10 Bullet-Proof Flowers for Your Landscape

Easy to care for in a wide variety of conditions makes these perennials each a good bet. 

By Geri Laufer

No plant is bulletproof, but here’s a list that comes pretty close. These are a few of my favorites. Try some in your landscape.

Perennials for Sun

Daylily (Hemerocallis)

Narrow-leaved, sun-loving perennials bloom dependably each year in almost any kind of soil, as long as it drains easily. Look for “reblooming”on the plant label and get several waves of bloom throughout summer and fall. As daylilies expand in size, you can divide them and expand the planting in your landscape. Not only do you increase the number of plants (some to share?), but you also increase the number of flowers by dividing and replanting.

Peony (Paeonia)

A fragrant, romantic favorite, peonies are outrageously beautiful in bloom and sport lush foliage all summer long. Peonies are notoriously long-lived (think 40 years). Plant in October or November, when the plants are going dormant, in a generous hole in a sunny spot. Add organic matter and extra compost for years of increasing bloom.

Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica)

Siberian iris blooms in late spring and early summer in colors including purple, pink, yellow, and white. Flowers are held above the grassy clump. Siberian iris doesn’t typically need dividing for five to ten years after planting.

Lenten Rose/Hellebore (Helleborus x orientalis)

Indispensable for late winter bloom, the dark green leathery foliage looks great year round. This is a tough plant once it gets going in your landscape. Some of the new doubles are breathtaking.

Hardy Hibiscus (Hibiscus)

Dinner plate-size blooms 7 to 9 inches across give this hibiscus a breathtaking, tropical quality from midsummer through early fall. Best performance is achieved with consistently moist soil and full sun. This is a large perennial—plants grow 3 to 4 feet tall—so give it some room. Cut stems back to 3 to 4 inches in late winter, and new stalks will appear about the time you plant tomatoes.

Garden Phlox (Phlox paniculata)

Colors ranging from dark purple to white (but no yellow) sizzle in the mid- to late summer garden. Sweetly fragrant phlox flower heads attract butterflies and hummingbirds. For the healthiest growth, plant in full sun and moist soil rich in organic matter and look for mildew resistance on the plant label.

Black-Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida)

Tough and reliable, black-eyed Susan fills summer with school bus yellow daisy flowers that look good in the garden or a vase. Plants are really easy to grow, just give them average soil in full sun. Clumps spread quickly when plants are happy.

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)

Native purple coneflower boasts striking daisy blooms with reflexed pinky-purple petals surrounding a spiky, orange-gold cone. This drought-tolerant perennial beckons butterflies and bees—then in fall, goldfinch feast on the seeds.

Shade-Loving Perennials

Hosta (Hosta)

Well known as shade plants, hosta come in hundreds of patterned leaf combinations. Try a few with ferns to lighten up a shady corner. Hosta blooms, in lavender or white, appear in mid- to late summer and attract hummingbirds.

Hosta come in hundreds of patterned leaf combinations.

Coral Bells (Heuchera and Heucherella)

Brightly colored foliage—ranging from pink, peach, and raspberry to silver and chartreuse—lasts all season long on these hardy perennials, and flowers are an added bonus. Plant them in light shade as companions to ferns and hosta.

Heuchera ‘Prince’ cultivar, commonly alumroot and coral bells.

Japanese Anemone (Anemone japonica)

A fragile-looking autumn flower belies the rough and tumble nature of the Japanese anemone.

Hope you will try some of these easy to grow flowers to enhance your home landscape.

P.S. I know there are eleven, but you try getting rid of one. And if you’re looking for annuals for your garden, here are a few to try:

Annuals

Zinnia (Zinnia)

Look for zinnias in almost every color except blue; they’re also available in a variety of heights. The flowers may look like daisies or dahlias, spiders or pom poms, and more. Plant them in the sun and space them as directed on the seed packet or label; good air circulation helps prevent disease.

Impatiens (Impatiens)

Impatiens ask little more than a shady spot and enough water to keep them from wilting. Plant these pretty annuals when the weather is reliably warm. In recent years, many impatiens (I. walleriana) have succumbed to downy mildew. ‘Big Bounce’ is a new hybrid for shade to partial sun that resists this deadly disease. You’ll also find disease-resistant impatiens in the ‘Bounce’ series.

Marigold (Tagetes)

Cheerful marigolds are easy to grow in sunny spots, brightening your garden with shades of yellow, red, and gold as they bloom all summer long. African or American type marigolds grow 3 to 5 feet tall, but you can find shorter and more compact varieties.

Cosmos (Cosmos)

Add cosmos plants to your garden or grow these daisy-like flowers from seeds. These annuals are so undemanding, they’ll bloom even in poor soils. They like full sun (but appreciate afternoon shade in hot climates) and tolerate drought once they’re up and growing.

Geri Laufer’s twin loves are horticulture and garden writing. She earned a Masters of Science degree in Horticulture from Rutgers University and was a Georgia Cooperative Extension Agent on the team that founded the Master Gardener Program in Georgia, an Adjunct Professor in the Environmental Horticulture department at Gwinnett Technical Institute, and Public Relations Manager/Newsletter Editor for the Atlanta Botanical Garden. She’s an Atlanta dirt gardener and her home gardens have been featured in books and magazines—including Southern AccentsAmerican Homes and Lifestyles, and Atlanta Magazine. Her award-winning book, Tussie-Mussies, lead to a 30-city publicity tour and gigs on Good Morning America, NPR, and Home Matters. Tune in to #Herbchat on Twitter (Thursdays at 2:00 p.m.) where you will find her as your host.