Hardy Perennials: Flowers That Come Back Year After Year (With Pictures)

hardy perennial flowers

Hardy flowering perennials are colorful plants that add color, scent, and visual appeal to your garden landscape. Hardy perennials grow in most zones, and their flowers come back year after year despite harsh, freezing winters. Some resilient perennial flowers are coneflowers, daylilies, gaillardia, salvia, astilbe, and peonies.

Growing hardy perennial flowers is ideal for low-maintenance gardens. Generally, hardy perennials are easy-care plants that regularly flower every year. The cold-hardy flowers are perfect for planting in mixed flower beds, borders, or to add colorful visual accent at the back or front of beds. Some varieties of hardy perennials are creeping plants for ground cover. In contrast, other tall perennials are ideal for planting along fences.

Hardy perennial flowers come in all shapes, sizes, and shades. Flowering hardy perennials can be pink, red, yellow, purple, white, orange, or even blue. Many types of hardy flowers are suitable for your backyard, from showy peonies to large phlox flowers to feathery astilbe flowers.

In this article, you’ll find out about the best hardy perennial flowers that grow throughout the year.

What Are Hardy Perennial Flowers?

Hardy perennial flowers are varieties of perennial plants that tolerate cold temperatures in northern zones. Many hardy perennials survive in zone 3, where temperatures can drop to -40°F (-40°C). But most plants on this list are cold hardy perennials in zones 4 and 5.

Hardy flowering perennials don’t require replanting every year. These resilient, hardy flowers hibernate in winter to return in spring when the weather warms. With minimal care, tough flowering plants can provide color from early spring until the fall—depending on the species.

Do Hardy Perennials Come Back Year After Year?

Hardy flowering perennials return year after year, filling your garden with green leafy foliage and color. Some perennials may die back to the ground in winter. Still, they grow again in spring, and their flowers return—despite suffering from heavy frosts in winter.

It’s also important to note that some hardy perennials can show signs of decline. This means that after flowering year after year for a few years, it’s necessary to replant the perennials. However, some of the hardiest flowers bloom every year for many years.

Hardy Perennials – Flowers that Come Back Year After Year (With Pictures)

Cold hardy perennial flowers thrive in most zones in northern regions. Low-maintenance, reliable plants produce flowers every spring, summer, or fall, despite freezing winter temperatures. Here are some stunning perennials that are cold-hardy in zones 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Coneflowers (Echinacea)

coneflower (echinacea) - in the picture pink conflowers

Coneflowers are tough perennials with flowers that attract pollinators and make excellent cut flowers

Hardy coneflowers are some of the hardiest perennials for your garden. This variety of perennial flower thrives in zones 3 – 8, and they bloom from late spring until late fall. Simple-to-grow purple coneflowers are in the same Asteraceae family as asters, daisies, and sunflowers. The plants also seem to thrive on neglect.

As a type of drought-tolerant plant, coneflowers thrive in full sun and need little maintenance. Coneflowers are tall perennial flowers that add great visual interest when planted at the back of flower beds. These cold-hardy flowers grow to between 1 and 4 ft. (0.3 – 1.2 m).

Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia)

black eye Susan rudbeckia - in the picture yellow flowers with black center

Black-eyed Susans are resilient flowering perennials that can be planted at the back of flower beds or borders

Black-eyed Susans are tall cold-hardy perennials that produce long-lasting yellow flowers all summer. This tall flowering plant with cone-like flowers thrives in full sun and moist, well-draining ground. The flowers on these perennials are mostly yellow, with some varieties producing orange blooms.

Black-eyed Susans are easy to grow perennials that can reach heights of up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall, and they grow in clumps. Their straight, sturdy stems and long-lasting blooms mean that they’re ideal for cut flower arrangements. Varieties of Rudbeckia thrive in USDA growing zones 3 – 9.

Daylilies (Hemerocallis)

daylily (Hemerocallis)

Daylily is a tough flowering plant with attractive showy blooms in various colors

Daylilies are perfect hardy perennial flowers because they are low-maintenance and produce showy flowers year after year. This variety of spring-flowering bulb is a cool climate perennial that is tolerant to frost. Some species of daylilies are the first garden flowers to bloom in spring.

