The Best Hardy Perennial Flowers For Your Garden

The best hardy perennial flowers for your garden landscaping. These plants are easy to grow, low-maintenance and beautiful!

best hardy perennials for your garden peony 2021

Even though I love this time of year and the renewal that spring brings, all I can think about when I walk around our yard is that I can’t wait until summer! Right now our garden beds are bare and colorless, the grass is brown, and even when the sun shines, it all looks dismal. So…for those of you who, like me, are longing for summer, I have rounded up my list of best hardy perennial flowers, so you can at least think about being in your garden.

Because after all…thinking and planning are part of the process, and definitely part of the fun!

*Author’s note: I reside in Northwest Ohio, which is U.S. planting zone 6. This post was written in 2021, and features our yard and gardens at the Sutton Place house. I’m looking forward to making the garden beds around our new home just as beautiful.

Best Hardy Perennial Flowers

Hostas (partial to full shade)

Hostas are perfect hardy perennial flowers for any garden landscaping that’s in the shade. Their bloom time comes later in the summer, but is definitely worth the wait. You can find much more information on growing hostas by clicking this link:

Hostas Care, Transplanting Hostas, Hosta Varieties & Infographic

Hostas: The best hardy perennial flowers for your garden landscaping. These plants are easy to grow, low-maintenance and beautiful!

Shasta Daisy (full sun preferred)

I love these for a cutting flower. I recommend Becky because it has strong stems and blooms for several weeks. They have a tendency to multiply and move around due to re-seeding. I just dig them up in the spring and plop them back where they belong. They pair beautifully in a cut arrangement with hosta, hydrangeas or phlox.

To see how to use this amazing cutting flower in your home click here: Simple Arrangements Using Garden Flowers & Herbs

Shasta Daisies: The best hardy perennial flowers for your garden landscaping. These plants are easy to grow, low-maintenance and beautiful!

Coreopsis (full sun preferred)

One of my favorites, but not widely used, is Coreopsis. I think I am emotionally attached to my coreopsis because it is the only plant that has survived from my original fence row garden plan. This batch started out as 3 little plants. I keep it in control by trimming around the perimeter of the patch in the spring. Although not really a cutting flower, I can see it from my kitchen window. Looking out to this view always lifts my spirits.

See: Backyard Garden Landscaping Ideas

Coreopsis ~ hardy perennial

Black-eyed Susans (full sun preferred)

Another daisy-type perennial that, in my opinion, should be in every perennial garden is the Black-eyed Susan. Honestly, these plants are amazing. All they need, once established, is water and the blooms are abundant.

Black Eyed Susans: The best hardy perennial flowers for your garden landscaping. These plants are easy to grow, low-maintenance and beautiful!

If you have stone borders around your garden beds, they have a tendency to sink during the winter. In late spring I always reset the rocks and flagstone. Click this link to learn more: How to Maintain a Garden Rock Border.

Clematis (full to partial sun)

Next is the climbing vine, Clematis. The plant below was started 2 years ago. Last year it only had a few blooms and I was a little worried. As you can see, I had nothing to worry about! It takes a year or so to become established and then it goes crazy. Mine is Galore and the purple pops from the wood fence.

For tips and tricks for growing clematis click here: Growing Clematis | Through the Years

Clematis: The best hardy perennial flowers for your garden landscaping. These plants are easy to grow, low-maintenance and beautiful!

Daylily (full to partial shade)

One perennial flower that has done very well for me is the Daylily. Like hosta, they die down in the fall for easy clean-up. Their blooming time is short, but the blooms are plentiful and vivid. We have split these daylilies a few times and moved some to the front yard. These are Stella D’oro, the most common variety.

Daylilies: The best hardy perennial flowers for your garden landscaping. These plants are easy to grow, low-maintenance and beautiful!

