What are your THREE most favorite Perennials?

Natick, MA

This will be a toughie, but if you could only have 3 perennials in your garden, which ones would they be (and maybe add why). Thought this might be a good conversation starter! :)

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Peonies, Hmmmmm... And Phlox. I'm thinking early, mid and late seasons... For mid, Roses are the obvious, but I've sworn off them. In my current garden, they make a nice first flush of blooms in June and I get all excited. But then for the rest of the season there's a big blank space except for the occasional teaser. Besides cutting off the winter die-back in the spring and the need to constantly fertilize and dead-head, I'm sick of the thorns, the weeds around the base, the Japanese Beetles munching everything in the vicinity. So that's my rant.

But I can't decide on the one other plant that would be interesting enough to fill that time period all by itself... Daylilies? Echinaceas? Grasses? Hmmm...

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Four O'Clocks

(No more roses for me either!)

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Hm, only three. Tough question.!!!!! Veronica spicata Sight Seeing Blue (all season bloom), Peonies (fragrance), and Daisies (all season bloom and fragrance). But then again................ (usually it's whatever's in bloom, how's that)? LOL!

Lake Stevens, WA(Zone 8a)

Geraniums ('Rozanne' because never stops blooming, x magnificum because for 3 weeks it is splendid, both are totally easy. some other Geranium species not hardy here or not so pretty.
Caryopteris 'Blue Balloon' trouble free, beautiful late summer/fall.
Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty' trouble free, long bloom season.

There are others, as Kathy says... but these are so easy with no pests, no staking, no deadheading, bees like them, etc.

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

Are four o'clocks perennial in Zone 7? Here they aren't. If so, lucky you!

I can name 3 favorite smaller plants- Veronicas, Salvias, Geraniums. But they add to the show, I don't think they carry it alone.

Natick, MA

VERY interesting, ladies (do I have any gents!?)
I didnt post my 3 favorite because I'm having A REALLY hard time coming up with three
While I ADORE peonies they wouldn't be among my top 3, I dont think just becuase of the short bloom period (boo!) Wish someone made everblooming peonies! For the same reason, I love Lilacs,but the bloom period is way too short

I'm not a rose lover either. Besides the thorns, the japanese beetles kill it for me. I dont want to use alot of chemical pesticides.

Summer: I love my hydrangeas (I never had any before 4 yrs ago).Do flowering shrubs count?
I have aquired a new love for coneflowers/euchinecia as they come in some lovely/different colors. I bought a sombrero coneflower last month and it blooms yellow, orange and somehow they either seem to turn pink or there are some pink ones in ther etoo. I love the long bloom period.

I DO love daylilies also; there are so many different colors, and again..they bloom much of July and August.

And I bought my first phlox and fell in love this summer...so pretty! so that might be my first choice. Also first hummingbird seen feeding on the phlox!

If I had to go with another "Staple" I'd pick hosta as they really are easy to grow and spread over the years. I have split alot of hostas in my time :) When I first got married, I got some hostas from my mother, who had gotten them years before from my grandmother's garden. I have added other colors/varieties and they sure do well in part shade/shade for me!

Thanks for all your answers! Looking forward to hearing more!

Cville_gardener..what is the lovely lavendar flower in your profile pic?

Hamilton, OH(Zone 6a)

Hemerocallis-- spactaculor color in late June/early July.
Helianthus "sunshine daydream"--you have to see this plant to believe it.
Achellia "Parker's variety--holds bloom forever. Good luck finding it :-(

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

I grew my A. Parker's Variety from seed...not sure if I've ever seen it at the stores....

Greensboro, NC(Zone 7b)

Salvia: I love the reds and purples and the black and blues. I also love that they attract hummingbirds.

Veronica: My Sunny Border Blue bloomed for two months....awesome! I love purple. Lol

Phlox: I love that they bloom so long.

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Hmm...I'm pretty sure mine changes from season to season but I would say:

Helenium- Mardi Gras
Geranium - Rozanne

Monkton, MD(Zone 6b)

I had a hard time thinking for an answer to this so will post 3 for bright sun and 3 for shade in another reply. The sun ones are Orange Vols daylily and 2 others with high pollinator and butterfly value Baptisia australis and Monarda Colerain Red. The Monarda is always pestered by powdery mildew but the beautiful creatures that come visit make it worth having a sad looking plant.

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Monkton, MD(Zone 6b)

Here are my favorite shade plants - not a lot of wildlife value with the Hosta other than the deer and voles love some of them! '

Maidenhair fern - takes them a while to get established but I love their lacy look like a fireworks explosion.

Syneilesis aconitifolia aka Shredded Umbrella plants - these spread by rhizomes but are not aggressive the little furry thing in photo 3 is one emerging. Deer don't touch them but the voles do.

Hosta - any kind of Hosta for me - this is Blue Umbrellas.

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Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Val, you should run a thread counter to this and ask what our 3 LEAST favorite plants are in the garden.