Grow daylilies in perennial flower beds or in mixed borders in full sun. Depending on the species, showy daylilies grow to between 1 and 5 ft. (0.3 – 1.5 m) tall. The plants are tolerant of drought, heat, and poor soil. As a hardly flowering bulb plant, daylilies thrive in zones 3 – 9.

Hollyhock (Alcea)

Hollyhock (Alcea)

Cold hardy hollyhock flowering perennials add decorative touch along fences or hedges

Hollyhock is a species of cold-hardy perennial flower with striking blooms growing on spikes. These sun-loving plants produce pink, red, purple, white, and multi-colored flowers—one species also has spectacular black-purple flowers. Hollyhock flowers can be single flowers, double-ruffled flowers, or funnel-shaped, bi-colored varieties.

Hollyhock perennials are ideal for a colorful visual accent in a cottage garden landscape. The plants are suitable for beds, borders, or growing at the back of mixed beds. Grow in full sun if you live in zones 3 to 9.

Blanket Flowers (Gaillardia)

Blanket Flower (Gaillardia)

Blanket flowers are low maintenance easy to care for hardy plants that are also drought tolerant

Blanket flowers are colorful robust perennials with attractive flowers that come back every year. This easy-care plant produces flowers in warm shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. These bright flowers resemble the warm setting sun on a summer evening. Grow in borders, mixed perennial beds, or cottage gardens.

Blanket flowers can reach heights of between 1 and 3 ft. (0.3 – 1 m). Cut back the clumping mounds to about 6” (15 cm) in summer to help the vigorous plants survive winter and resume blooming the following year. Blanket flowers thrive in zones 3 – 10.

Yarrow (Achillea)

Yarrow (Achillea)

The flowers of the cold hardy yarrow plant add ornamental value to your garden as well as a strong scent

Yarrow is a spectacular flowering hardy perennial for zones 3, 4, and 5. This frost-tolerant plant produces masses of large flat flower heads in red, orange, white or gold color. The bold flowers are long-lasting and will transform garden landscapes with their prolific blooms. Yarrow blooms throughout the summer in zones 3 – 9.

The feathery green foliage on long 3-ft. (1 m) stems also provides plenty of interest. The clusters of striking flowers on easy-care yarrow plants add color to borders or mixed beds when planted in full sun.

Tickseed (Coreopsis)

Tickseed (Coreopsis) with yellow flowers

Some types of coreopsis are cold hardy flowering perennials even in zone 2

Tickseed is a variety of brightly colored, easy-grow hardy perennial flowers. This long-blooming perennial plant has daisy-like flowers that are orange, bright yellow, red, or gold color. Most species of tickseed are drought, heat, and frost tolerant. Perennial tickseed plants are ideal for mass plantings, borders, and mixed beds.

Not all varieties of tickseed are hardy perennials, so check the type. However, ‘Nuttal Weed’ (Coreopsis tinctoria) is cold hardy to zone 2. The showy ‘Sunray’ (Coreopsis grandiflora) cultivar is hardy to zone 4.

Hardy Perennial Sage (Salvia)

Perennial Salvia

Salvia is a hardy flowering plant that has fragrant foliage that will fill your garden with scent all summer long

Hardy perennial sage plants produce stunning spikes of purple flowers throughout the summer. This easy-to-grow herbaceous flower has aromatic, woody foliage and beautiful flowers. Plant perennial flowering sage in herb borders, butterfly gardens, or to accent other flowers. Hardy sage flowers best in full sun or partial shade.

Reliable perennial sage grows in moist soils that have good drainage. Grow in zones 3 – 9.

Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)

Peony (Paeonia lactiflora)

Peonies love cold winter during their dormancy and then bloom in late spring or early summer

Peonies are hardy perennial plants with stunning, showy flowers. These reliable and vigorous plants produce large double flowers in red, yellow, pink, orange, burgundy, and white color. The prolific blooming plant grows up to 3 ft. (1 m) high with a similar spread. Peony blooms appear from spring until early summer.

