A Plant List Of Full Sun Perennials

Here’s a perennial plant list for full sun perennials

Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Mix’

The list below contains the most commonly available plants and while there are others for specialist growers, these will suffice for all but the most berserker of gardeners. Yeah, I know I’ve grown more than these but hey, I’ve been doing this for far too many years.

Do These Three Things Before You Start Collecting The Flowers Listed Below

  • The first is to improve the soil by adding organic matter. This does a number of really good things for the plants — from increasing fertility to increasing the water holiding capacity of the soil (both good things to do in the full sun).
  • The second is to water properly. Soak at least once a week but do not water shallowly regularly. One deep soaking a week is better than 5 little applications.
  • The third is to mulch with organic matter. I’ve written about the benefits of mulch and nowhere is this more evident in the full sun garden.

List of Full Sun Perennials

  • Acaena
  • Acanthus
  • Achillea
  • Aconitum
  • Acorus
  • Adenophora
  • Agapanthus
  • Agastache
  • Ajania
  • Alcea
  • Alchemilla
  • Allium
  • Alyssum
  • Amsonia
  • Anaphalis
  • Anchusa
  • Anemone
  • Angelica
  • Antennaria
  • Anthemis
  • Aquilegia
  • Arabis
  • Arctanthemum
  • Arctostaphylos
  • Arenaria
  • Armeria
  • Artemisia
  • Aruncus
  • Asclepias
  • Aster
  • Astilboides
  • Astrantia
  • Aubrieta
  • Aurinia
  • Azorella
  • Baptisia
  • Belamcanda
  • Bellis
  • Bergenia
  • Boltonia
  • Brugmansia
  • Brunnera
  • Buddleia
  • Calamintha
  • Caltha
  • Camassia
  • Campanula
  • Caryopteris
  • Castilleja
  • Catananche
  • Centaurea
  • Centranthus
  • Cerastium
  • Ceratostigma
  • Chelone
  • Chelonopsis
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Cimicifuga
  • Clematis
  • Convolvulus
  • Coreopsis
  • Coronilla
  • Cosmos
  • Crambe
  • Crocosmia
  • Darmera
  • Delosperma
  • Delphinium
  • Dianthus
  • Diascia
  • Dictamnus
  • Digitalis
  • Dodecatheon
  • Doronicum
  • Draba
  • Dracocephalum
  • Echinacea
  • Echinops
  • Eremurus
  • Erigeron
  • Erodium
  • Eryngium
  • Erysimum
  • Eupatorium
  • Euphorbia
  • Fargesia
  • Filipendula
  • Fragaria
  • Gaillardia
  • Gaura
  • Gazania
  • Genista
  • Gentiana
  • Geranium
  • Geum
  • Goniolimon
  • Gunnera
  • Gypsophila
  • Hebe
  • Hedera
  • Helenium
  • Helianthemum
  • Helianthus
  • Helichrysum
  • Heliopsis
  • Helleborus
  • Hemerocallis
  • Hesperis
  • Heuchera
  • Heucherella
  • Hibiscus
  • Hieracium
  • Houttuynia
  • Humulus
  • Hypericum
  • Iberis
  • Incarvillea
  • Inula
  • Iris
  • Isotoma
  • Jasione
  • Jovibarba
  • Kalimeris
  • Knautia
  • Kniphofia
  • Lathyrus
  • Lavandula
  • Lavatera 
  • Leontopodium
  • Leucanthemum
  • Lewisia
  • Liatris
  • Ligularia
  • Lilium
  • Limonium
  • Linum
  • Liriope
  • Lithodora
  • Lobelia
  • Lotus
  • Lunaria
  • Lupinus
  • Luzula
  • Lychnis
  • Lysimachia
  • Macleaya
  • Malva
  • Malvastrum
  • Mazus
  • Meconopsis
  • Mertensia
  • Monarda
  • Myosotis
  • Nepeta
  • Nipponanthemum
  • Oenanthe
  • Oenothera
  • Origanum
  • Oxalis
  • Paeonia
  • Papaver
  • Patrinia
  • Penstemon
  • Perovskia
  • Persicaria
  • Petasites
  • Phalaris
  • Phlomis
  • Phlox
  • Phormium
  • Phragmites
  • Physalis
  • Physostegia
  • Plantago
  • Platycodon
  • Polemonium
  • Potentilla
  • Pulmonaria
  • Pulsatilla
  • Pycnanthemum
  • Ranunculus
  • Raoulia
  • Ratibida
  • Rheum
  • Rodgersia
  • Rubus
  • Rudbeckia
  • Rumex
  • Sagina
  • Salvia
  • Sanguisorba
  • Santolina
  • Saponaria
  • Scabiosa
  • Scutellaria
  • Sedum
  • Sempervivum
  • Sidalcea
  • Silene
  • Silphium
  • Sisyrinchium
  • Solidago
  • Solidaster
  • Stachys
  • Stokesia
  • Symphyandra
  • Symphytum
  • Tanacetum
  • Teucrium
  • Thalictrum
  • Thymus
  • Tradescantia
  • Trifolium
  • Trollius
  • Verbascum
  • Verbena
  • Vernonia
  • Veronica
  • Veronicastrum
  • Viola
  • Yucca
  • Zantedeschia
  • Zauschneria