Peony (full to partial sun)

A few years ago I received three peony plants as a remembrance when my father-in-law passed away. I planted them in my fence row garden and have waited patiently for blooms. Last year I had none. This year I was blessed with several blooms on each bush. These peonies are the loveliest color but I have no idea exactly what it is. It’s a very vibrant, dark pink. Peonies require no care at all. They die down in the fall and appear again in the spring. I did worry a little about all the ants they were attracting as the buds were forming. Turns out I had no reason to worry. The ants actually help the buds form. By the time they bloomed the ants were all gone. Peonies love sun but they did fine in my partial sun conditions.

Hardy Plants | The DIY Gardener's Guide Part 2 | On Sutton Place

Dianthus (at least 6 hours of sun)

One of the reasons I planted the pink peonies was because I knew they would exactly match the dianthus that was already there. It’s a few years old and comes up in the late spring. The blooms are so pretty and last for several weeks. Again, there is really nothing to do except sheer off the blooms when they die down…and this is only if you want to. I didn’t last year and they came back again this year better than ever. Dianthus does expand and fill in nicely. If it gets too think it’s very easy to dig up and move.

See: Easy Garden Art Ideas

Hardy Plants | The DIY Gardener's Guide Part 2 | On Sutton Place

Lavender (full sun, dry conditions)

No list of hardy perennial flowers would be complete without including lavender, and even though I have not had amazing success, my lavender has refused to die! Some years it looks better than others and I think that depends on how much rain we get. Lavender likes to be dry. The picture below is from just a few weeks ago and this is the best my lavender has ever looked. The blooms are not abundant, but it looks healthy and has the most incredible scent. A few years ago I was ready to pull it completely out and now I’m glad that I didn’t. I’m hopeful that next year will bring even more blooms. There are different kinds of lavender. Mine is Hidcote English Lavender but Munstead is also a good choice. For projects and recipes that use lavender click HERE. (The lavender shortbread cookies are amazing!)

Hardy Plants | The DIY Gardener's Guide Part 2 | On Sutton Place

Phlox (full to partial sun)

The first phlox I ever planted is the basic white version called David. I made a mistake though and placed the plants too close together. Some of them were crowded out and I ended up with just one large plant. David has a pure white bloom and smells amazing. Mine hasn’t bloomed yet but I will be sure to share a photo on Instagram when it does. What is blooming is my Peppermint Twist. I bought these plants on a whim a few years ago at Kroger. They are sturdy and have perfect blooms. You can tell this is a hybrid because there is one lone pink flower that must have missed the memo! Like most perennials, this dies down in the fall and comes up again in the early summer. Phlox has a tendency to get mildewy at the root so I try not to overwater. They make a lovely cut flower but don’t last long. After a few days the petals start to fall off.

Click to join the OSP list!

Hardy Plants | The DIY Gardener's Guide Part 2 | On Sutton Place

All of these hardy perennial flowers are easy to grow in zones 3 thru 8. If you aren’t sure what zone you are in, just click HERE. With some extra watering, I believe this collection of perennials could be grown in zones 9 and 10 as well.

I have said many times that I’m not an expert at anything. I know a little bit about a lot of things, and that includes gardening! These plants are tried and true, all-American favorites that anyone can grow. A little water, a little sun, and a prayer or two is all you need.

I hope this got you ready to get your hands dirty!

garden bundle graphic below post 600

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  1. Steve jones says:

    Using an iPad, can’t seem to reply to a post, can’t find the log in link anyway, seems a very odd site to navigate

  2. I have been advised that the following list of perennials are acceptable for our cemetery plot.
    Could you advise which is the hardiest or indeed the best choice, not sure how good availability is for any of them
    African Lily, Bears Breeches, Columbine, Cranesbill, Elephants Ears, Foxglove, Hardy Forget- me- not, Ice Plant, Jacobs Ladder, Ladys Mantle, Lupin, Musk Mallow, Primrose, Red Hot Poker.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Steve…can you tell me how much sun the plot will get? Full sun, morning, afternoon, etc. I’ll sure try to help.

