.

3. Echinops ritro - This unique perennial features spherical blue blooms that resemble prickly globes. It’s a tough plant that thrives in full sun and can withstand drought conditions.

4. Amorphophallus konjac - Also known as the devil’s tongue or voodoo lily, this plant is not for the faint of heart (or nose). Its giant flower emits an odor similar to rotting flesh when it blooms, but its striking foliage makes up for the smell.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right perennials for your garden can be overwhelming, but with a little research and planning, you can create a stunning outdoor space that reflects your personality and style. Remember to consider factors such as sun exposure and soil type before selecting your plants, but don’t be afraid to get creative with unusual options like hellebores or voodoo lilies. At the end of the day, gardening should be fun and rewarding — not stressful or intimidating.

Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice gardener, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things. Who knows — your garden might just become the envy of the neighborhood.

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