Power Perennials: Plants That Thrive No Matter What

Daylily

Practically indestructible, daylilies will flower their heads off in almost any sunny spot. They are drought and insect resistant and offer a wide range of colors and bicolors. Daylilies are also available in early-, mid-, and late-season bloomers. For an all-season flower show plant a few of each in your garden. Or, select repeat bloomers that flower from spring until fall. These easy-care perennials eventually form large clumps that should be divided every three to four years. Grows in Zones 3-9.

Buddleia

Buddleia, commonly called butterfly bush, produces wave after wave of fragrant, nectar-rich flowers all summer long. A flowering shrub, Buddleia acts like a perennial in northern gardens, dying back to the ground each fall, only to return bigger and better the following spring. Buddleiais available in standard (3 to 5 feet tall) and dwarf forms (18 to 24 inches tall). Flower colors include white, red, purple, blue, yellow, pink, and lavender. They look terrific in the flower border or in containers. Just make sure to plant them in a sunny spot. Grows in Zones 5-10.

Epimedium

One of the best perennials for shady spots, Epimedium, commonly called barrenwort, is a real garden workhorse. Growing only 10 to 12 inches tall, this hardy groundcover offers both colorful foliage and flowers. It’s also highly drought resistant which makes it an ideal choice for shady locations with dry soil. Depending on the variety you grow and your region, the plants may also remain evergreen through the winter. Epimedium spreads slowly, gradually carpeting your garden with color. Grows in Zones 4-8.

Coreopsis

Hot, dry weather won’t stop Coreopsis from flowering all summer long. This American native is one of the most reliable perennials you can grow. The plants produce large quantities of yellow, orange, pink, white, red, or bicolored blooms that dance on wiry stems every time the wind blows. They also have few insect or disease problems. Foliage varies between species and can be either threadlike or broad. To promote even more flowers, remove faded blooms as they appear. Grows in Zones 3-8.

Russian Sage

Add a burst of color to your late summer and fall gardenwith Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia. This tough-as nails plant is native to central Asia, so it’s capable of performing in hot, dry conditions. Its eye-popping bluish-purple flowers appear in mid to late summer and retain their color for weeks. Paired with the plant’s fragrant, silvery foliage, Russian sage is a must-have for your garden. Russian sage grows 3 to 5 feet tall, dwarf forms are more compact reaching 3 feet in height. Grows in Zones 4-9.