Even when peonies are not in full bloom, their lush dark green foliage provides color and interest in your garden landscape. Plant perennial peonies in full sun or partial shade in zones 3 – 8.

Lilies (Lilium)

lily lilium

Asiatic lily hybrids can tolerate very low temperatures and can be grown in areas with harsh winters

Lilies are hardy perennial flowers suitable for zones 4 and 5 and up to zone 9. The most popular types of lilies for gardens are Oriental and Asiatic lilies. Lilies produce large trumpet-like flowers that bloom continuously in summer. Some species of lily plants can produce up to 30 large flowers.

Lilies are ideal for planting at the back of flower beds where they grow between 4 and 7 ft. (1.2 – 2.1 m). Grow most lilies in zones 4 – 9. Martagon lilies are suitable for zones 3 and above.

Bearded Iris

Bearded Iris (Iris germanica)

There are many cold hardy iris varieties that like low temperatures during their dormancy

Bearded iris perennials are hardy flowers in zones 3 – 9. This flowering landscaping plant has showy flowers with papery petals in various shades of purple, orange, yellow, and pink. Depending on the variety of iris, the flowering perennials grow to between 2 and 4 ft. (0.6 – 1.2 m).

Grow bearded iris in containers, sunny borders, urban gardens, or mixed flower beds. These reliable, vibrant perennials thrive in zones 3 – 9.

Blue Star (Amsonia)

amsonis bluestar

The cold tolerance of blue star and its ability to survive temperatures below freezing makes it one of the best hardy flowering perennial plants

Blue star is a flowering perennial for zones 4 and 5. This sun-loving clumping plant produces clusters of star-shaped blue flowers in late spring until fall. After the dainty blue flowers drop, the green foliage turns rich shades of yellow. Blue star grows up to 3 ft. (1 m) tall.

Blue star is cold hardy in zones 4 – 9 and needs to grow in full sun or partial shade.

Hardy Flowering Japanese Anemone

Japanese Anemone

Japanese Anemone grow best in shady locations and are sensitive to over-watering or drought

Japanese anemones are hardy flowering garden perennials that bloom in late summer and fall. This long-blooming, reliable plant produces flowers year after year for up to eight weeks every season. The masses of beautiful pink, purple, and white flowers on graceful stems add plenty of landscape late in the season.

Grow Japanese anemones in cottage gardens, borders, or at the back of mixed beds. The flowering garden plants grow up to 4 ft. (1.2 m) tall and thrive in zones 4 – 8.

Columbine (Aquilegia)

Columbine (Aquilegia)

Columbine plants survive cold winter temperatures by dying back in fall and then produce flowers in spring

Columbine is an excellent hardy perennial due to its attractive colorful bell-shaped flowers. This cool spring bulbous plant produces flowers early in the season that last for six weeks. Also called ‘Granny’s Bonnet,’ columbine grows up to 3 ft. (1 m) tall in full sun or partial shade.

Columbine plants are short-lived perennials that tend to decline in two to three years. Plant in shade gardens, beds, rock gardens, or mixed flower beds. Ideal for growing in zones 3 – 9.

Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctoria)

Golden Marguerite (Anthemis tinctorial)

Golden marguerite is hardy low maintenance flowering perennial that is also drought tolerant

Golden marguerite is a vigorous perennial with bright, golden yellow daisy-like flowers. This easy to grow garden plant has evergreen fern-like aromatic foliage that adds year-long interest in gardens. The tall yellow flowers of this hardy perennial bloom throughout the summer.

Golden marguerite is a drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plant with flowers that come up every year. Ideal for growing in zones 3 – 8.

Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)

Red Hot Poker (Kniphofia)

The upright flowering spikes of red hot poker are valued for their architectural accent to landscaped gardens

Red hot pokers are tall flowering perennials that are hardy in zones 5 and above. These versatile plants’ spectacular feature is their brightly colored flowers at the end of tall, erect spikes. Depending on the variety, red hot pokers can flower from late spring until the fall. Grow in full sun and sandy soil.

Also called ‘torch lilies,’ red hot pockers have tall flowers that can grow up to 6 ft. (1.8 m) high. Grow in zones 5 – 9.

