Flowers, shrubs, ornamental grasses, and trees not only spice up your home’s landscape, but they also provide an ecological balance for Mother Earth. Birds, butterflies, bees and other wildlife depend on the bounties nature provides. Perennial flowers and grasses beautify your yard while providing food and habitat for local wildlife.
Photo by David-Pierre Mangiapan via Wikimedia Commons
Ornamental and turfgrasses are a given for yards and landscapes. Grass is a perennial plant since it returns every year. Depending on where you live, the type of grass in your lawn is a warm-season or cool-season variety. Warm-season grasses grow best when the average daily temperature is 85 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. They include Zoysia, St. Augustine, Bahia, and Bermudagrass. Cool-season grasses, such as Kentucky bluegrass, fescues, and perennial ryegrass, thrive in temperatures of 65 to 75. Late summer or early fall is the best time to overseed a lawn with cool-season grasses because they need warm soil to germinate. Planting grass in the fall helps to establish the roots before winter.
Photo by KENPEI via Wikimedia Commons
If you live in a USDA plant hardiness zone where the temperature drops below freezing, check out these cold-hardy perennial plants.
Achillea: This variety includes milfoil, soldier’s woundwort, yarrow and staunchweed. Hardy for USDA zones 3 to 9, these drought-tolerant plants grow 2 to 3 feet high. They enjoy full sunlight, bloom in late spring, and attract birds and butterflies.
Clematis: Growing in full sunlight or filtered shade, clematis prefers well-draining, slightly alkaline soil. Suitable for USDA zones 5 to 9. Clematis’ showy flowers bloom in various colors throughout the summer. This perennial vine grows and spreads, so you’ll want to have a lot of space for it.
Columbine: Also called Aquilegia and hardy for USDA zones 3 to 8, this plant grows in various cultivars from 1½ to 3 feet high. It flowers in April and May with violet, blue, pink, red, and white blooms that attract wildlife.
Creeping phlox: Spreading like a carpet, this low-growing perennial reaches about 6 inches tall. It expands nicely in flower borders, on slopes, and in rocky areas. Hardy to zone 3, Creeping Phlox blooms in April and May.
Echinacea: Better known as coneflowers, you’ll want to plant this beautiful perennial for its looks and its seed. Birds love it! Hardy to zones 3 to 8, coneflowers have daisy-like petals with button heads and grow to about 3 feet tall. Flowers bloom from late spring to late summer.
Salvia: Also known as garden sage, salvia is a perennial hardy to USDA zones 4 to 8. The herbaceous plant is drought-tolerant, prefers full sunlight, and blooms with blue flowers in June. Growing 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 feet tall, this perennial shrub is a member of the mint family and attracts bees and butterflies.
Photo by Kapa65
Brightly Colored Perennials
Looking for more color in your landscape? Consider these plants:
New England aster: Hot-pink star-shaped petals. Late-summer and autumn blooms. USDA zones 3-8.
Pink elf: Semi-evergreen for mild climate, nice for a woodland setting. USDA zones 6-9.
Gold gloriosa daisy: Showy perennial with bright golden petal and brown heads. Perfect for mixed borders. This flower thrives in full to partial sun in zones 4 to 10.
With so many cold-hardy shrubs available, you might want to add some hydrangeas, conifers, spirea, and weigela to your landscape. In warmer climates, pink muhly is an ornamental grass that shines with purple hues and brings a special glow to your backyard. Whatever plants you choose, be sure to give their roots enough room to spread, and apply the proper type of fertilizer to ensure they make it through the winter.
Whether you live in a cool or warm climate, it’s time to get busy! Fall is the time for planting.