29 Perennial Plants That Come Back Every Year

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. You can learn more about that process here.

Perennials—aka plants that come back every year—are a gardener's dream. Not only are they pretty fixtures for your backyard, but once planted, you can look forward to their gorgeous blooms for years to come without the back pain. Even more appealing is the fact that most of them are quite hardy and low maintenance, which means they can survive under the dreariest weather conditions, and you don’t have to tediously water, prune or re-pot once they’re established. Below, check out 29 types of perennials you can incorporate into your garden—from over-the-top tall blooms to dainty, groundcover plants.

10 Shrubs You Should Never Prune in the Fall

plants that come back every year peopnies
Phil Carpenter / 500px/Getty Images

1. peonies

One of the most popular flowers around, it’s no wonder peonies have a dedicated following. These beauties are not only a sight for sore eyes, but they’re some of the longest-living perennials. (Some, according to Almanac, have been known to live 100 years). They’re low maintenance—just put them in a spot that gets about six to eight hours of sun and plant them away from trees or shrubs so they don’t have to compete for food, and watch those lush flowers come to life.

plants that come back every year foxglove
Eriko Tsukamoto/Getty Images

2. foxglove

Tall and slender, foxgloves, aka Digitalis, are most commonly used as cottage flowers or on the back row of a flower border. These tubular flowering blooms are a little temperamental, so it’s important to take special care of them during the brisk winter months if you want them to bloom year after year. But don’t despair if they don’t come back after year two. Even under the care of the most diligent green thumb, these finger-like flowers are still one of the shorter-lived perennials around. P.S. Their eye-catching flowers may be hard to resist, but foxgloves can be toxic and are to be handled while wearing gloves and be planted where children and pets can’t reach.

plants that come back every year lavender
Sylvain Sonnet/Getty Images

3. lavender

Another wild favorite, lavenders are super popular because not only are they pretty and versatile—lavender tea, soap or shampoo anyone?—but these nifty flowers also live for a long, long time, we’re talking 15 years in a home garden. Because they originated in the Mediterranean, you need to give these purple beauties tons of sunlight and well-drained soil because they are not fond of the shade or wet roots.

plants that come back every year yarrow
ChristopherBernard/Getty Images

4. yarrow

If you’re looking for a unique-looking plant to add to your garden, look no further than yarrow. These flowers grow in tiny clusters of yellow, red, pink or mixture of the three shades. Aromatic and remedial, yarrow has also been used for its healing properties. Plus, the teensy flowers are pest- and drought-resistant, and they also attract butterflies.

plants that come back every year daylily
bauhaus1000/Getty Images

5. daylily

Though they share the same name as lilies, daylilies are not, in fact, of the same genus. Where lilies are a little bit more temperamental, daylilies don’t require much to ornament your garden. Their fiery presentation will come through as long as you plant them in a hole with plenty of space for their roots to spread out and provide them with about an inch of water per week once established. Other than that, come hell or high water, these perennials will survive.

plants that come back every year sedum
Grace Cary/Getty Images

6. sedum

If you’re on the market for a flower that gives you a creeping or low-growing option, you should definitely be looking at the sedum. Variations such as sedum divergens and sedum ternatum are creepers, which means you can plant at the edge of a balcony or by a fence for added pizazz. Others such as the low-growing sedum mojave and sedum murale are suited for ground cover.

plants that come back every year salvia
Thang Tat Nguyen/Getty Images

7. salvia

Also known as sage, these electric blue plant is beloved by the birds, the bees and butterflies too. Not only can it liven up your summer garden, but because it can grow to be as tall as five-feet tall (depending on the variety) it makes great cutting flowers too. Prop salvia on your dinner table, windowsill or front porch. It's heat and drought tolerant, which is a major plus.

plants that come back every year coneflower
Cappi Thompson/Getty Images

8. coneflower

You may have seen these beauties in a mound at your favorite park and even played “He loves me, he loves me not” while picking their lanky petals. That’s because coneflowers are as alluring as they are ubiquitous. The purple variety is most known, but there are also pink, red, orange, white, yellow and green varieties.

