Guide to Perennial Flowers by Season

You can have a succession of color from spring to fall by choosing plants with bloom times that overlap with each other. Use these suggestions for sun and shade by season to get started.

By Deb Wiley for BHG©

Perennials are a must-have in your garden because of their ability to come back year after year, usually growing even stronger and more beautiful with age. But unlike annuals that can bloom non-stop for months, most perennials have a relatively short bloom season, lasting from just a few days to a few weeks. You can still ensure plenty of flowers from your perennials through the seasons by choosing varieties with staggered bloom times. And don’t be afraid to pack in the plants for the best color show: Where three or four types of annuals can brighten a bed all season long, you might need a dozen different perennials to make sure something is blooming from spring to fall. Start planning your continuously blooming garden by selecting a combination of these spring, summer, and fall-blooming perennials for sun and shade.

Plan Your Prettiest Garden Yet with this Guide to Perennial Flowers by Season
Bleeding heart has beautiful flowers as well as foliage.

Spring Seasonal Perennials for Shade

These spring flowers will brighten any shady area. Planted in low light, these seasonal perennials are low-maintenance and low-risk in attracting pests. You can count on these early-bloomers to kickstart your garden every spring.

Iberis sempervirens, candytuft

Candytuft produces masses of snowy white blooms. | CREDIT: DENNY SCHROCK

Spring Seasonal Perennials for Sun

Need a little something more to liven up your sunny space? These sun-loving perennials spring back year after year with dozens of blooms and beautiful color. Equipped for growing in the hot sun, many of these pretty perennials are also tough and drought-tolerant.

bright red astilbe xarendsii fanal

Astilbe produces colorful wands of small flowers, held above its foliage. | CREDIT: DENNY SCHROCK

Late Spring to Early Summer Seasonal Perennials for Shade

Say hello to the first days of summer with these perennials that love the shade. Bright colors and lush foliage make for exciting accents in a shady corner spot. Park a bench near your shade garden, grab a book, and relax with a view of your gorgeous perennials.

close up of peony flowers

Peonies come in an assortment of colors, including several shades of pink. | CREDIT: KARLA CONRAD

Late Spring to Early Summer Seasonal Perennials for Sun

Welcome sunny days and warm weather with plants that can beat the heat. There’s plenty of variety among these low-maintenance early summer flowers, so it should be easy to choose a few that fit into your dream garden plan.

Catmint and Pink bee balm garden near red home

The soft purple flowers of catmint combine well with the pink blooms of bee balm in this garden. | CREDIT: PETER KRUMHARDT

Summer Seasonal Perennials for Sun

When the heat starts to set in, it’s time for hardy, drought-resistant perennials to take over. You’ve got dozens of choices for summer flowers that can beat the heat, so go ahead and plant as many as you can fit in your yard.

purple flowering hostas lining walkway in garden

Often grown for their attractive leaves, many varieties of hostas also have eye-catching flowers. | CREDIT: BOB STEFKO

Summer Seasonal Perennials for Shade

These perennials bloom in the summer but don’t necessarily enjoy the sun’s rays. Find a shady, cool spot in your garden for these low-maintenance plants.

russian sage perovskia atriplicifolia

When in bloom, Russian sage looks like a purple haze. | CREDIT: JOHN STRAUSS

Late Summer and Early Fall Seasonal Perennials for Sun

Summer is coming to an end, but autumn is just around the corner. Feel the soft, cool breeze and smell the fresh scent of these beautiful fall flowers as the leaves start to turn. Add these colors to your space to help the summer season live on just a little longer.

patch of flowering todadlily

The dainty flowers of toad lily light up shade gardens in fall when not much else is in bloom. | CREDIT: DENNY SCHROCK

Late Summer and Early Fall Seasonal Perennials for Shade

The sunny days may be dissolving, but these seasonal perennials will still thrive. Enjoy a few last blooms through the changing leaves with these shade-loving fall flowering plants. These seasonal perennials will perfectly complement a fall garden color palette.

Source: Perennial Flowers by Season | Better Homes & Gardens (

Author: Dennis Hickey

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