Easy Perennial Flowers for Beginners to Plant

Low-Maintenance Plants That Return Year After Year

By Larry Hodgson
September 9, 2021

Coneflowers are among the easiest perennials to grow in your carefree garden.

V. J. Matthew/Shutterstock

Perennials are the foundation of any flower garden! See our list of easy, no-fuss perennials that are especially perfect for the beginner gardener, with an emphasis on native plants. Bring beautiful blooms to your garden—year after year!

What are Perennials?

Perennials are those flowers that return reliably year after year—whereas annuals are those one-season wonders that add color and need to be replaced every spring. It’s the perennials which form the backbone of a garden, whereas annual are planted for spots of color. Think of perennials as the foundation. 

An advantage of perennials is that they require minimum maintenance. After establishment, most perennials require minimum pesticides or pruning. They just need well-drained soil that’s amended with compost or organic matter. However, there are literally thousands of varieties of perennials, and while some are indeed as easy as pie to grow, others require at least as much attention as annuals. So, if an easy garden is what you seek, you should take care to choose the right perennials. 

One tip: Choose native perennials when possible! Don’t be tempted by a beautiful flower that grows in the far North or South if it’s not meant for your zone! See the USDA Native Plant database.

When to Plant Perennials

You can plant a perennial any time, but the best time to plant is fall and spring. This allows the plant to get well-established before winter or very hot, dry summers. We prefer fall because the soil is already warmed. Planting in summer is okay, but you’ll need to water frequently. 

The following are among the easiest perennials which are common through most of North America.

Why These Perennials Are So Easy

The plants listed here are perfect perennials because they …

  • do not need fussy care, such as pinching, staking, and deadheading (although some of these plants, like daylilies, can benefit from deadheading)
  • are fairly resistant to pests and diseases, and may even be unappealing to deer (although a hungry deer will eat just about anything)
  • have a long life span (more than 5 years)
  • adapt to a wide range of conditions
  • do not spread all over the garden via invasive rhizomes
  • grow and bloom well even if you do not divide them
  • are tough enough to hold their own against invasive neighbors
  • will grow almost anywhere in North America (Zones 2 to 9)

Check out these easy tips for perennial garden care.

1. Black-eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) are a popular native flower and been a stape for so long that just about everyone grows them. Sturdy stems bear cheerful golden daisy-like flowers with a black, conelike center. They occur singly atop 1 to 2-foot stems. Take note, though, that this is a late starter, flowering at the end of summer. ‘Early Bird Gold’ is a selection of the more common ‘Goldsturm’ that is physically identical to it but “day-length neutral”: It starts blooming early and doesn’t know when to stop, so it can bloom from late May until Christmas in some climates. (Northern gardeners can figure on a late June through October season.) Read our Growing Guide for Black-Eyed Susans.


2. Purple Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.)

Echinacea purpurea, commonly known as coneflower, is a popular and easily grown native perennial U.S. whih produces long-lasting lavendar flowers on smooth 2 to 5-foot  robust stems and bear a prickly, green to orange center. It blooms from midsummer to early fall, attracting butterflies and hummingbirds. The flowers are used to make an extremely popular herbal tea. Read our Growing Guide for Coneflowers.


3. Daylilies

Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are the workhorse of the garden and very low-maintenace, thriving in full sun but also can tolerate partial shade. It’s not an original native but it’s been here a long, long time  Lots of choices here, from big flowers to small, from dwarfs to giants, from early bloomers to fall bloomers—all trumpet-shape and borne over attractive, arching, grasslike foliage. Some varieties, such as the ever popular ‘Stella de Oro’ (yellow flowers), bloom all summer! Colors include yellow, orange, pink, purplish red, and “white” (well, more like cream), often with a contrasting eye. Each flower lasts but a day (thus the name, “daylilies”), but stems can produce dozens of flowers … and there can be dozens of stems! 


4. Goatsbeard

Aruncus, commonly known as goat’s beard, has an extensive native range in North America. This is a big, tough perennial with stems so sturdy that they have survived tornados unharmed. The giant leaves are fernlike, and the frothy white flowers are rather like astilbe blooms. It’s a bit slow to develop and thus may not reach its full size for 4 to 5 years, but goatsbeard can live for 100 years or more in the same spot. Expect blooms in early summer.


5. Hostas

Ever popular, hostas are tough as nails as long as you remember two things: You must buy slug-resistant varieties (these usually have thick leaves), and hostas are beloved by deer. (Read our advice for getting rid of slugs and deer in the garden.) Hostas come in a variety of sizes and are grown mostly for their foliage—usually large leaves, with attractive veining in shades from dark green to chartreuse and blue, often with beautiful yellow or white variegation. The trumpet-shape flowers are white to purple and usually fairly insignificant; however, there are some large-flower, highly scented varieties. Hostas require full shade to partial shade and bloom early summer to fall. Read our Growing Guide for Hostas.