  3. Hi from Denmark! (zone 8, I believe…?) I planted a hydrangea in my front yard facing north, but it is dying. Too much sun? Should I transplant it to the back yard in a shady place? What should take its place? We have so much green in the front yard that I was hoping to get some color with the hydrangea. Would there be a good plant you would recommend that is big like that which will give lots of color with a long blooming time (in zone 8)?

  4. Really look forward to your blog and so many wonderful ideas. Just a suggestion on plant information. Please include what zone you are located in. Not all plant suggestions will work in my plant zone. Thanks and Blessed Easter.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I added a notation at the beginning of the post…thank you for the suggestion!

  5. Thank you so much for the information on the flowers. I want to plant flowers this spring that will come back and have them to cut for myself, friends and family. Can’t wait for the nice weather to get started. I love your web site. Thank you for the great ideas and for the wonderful recipes.

  6. Ann, peonies tend to take more than a season or two get established enough to provide a numnber of blooms. Next year…you will have a lot of lovely flowers. (I just moved and divided 5 groups to make 9 for a curved hedge behind yellow daylilies.)

  7. Understand the feeling of breathing easier after the vaccine. We both felt as though a weight had been lifted from our shoulders. Keep up the wonderful job on your blog – absolutely love it – don’t see how you do it.

  8. Karen Mary says:

    What a good collection of hardy plants! I was happy to see many of the plants I’ve planned to put in my new perennial bed on your list! :) I’m going to skip the phlox though, because I haven’t had good luck with them. I see them in other gardens and love them, but mine either get mildew or dried brown leaves on the bottom. Thanks for the inspiration and reassurance about my other choices! Cheers!

  9. I have never commented on your blog, but I tried the cinnamon sugar muffins and they were delicious! Will definitely make again, and I have already shared this recipe!

  10. Michele T says:

    I found your post on Pinterest. I have a few of the plants you listed and will get others that I hope will grow in my zone 3 environment. I would love to know why my Peony has never bloomed… it comes from my parents garden and I have been patiently hoping for years!!

    1. Peony… likely planted to deep

      1. Michele T says:

        Thanks for this tip, I’ll replant it shallower.

  11. Great tips. I have lily of the valley and it is finally being invasive and growing in almost straight gravel! Will dig it up and put it where I want it! I can’t grow Black-eyed Susans. Not enough sun? I have had a woodchuck come up on my front porch to eat a phlox plant (intended as a gift!) right down to the bare stem!

  12. David the white phlox is blooming in my garden and is by far one of my Best Buys!

  13. These are all my favorites and easy to care for! I was blessed many years ago to have my yard updated with new landscape and they started many of my plants for me which included most of your suggested plants. Living on the lake, I have two “front” yards resulting in lots of maintenance, but it keeps me in shape and busy all summer.
    Thank you for sharing all the wonderful plants and ideas…

  14. I have Stella D’Oro lilies in my garden, too, and they are among my favorite. The only drawback is that they never bloom very long. However, I just read an article that tells just how to keep them blooming for an extended period of time! You may already know this trick, but if you don’t here is the link: I am anxious to try this!! The weather here in Southeast Missouri has been glorious this week and I am enjoying working in my garden. Tomorrow’s plan is to work on the rock border around my beds. Thanks for your tips!

  15. Hi Ann! Today’s post inspired me in a different way. I am going to raise some of these in pots on my deck where I have a tiered bench in full sun. Ross built it for me a couple years ago for herbs and I haven’t been thrilled with the look – rather too green and boring. So I am going to switch over part of it to bright daisies and who knows what. Like you, I’ve been gardening for a long time and am always switching around to something new. The spot is my only full sun area and I always fuss that I wish I had a place for more color. I think this will be my joy bringer! Thanks, as always for your excellent blog.

  16. Terri Herman says:

    Great list! Many of my favorites that were planted at our former home. Got lots of work to do at our new home & will pin this for future reference. Never had a clematis before but have a perfect spot. Thanks for the additional link for it! Enjoy your beauty!