A List of Fragrant Perennials for Your Summer Enjoyment

I happen to love growing fragrant perennial flowers because like the old ad says, “double your pleasure” – you get the flowers and the fresh fragrance of these plants in your garden.
Here are a few easily found plants you might consider growing.

  • Achillea – easily grown in full sun and rock hardy
  • Agastache – self sowing, lovely violet shades for sun
  • Arabis – low growing, sweet fragrance for sun or light shade
  • Artemisia – foliage is menthol for full hot sun
  • Asclepias – flowers are almost sickly sweet and overpowering in mass plantings
  • Buddleia – a fall bloomer and garden classic
  • Calamintha – lesser known garden perennial – minty
  • Caryopteris – shrubby plant, grow as herbaceous perennial in cold areas
  • Centaurea- blue corn flower, full sun and self-sowing
  • Centranthus – full sun-lover and easy to grow
  • Cimicifuga – a shade garden classic perennial, sweet fragrance
  • Clematis – sweet fragrance on bush clematis
  • Convallaria – classic lily of the valley for spreading shade
  • Corydalis – another tender shade lover
  • Cosmos – chocolate cosmos with distinctive fragrance – while most will self-sow, you should do this one from cuttings
  • Cyclamen – sweet if you can get your nose that low
  • Dianthus – carnation smells
  • Dictamnus – powerful fragrance for the sunny garden
  • Erysimum – sweet spring if short lived plant
  • Eupatorium – full sun lover and easy once established
  • Euphorbia – another tough to kill plant in full sun
  • Geranium – leaves are menthol fragrance
  • Hemerocallis – some flowers fragrant – “lemon lily” is of the classic
    fragrant perennials
  • Hesperis – dames rocket – a native has purple or white fragrant flowers
  • Hosta – the fall bloomers are wonderfully fragrant
  • Iris – goes without saying
  • Lavandula – another full sun classic
  • Lilium – one of the classic plants for a fragrant garden
  • Melissa – minty fragrance
  • Monarda – the leaves are distinctive
  • Nepeta – catnip with its minty tones
  • Origanum – oregano – both for fragrance and low-growing ornamental
    status
  • Paeonia – classic corsage and cut flower
  • Perovskia – late summer blooming and foliage is dusky
  • Phlox – some varieties more fragrant than others
  • Polemonium – tender sweet fragrance – not heavy
  • Primula – a classic primrose sweet floral fragrance
  • Rosmarinus – rosemary – it’s all in the leaves
  • Salvia – it’s all in the leaves of this “sage” family
  • Silene – another faint but interesting floral perfume
  • Tanacetum – again see the leaves of this mum
  • Thymus – who doesnt’ think of fragrance when you think of thyme and
    fragrant perennials
  • Tiarella – a slight woodlandy sweet fragrance
  • Viola – a clear flower fragrance from the violets.

