16 flowering perennials that will grow anywhere

Flowering perennials that will grow anywhere
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Perennials are a fantastically varied group of plants, providing a wide range of different colour, size and shaped flowers. What’s more, they grow in all types of soils from wet to dry and from full shade to full sun. The ultimate height of the plants also varies dramatically from ground-hugging to head height.

They are defined very simply as plants that can live for more than two years. This distinguishes them from shorter living annuals, that complete their life cycle and die within one year, and biennials which complete their life cycle within two years.

Above all else they are usually very easy and quick to grow, and can provide interest in the garden from early spring right the way through to the first frosts later in the year. So, here are sixteen perennials that will grow anywhere…

1. Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora (montbretia) ‘Harlequin’

For the ultimate, trouble free, flower anywhere in any conditions perennial, look no further than Crocosmia. There are several different cultivars to choose from, some taller than others, like ‘Lucifer’ with mostly yellow, red or orange flowers. This variety, ‘Harlequin’, combines yellow and red in its flowers, produced on long, elegant stems.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy through most of the UK
  • Grows to 60cm tall and 60cm wide
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered

2. Phlomis russeliana (Jerusalem sage or Turkish sage)

Next is a fantastic evergreen perennial for keeping weeds at bay because its thick carpet of beautifully scalloped edged leaves that quickly form a dense carpet. In summer, the plant produces very pretty, soft lemon-yellow flowers, borne all the way up the rigid stems. Leave the stems on for striking winter interest and watch the birds feed from the seeds.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 90cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered

3. Achillea millefolium (yarrow)

There are several different coloured cultivars of this pretty flowered perennial, and this white flowered species will grow in any aspect or type of soil.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 45cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered

4. Cirsium rivulare (plume thistle) ‘Atropurpureum’

If you’re looking for a long-lived perennial that produces deep red flowers on long stems throughout the summer this plant makes an ideal addition to the flower border. The spherical flowerheads are deep red in colour and bring wonderful texture to the scheme.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 1.2m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered

5. Hemerocallis (daylily) ‘Ed Murray’

This is another reliable perennial that’s hardy and easy to grow. It’s an ideal plant for people who want to plant and then forget about it. The flowers range from trumpet to flat shape, some relatively small at 5cm, others larger at up to 15cm. North Americans have gone to town hybridising these tough plants to such an extent that there are now more than 3,000 different varieties listed by the Royal Horticultural Society.  ‘Ed Murray’ produces gorgeous, velvety looking deep red flowers in clusters of two or three on long slender stems growing out from long, slender, leaves.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 75cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained
  • Full sun
  • Exposed or sheltered

6. Anemanthele lessoniana (pheasant-tail grass)

If you’re looking for a reliable, evergreen grass that will cope growing in most situations, this clump forming grass could be the ideal choice. It produces copious amounts of delicate looking bronzy purple seedheads late summer. Then, come autumn, its thin green leaves start to turn orange-brown and remain that colour right through winter.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 50cm tall and 45cm wide
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed

7. Nepeta racemosa (catmint) ‘Walker’s Low’

The pretty silver-grey leaves give off a delicious aroma when they are crushed, and the plant flowers for long periods of time. It’s a great choice of plant to fill a new border quickly and will also grow very well with other perennials and look especially good grown with roses. This is a shorter cultivar making it great for the smaller garden.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 60cm tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun or part shade
  • Exposed

8. Centaurea montana (knapweed)

These pretty perennials will grow, flower, and thrive in any conditions; whether the soil is wet or dry or it’s in full sun or full shade. This variety has long, soft silvery-grey leaves and is smothered in the prettiest blue flowers for several months. There is also a white flowering variety ‘Alba’.

  • Flowers in spring
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 45cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun to full shade
  • Exposed or sheltered

9. Phlox paniculata (border phlox) ‘David’

These gorgeous, scented perennials produce their flowers on stiff stems that rarely need staking and are a fantastic addition to the flower border. Very quickly they grow into large clumps which can be easily divided and relocated around the border. This white flowered cultivar is very disease resistant with large, tall clusters of pure-white flowers and distinctive bright green smooth leaves. The flowers continue over a long period and tend to look their best during August.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 90cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed

10. Anemone hupehensis (Japanese anemone) ‘Hadspen Abundance’

There is something rather lovely about the sight of a clump of Japanese anemone flowers waving gently in the breeze during late summer and early autumn. These easy to grow perennials soon form colonies of elegant flowers on long stems which left uncut provide good winter interest in the flower border. What’s more, they are a great source of food for small birds. This cultivar produces single, deep-pink flowers with a satin texture from late summer.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 90cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered

11. Helianthus (perennial sunflower) ‘Lemon Queen’

These trouble-free plants soon grow into large, upright clumps that, despite their height, don’t need staking. Always a joy when they start to flower, their bright-lemon colour daisy flowers appear on tall, stiff stems in late summer. They are best placed at the very back of the border for maximum impact, where pollinators can go and enjoy them.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 1.8m tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full sun
  • Sheltered

12. Alchemilla mollis (lady’s mantle)

This is another plant that’s ideal for ground cover. It’s undemanding and reliable, producing large, scallop shaped leaves along with frothy lime-green flowers during the summer months. If you want to limit the number of plants in the border, ensure you remove the spent flowers before they set seed.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 60cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained soil
  • Full shade, full sun or partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered

13. Digitalis ferruginea (rusty foxglove)

Although the common foxglove is biennial, other species are perennial such as this elegant species with small, honey-coloured flowers veined inside with brown. It will grow in the poorest of soil, flowering for months with very architectural thin upright flower spikes.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 90cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun, full shade, partial shade
  • Exposed or sheltered

14. Acanthus mollis (bear’s breeches)

Another perennial producing tall upright spires of flowers is this stately looking plant which will grow very well in this type of environment. Unlike the perennial foxgloves, it is long lived. The beautiful flowers are white with purple appearing high summer.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Hardy
  • Grows to 1.5m tall
  • Well-drained soil
  • Full sun, partial shade or full shade
  • Exposed or sheltered

15. Lamium maculatum (deadnettle) ‘White Nancy’

If you’re looking for ground cover, this is the ideal tough plant that will cope with these conditions. It produces pure-white flowers from silvery coloured leaves during the early summer months. The flowers that bloom in summer are attractive to pollinators.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 15cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full shade or partial shade
  • Sheltered

16. Geranium (cranesbill) ‘Brookside’

This group of trouble-free plants are probably one of the most versatile of perennials with hundreds of different varieties to choose from. Most flower for weeks on end and will reward you with a second flush if cut back to soil level mid-summer. ‘Brookside’ is an extremely long flowering variety producing beautiful violet-blue flowers, each with a tiny white centre.

  • Flowers in summer
  • Fully hardy
  • Grows to 45cm tall
  • Moist but well-drained or well-drained soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Sheltered or exposed

This selection of perennials are easy to grow and will bring interest to the garden with their flowers and foliage. With some that are attractive to pollinators, bees and butterflies can appreciate them in your beds and borders too.

Find out more about adding texture to your garden:

Or check out my Pinterest board for more ideas:


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