The 17 Best Spring Perennials to Plant Come Springtime

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This is the year, guys—the year we get that gorgeous garden growing and become our cut bouquet-cultivating true selves. We’re talking about drop-dead gorgeous peonies, Bleeding Hearts, Irises and Hummingbird Mint, just for starters. Before you know it, you’ll have bouquets for springtime birthdays, Mother’s Day and all the other get-togethers sure to happen as summer teases us with more sunshine.

But how do you cultivate a garden from a pile of weeds? We checked in with Rebecca Sears, CMO & Resident Green Thumb at Ferry-Morse, who shared her tips on when to start planting and the easiest perennials to grow in the springtime, so you can wow everyone with homemade arrangements this season.

Benefits of Gardening (Besides a Yard Full of Gorgeous Flowers)

When Should You Plant Perennials in the Spring?

According to Sears, there’s no uniform best time to plant. Rather, it depends on your growing zone and the date of the last frost in your region. Sears explains that the last frost is "typically when temperatures reach 45 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In some parts of the country, this shift in temperature occurs in early to mid- March, but other areas, like those in the Northeast, might not see this shift until late March or early April.”

To find out the best gardening timeline for your area, she recommends checking the USDA Hardiness Zone Map. “Once you know your zone, you’ll be able to determine the last frost date specific to your location and start planning your garden from there,” she says. 

What Are the Easiest Perennials to Grow?

Novice gardener? No worries. Here are a few of the easiest perennials to grow, recommended by Sears: Coreopsis, Butterfly Weed and Shasta Daisies. Coreopsis are weather tolerant and also aren’t incredibly picky when it comes to soil pH. Butterfly Weed is known to do well in humid and dry climates across different growing zones, while Shasta Daisies are low maintenance and deer resistant, so you won’t have to worry about sharing your hard-won flowers with sneaky, errant nibblers.

best perennials to plant in spring: itoh peony
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1. Itoh Peony

Fun fact: A mature Itoh peony plant can produce 50 (!) or more flowers in one spring season. With their enormous flowers, vigorous growth and leafy foliage, they’re total showstoppers.

best perennials to plant in spring: bleeding heart
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2. Valentine Bleeding Heart

These delicate, old-fashioned favorites boast clusters of heart-shaped flowers and a long blooming season. Try pairing with hostas and ferns that will fill in your garden when their foliage retreats in summer.

best perennials to plant in spring Clematis Integrifoliajpg
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3. Clematis Integrifolia

If you haven’t added clematis to your garden yet, spring is the season to start and this low-growing, bushy variety has the prettiest bell-shaped, indigo flowers. Look to it to lift your spirits from early spring through early summer.

best perennials to plant in spring werner arends avens
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4. Werner Arends Avens

Looking for a pop of bold color? Werner is one of the best (and most under-appreciated) perennials for borders. It thrives in cool summer climates, blooming from late spring into the summer, and bonus: It often remains evergreen in mild winter regions.

best perennials to plant in spring Variegated Sweet Irisjpg
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5. Variegated Sweet Iris

With their flashy foliage and ruffled petals, irises provide a classic grace note to modern and classic gardens alike. FYI: Irises tend to perform best in full sun, but this particular species is more shade-tolerant than most.

best perennials to plant in spring shell ginger
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6. Variegated Shell Ginger

Add some tropical vibes with this lush and fragrant plant. We love its unusual stripey leaves and large, drooping clusters of shell-shaped flowers that bloom in spring. Try planting these beauties in containers, then you can bring ’em indoors when the weather turns cool again.

best perennials to plant in spring Verbena Lilacina de La Mina
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7. Verbena Lilacina 'de La Mina'

These all-stars offer months of gorgeous color (in mild climates they bloom year-round and, otherwise, spring through fall). Better still, they’re drought-tolerant—aka a great choice for a water-wise garden.

best perennials to plant in spring frosted coral bells
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8. Frosted Violet Coral Bells

These dark, dramatic beauties really come alive when their tiny, pearl-pink flowers appear in spring. They’re a fabulous choice for underneath shade trees, in naturalistic settings, in formal gardens or even in containers.

best perennials to plant in spring Hummingbird Mint
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9. Hummingbird Mint

With this mint plant, your garden will become a hub of bees, birds and butterflies. Try pairing it with lavenders, catmints and Russian sages for a fragrant, fauna-filled herb garden. It comes in many hues, including red, pink and purple.

best perennials to plant in spring: globe flower
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10. Globe Flower (Trollius X Cultorum)

These stunners are part of the popular ranunculus family. Note that they fare best in soil that’s moist to wet (but well drained)—making them a perfect choice for woodland and pond-side settings.

best perennials to plant in spring: bee balm
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11. Bee Balm

If you want to lure some pollinators to the yard, try planting Bee Balm, which also goes by Monarda. Sears says that it’s a popular choice whose vibrant shades of red make it a sunny addition to bouquets. Be sure to water the plant weekly—if you’re not sure about the soil’s moisture levels, Sears recommends sticking your finger into the dirt to assess, and then water accordingly.

best perennials to plant in spring coneflower
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12. Coneflower

Coneflowers are ideal if you live in a drought-prone area (or are a forgetful waterer) because they’re heat- and drought- resistant, Sears shares. They also have a long growing season, unlike the peony.

“Purple coneflowers, in particular, offer gorgeously dark, cone-shaped flowers with purple petals, and they typically grow between 20 to 24 inches if you’re if you’re looking to add dimension to the garden through plants of different heights,” she says. “Be sure to give your coneflowers full sun and to water them weekly (once your soil is dry) to yield the best results.”

best perennials to plant in spring lupine
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13. Lupine

Coming in a rainbow of shades with delicate petals that are reminiscent of the sweet pea, Lupines are a good border plant, explains Sears. Lupine will provide definition but do note that she also advises staking them to prevent drooping, as they’ll reach up to 42 inches. For the best chance of success, put these in the ground in late spring and make sure they’re in full sun. Higher temps are a bonus.

best perennials to plant in spring salvia
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14. Salvia

Salvias add a touch of elegance with their uniform blooms, and Sears sings the praises of the Blue Ocean salvia in particular. “Their fragrant leaves are great for keeping rabbits and deer away, and for bringing pollinators to your garden to support self-seeding for the next season’s yield.” She says that this plant needs full sun and though, while drought tolerant, should be watered every seven to ten days, allowing the soil to dry in between.

best perennials to plant in spring Coreopsis
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15. Coreopsis

As one of Sears’s picks for the easiest perennials to grow, Coreopsis is weather tolerant and only requires regular watering in its first year. It comes in several colors, including yellow, peach and magenta, sure to add a lively burst to your yard.

best perennials to plant in spring: butterfly weed
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16. Butterfly Weed

Despite the name, this plant is something you’d very much want in your garden. It comes in a cheerful orange hue and does well in a variety of climates and temperatures, making it a versatile addition across several growing zones.

best perennials to plant in spring shasta daisies
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17. Shasta Daisies

Shasta Daisies are low maintenance and perhaps the garden definition of “set it and forget it,” once you get them going. Like Butterfly Weed, these bouncy daisies are versatile and adapt to different soil and sun conditions while being deer- and drought-resistant. However, Sears counsels that you should avoid them if you live in a humid area, as they are susceptible to root rot.  


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