Shasta daisy
PHOTOGRAPH BY NORBERT LOCHNER/GETTY

5 Trouble-Free Summer Perennials

Tried and true, these beauties will keep blooming in your yard for years.

June 24, 2015

Classic summer perennials are those trouble-free, dependably attractive, well-proven varieties that should be high on the list for every flower garden. Of course, no one wishes to see the same few plants in every yard, but these are five summer perennials that every gardener should at least consider when planning a flower garden.

Whether they first came on the scene 150 years ago or just 15, these varieties have established themselves as widely popular simply because they’re so good.

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Japanese anemone

Honorine Jobert Japanese Anemone

Anemone x hybrida 
Pure white flowers, featuring broad overlapping petals around a golden center, open on branched airy stems from late summer into fall above bold dark leaves. Happy in sun or a little shade, and best staked discreetly—just in case—but can be vigorous. Introduced back in 1858, and sometimes sold simply as Alba.
Height: 20 to 48 inches; hardy to USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 4

 

Dianthus Firewitch

Firewitch Alpine Pink

Dianthus
Small, prolific, strongly scented and prettily fringed vivid magenta-pink flowers in summer and fall are backed by evergreen tufts of silvery foliage. This variety of Dianthus is tough, adaptable, very hardy, and one of the best in humid heat. It needs sun and good drainage. Perennial Plant of the Year in 2006. Sometimes listed as Feuerhexe.
Height: 8 inches; zone 3

 

Gerwat Cranesbill Geranium

Rozanne (Gerwat) Cranesbill

Geranium 
Attractive marbled green foliage is dotted with white-eyed blue flowers for a very long season from early summer well into fall. Good groundcover around roses or shrubs, or as a specimen in containers, and best in moist, well-drained soil in sun. Vigorous, but does not spread by rhizomes like some other geraniums. Perennial Plant of the Year in 2008.
Height: 15 inches; zone 5

 

Bearded Blue Iris

Sugar Blues Bearded Iris

Iris germanica 
This is the bearded iris with everything. Its gorgeous rich blue coloring really sparkles, with the additional flash from its white beards; it’s a dependable rebloomer all over the country, its fragrance is strong and sweet, and it lasts well when cut for the house. Just give it plenty of sun and divide every 3 years.
Height: 3 feet; zone 3

 

Shasta Daisy

Becky Shasta Daisy

Leucanthemum x superbum 
Classic, orange-centered white daisies open over an unusually long season. Good in borders and for cutting, and popular with butterflies, it’s best in sun and in any reasonable soil. Descended from the original Shasta daisy hybrids developed by the pioneer of plant breeding Luther Burbank in 1890. Perennial Plant of the Year in 2004.