Five Easy To Love Perennials

by Ben Bowen

I have relatives that visit every summer. I look forward to them coming, enjoy spending time with them, and then am happy to see them go.

Perennials are kind of like that.

Perennial plants pop up in spring, bloom (usually fantastically), and then slowly fade. By the time fall rolls around around you are happy to cut them back. Anticipation for their arrival starts to build again in February and the cycle is repeated.

Some of us prefer gardens that are more static but the rest of us love our perennials. I personally include at least a few pockets of perennials in most of my landscape designs, even the low maintenance and drought tolerant ones.

When shopping for perennials ou want to come home with a small selection, and multiples of each selection. If you are going to get 12 plants, try 3 each of 4 varieties rather than 1 each of 12. This will maximize the impact of your plantings and make watering and maintenance easier.

But which perennials should you plant? There are so many choices, and it is easy to get overwhelmed at the nursery. Here are 5 that I really love and am pretty sure you will too. These choices are not cutting edge, and if you are a plant person you already know about them. But if you want some great color, that you can't kill, and that doesn't demand too much?

Read on...

5 Great Perennials For Portland Landscapes

1- AstilbeNot too fussy, tons of colors, towers of blooms and they are happy in the shade. Plant these in big swaths and  bring a little more joy to your springs.

2- PeonyThere are not many blooms more dramatic than these. The clumps get bigger and bigger each year and are great for cutting and bringing into the home.

3- Autumn Joy SedumA rare fall blooming perennial. These pair really well succulent ground covers and fine bladed grasses. 

4- ConeflowerI love the great structure of the plant body, and the way the petals fall back from the center of the bloom is really special.

5- GeumA rustic and tough little herbaceous plant, with blooms that rise surprisingly high. Afraid you will kill you plants? Get some geum, they can handle it.

 astilbe in a ross nw watergardens design
 autumn joy sedum

Where To Buy Perennials in Portland

There are a ton of nice nurseries here in Portland, and you probably have a Portland Nursery, 7 Dees, or Al's near you. Those are all fine, but my list of Portland's best nurseries can direct to some that you might enjoy even more.

Which Perennials Will Look Right With My Other Plants?

Need help putting together plant combos that really work? is the perfect resource. This Portland-based website and app gives you the ability to combine plants in an Instagram worthy way.

Need a Designer?

If you would rather have someone else select and install perennials for you contact us for a landscape design consultation.