Plant Perennials in Your Northern Garden

Lynn Coulter
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Stella De Oro Daylilies, perennials in a Northern Garden | The Home Depot's Garden Club

Daylily

Year after year, beautiful, dependable perennials wake up from their wintery naps and brighten our gardens. Pumpkin-orange daylilies open cheerful blooms, yellow coreopsis shine from borders and beds, and dianthus fill the air with a spicy, clove-like scent. When you choose plants that bloom at different times, you can enjoy three seasons of colors, textures, and forms.

Northern gardens need hardy perennials that can take extreme temperatures. The plants below have been selected for their ability to thrive in cold climates; look for them at your local Home Depot Garden Center.

For extra color, try growing them alongside colorful annuals, roses and other flowering shrubs. 

Asiatic liiles: Even beginners find these hardy lilies easy to grow. Depending on the variety, the brightly colored blooms open from early summer to midsummer. They’re held on sturdy stems, so they can be used as cut flowers. Grow the plants in full sun.

Astilbe ‘Visions’ and ‘Younique’: These extremely hardy, long-lived perennials prefer part to full shade. ‘Visions’ is a compact plant with showy, raspberry blooms; ‘Younique’ bears cherry red flowers. Use them to brighten up shady spots.

Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’: Coreopsis are nearly carefree plants that thrive in full sun. ‘Moonbeam’ is a very hardy, reliable variety with pale yellow flowers that grow to 2 inches tall.

coreopsis

Coreopsis

Coreopsis ‘Big Bang’ series: A new series bred for hardiness and color, ‘Big Bang’ plants are available in many colors. ‘Full Moon’ produces canary yellow blooms, while ‘Starcluster’ flowers are creamy white with golden eyes. ‘Red Shift’ blossoms shift from yellow to ruby red as the temperatures drop.

Coreopsis ‘Nana’: ‘Nana’ is a coreopsis variety that grows only about 8 inches tall. Try it as a ground cover or at the front of beds and borders. The orange-yellow blooms open from late spring to early summer.

Coreopsis ‘Jethro Tull’: These mid-sized plants bear large, fluted flowers for a period of five to six weeks and grow about 24 inches high. (They’re named for a British agriculturist, not the rock band.)

Daylily: ‘Stella De Oro’ and ‘Happy Returns’ are two very popular, easy-to-grow daylilies. Although daylilies prefer at least six hours of sun each day, they’ll bloom with less. Both varieties are compact and make great container plants.

Dianthus ‘Star’ series and ‘Sunflor’ series: Dianthus are the backbone of many gardens, blooming in spring and summer in a rainbow of colors. These carnation-shaped flowers do best in sun, but can take partial shade.

Dianthus

Dianthus

Gaillardia ‘Arizona Sun’: Also known as blanket flowers, gaillardias are attractive, orange-red and yellow flowers that open in early summer. Give them plenty of sun and watch for visiting butterflies. The plants are extremely deer resistant.

Heuchera: Over the last decade, plant breeders have developed shade-loving heucheras in a wide range of colors and sizes, so you’ll find a plant for almost any garden spot. Heucheras are grown for the interesting colors and textures of their foliage rather than their small flowers.

heuchera

Heuchera

Hosta: Like heucheras, hostas are grown for their beautiful leaves rather than their flowers. Look for these durable, long-lived perennials in many different sizes, shapes, and colors. Hostas are shade tolerant and easy to grow.

Salvia ‘May Night’: Blue flowers can be hard to find, but ‘May Night’ stands out, with deep violet-blue flowers held atop 24-inch stems. These deer resistant, sun-loving plants are long-lived.

Salvia 'May Night'

Salvia

Phlox subulata: Phlox is a must-have ground cover for full sun and begins flowering early in the season. Look for white, pink, violet, or red-purple varieties. Phlox is also a great choice to grow along walkways, on banks, or over low walls.

phlox

Phlox

Looking for a specific perennial? While availability may vary by store, your Home Depot Garden Center associate will be glad to help you find what you need or suggest an alternative.

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