  17. Sharon Clair says:

    Ann, I loved reading your “10 Best Perennial Plants” list found on Pinterest. This is the 2nd time I’ve ever commented on any post. I’m in zone 6, Kansas City. I have a majority of your plants in my garden!! Tried growing lavender last year, but it dried up & died. It got full sun with a little shade in late afternoon. I want to try again & will search for Munstead variety. Will it do OK in a pot, so I can move it to meet light requirements?
    THANK YOU for your inspiration and insights. I love caring for and enjoying my Creator’s creation!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Sharon! I have never tried growing lavender in a pot but I know it’s highly recommended. Watering might be tricky because lavender doesn’t like to be wet. Give it a try and let me know how it does. Best of luck with your garden this year!

    2. claudia bassano says:

      Try cutting lavender back hard in early spring

  18. Zone matters, but soil matters even more. I live in zone 5, but our soil here is filled with heavy clay. It’s great for pottery but not so good for gardening. So lavender doesn’t like it so much… I do incorporate compost and mulch into the soil every year, but the clay always manages to find its way back (sigh).

    1. The one thing you can do is add gypsum to your soil. It helps to soften the soil for better planting. Use it every year to keep the soil looser. Also add a little sand. It too loosens the soil but not too much sand. Hope that helps.

    2. claudia bassano says:

      Add sand for lavender

  19. Janice schaub says:

    I have tried several of those cant fail plants. I fail. Lavender does not like me. Clematis does not thrive. Some of the others fizzle out after a year or two instead of spreading. I am not sure what the problem is. I am always on a buget so its sort of disheartening to loose so many. I tried a Peony many years ago but not since as I had no luck. I am wondering if they would do well in a pot?
    Loved this post and I will follow now

  20. I also love sedum in a perennial garden. They are hardy, drought and pest resistant, and colorful well into Fall.

  21. I was just reading an old post (May 22, 2011) about your Kaiko clematis. I have picked up a Pink Champagne at my nursery twice, then put it back and walked away. I’m going back a third time! since I discovered Pink Champagne is another name for Kaiko. I want one like yours! It is just gorgeous. Does yours bloom just once or again in the fall? I find differing descriptions online. Some say all summer, some say once in spring and once in early fall. My zone is 5, inland Washington state. Thank you for a wonderful blog. I see so many of your photos on Pinterest, so apparently, many, many others love your blog, too.

  22. Ann I have lived in the same house for 42 years. My yard is big and I have never planted anything! I have always wanted pretty flowers but I never knew where to start. I have thought, bought tons of idea books, it was to overwhelming After finding your web site I am going on your recommendations and doing something this year. I have made this one of my yearly goals.
    Thanks for the inspiration. If something fails and does not grow, I may blow up a picture of your garden, laminate it, then stick it in my yard!!!

  23. Michelle Mortensen says:

    I love all the plants you’ve chosen. Unfortunately, some do not grow in my zone (like peonies – sad face). However, lavender does a wonderful job in Santa Barbara. It smells so wonderful. It has many uses. And, best of all, it reminds me of visiting Provence!
    Michelle from

  24. Donna Whelan says:

    Wonderful list. I agree with all your choices. I have all but the lavender in my gardens. They grow yesr after year.

  25. I just love seeing the brilliance and health of your beautiful gardens! Must be that time of year :) I’m in zone 8 – right near Washington State (Canadian side tho!) and hostas do fabulously here, as do peonies and my lavender is going *insane*…clematis too! I think I’ve seen all of these plants here, but for those of us with only containers to garden (sniffle – condo living in the expensive city) what are our options for cut flowers? I drool over peonies every year, but can they grow in containers, I wonder? Really looking forward to more posts on gorgeous gardening, home decor and yummy baking – I always enjoy seeing your emails pop up in my box – it’s a treat!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Kimberly! I think there are quite a few perennials that could do well in pots. I know hydrangeas do well. You could try the daisies too. They make awesome cut flowers. You could buy a small peony plant and try it in a large pot. It would be worth a try!

