Perennials are flowers that live on for three or more seasons, while the so-called biennials live but for two years—they grow from seed one year, and flower and die the next. There are some 2000 species and vibrations of perennials, and if the iris and the dahlia are included as well, the number amounts to some 5000.
Perennials are easy to manage and need little care. They grow under trees, among shrubs, in rockeries, along ponds, on banks, in borders, and in shade or sun. Most effective results may be obtained by planting perennials in masses of lights and darks, in a harmony of hues and tones, rather than by introducing many kinds with spotty results.
A few of the perennials are listed here in selected groupings:
Perennials for massing: Pyrethrum, columbine, Shasta daisy, violet, sweet lavender, coreopsis, sweet william, foxglove, and Canterbury bell
Perennials according to height: Less than 1 foot—Candytuft, English daisy, forget-me-not; moss pink, rock cress, and shooting star. 1 – 2 feet—Achillea, ptarmica, fragrant balm, columbine, Funkia subcordata, Lychnis viscaria, and Iceland poppy. 2 – 3 feet—Bleeding heart, Canterbury bell, cardinal flower, flame flowers, gas plant, and peony. 3 – 4 feet—Adam’s-needle, giant daisy, larkspur, Oriental poppy, sunflower, and tree peony. 4 – 6 feet—Coneflower, hollyhock, Japanese eulalia, joe-pye weed, and zebra grass. Over 6 feet—Bugbane, giant rye grass, giant red, sacaline, and sunflower.
Perennials according to color: White—Achillea, ptarmica, Adam’s-needle, Astilbe japonica, daisy, day lily, and rock cress. Lilac, magenta, purple—Beardtongue, blazing star, gas plant, fringed pink, rock cress, and shooting star. Blue—Anemone blanda, Clematis davidiana, Rock Mountain columbine, forget-me-not, Iris laevigata, and larkspur. Yellow—Columbine (chrysantha), coneflower, gaillardia, golden tuft, Iceland poppy, and sunflower. Pink—Bleeding heart, hollyhock, Lychnis viscaria splendens, moss pink, peony, and dianthus. Red—Anemone japonica, fragrant balm, cardinal flower, Clematis viorna coccinea, coral-bells, and peony.
Fragrant perennials: Gas plant, golden tuft, groundnut, rock cress, rocket sweet, and Scotch pink
Perennials for shady places: Anemone Pennsylvania, bluebell, bugleweed, Helleborus niger, Phlox divaricata, and shooting star
Drought-resisting perennials: Coneflower, inulasedum, and Yucca filamentosa
For moist or low ground conditions: Fragrant balm, cardinal flower, Funkia, Iris laevigata, joe-pye weed, and Ranunculus aquaticus
Perennials with striking foliage: Adam’s-needle, Anemone japonica, eulalia, Funkia, giant reed, and plume poppy.