6. Peonies

Your great-great-grandmother probably grew peonies (Paeonia spp.)—and it’s highly likely that they’re still exactly where she planted them! Peonies are about the longest-lived perennials around. The deeply cut leaves are a glossy dark green that reddens in the fall, but their main attraction is the huge, showy, blowsy blooms pink, white, or red (and, more recently, yellow or peach). Flowers can be single, semidouble, or double, but take note: many of the double varieties require staking. Peonies bloom in mid- to late spring. Read our Growing Guide for Peonies.


7. Salvia

Salvias (also known as sages) have gained their new fame because they flower for a long period of time and also grow fairly rapidly. There are also many salvias that will stay low enough to be used at the front edge of your flowerbeds.  In addition to the colorful flowers and interesting foliage of salvias, one of the main benefits of growing sages are the hummingbirds and butterflies they attract. See our Growing Guide for Salvia.

Spotlight: Discover Salvia ‘Rockin Blue Suede Shoes’ ar romencegardens.com.


8. Foxglove

Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is a stunning tall flower with tubular blossoms that often looks best at the back of a garden; it’s also rabbit- and deer-resistant. Common foxglove is a biennial, which means they form a rosette and leaves in their first year, bloom in their second year, and then die. Foxglove reseed easily, so plant foxgloves two years in a row for flowering plants. Also, new perennial varieties of foxglove have been developed that flower in year one. See our Foxglove Growing Guide.

NOTE: Foxglove are highly poisonous, so don’t plant them if you have pets or young children who might gnaw on the plants. Additionally, foxglove are not native to North America and may be considered invasive species in some locations. Check with local regulations before planting.

Spotlight: The ‘Arctic Fox Rose’ foxglove is an annual that is hardy enough to survive northern winters


More Easy Perennials to Grow

Got more space to fill? None of the above plants caught your fancy? Okay, here are a few more…

9. Cushion Spurge

Cushion Spurge (Euphorbia polychroma) is a native plant with chartreuse flowers rise from mounds of green foliage. This plant blooms in early spring, turns a colorful chrome-yellow in early summer, and turn red in the fall. It’s a dramatic plant for the perennial border and is drought-resistant, deer-resistant, and butterfly-friendly!

Image: Bright yellow cushion spurge ‘Euphorbia polychroma’ in spring garden. Credit: Hopsalka/Getty.

10. Columbine 

Columbine (Aquilegia) is a beautiful woodland perennial with dropping, bell-like red petals which attract hummingbirds. Once started, columbine propagates for years and, although perennial, increases rapidly by self seeding. See how to plant columbine.


11. Russian Sage

This shrubby plant with sturdy white stems has silvery, highly aromatic leaves and a haze of lavender-blue flowers. Blooming from summer to fall, Russian Sage is a robust plant that is drought-tolerant once established and very attractive to pollinators. Its softer look can provide a beautiful supporting role to bolder perennials, like coneflowers and rudbeckia. Read more about sage.

Image: Russian Sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia). Credit: cstar55/Getty.

12. Showy Stonecrop

One of the taller members of the genus Hylotelephium (formerly Sedum), these popular garden plants are extremely easy to grow. White to pink cauliflower blooms appear over succulent, blue-green leaves. Blooms in fall. Read more about stonecrop.


13. Astilbe

Astillbe (Astilbe x arendsii) has a low growing habit that makes it work as a border plant or ground cover. The flowers are fluffy pink or white panicles above dense fern-like foliage. See our Astilbe Grow Guide.


14. Siberian Iris

This is the easy iris—it produces abundant blooms in purple, lavender, pink, white, or yellow in attractive, grasslike foliage. Blooms from late spring to early summer. Read more about growing irises.


15. Phlox

A very common wildflower, phlox blooming anytime from late spring through the summer months in pastel pink, purple, or white flowers. Most species need full sun to thrive. Butterflies and hummingbirds love phlox! Read more about growing phlox.

Creeping phlox is a hardy groundcover with lovely spring blooms!
Creeping phlox is a hardy groundcover with lovely spring blooms.

16. Baptisia australis, commonly known as False Indigo

One of the oldest known perennials to exist, most native Baptisia species is an upright perennial and features blue-lavender, lupine-like flowers on mountains of clover-like blue-green foilage. Baptisia australis has dark seed pods formed in fall that are a good counterpoint in cut flower arrangements. A carefree plant that grows in full sun or light shade, they are typically deer-resistant and attract butterflies.


