Here’s a perennial plant list for full sun perennials
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.
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.
Please understand that this is not an exhaustive list of plants for hummingbird gardens but just the most common plants.
What Do Hummingbirds Really Eat?
Hummingbirds get the majority of their food from insects such as aphids so putting up plants like honeysuckle that attract aphids will attract the birds for both the flower shape and the insect food the plant sustains.
We used to get hummingbirds into our greenhouses every spring.
They would arrive in the north and a flowering greenhouse was too good an opportunity for them. They would buzz in and out tremendously amusing us all.
You could always tell the rookies. They would get inside and not know how to go back out the doors or vents. They would try to fly up and out through the plastic, an effort that thankfully never worked.
After several minutes of buzzing and beating themselves up against the plastic, they would perch on a cross wire or hanging basket and survey the place. More than once, they’d land on a shoulder or a hand.
Sooner or later they would see a door or somebody going out the door and they’d figure it out. Zooom and away they’d go.
The experienced birds used the vents- in and out without at any time of day
If you have a humminbird feeder – do not add red dye to the sugar-water mix. The birds don’t need it to find the feeder and it does them no good.
These deer resistant perennial flowers are not foolproof but they’re the best options we have.
I think we should get the bad news out of the way first when it comes to deer resistant perennial flowers.
And that is a hungry deer will eat anything. (So would you if you were hungry enough) The so-so news is that what works in my area and the deer won’t eat turns out to be the most favourite food in your area. Silly deer are no more consistent than people are.
The good news, however, is that we can sort through all the lists and articles, from one end of the continent to the other, to pick the plants that are commonly not eaten by deer. In other words, the plants on these two lists are your best bets. But (see above) a hungry deer will eat them too.
Let us assume the average perennial flower is going to bloom for three weeks (some a little higher, some a little lower) so anything that exceeds this by a goodly margin is eligible to make this list.
Here’s The List Of Long Blooming Perennials
Achillea is a long blooming plant for full hot sun.
Agastache or licorice plant is one of the better longer blooming Agastache.
Anthemis tinctoria is a long blooming daisy that will self-sow with abandon.
Asters: there are a few fall-blooming asters such as ‘Monch’ and ‘Wonder of Staffa’ that are extremely long blooming. Check out the newer varieties.
Campanula a decent long bloomer three years out of four.
Centaurea montana was a reliable plant for me but self-seeded everywhere. Cut it back by half right after blooming and you’ll get a second bloom in the fall.
Centranthus is easy and a little known but decent blooming plant.
Chrysanthemum. Everybody knows Shasta daisies and Fall mums. Deadhead the Shasta daisies for longer blooming.
Coreopsis. All bloom for extended times but the lanceolata and grandiflora types benefit from deadheading to get repeat blooms. Deadheading is not necessary with verticillata and rosea hybrids to make them into long blooming perennials.
Corydalis lutea is my favorite long blooming perennial and simply the longest blooming plant in my garden.
Dianthus can be a long blooming perennial if you pick new hybrids. Dianthus gratianopolitanus and D. deltoides are two of the best.
Dicentra Formosa and D. exemia hybrids are long-lived for shade. Short bleeding hearts are superb while the taller ones are short bloomers. ‘Luxuriant’ has been my shade garden stalwart.
Echinacea are the current darlings of the plant breeding world and it is true the blooms last a long time and each individual flower lasts a long time. Good for mid-summer blooms and so far they all seem to be about the same length of time in my garden.
Gaillardia are long bloomers but tend to be short-lived. Will self-sow but what a bloom they give.
Gaura plants are tremendous long-blooming perennials and with its airy butterfly-like flowers, it is a garden ornament worthy of the best designers. Grow it.
Geranium ‘Rozanne’ is a season-long blooming geranium and the others are so-so long season bloomers. Check your local garden center for newer long-blooming introductions.
Hellebore or Christmas Rose are one of my favorite long-blooming perennials — and wonderful in the shade garden.
Hemerocallis or daylilies ‘Stella D’ Oro’ is the first of this repeat bloomers in daylilies but there are now better ones on the market.
Heucherella — this cross between Heuchera and Tiarella has produced some very long blooming plants with dainty flowers. Not for heavy competition in the main flower border against phlox and daylily but lovely in containers or small dainty gardens.
Hibiscus moscheutos or perennial hibiscus is a very long blooming fall plant and the modern hybrids are simply stunning. I have three and I lust for more.
Kalimeris pinnatitida “Hortensis” or Japanese Asters produce a profusion of small flowers or a very long period of time.
Kniphofia can be long bloomers if you can grow them. The used to be very short green plants in my old garden. Haven’t gotten around to killing any in the new one yet.
Lavender is a classic long blooming plant for growing anywhere in the full sun.
Liatris, is Gayfeather or Blazing Star and is a good long bloomer and unusual flower heads.
Linum perenne or perennial flax is disappearing from garden centers because the larger nurseries have a hard time growing it. It produces literally hundreds of blue flowers every day almost all summer from early July onwards. Grow it yourself from seed — direct sow it in the garden — it is easy.
Lysimachia clethroides or gooseneck flower. This blooms for a very long time but then again, after a few years of growing it you’ll have a tremendous number of this very aggressive thug in your garden.
Malva sylvestris or ornamental mallow blooms for a long time but is very weedy.
Nepeta or Ornamental Catnip is a good plant if you get the newer hybrids. The old species plants are not as long blooming.
Perovskia or Russian Sage gives a good blue mist to the garden in late summer and early fall and is a good plant in full sun gardens with great drainage.