Dianthus

Dianthus

Dianthus can tolerate a light frost and thrives in sunny location with good drainage

Dianthus is a species of perennial flowers for zones 4 – 9. Most varieties of dianthus are showy flowers on the ends of erect stems. The frilly flowers can be in shades of red, pink, white, and multi-colored petals. The long flower stems grow up to 1 ft. (30 cm) tall.

Grow these reliable perennials in borders, edging, rock gardens, or mixed beds. In colder climates, you can grow dianthus as container plants or tender perennials.

Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

Bugleweed (Ajuga reptans)

Bugleweed is an evergreen ground cover plant that is easy to grow and frost hardy

Bugleweed or carpet bugle is a hardy mat-forming perennial with bluish-violet flowers. This fast-growing ground cover plant for shade can be invasive. The easy-grow plant has small flowers growing on short spikes that can create a carpet of blue and green colors. Plant on slopes, under shrubs, or in containers.

Carpet bugle thrives in partial sun or full shade and is an excellent alternative to lawn grass. Bugleweed is suitable for zones 3 – 10.

Herbaceous Clematis Perennial Plants

clematis

You can grow successfully clematis as a flowering climbing plant in cold regions

Herbaceous clematis is a group of hardy spreading perennials that produces stunning large scented flowers. Perennial clematis plants are long-lasting and bloom profusely from summer until fall. Grow clematis as a climbing plant to decorate walls or fences. These plants have bell-shaped flowers in various shades of white, pink, purple, blue, red and bi-color.

Herbaceous clematis plants die to the ground each year. The hardy perennials return every spring to start flowering again. These flowering plants are ideal for growing in zones 4 – 9.

Hardy Perennial Aster Flowers

picture of purple aster flowers with yellow center

Many perennial asters are very cold hardy and survive low temperatures during winter

Asters are long-lived, hardy perennials with stunning daisy-like flowers. Perennial aster flowers have many thin colorful petals fanning out around a central disc. When in bloom, the masses of pastel-colored flowers transform garden landscapes. Clumping aster bushes grow to between 2 and 3 ft. (0.6 – 1 m) tall.

The hardiest aster varieties are cold hardy to zone 3, with most varieties thriving in zones 4 and 5. Plant asters in full sun to enjoy regular flowering every year from summer until fall.

Phlox

creeping phlox

Beautiful phlox flowers can make it through frosty winter conditions and give stunning color to your garden

Phlox plants are hardy evergreen perennials that grow clusters of small flowers. Varieties of phlox perennials bloom in the sun or shade, and some are flowering ground cover plants whereas others are small shrubs. Beautiful long blooming phlox flowers change gardens, borders, and rock gardens into a sea of color.

Phlox shrubs and ground covers are famous for their striking masses of flowers in pinks, reds, lavender, or bi-colors. Some phlox varieties are cold hardy to zone 2.

Spike Speedwell (Veronica spicata)

Spike Speedwell (Veronica)

Speedwells are easy to care for flowering perennials that tolerate cold temperatures

Spike speedwell plants are clump-forming hardy perennials that produce flowering spikes. Easy grow speedwells form mounds of dense, leafy foliage. In summer, long slender spikes appear that are covered in tiny star-shaped purple flowers. Their compact growth makes these flowers ideal for borders, edging, rock gardens, or containers.

Spike speedwell is on the list of long blooming perennial flowers to enjoy all summer long.

Hardy spike speedwell plants don’t die out but keep flowering year after year with no maintenance. These full-sun perennials grow in zones 3 – 8.

Astilbe

Astilbe

Astilbe is a hardy flowering perennial that can survive the harsh winter

Astilbe are hardy perennials flowers that thrive in shaded areas. This long-lasting flowering plant has feathery foliage and eye-catching plumes of flowers that bloom from early summer. Varieties of astilbe have flowers in subtle shades of pink, peach, salmon, and white. These plants are ideal for perennial borders, containers, or planting in woodlands.

Bushy astilbe plants grow up to 3 ft. (1 m) high and grow in the shade to partial sun. You can plant these perennials in moist, fertile soil. Ideal for growing in zones 3 – 8.

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