17. Heliopsis helianthoides or False Sunflower

A native perennial often found wild along roadsides and in fields across the U.S. and much of Canada, this upright, sunflower-like perennial features daisy-like flowers with yellow-orange rays surrounding yellow center cones. The flowers will brighten up your garden in full sun to light shade from midsummer to fall. Pollinating bees and butterflies enjoy the blossoms. The plant tolerates dry to average soils and does not require rich soil to thrive.


18. Bee Balm (Wild Bergamot)

Bee balm (Monarda spp.) blooms every year in mid to late summer. It’s beloved by pollinators including bees, butterflies and hummingbirds who enjoy the sweet nectar found in its tubular-shaped florets. In zones 4 to 8, it grows in full sun to part shade and prefers average to consistently moist soil. Deer tend to leave it alone due to its minty scented foliage. See our Bee Balm Guide.


19. Perennial Hibiscus, also known as Rose Mallow

Native to the Eastern U.S., hearty hibicus flowers from midsummer into early fall and grows best in full sun to light shade. Natives grow near bodies of water so this plant needs consistent moisture to thrive and isn’t recommended for containers. Deer usually leave them alone, but bees and hummingbirds enjoy their blossoms. See our Hibiscus Growing Guide.


20. New England Aster

The native aster has colors ranging from lavender to blue to white, with showy flowers. The perennial’s hairy, clasping leaves are arranged densely on its stout stems, and the plant can grow to six feet or more in height. Learn more about growing asters.


Which of these easy perennials is your favorite? Do you have any favorite perennial flowers which you would recommend to the Almanac community? Please let us know below!

See how to plant and care for perennials.


Reader Comments

Leave a Comment

Looking for old old rose

I'm looking for the old, old rose that blooms continuously in clusters of 7 quarter sized blooms in various shades of pink. Very hard, very thorny!! Older people will say, "Oh, I had 1 of those...." but apparently it has fallen out of favor as I'm still looking for a source. Any help will be very appreciate. Many thanks. Jan

Old heirloom roses

The Editors's picture

Hi Janet, Old heirloom roses which are “ramblers” have flowers in clusters of seven. Ramblers usually only flower once a year. “Climbers” come in clusters of five and flower repeatedly, so climbers have become more popular.

There is an interesting heirloom rambler called the “Seven Sisters” rose which is native to China. We wonder if this is the one you are referencing? Here’s a page that has more information.

Please don’t encourage foxglove

I love this article which encourages native plants but please remember that foxglove is not native to North America. It’s a very pretty plant and it’s done very well here (it’s naturalized that means it’s become wide-spread) which is why some people think it’s native but it’s from Europe and it’s highly toxic to dogs (and cats) and people. Please consider amending this article and/or run another article about plants that are pretty and easy to grow and sold in stores (like fox glove) but that should be avoided.

pollinator gardens

I just planted a pollinator garden of hollyhock (I love them), Sweet William and Day Lillies. I've not had great luck with coneflowers here. I suspect that side of the yard is too shady and damp for them. They tend to wander over toward the driveway, where they disappear. But common milkweed, loved by Monarchs, does great there.


a poster wrote: The plant grows big and beautiful but the buds just won't open. Any suggestions? Thanks. my comment: Make sure the Peonies Buds have Ants covered on them; the Ants have an enzyme which opens the Peonies buds; "no bug spray on Peonies";

cone flowers/black=eyed susans

I live in zone 6 in new york, cone flowers are impossible to grow and my black-eyed susans get black spots on the leaves no matter what I spray with. So I don't think these two are so easy to grow.


Excellent website for advice on all aspects of planting, caring and identifying different species of flowers.

Peonies not blooming

Many people don't like the sugar ants. Sadly without them peonies cannot bloom. They are necessary for removing the wax that surrounds the bud. Best to plant this beauty away from your house.

peonies are probably my favorite of this list.

Anyone who has peonies to give away is my friend, at least in that department! I had some rosy pink ones but when we moved, couldn't take them. I really miss the fragrance. Do they grow well in Northern Arkansas?

Peony Growing Zones

The Editors's picture

Hi Shirley,
Peonies can grow in Northern Arkansas! They grow well in Zones 3 to 8, and most of Arkansas is in Zone 7!

Coneflowers and black eyed susans

I have a large area covered with black eyed susans. Your correct they will take over. One year rabbits helped slow the spread.However b i s and coneflowers are the favorite food of 4 pair of american Gold finch that live in my yard.

suggestion for Farmer's Almanac

It would be helpful, if when you did an article such as this, to put a little bee picture somewhere on the flower picture so that those of us looking to help bees, could readily identify those flowers. Thanks in advance for your consideration of my request!

Perennial Geraniums

Another name I have seen perennial geraniums go by is Bloody Cranesbill. I love my three plants! And so does this irritating black bird, who keeps pecking off the leaves. Finally, I purchased 3 decorative metal cloches to protect them and they have rebounded, happier than ever! I got the cloches at my local garden supply store and they totally confounded my husband until he realized what they were designed to do. Now he is pretty happy with them!