Print out this list of fragrant perennials and take it shopping with you to make sure you do indeed double your pleasure with your garden this summer.

My Ebook on Growing Lavender

On Building A Vegetable Garden For Seniors

Well, it has come to this when we talk about building a garden for seniors. Sigh…

  My sweetie and I are seniors.  And I’m blaming Covid for this state of numerical affairs. Before Covid, I was any age I wanted to be or felt like being when I woke up. After Covid, I’m “at risk” because of my numerical age and it’s been impressed on me that I “should” be careful, avoid strangers and indeed look both ways before I cross the street to retrieve the mail out of the mailbox.

Well crap. (I’d use another word here but this is a family-themed garden blog.)

As Seniors We Needed A New Garden Design And Operating System

Just between us, I used this “seniors” excuse to revamp our vegetable garden and “steal” a few square feet for my perennial propagation and breeding adventures.

But having said that…

The First Decision Was About Where To Put The Compost Bins

To accomplish this new garden adventure, I’m eliminating a rather large compost bin and creating two smaller ones I can dig by hand. The older one is a tractor sized digging job and frankly between the two, I prefer that the tractor does the digging.  This fact alone apparently convinces some people I’m a senior. 

I note I’ve never liked digging and that’s why I was the owner of a nursery and employed other folks to do any necessary digging.

The Compost Bins Were Moved Inside The Vegetable Garden

I’m putting the compost bin inside the garden because it makes it easier to create compost (the garden is where a great deal of the organic matter originates) and this new location is closer to the kitchen door. (See concrete block construction below)

Closer to the kitchen door really counted this winter when I made a mad dash to empty the kitchen bucket without having to dress up like a three-year old in a snowsuit to venture out. And moving forward, who knows where we’ll be, so closer is better.

And, even if I could empty the current bins by tractor, I had to wheelbarrow and shovel the finished compost within the gardens. The tractor weight leaves tracks across the finished beds that would have to be repaired (i.e. lots of hand digging.)

gardens under construction

I Wasn’t Saving Labour

It turned out I wasn’t saving any labour by using the tractor, simply changing what I had to dig.

Note: keep your garden stuff as close to the garden as possible.

Using Raised Beds In My Garden For Seniors

I immediately started designing raised beds that would be marvels of surrounding wood construction. But my sweetie pointed out that when we were on our knees or leaning into the bed, it would be easier if I didn’t build walls around each bed. 

She felt very strongly about this and as every guy out there knows, when your beloved says, “I feel strongly about this,” you move forward in any other direction at peril of your happiness and indeed life.

My contribution to this was to increase the size of the pathways between the beds.

This allows us to get onto our hands and knees to work and makes it even easier to get back to our feet without destroying half the plants in the bed.

Note: The beds are now roughly 3-feet wide and so are the pathways between beds. And I’ll get back to you about the wood edging in another year or two.

How Many Beds Do We Really Need?

This is an interesting problem as well.  When I was on the farm, the garden was monstrous. We fed the six of us out of that garden. But the kids are grown up with families and gardens of their own so I can make our garden any size that works for my current lifestyle.

And, normally Mayo and I go south for the winter (if you don’t count this Covid winter) and we really don’t need to produce a year’s worth of food out of this garden. What we need is fresh food as early as we can get it and as late into the fall as we can get it.  This alone makes a massive difference in the kinds of plants, the numbers of plants and square footage of a garden. 

Note: no matter how many beds you have, you’ll always need “just one more”.

I might even go back a decade or three and build some cold frames for extra-early salad green production.  But that’s a next-year kind of thing.

I’ll have pictures and some other thoughts on this in upcoming posts as I sort out the actual operating systems to make our new gardens productive.

But the time is upon us now we’re seniors. 