Natick, MA

I have really been interested reading everyone's input. The input stalled for a few days (?) and I thought maybe it was a silly topic because it's pretty hard to narrow down the world of perennials down to 3 favorites when you really think about it! Ottahand, that was great that you thought of posting favorite sun and then SHADE flowers.

Sequoia, I'm not sure I want to know everyone's least favorites - LOL. Am guessing the majority would be the invasive ones that take over?! Feel free to start that thread,tho!!!

Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Ok Val, it's up. I don't mean to rip off your thread but I do find it interesting. Thanks for starting a good conversation :)

Normal, IL

After the harsh last winter, I'm down to my 3 favorite perennials - daylily, peony, hosta.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

When I think of favorite flowers, I think of the flowers that are dependable, easy care, and long bloom period. I like/love all the other "prima donnas" but they are pretty, showy, short bloom period, and often short lived.

The first flower that came to my mind is Iberis. It's so welcome in early spring and always so pristine. Last year it bloomed very early, late February until June, and then, bloomed again in the fall. The foliage is bright green and the leaves a petite.

My Nepeta bloomed very early and has bloomed ALL summer long and is still blooming. I like the grey blue leaves and the lovely delicate looking periwinkle blue flowers. It's a great filler plant and works well as a border plant.

The third dependable easy to care for plant would be Dianthus. It comes in many colors, tough, and blooms in early spring (one of my first to bloom) and blooms all season until late fall.

Natick, MA

Sequoia...would never feel ripped off if someone thinks of a topic to post even if it's a playoff of one of my topics.....it's all about the conversations and sharing! Glad you all think this was a good topic

Goodman...oh no! So sad! What are you going to add to your garden next?
Gotta love those "tried and true 3" though!

Birdie...like yr thinking...I'm all about easy care and dependable :-)

This message was edited Sep 5, 2014 8:05 AM

Eden, NY(Zone 5a)

Lilac if that counts. It's my birthday flower.
Hosta and coral bells because my gardens are mostly shade, and hosta and coral bells have such variety.

Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

Having a sun-challenged yard, none of my plants are prolonged bloomers.
Mine is a progression of woodland bloomers which come and go too briefly.
But very pretty.
Sanguinaria canadensis multiplex. Always reliable. They are scattered about,
but this year these looked like ducks lined up in a row.
Paeonia rockii. Planted a few years ago and getting more gorgeous by the year. Huge billowing blooms.
Asarum takaoi. OK, so who needs flowers? Cute as a button...

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Saint Louis, MO(Zone 6a)

And I second Otta's appreciation for syneilesis.
Watching them push up through the ground in spring is always fascinating.
Again, flowers are over-rated.

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Monkton, MD(Zone 6b)

Weerobin - your Umbrellas are much tighter than our clumps. I don't know if it is the soil that is so loose from earthworms or that the voles hit them more than we know. Do you get seedlings? We had such a wet summer last year + a wet spring I had seedling popping up all over.

I love the idea of a thread on 3 LEAST adored perennials.

Hamilton, OH(Zone 6a)

Shade lovers:

Actaea racemosa is on top of my shade list. Long bloom period plus deer do not touch it.

Pulmonaria. Nice bloom with daffodils. Pretty foliage for the remainder of the year.

Hardy begonia. Pretty foliage starting in spring. Nice bloom in late summer.

Showing the Actaea racemosa below.

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Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

For those of you who have sworn off roses, may I just mention:

Marie Pavie. A polyantha. It was originally recommended by Joel at Pickering Nursery. It blooms all season in clusters (it's described correctly as continuous), doesn't get disease, is only slightly thorny and has a fabulous scent (I have two and purchased two for a rose averse client, who loves it ). I hate roses that are supposed to rebloom and don't. This is taken in September! I have two right out front because it always looks great! I had two at my former home and planted two at my new one.

Gruss an Aachen. Betwixt and between. It's labeled a floribunda because of when it came along but it acts like an old garden rose. It is in almost continual bloom and varies somewhat in color (half the fun). Compact, making it easy to place, doesn't get disease and is only mildly thorney. This was taken a couple of days ago.

Morden Blush and Sea Foam have these same great qualities. I think people are growing the wrong roses. I hate hybrid teas. I hate grandifloras. Floribundas don't make it through the winter. David Austin exaggerates the qualities of this roses. I have several, but they were thoroughly researched. No impulse buying at garden centers. It's a sure way to buy the wrong rose for your needs. And wow, are they expensive! Most of my roses are between $16.50 (Pickering standard price) and $18.00 each (the maximum price at Roses Unlimited).

What do I do for them? All Season oil at the beginning of the season, at which time I put down organic and time release fertilizer. A spray of sulphur when conditions are ripe for blackspot. I have no disease. They bloom mostly in sprays, so deadheading them is easy. And I have roses blooming non-stop from April into late November.

The third pic shows Marie Pavie, a polyantha, in my front bed three days ago. If you look closely, you can see that there are dozens of buds. No supplemental water, no spraying.

