Perennial Selection and Care Guide

Botanical name (Common name)

Other common name(s)

(feet)

Mature spread and form (inches)

Bloom period

Light

Hardiness (zone)

Division

(time of year; Special notes frequency in (cultural uses, years) major pests, etc.)

Nepeta X faassenii, N. mussinii (Catmint)

Blue

1-1 1/2

September

Sun

3-8

Spring; 2

Fragrant foliage. Attracts bees.

Oenothera tetragona (Sundrop)

Yellow

1-3

mound

JuneAugust

Sun

3-8

Short-lived but showy. North American native.

Oenothera missouriensis (Evening primrose)

Ozark sundrops

Yellow

3/4-1 1/2

spreading

JuneSeptember

Sun

3-8

Spring; 4

Stems emerge slowly in late spring. Good drainage in winter is important. North American native.

Opuntia humifusa (Prickly pear)

Yellow

1/2-1

spreading

June-July

Sun

4-10

A hardy cactus; tolerates poor soil. North American native, very prickly. Pods and fruits are edible.

Paeonia hybrids (Peony)

Chinese peony Herbaceous peony

Pink, red, white

2-3

24-36; mound

May-June

Sun

2-10

May require staking. Grows best in deep, fertile soil.

Papaver orientale (Oriental poppy)

Orange, pink, red, white

1 1/2-3

18-24; mound

June

Sun

2-7

No; after foliage Foliage dies down dies down only after flowering. if necessary. Resents disturbance.

Pennisetum alopecuroides (Fountain grass)

Reddish brown

early

October

Sun

5-10

Mulch in colder areas. Slow to emerge. Good cut flower.

Penstemon spp. (Beard-tongue)

Orange, pink, purple, red, white

1/2-3

12-18; mound

JuneAugust

Sun to part shade

3-7

Spring; 2

Short-lived. Mulch to overwinter. Requires well drained soil. North American native.

Phlox maculata (Phlox)

Spotted phlox

Pink, white

2-3

mound

JuneAugust

Sun

3-9

North American native. Mildew resistant.

Phlox paniculata hybrids (Garden phlox)

Summer phlox

Blue, pink, purple, red, white

2-4

September

Sun to part shade

3-8

May need staking. Grows best in moist, well drained soil high in organic matter. A heavy feeder with fragrant flowers. Powdery mildew and rust are common problems. Derived from North American native.

Phlox subulata (Creeping phlox)

Moss phlox

Blue, pink, red, white

1/2

18-24; mat

April-June

Sun to part shade

2-9

Trim back after flowering. Evergreen ground cover in warmer zones.

Physalis alkekengi (Chinese-lantern plant)

Japanese-lantern

Orange seed pods

1 1/2

spreading

July-August

Sun

3-9

Spring; 1

Self-seeds. May become invasive.

Physostegia virginiana (Obedient plant)

Obedience False dragonhead

Pink, white

2-4

mound

July-October

Sun to part shade

2-9

Spring; 2

May become invasive. North American native.

Platycodon grandiflorus (Balloon flower)

Blue, pink, white

1 1/2-4

September

Sun to part shade

3-8

No

Long-lived. May require staking. Emerges late in spring. Prefers acid soil.

Polemonium caeruleum (Jacob's-ladder)

Greek valerian

Blue

1 1/2-2

9-18; mound

May-August Any

2-7

Prefers moist soil. Remove dead flowers to promote flowering.

Polygonatum spp. (Solomon's-seal)

King Solomon's-seal

arching stems

May-June

Shade

3-9

Long-lived. Variegated types are available. Some species are native to North America.

Polygonum affine (Smartweed)

Fleece flower

Pink, red

1/2-1

spreading

May-October

Sun to part shade

3-7

Spring; 2

Ground cover. Can be invasive.

Potentilla spp. (Cinquefoil)

Five-fingers

Pink, red, yellow, white

1/2-2

12-24; trailing

May-August Sun-

part shade

3-8

Many are evergreen ground covers in zones 5 or warmer. Some are North American natives.

Primula spp. (Primrose)

All colors

1/2-1

6-12; basal foliage

April-June

Varies

2-8

Spring; 2

Delicate flowers. Usually prefers a moist soil high in organic matter. Good rock garden plants.

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