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p.s. I’ll get back to you about this new “seniors” label. Apparently it comes with discounts at some of the places I haunt for used books (good). But still, I’m not sure I’m willing to adopt this label just yet. I just got over being “mature” so don’t expect me to go willingly into “senior-hood.”

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Three Rules You Need To Understand For Great Tulip Care

Tulip care is a simple thing

Tulip care is (luckily for us) a fairly simple thing. This plant really isn’t bothered by any serious insect pests so we can pretty much forget about that. So what is it that you have to do to ensure you have great tulips from year to year?

Rule of Leaves

Grow the leaves, not the flowers. If you concentrate on making sure your gardening grows great leaves on your tulips, then those leaves will produce superior flowers year after year.

You do that by not cutting the leaves down, tying them up, or doing anything else to them until they turn yellow. Yellow leaves on your tulips are a sign that the bulbs have stored enough energy and are now ready to go dormant until next spring.

If you cut the leaves off before they go yellow, the bulbs will not get enough energy to produce a large flower. They may get enough energy to survive a winter and produce a smaller flower. And every time you cut the leaves off too early, you weaken the bulb so it either doesn’t produce flowers or it simply dies.

Allow the leaves to go yellow before cutting them back.

The Simple Tulip Care Rule For Watering Tulips

Don’t.

Watering bulb gardens in the summer is a major cause of tulip death. You think you’re doing a good job of tulip care because everything needs water. Right? Wrong!

Tulips are genetically designed to grow on high mountain slopes where there is adequate spring water but absolutely no water during the summer months. They go dormant to preserve water inside the bulb and get ready for the following spring. When you water them, they rot.

So folks who plant annuals over top of bulbs and then water to keep the annuals flowering can expect this damp soil to rot out their tulips.

This is why many gardeners have a short-lived tulip bulb show. Too much water.

Rule of Feeding

Tulips don’t require yearly fertilizing. There isn’t too much plant food available up in the mountains on steep slopes and bulbs have developed so they do not require a lot of plant food.A feeding of compost over top of the bulbs in the spring and/or fall is all the average bulb requires. Some folks like to feed their bulbs bone meal thinking the phosphorus is good for bulbs and roots.

Given that phosphorus is relatively insoluble and relatively immobile in the soil, putting bone meal on the soil surface means it not only doesn’t break down but what does break down stays on the surface. Tulip roots are a good 8 inches below the surface so the fertilizer doesn’t get there.

Applying bone meal to the surface of the garden makes the gardener feel better (and the garden center that sold the product) but doesn’t really help the bulb. It’s a good feeling though.

And no. Do not put fertilizer down the planting hole. This only burns the roots and is a typical beginner gardening mistake. Trust me on this one, a feeding on the soil of compost in the spring is all the tulip care you need to do.

So that’s the deal. It may not have been what your average garden center wants to sell you but treating your bulbs with casual respect (allow the leaves to grow) and benign neglect (don’t water) will give you big healthy flowers for as long as possible.

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Additional Information Readers Ask

  • The average hybrid tulip may flower well for 4–5 years if not watered at all.
  • Finally, I’m sorry to say once a tulip stops blooming, it’s almost impossible in our garden settings to get it to rebloom again. (dig and toss it).

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The Secrets To Getting Petunias To Bloom Heavily

These are simple growing tips you can easily do

There are several tips I’ll pass along about getting petunias to bloom very heavily and expand to their full potential. I’m also going to review some of the plants I’ve grown on trial in my garden.