plants that come back every year columbines
MaryAnne Nelson/Getty Images

9. columbine

Though it’s winter hardy, the columbine is yet another short-lived perennial, rarely making it to four or five-years-old. Columbines are dainty and delicate and should not be planted near plants that have excessive root growth. (Sorry, daylilies). Fun fact: These delicate shrubs have had a slew of interesting nicknames over the course of time. From milder ones such as bell flower to more interesting names such as elf shoe, fool’s cap, gipsy bell, devil’s clock and even god’s hat.

plants that come back every year hellebore
Tine Nordbred/Getty Images

10. hellebore

Commonly known as Lenten rose, the hellebore is an early-blooming flower that’s sure to make your winter blues a little bit better. These leathery flowers come alive between February and May, which is when they’ll need plenty of hydration. You can take it easy during the summer months because they go dormant. Plant these babies with snowdrops, daffodils and bleeding hearts for an illustrious garden.

plants that come back every year asters
Teddi Yaeger Photography/Getty Images

11. asters

Nothing will put a smile on your face quite like a cluster of asters lined up in a row. These daisy-like perennials keep those end-of-summer blues at bay as they’re known to bloom in the late summer and early fall months. While they don’t need much when it comes to maintenance, you do have to be a bit meticulous when handling them. Make sure you water at the base and not on the foliage, use organic mulch which can hold moisture, fertilize with balanced plant food and you’ll be good to go.

plants that come back every year black eyed susan
Steve Cicero/Getty Images

12. black-eyed Susan

With long stems, bright yellow petals and a dark middle, the difference may be hard to spot, but no, black-eyed Susans are not sunflowers. Black-eyed Susans have smaller discs in the middle of their flowerheads, while sunflowers have larger, flatter discs. Sunflower leaves are also wider (and coarse to the touch), whereas black-eyed Susan leaves are narrower. The biggest difference of course, is that you cannot roast and snack on black-eyed Susan seeds, while sunflower seeds have a slew of benefits.

plants that come back every year creeping thyme
Laszlo Podor/Getty Images

13. creeping Thyme

For those who want to replace that backyard lawn with a prettier plant, creeping thyme is a great place to start. This tricky little plant needs at least one year in order to get established, but once that second year comes around, it starts to spread, and nothing is ever the same. You can even plant this ground shrub over steppingstones or pavers. Bonus point: It’s as edible and aromatic as the thyme you use to season your food.

plants that come back every year siberian iris
Glenn Ross Images/Getty Images

14. siberian Iris

Unlike foxgloves and columbines, which don’t live long, you can plant some Siberian irises and relax knowing they’ll rebloom for years to come. These petite frills are widely known for having beautiful foliage, even after the blooming period is over. Dainty as it may be, Siberian iris spreads pretty wildly, so consider planting it in a spot that has plenty of room.

plants that come back every year catmint
AlpamayoPhoto/Getty Images

15. catmint

Not to be confused with catnip—though strikingly similar—this bushy plant is not as attractive to our feline friends. It is, however, an excellent insect repellent, so feel free to plant it in the same vicinity as your vegetables. Catmint can thrive in the sun or partial shade as long as it’s sitting in well-draining soil.

plants that come back every year bee balm
Glenn Waterman / EyeEm/Getty Images

16. bee Balm

Aptly named, this spiky plant is a must-have in pollinator gardens because it’s very attractive to…well, bees, but also butterflies and hummingbirds. Nicknamed “wild bergamot,” bee balm is a member of the mint family and is edible. It can be used in herbal teas, salads and as garnishes. Plant these bright flowers under full sun to get their fullest glory.

plants that come back every year sea thrift
AL Hedderly/Getty Images

17. thrift

It may be a slow grower, but this plant has an elegant and graceful look to it once those pink, red or white blooms start coming to life. Native to coastal climates in Europe and North America, thrift plants can survive in harsh, rocky conditions, droughts and even drying winds.

plants that come back every year geranium
alexandrumagurean/Getty Images

18. geranium

One thing every green thumb absolutely lives for is a beautiful bloom with diversity, and geraniums are just that. You can plant these flowers in your garden, have them as hanging plants or grow them indoors, they’ll thrive in each setting. Sidenote: If you’re going to grow them indoors, just make sure you place them in a spot where they’ll have plenty of lighting.

