by Lisa Watters-Lain, Arizona’s Garden Gal
It’s frustrating to design a new flowerbed around your favorite perennial flowers, like delphiniums, Shasta daisies, and pincushion flower, only to see them peter out after three or four years.
Here is a list of perennial flowers famous for their longevity. These are the bloomers you see in old neighborhoods, planted when the homes were first built and still blooming decades later. Plant these in June, and use the money you save in subsequent growing seasons for lush hanging baskets and container gardens.
These deliver that coveted shade of blue that blends well in any garden without the finicky needs some blue flowers exhibit. They endure a wide range of temperatures and conditions in full sun or partially shady gardens. Once settled in, balloon flowers rarely need dividing and don’t require deadheading.
These plants thrive in full-sun containers and beds. Their yellow or rusty red flowers with black centers bloom summer through fall and attract birds, butterflies and beneficial insects.
Anyone who cares about the future of Monarch butterflies, plant this in their gardens. They were the 2017 Plant of the Year. Bright orange flowers are drought tolerant, disease and pest-free.
Have you noticed wild clumps still growing on old homesteads? If you like orange hues, try a hybrid like the more civilized Orange Crush. Or, branch out to many shades of the rainbow. Drought tolerant and nearly pest-free, some consider daylilies essential to any landscape.
Unlike the annual geraniums found at Watters Garden Center, perennial geraniums are tough and return in Alaska and Siberia’s unforgiving climates. In addition to the delicate flowers, gardeners appreciate the ornamental foliage, which features divided leaves with dark-colored bands.
Hellebore or Lenten rose
This flower fills two difficult niches: it thrives for year in shady spots and blooms well before the last frost has kissed the landscape. Newer cultivars found at the garden center are bigger and brighter. Pink Frost is notable for its large and upward-facing flowers.
Include a selection of these easy perennials in your deer-resistant garden for late spring to early summer blooms. Irises do need dividing every few years. Share a few rhizomes with friends, so they can enjoy the same knee-high flower spikes in their gardens.
This North American wildflower grows on grasslands, nourishing butterflies and bees with nectar-rich flowers that bloom from the top down.
This often blooms before other perennials have emerged from the garden. Petite white, pink and blue flowers complement the highly ornamental foliage with interesting white freckles. Give it ample moisture, rich soil and watch a few plants multiply into a dozen over the seasons in your woodland garden.
Your grandmother would fall in love with these larger, more colorful varieties. These hardy mountain varieties take the brutal sun, wind for decades of perennial enjoyment. Deer and javelina will ignore these blooming beauties.
These are so tough they survive such insults as being rudely yanked from the garden and replanted by a toddler with a shovel. Plump, succulent foliage contributes to the vigor of sedum, retaining moisture during periods of drought. Sedums like the popular Autumn Joy or the dramatic Bronze Carpet attract pollinators and thrive in mountain clay.
Sunset Blanket Flower
Perpetual, vibrant red flowers bloom from late spring right until frost if spent blooms are deadheaded regularly — deer and javelina proof.
Until the next issue, I’ll be helping gardeners choose the prettiest flowers here at Watters Garden Center.