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.
Ever wonder why you buy perennials in the spring and they just sit there for a month or two before they start growing? Most of the time, we blame it on “culture shock” or “transplanting” or any number of other cultural things.
Plant Growth Regulators
Many nurseries use a plant growth regulators (PGR) to slow growth down so the plants don’t leap out of the pots.
And trust me, this was a problem in our nursery as the plants would leap out and start growing at the hint of spring. We had all kinds of spacing activities to keep them all growing, yet bushy and looking good for retail sales. (We didn’t use PGR’s)
But the kicker in this is most common growth regulators last 8-12 weeks and in the spring, instead of growing like crazy, the plant grows bushy and shorter. Again, it makes a better selling plant.
But that chemical still persists and is acting when you take the plant home. It stays short and bushy and really doesn’t get growing “normally”. Or as normally as it would if you did it at home.
You get a bushier plant. But one that’s slower to begin growing strongly. That’s one effect of a Plant Growth Hormone Regulator (PGR) And now you know why some of your new plants might not jump right into growing when you first plant them.
p.s. the effects of PGR typically disappear at 8-12 weeks so after that, growth should be normal. So figure 4-6 weeks in the nursery and 4-6 weeks at your garden. If it isn’t growing after 4-6 weeks in your garden, then you may have other issues.
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.