Favorite perennial

Shasta daisy's, they grow tall and look so happy! Also like Liatris. So do the bees. Let's face it, I have hardly ever met a flower I didn't like! I enjoyed your article, thank you!

Favorite perennial


Favourite Perennial

Coral Bells - mine are green leaves with coral flowers. Although a perennial, they bloom all summer. They spread a little, but are not invasive. The hummingbirds like them too...

Favorite Flower


coneflowers - echinacea

And coneflowers are also beneficial for the bees and other pollinators, who need all the help they can get! I am sure other of the flowers mentioned are, too. Please plant with the bees in mind.


I have an established Peony plant (about 10 years) and every year there are 40-60 buds but I get only 4 to 7 which open nicely! The rest of the buds dry to a hard, crispness and I have to pull them off. No one seems to have an answer for me. I have the plant on an automatic drip, and I have tried about anything that has been suggested but nothing changes year after year. It is planted in full sun with late afternoon shade from an evergreen. The plant grows big and beautiful but the buds just won't open. Any suggestions? Thanks.

All of the Above

I am a plantaholic and garden in zone 6 on the Cumberland Plateau in TN. Thanks to Mary for the info on Russian Sage. I bought just one plant to use as an accent so I have to watch it carefully. My biggest gardening challenges are the deer and Japanese beetles! I have mostly perennials - Iris, peonies, day lilies, bleeding heart, hellebores, daffodils, black-eyed susan, bee balm, hosta, lily of the valley, shasta daisy, roses, clematis and much more. I would recommend two plants that the deer will not eat: lavender and sea holly. Happy gardening!

deer-resistant plants

The Editors's picture

Hi, Gay, Thank you for your thoughts on plants that deer leave alone. Russian sage is also in that number—ay least here in New England. One thing to be aware of though is that Russian sage will spread, sending “shoots” up several inches from the main plant. See Mary’s comment, below, on April 13, 2018. Like so many perennials, the first year is sleeps, the second year it creeps, and the third (and ensuing years) it leaps! But it is beautiful, especially waving in a light breeze. Good luck this season and thanks again!


You said that the perennials on the list don't need deadheading. I grow daylilies and it's true that they don't require deadheading just to stay alive but, if you don't deadhead, you will get far fewer and much smaller flowers than if you do. Your daylilies won't look like the ones in the catalogs or in the photos that are online if you don't do some deadheading.

deadheading daylilies?

The Editors's picture

You have a point, Robin. Removing the spent blossom enables the plant to put its energy into producing more blooms and not seeds. It’s not essential but doing so yields better results. We will change the text to indicate this.

Easy perennials

I have most of these plants in my Chicago Suburbs garden, another easy one that just blooms and bloom.. perennial geraniums!

Perennial geraniums

I have never hear of these or seen them at any nursery. Very interested to find out where they can be purchased. I always spend a lot on regular geraniums each spring. Love their bright colors and long lasting blooms.

Russian Sage/perennial

Russian Sage establishes deep tap roots and is next to impossible to get rid of once it gets started. I've been trying to clean it out for five years. Roundup wiped on the stems will kill them but the roots just send up more runners. Would love to roundup the whole bed, but I've got a beautiful 40 year old clematis that I don't want to hurt? Will never again plant one on purpose!

Black Eyed Susans

BES are easy to grow and I love them, but be careful. They can take over the whole area at the expense of other flowers.

The coneflower is my favorite

The coneflower is my favorite and I find it does best by staking and securing to the stake with hemp string, otherwise with heavy rain and time they flop over and don't look as good.

FAvorite perennials

I love bleeding heart - the old-fashioned Dicentra spectrabilis. (Probably mangled that Latin, despite 3 years of it in H.S.!) It grows well on the north shore of Long Island, seeds more of itself readily, and is reliable year to year. The flowers are graceful and colorful, the white variety is like snow blossoms against other more vivid blooms, and the large foliage is handsome. I have iris that are over 80 years old from my grandma's farm in Va. as well. And I love my patches of rue (Mom's Leslie clan badge) with it's ferny leaves, yellow flowers and interesting woody "berries".

Rue plants or seeds

Hi, I was just reading your comment, and wasn't familiar with "rue" so I did a search. It says it's strong odor keeps Japanese Beetles away, and this is something I would be interested in. Would you happen to know where a person could buy/order plants or seeds? A search hasn't turned up anything useful. Thanks!



Sign up for our email newsletter by entering your email address.

BONUS: You’ll also receive our free Beginner Gardening Guide!

The Almanac Webcam

Chosen for You from The Old Farmer's Store

Sign up for our email newsletter by entering your email address.

BONUS: You’ll also receive our Almanac Companion newsletter!