plants that come back every year allium
Clive Nichols/Getty Images

19. allium

Reminiscent of dandelions, alliums are kin to onions, shallots and garlic, but a lot less delicious (like, not at all edible) and way more pretty to look at. Ornamental alliums are quite hardy and can be left untouched and will still grow in the same area for years. Oh, and BTW, alliums are not dog and cat friendly, so keep your four-legged friends away from them.

plants that come back every year balloon flower
Getty Images

20. balloon Flowers

Feast your eyes on these star-shaped flowers that are as hardy as they are awe-inspiring. You can plant balloon flowers in border gardens or rock gardens, and they’ll perform just fine. While they’re not super spreaders, they will self-sow, which means you’ll end up with way more than you initially planted.

plants that come back every year coral bells 2
fotolinchen/Getty Images

21. coral Bells

Plant these in your garden alongside your driveway or backyard pathway and trust us, your friends will be asking about them. Coral bells are unique-looking perennials that have both a flower mound and flower stalk that can grow to be 12 to 36 inches tall. They can grow under different lighting conditions from full sun to full shade—just make sure you give them adequate water in that first year.

plants that come back every year roman chamomille
kazmulka/Getty Images

22. roman Chamomile

Sure, it’s cool to have a pretty plant. You know what’s cooler? Having a pretty plant that is also medicinal. Of course, we’re not saying you go to your local nursey and bulk up on all the roman chamomile you can get your hands on, but it’s good to know that those pretty flowerheads can be used to make medicine that mitigates conditions such as indigestion, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and intestinal gas and more, says RX List.

plants that come back every year pentsemon
ZoomTravels/Getty Images

23. penstemon

Think of the driest, most gravelly and barren patch of land in your garden, that’s exactly where you should plant penstemons and eliminate that eye sore. They may appear dainty, but these plants are quite resilient, most beloved for the fact that they can grow in the toughest conditions. Penstemons don’t require a lot of water, nor do they mingle well with enriched soils—talk about low maintenance.

plants that come back every year lamium
beekeepx/Getty Images

24. lamium

Need a plant that eliminates weeds on your behalf? Then go with the lamiums. These versatile groundcover plants prefer to grow in full or partial shade, so you can plant them under trees or shrubs. Their teeny pink flowers first bloom in the spring, but don’t be surprised when they disappear because they come and go until the fall months.

plants that come back every year mums
Nora Carol Photography/Getty Images

25. chrysanthemums

Try saying that mouthful three times. If you can’t, then just opt for “mums” as they are commonly referred. These bright florals come in every pastel you could ever want—yellow, lavender, pink, purple, red, bronze, orange and white. Unlike other plants mentioned prior, mums need a fair amount of TLC. To get the best out of your flower, make sure you add mulch to keep the soil moist and ward off weeds, fertilize them monthly and make sure they’re getting adequate air circulation.

plants that come back every year tickseed
Grace Cary/Getty Images

26. tickseed

Gardeners love this sunny flower for its ability to grow in any type of garden soil and maintain a long-blooming season. While the yellow-hued tickseeds are most common, some also grow elegant pink blossoms or bicolored-blossoms that have a different color at their center. It’s no wonder butterflies, bees and birds are attracted to them.

plants that come back every year bleeding hearts
Amar Rai/Getty Images

27. bleeding Heart

They’re not as melancholy as they sound, we promise. They are, however, as fascinating to look at as their name suggests. These shade-loving plants got their intriguing name from their heart-shaped flowers, that hang quite like a heavy heart. To get the maximum effect of their unique appearance, make sure you’re consistently watering them and keeping them away from direct sunlight.

plants that come back every year elephants ear
kaiooooooooooooo/Getty Images

28. elephant’s Ear

If you’ve packed your garden with a ton of colorful florals and need a little bit of balance, you can add some contrast with this leafy plant that’s renowned for its large foliage. Elephant’s ear, aka, taro huge heart-shaped leaves that can grow anywhere between three to eight feet tall once they mature. They’re also a great add-in at the last minute since they’ll reach their full size within two months.

plants that come back every year bears breeches
Jacky Parker Photography/Getty Images

29. bear’s Breeches

Once established, this handsome, structural plant is super tolerant of dry shade conditions. It produces large, oakleaf-shaped foliage and spikes of white-lilac flowers and can be quite aggressive, so make sure you plant it with adequate room to spread out.