The Growing Details

  • Sun: Full sun or very light shade
  • Bloom time: most of the summer
  • Propagation: seed for older varieties and cuttings from newer ‘super-petunia’
  • Soils: almost anything other than heavy clay that holds too much moisture and rots them
  • Distance apart: for the Supertunia types — 30-inches to 48 inches.
  • Hardiness: not frost tolerant (they might take a degree of frost if they’ve been hardened off but don’t count on it.)
  • Varieties: literally hundreds to pick from based on your favorite colors.
Petunia ‘Supertunia Royal Magenta’ (photo by Proven Winners)

Petunia ‘Supertunia Royal Magenta’ by Proven Winners. Goodness, I hadn’t grown this one before but it acted as all those other silly plants. It grew like stink and bloomed its head off. Bright color! Understand the key to success with these super petunias (from any source) is to feed them regularly. They demand a ton of food to support all that growth and blooming. If you fail with this plant, it’s likely because you didn’t feed it enough. I’d grow it again in either containers or the full sun garden if I wanted this bright magenta color. Good plant.

Petunia ‘Double Dark Blue’ I must be holding my mouth wrong when it comes to these double flowering petunias. Others get great growth. Mine is just-OK. The singles in this class of plants outgrow the doubles in my garden but… Then again, I’m not a double flower fan so perhaps this is the problem. Your results may vary.

Petunia ‘Blue Wave’ see the above comments about growing these fast-growing plants and this dark violet-blue flower is equally good in my opinion. It’s really a matter of choosing your color as to your preference. “Waves” or “Supertunia” are both good plants but different marketing companies. I love all the ‘Wave’ colors and it’s tough to beat them in the open sunny garden.

Petunia ‘Priscilla’ Photo by Proven Winners

The Trick To Getting The New Petunias To Bloom Heavily

The new petunias need a lot of feeding if they’re going to really perform in your garden.

I’d consider feeding weekly, or every second week with a fish emulsion or other organic liquid fertilizer to enable them to perform to their optimum level.

Do You Like This Color Of Petunia

Supertunia ‘Picasso In Purple’ Photo by Proven Winners

If you do like this Supertunia ‘Picasso In Purple’ from Proven Winners, I’d say go and grow it. It grew really well in my trials and filled a pot completely all by itself.

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I Really Love These Gardeners

I love these people, really I do. And I always have. When I had my greenhouse/nursery business I used to grow a special crop just for them.

Really! Why wouldn’t I? They were the lifeblood of my business so I had to treat them well.

The rest of you were super to have around but those people were my favourites.

Those people would rush out to the greenhouse on the second nice day of spring – the second day the temperature got up to 70F and would suck up every tomato and pepper transplant they could find. They were off to put in the garden and needed my plants.

The first few years I was in business, I wouldn’t sell them anything because in my opinion, it was far too early.

And then I learned those people didn’t believe me, they knew it was spring and were going to plant come hell or high water.

So I started selling to them and over the years developed quite a clientele of those people starting their gardens super-early. Loved ’em in fact so much I created an entire cropping schedule to take their needs into account.

I even expanded into an early crop of flowers as well so when those people came to the greenhouses, there the flowers were in full bloom and the veggies looking like they were fulfilling a gardener’s dreamscape.

Yes indeed. I loved those people with a passion. And I know, having retired from commercial production, those still in the greenhouse business adore them to this day.

Why I Loved Those People

You see, those people were my best customers because they’d have to come back to buy their plants all over again once the real last frost wiped out their gardens.

I made twice as much money from those people as I made from any other customer!

Loved them all the way to the bank!

Moral of the Story

The lesson of the story here is you can be one of “those” people and rush the season or you can be a gardener understanding the soil temperature has to be high enough to support tender root growth (cold soil temps will stunt your plant even if there’s no frost to kill it outright).

  • You know you can test this by putting the inside of your wrist onto the soil (like you would a baby bottle) and if that feels too cold, you won’t plant.
  • Or, you can do as the urban-legend farmer would do and drop-pants to sit on the ground all bare-assed to get the same result.
  • Or you can simply wait until the end of May when the odds are it will be just fine.

With tender crops such as tomatoes and peppers (and all heat lovers that get wiped out by an early frost) you’ll get a better harvest by waiting then you will by being one of those people.

I Have A Question For You

So are you one of those people or are you the kind of gardener who wouldn’t make this old nursery guy as much money?

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