  26. Ann—-I seriously thought this would be a post that I wouldn’t find to be useful for me, and perhaps people who are in a different zone than you. But I was delighted to see that every single plant and flower you featured is a tried and true in my garden…and most likely in many climates. I have a bit of a problem with lavender…I think I may have simply planted it in the wrong spot so Ill try again.

    I absolutely love your landscaping…please do more garden posts this season!

    Jane xx.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I hear you about the lavender. Mine has never done well but I am not giving up!

  27. TwoPlusCute says:

    I am trying to tame our yard and I am looking exactly for hardy+perennials. Pinning this post in my garden board.

  28. Marlene Stephenson says:

    Some i already have and some i don’t but you do seem to have the best. I love phlox they smell so good. Thanks Ann.

  29. How invasive are the lily of the vallies? I have an area around my porch that has a small rock border – would the rocks be enough to keep them contained do you think?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I’m not an expert but I think a rock border would keep them in. They spread quite a bit but they are also very easy to just pull out in the spring when the soil is still moist. I tidy up the edges of my bed by just yanking them out of the ground. They are so pretty and the smell is heavenly. In my opinion they are worth a little extra effort. They are poisonous though so be careful. If you don’t wear garden gloves make sure to wash your hands after handling.

  30. I have all of them! They are hardy and colorful!
    Thank you for sharing .

  31. I have been looking forward to your gardening posts since last year or so. These posts are what made me follow and fall in love with your blog. Any chance you would like to fly out to my house to help me out with my flowers and gardening? ;)

    Ohhh, what if I sent a picture? You could offer advice? Maybe as an ongoing series for readers?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hmmm. That’s an idea. Let me think about it for a while!

  32. jeannette says:

    Love all the plants you listed. I’m in a fairly new house and tried my luck with lavender- along a walkway. Did my research and it should have been fine….after 3 years I gave up and pulled it all out. I’ve replaced it with lots of Black-eye Susan so we will see how they do this year if the snow can ever leave! lol
    My clematis are doing well and this is probably my favorite plant. Love the look of peony but I’ve read that ants love this one, so I’ve not planted any.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      The ants do love peonies. I planted mine away from my house along a fence. Once they bloom the ants go away. They are worth it in my opinion!

    2. Susan Buck says:

      Hi, I live in Canada and most of the flowers you listed grow here depending on location. I love peonies, you do not need ants for them to bloom however the syrup like liquid as the buds open do attract some! If planted to deep they will not flower.
      Love reading garden articles! Thanks

  33. Donna Marie says:

    I have 9 out of 10 so I am headed in the right direction!!!

  34. Laura Ingalls Gunn says:

    A great and truly timely article Ann! Thank you!

  35. Ellie LaJuett says:

    Great pics, easy to grow and beautiful colors! Can’t wait to get down and dirty in the garden!!!

  36. I love this! Oh I agree with the ugliness of my Spring gardens and though I see little pops of my many flowers waiting to emerge, yet time is the essence and they aren’t ready yet even tho I am!
    I think planting some dianthus is on my list for today if the rain stops~

  37. Debbie manno says:

    I have to add a few of these plants to my list. They are all so gorgeous. I have the Clematis. I did have phlox for many years out in the front but something happened to them..I think the deer got to them. I love the black eyed susans too.

  38. MJ Maffie says:

    I live in zone 9S….unfortunately, too hot for hostas and peonies!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you MJ! I thought maybe the hosta could survive in full shade. I know it gets super hot!

  39. says:

    I am so with you on the yard. I think the big bad wolf came by and blew the little pigs house down all over my yard. Sticks are in places I didn’t think they could go. This is a great list and I love each of them. We have wild Black-eyed Susan’s in our field (I definitely take advantage of that) and the Hosta are my great stand by if I need something reliable in an area.