Perennials are flowers that come back every year, and this is nice for a lot of gardeners who don’t want to spend the time (or the money) to constantly add new plants in each spring. Perennial flowers that come back every year are generally low-maintenance once they establish themselves, and they allow you to create a cohesive landscape that you can count on year after year. They’re especially nice for people who don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to picking out new flowers, designing a landscape, planting them, and helping them establish themselves.
But how do you choose flowers that come back every year? Are there low-maintenance options available that you can purchase? I’ve put together a list of flowers that come back every year for you. You can pick out a few, plant them around your home or business, and watch them start to come up every spring to give you a colorful and beautiful landscape that requires very little work and it can save you money in the long run if you get them established.
Yarrow is one flower that comes back every year, and it offers you pops of yellow, white, or red. You’ll need sandy but rich soil for it to grow well, and they like a lot of sun. Under the correct conditions, this plant can easily grow between two and four feet tall, and they form clusters of flowers on top of a thin stalk. The grey-green foliage helps to set the color off, and you’ll get a spicy scent that makes it a nice addition to any landscape. The flowers will start to bloom and June and go through September, and you want to prune them back to stop them from getting scraggly.
Yarrow by susanhermann / CC BY-NC 2.0
This is a very early-blooming flower that comes back every year, and it can start to bloom as early as January while lasting well into the spring months. It likes well-drained soil that is continually moist and very rich with organic matter, and Hellebore will need partial shade once the sun starts to come through. It grows to up to a foot high, and it gives you glossy, deep green foliage with pink, yellow, red, and green flowers that also have a glossy look. They work well with companion planting for spring bulbs, and you should be in zones four to nine for them to grow and thrive.
Hellebore by Matt / CC BY-NC 2.0
Anyone who wants to add a pop of color to their yard should look at this flower that comes back every year. Daylilies is a type of clumping root plant that produces several large blooms per stem, but they bloom for a single day. They like full sun in very rich but well-drained soil, and they come in several colors like bright yellow, white, and orange. They can get up to four feet tall, and they’ll bloom continuously from spring to the first frost of the season. They need zones three to nine, and you can deadhead them after them bloom to encourage new growth.
Daylilies by Renee Grayson / CC BY 2.0
4. Black-Eyed Susan
This flower that comes back every year is a native species, and it likes organically-rich soil with full sun. However, the Black-Eyed Susan can tolerate drought and average soil while still thriving. They offer several colors, but few are more popular than the yellow-orange petals with a black center, and it’ll bloom from June until September while growing up to three feet high. This plant will self sow, and this means that they can easily spread from season to season if you don’t deadhead them quick enough after they bloom. They make cheerful bouquets, and they do the best in zones three to nine.
Black Eyed Susans by John Munt / CC BY-NC 2.0
This flower that comes back every year is a non-invasive vine that will offer beautiful flowers when you plant it in moist, well-drained soil that is organically rich in an area that gets full sun or part shade. The vines will reach over 12-feet long, and the flowers come in deep purple or showy white. You can easily create a living fence or privacy screen by training it to grow up over fences, walls, or trellises. You shouldn’t prune it until it establishes itself after a year or two, and this plant makes it easy to pick some blooms to add to your bouquets for a nice trailing element.
This is a shrubby herb that produces flowers that come back every year, and Lavender has uses in culinary and medicinal applications. It likes dry, sandy, acidic soil with full sun, so it’s nice to plant in areas of your yard that you have difficulty growing things in. It grows spikes of purple-blue blossoms that are very fragrant when you brush against them, and they can add some height to your landscape. They grow one to two-feet high in a clumping form, and they’ll produce blooms from June through September in zones five to eight. You can dry the flowers to preserve them, and prune it every few years.
Lavender by Muhammad Ali / CC BY 2.0
7. Creeping Thyme
This flower that comes back every year is actually a culinary herb, and it gives you a color-saturated ground cover that will liven up your yard. It needs full sun and an average but well-drained soil, and it’ll release a minty fragrance each time you brush past it. In mild climates, it’s an evergreen. It only grows to around three inches high at full maturity, and it produces clusters of tiny flowers that come in shades of purple, pink, white, and bi-colors. You’ll have to be in zones four to nine for it to do well, and it works well against walkways or on the edges of flower beds.
Creeping Thyme by Marilylle Soveran / CC BY-NC 2.0
Did you know that native Purple Coneflower often puts out more vibrant colors and performs better as a flower that comes back every year than the yellow or orange varieties? Having prized medicinal properties, the Coneflower does best in full sun with rich, sandy soil that drains well. It tops out at three feet high, and this allows you to add splashes of colors because the flowers open on a tall stalk. You can have them as stand-alone flowers, in borders, or in beds in zones three to nine. You can cut them to make vibrant bouquets, and they dry very well.
