With summer in full swing, I wanted to pop onto your screens with a list of my Top Ten Perennials for Sun and Shade. What I love about perennials is that grow back every year to fill in areas where I don’t want to have to plant annuals each year! Considering the size of our large yards, this really helps keep my workload down in the spring.
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There are so many amazing perennials out there. I buy all of mine from our local O’Toole’s Garden Centers, but the varieties that I am sharing here are readily available. Be sure to stay tuned to the bottom of my post where I am sharing my favorite garden/gardening products.
Plants that live and grow back for more than two years are known as perennials. There are perennials for every style of garden, for any type of soil, and they come in a variety of sizes…from small plants for the front of a border to medium-sized plants for the center, and even larger.
My Top Twelve Perennials for Sun and Shade (in no particular order)
- Russian Sage
- Jupiter’s Beard
- Cat Mint
- Dead Nettle
- Day Lilies
- Black-eyed Susan
Now, let’s break this down…
PEONIES. Albeit, a short-term bloomer, this is my all-time favorite perennial! They love the sun and shade in the afternoon, if possible. This is my “Queen Jewel” of my peony bushes!
Peonies are a mainstay of perennial gardening as they produce fancy, big, beautiful blooms. As a larger shrubby plant, peonies make great borders in a cottage or cut flower gardens.
They also make stunning arrangements! This one was made by a good blogger friend of mine.
You must check out this book on all things PEONIES! I have this and it makes a lovely coffee table book. Click on the link to buy your own.
To learn more about How to Plant, Grow, and Care for Peony Flowers, click HERE.
RUSSIAN SAGE. The vibrant purple flowers bloom all summer and provide beautiful drama to any garden. They are very drought tolerant and do not require much water. They love the sun!
I love complimenting them with yellow perennials, in my case, with yarrow.
For more information on Russian Sage, click here.
YARROW. This one is really high on my list. I have a TON of it in our yard! It is also very drought-resistant and highly adaptable. Yarrow’s distinctive yellow flower clusters bloom all summer, as long as you deadhead the flowers. This is a well-behaved variety. I cut ours back in early spring so that I can enjoy their unique look all winter.
I love mixing mine with purple varieties of other flowers (Russian Sage, Catmint, Salvia, and Lavender, to be specific). Here are a few examples for our yard…
This is a white version that came up naturally in our yard. I just love how lacy the flowers are!
For more details on growing Yarrow, click HERE.
JUPITER’S BEARD. This is a new species for our yard. I am totally OBSESSED! It is super easy to grow and I love it because it spreads and multiplies to fill larger spaces, which also makes it super economical. We have over an acre in our backyard so I have lots of large areas that I still need to fill in. I will be adding quite a bit more of this!
Jupiter’s Beard, or Red Valerian, is a tough, easy-to-grow perennial. It is drought tolerant once established, likes the full sun, and can even grow in poor soil. Plus, it blooms with a showy display of fragrant little flowers throughout the summer. You can see here how it looks in our yard…
For more information on Jupiter’s Beard, click HERE.
For those of you who like purple, the next four are for you!
CATMINT. Not only was it the 2021 Perennial of the Year, it so so easy to grow! It delivers a mounding effect and is pretty much impossible to kill. I feature it throughout our yard and love the bright punch of color.
Here are a few shots of it in our yard…
Here are three more popular purple varieties…
LAVENDER. This species is very heat and drought tolerant once established and suitable for dry, rocky areas where other perennials may falter. It is exceptionally long-blooming with plumes of bright, lavender-blue flowers lingering for long periods during the summer. Plus, the flowers are also wonderfully fragrant with a soothing lavender scent. Divine! It is also a great flower to dry at the end of the season.
SALVIA. I planted a BUNCH of this at our last property. It has very similar attributes to Catmint, Lavender, and Russian Sage. Salvia can’t be beaten for easy care and showy color. Salvia is drought tolerant once established and blooms with stunning indigo plumes on top of soft green foliage. It is as versatile as it is beautiful, equally at home in flower beds, rock gardens, containers, and borders. It also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden. Bonus!
DEADNETTLE. This tough, low-growing perennial makes an ideal groundcover. It is interestingly textured and variegated foliage topped with unique two-lipped flowers in the late spring. They are especially useful for lightening up a shady area.
When I planted ours, it was below three trees that we removed so it was in the shade. Since we had the three trees removed, it is still doing very well.
More of My Top Twelve Perennials for Sun and Shade
HOSTA. This is another favorite of mine, especially for shade! Though many hostas, also known as Plantain Lilies, do bloom, their real attraction is their broad leaf foliage. There are legions of hosta varieties with foliage in all kinds of showy colors and shapes. Hostas prefer the shade and generally like moist conditions.
Here is how I have used them in the front of our home in these heavily shaded areas…
A great way to use hosta in your planters and then replant them at the end of the season…
Last year, I created these planters pots with hosta as the main feature on my front porch.
When the season ended, I removed them from the planters and re-planted them in my garden (shown here).
You can see the whole post on how I created these Simple Summer Planter Pots for Shade HERE. These are my new pots for this year. OH, and I will be re-planting these hosta and perennials grasses as well!
DAYLILIES. When we bought our home, the previous owner had planted several daylilies so I have benefited from their glory with little to work on my part. There are few perennials as durable and adaptable as the Daylily. Enough said!
I intend to have this post out sooner, but I have been waiting for mine to pop so I could show you.
This one literally popped yesterday!
There are literally thousands of named cultivars of daylilies!
To learn more about growing Daylilies, click HERE.
BLACK-EYED SUSAN. This is another durable perennial that is easy to grow and brings great drama to any garden. In our last home, I planted quite a bit of it (because deer do not like it!) and am just now adding some to our yard at this property. Building our gardens has been a multi-year process!
Image by Doreen Wynja
CONEFLOWER. There are so many varieties of this hardy perennial. They are heat and drought tolerant once established and bloom for long periods throughout the summer. Clearly, there are tons of colors!
Shop my favorite gardening tools & Books…
As I mentioned earlier in this post, O’Toole’s Garden Centers are my local go-to’s for all things gardening! Their staff is so friendly and extremely knowledgeable. Their selection of perennials is unsurpassed! If you are a local reader or follower, you must go check them out!
For more lovely perennial options available at O’Tooles Garden Centers, click HERE.
I hope you enjoyed this tour of My Top Twelve Perennials for Sun and Shade! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments section below! Go get that green thumb of yours going!!