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Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Donna, you are terrible!!!! Such an enabler..lol. I just love your roses....soooooooo pretty. OK, next season, gotta add some of those beauties! Always love your pix and ideas for great ones. Hmm, might be able to have some open spaces around the back porch when I get it built next spring, I'm clearing land as we speak........sunflowers and weeds are almost gone.... Which is the best to start with? (fragrance is a must and size doesn't matter, the bigger the better) Kathy

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

You can't go wrong with Marie Pavie. It's a polyantha rose from 1888. I got mine from Pickering, but here is a great description from Antique Rose Emporium (by the way, they are wonderful, but I haven't ordered from them in years because the two gallon containers cost a fortune to ship and you have to buy three roses). Since Pickering is apparently not going to open in 2015 (long story) I recommend ordering it from Roses Unlimited. That is where I purchased this rose for my client earlier this year.

"We have seen this versatile and handsome rose used as a border, pot plant, specimen, or low hedge. Sweetly-shaped, pale pink buds unfold to creamy white, semi-double flowers of delicious fragrance. This rose is sure to be a favorite with all who grow it. It is almost constantly in bloom and the wonderful scent permeates the garden on warm days. The foliage is a dark, rich, healthy green and the thornless stems of Marie Pavie make this rose an outstanding landscape plant."

I absolutely agree. To me, it has everything that I want in a rose, including hardiness and the wonderful quality of NO DISEASE. Also, it blooms in clusters, like a candelabra, which makes it really easy to deadhead. You don't cut individual flowers. And if you don't bother to deadhead it at all, it keeps pumping out flowers. It doesn't know how to stop. I ordered bareroots from Pickering for myself, and order own roots for a client, who by the way has it in two large cement containers.

That's where I would start. It depends on your needs. Send me a dmail. I will be very happy to help you.

Jackson, MO(Zone 6b)

I know the request was three, but I would be remiss if I did not mention one more flower I have every year in my garden is Salvia 'Victoria Blue'. The color is just fantastic and blooms reliably ALL summer long. The color goes with everything. If you have mistakenly planted two plants that the colors don't work with, you can put it in between and all is well.

It comes back dependably every year. I thought I had lost it last year because of the below average temperatures. It came back from seed. It is a very welcome flower. It looks great right now with all of the heat and little moisture. Hummingbirds like it.

Here it is with:
1. Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'
2. Daylily 'Beth Bliese'
3. Rose 'Elle'
4. Black Eyed Susan Vine (used t/b 'Cherry Brandy' but has re-seeded

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Wyoming, MN

More and more phlox are becomming a favorite. I have planted several over the years and now have seedlings popping up here and there. Right now the backyard is beautiful with phlox ,Rudbeckia nitida, and Helianthus Lemon Queen putting on a real show.

Hostas for the shade garden. Many of the large fragrant white flowered (mostly of plantiginea background) and yes hummingbirds do love the tubular hosta flowers.

Daylilies there are many beautiful varieties and the are easily hybridized and grown from seed. They are great for an amateur like me to play with. It takes 2-3 years to see blooms on new seedlings, but it is always fun to see them bloom for the first time. I had many first bloom seedlings this year.

I also really appreciate astilbes and cimicifugas and painted and lady ferns.

Kiowa, CO(Zone 5b)

Ooooooo, let's see those hybrid Daylillies

(Pam) Warren, CT(Zone 5b)

I'd like to see the Phlox...

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)

Sorry, NO more roses.

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

Not trying to persuade you. I just responded to a request.

Natick, MA

It's OK, Donna...please dont take offense. One man's trash is another man's gold (NOT that Roses are trash); but to each his own as my father used to say. That's what makes this a wondeful world: the diversity, and the differences of opinions/favorites on all of us!

Clarksville, TN(Zone 6b)


Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Haha....I always say that one man's (woman's) weed is another man's wild flower :)

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

OK, let's try this. I moved from a 90% sun garden to a 45% sun garden. My three favorite perennials that do really well in shade but which I also grew in sun with added water are:

Athyrium nipponicum 'Ursula's Red'.

Heuchera sanguinea 'Firefly' - one of the few you can grow from seed. And it's tough and makes it through winter.

Epimedium x versicolor 'Sulphureum'

I loved the fact that I took all these plants from sun to shade. I think there are a lot of plants that bloom really well in shade that people associate with sun: polemonium caeruleum (Jacob's ladder) is another.

This message was edited Sep 20, 2014 4:35 PM

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Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

That is one of the nicest Heuchera flowers I've seen. Very nice DM!

Elgin, IL(Zone 5a)

I'm so glad you like it. I actually grew a bunch of them from seed and brought them to my new house. I was buying and buying heucheras and they kept dying, until I found the seed on JL Hudson, and immediately produced 7 of them. They were in very hot, bright sun facing west, but they thrived. Here is a pic from my old house where I grouped five of them in front of a peony, with a cornus alternifolia behind.

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Lititz, PA(Zone 6b)

Yeah, they look great and I'm not a huge fan of heuchera but this one is gorgeous :)

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