Coneflowers by Peter Miller / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
9. Blazing Star
This native wildflower is a great flower that comes back every year if you’re looking for something that will attract pollinators. It likes well-drained soil that is organically rich, and it does well in full sun or partial shade. You’ll get dramatic flower spikes on this plant that can grow up to four feet high, and they come in shades of purple, white, and pink. They bloom from July to September, and they make a bold statement due to their high and vibrancy. It blooms from the bottom up, and this makes in an excellent choice for vase arrangements. You can divide them as needed, and grow them in zones three to eight.
Blaine Preserve SNA by minnesota_snas / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
10. Siberian Iris
Siberian Iris uses a rhizome root structure to grow in partial shade or full sun, and this flower that comes back every year likes rich but well-drained soil. They grow up to four feet tall, and they come in a range of colors like yellow, white, pink, purple, and blue. Since they grow in clumps, you can use this plant as a focal feature in your yard or garden to attract the eye, and they’ll produce showy blooms on slender stems in the late spring that lasts until fall. Once the blooms start to wither, you can prune them away to keep the ornamental grasses in place until the first frost hits.
Siberian Iris by Raymond Bucko, SJ / CC BY 2.0
This is a fast-growing flower that comes back every year that works as a nice groundcover in party sunny to sunny spots in your yard or garden. They like moist, well-drained soil and they form upright blossom spikes that can grow up to six-inches high. The flowers come in blue or white with shiny green variegated foliage, and you can grow it right alongside hyacinthians or daffodils to create layers of color from May to June. They’ll need zones three to nine to thrive, but they give you bright color early in the season that can help liven up your spring garden.
Bugleweed by Alex Ranaldi / CC BY-SA 2.0
Some flowers that come back every year thrive in the full sun, and this includes Geraniums. They like average, well-drained soil, and they do very well in baskets or containers. They can grow in mounds up to three feet high, and it offers a high amount of foliage that makes it wonderful for camouflage or for filling in dead spaces in your landscaping. It’ll add gold shades to the landscape in the fall, and it comes in a broad range of colors that includes red, white, pink, purple, yellow, and more. They bloom from the spring until the first frost sets in, and you can divide them in the early fall.
Geranium by Carol Foil / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
13. New England Aster
This native flower that comes back every year attracts a host of pollinators to your yard when you plant it. It blooms to give you a hint of color when the seasons change from summer to fall, and it likes average soil that you keep moist but it drains well under full sun conditions. This flower looks more like a shrub once it establishes itself, and it can reach up to six feet high with dark green foliage and feathery, purple flowers. You can prune it in the early summer to keep it compact, or you can skip it and provide support while letting it grow. It has a reputation for spreading because it self-sows.
New England Asters by beautifulcataya / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Many people forget that Allium is a flower that comes back every year, but it’s an ornamental onion bulb that will add a splash of color to your landscaping. It likes moist but well-drained soil under full sun to grow, and the bare stems can reach five feet high before forming a large, spherical, purple blossom. You can use them to define a border, as a mass to create a focal point, and they are wonderfully cut and presented in a vase. You’ll need to be in zones five to eight for them to grow well, and you want to avoid keeping the soil very wet because this can induce rot.
Allium by Michael Becker / CC BY-NC 2.0
15. Balloon Flower
This easy flower that comes back every year like part shade or full sun in well-draining but rich soil. They can bloom in white, purple, pink, or blue, and you can choose from single or double-petal cultivars. You get a nice silvery-green foliage that grows up to two-feet high, and the large flowers open at the top in July and August. They create focal points with nice repetition in your landscaping, and you can easily extend their natural blooming season by deadheading the plants after they flower. They do best when you plant them in zones three to eight.
Balloon Flowers by Claudia Daggett / CC BY-NC 2.0
16. Montauk Daisy
The Montauk Daisy is a nice flower that comes back every year that offers shiny leaves that are succulent-like with pure white flowers with cheerful purple centers. It likes well-drained soil with full sunlight, and this plant will clump together and bloom in July to August. You can prune them in May and July to help extend their blooming season, and they grow between 1.5 and 3-feet high at full maturity. It works well as a companion plant to Bee Balm and Balloon Flowers, and you should plant it in zones five to nine. You can divide it periodically, and you’ll have to stake more leggy growth.
Montauk Daisies by kate_stuart / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Although it doesn’t have a pretty name, this flower that comes back every year offers bright splashes of yellow for your yard or garden. It’ll survive in even the poorest soil conditions if they drain well, and you’ll get very slender stems with larger orange-yellow blossoms. This is a sun loving plant that is extremely low-maintenance, and it can thrive mixed with other plants. It’ll grow between one and two-feet tall, and you can get both annual and perennial varieties. This is why it’s important to read the labels when you pick them out to ensure they come back.
Tickseed by Peter Stenzel / CC BY-ND 2.0
You can put Salvia down as a tall, dramatic bloom that looks wonderful in the back of your garden beds. This flower that comes back every year produces taller spikes that can reach several feet high, and they need full sun. They’re low-maintenance and can withstand drought, and this means that it’ll forgive you if you should forget to water it once or twice. They’ll start to bloom in the late spring and early summer months before continuing on into fall, and these are deer-resistant flowers that the hummingbirds love. They offer a slightly sweet fragrance during their active blooming period.
Salvia by Jim, the Photographer / CC BY 2.0
Catmint is a popular flower that comes back every year that will give you splashes of color all summer long. It grows tall spikes of light purple flowers that are wonderfully offset by the grey-green foliage. Thi is a slender plant that will grow in clumps, and it’ll release a slightly spicy fragrance each time you brush up against it. You’ll need to give this plant a rich soil that drains very well and plant it in a place that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. As a bonus, this plant will attract a lot of different pollinators to your yard or garden when it blooms.
Catmint by Shaun C. Williams / CC BY 2.0
The bright Peony is one flower that comes back every year and offers splashes of bright and cheerful colors as it blooms. This is one of the most fragrant flowers you can have, and they grow very large blooms that are beautifully offset by the green foliage. You want to give each plant space to grow because they don’t react to being moved well, and you’ll want to plant them in partial shade in a well-draining soil. The nectar will attract pollinators and ants, so be sure you gently rinse the blooms off before you bring them indoors.
Peony by Keith Ewing / CC BY-NC 2.0
Also known as False Indigo, this flower that comes back every year will give you spikes of white, yellow, pink, or indigo blue flowers through the summer and fall months. They turn over to attractive seed pods in the fall, and pollinators flock to this plant when it’s in bloom. You’ll need to plant it in an area that gets full sun with a rich but well-draining soil. This flower likes it on the slightly dry side, and this makes it a great choice for new gardeners who may forget to water it. The oval deep green leaves create a full look while offset the flower’s colors to create an eye-catching design.
Sedum is a pretty flower that comes back every year that offers hundreds of varieties that ensures you can find the perfect match for your yard or garden. This plant comes with very fleshy leaves, and this makes Sedum very sturdy and resistant to drought. You can get creeping or low-growing types, but it also comes in upright forms. If you get the upright form, you can easily snip the flowers off to create long-lasting cut flower arrangements. This plant requires full sun with a slightly moist soil that drains very well, and it’ll provide colorful blooms through the summer and fall months.
Sedum by Sheri Ann Richerson / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
If you’re looking for flowers that come back every year that add height to your landscape and you want something unique, look at Penstemon. Also known as beardtongue, this plant produces tall flower spikes that come in purple or pink. As a bonus, the foliage ranges from a deep green to a striking burgundy coloring. THe leaves will stay bright and full all season long, and this includes after the plant finishes flowering for the year. You want to give this plant full sun with a well-draining soil, and it’s a good idea to let it dry out between watering sessions so you don’t overdo it.
Penstemon by x70tjw / CC BY-SA 2.0
24. Bee Balm
Bees and a wide range of pollinators adore Bee Balm. This flower that comes back every year comes in shades of purple, red, and pink. Ideally, you’ll plant it in large swaths in sunny locations to make the biggest impact on your yard and attract the most pollinators. You can grow it in the ground or in containers with ease, and you should have them 18 to 24-inches apart. They will thrive in a broad range of soil, and this makes it popular with gardeners in multiple zones. This plant will tolerate shade, but not getting enough sun will make it grow leggy.
Bee Balm by John Munt / CC BY-NC 2.0
Better known as Dead Nettle, this flower that comes back every year is lower growing to make it an excellent ground cover. This plant loves the shade, but it can tolerate sun if you don’t have deeply shaded areas in your yard. You’ll get silver-splashed leaves that look cool and help to offset the white, purple, or pink flowers. The flowers will bloom in the late spring into the early summer months, and they grow on spikes that set up from the leaves. They need humus-rich, moist soil that drains well, and they’ll start to fade in their coloring if they don’t get enough sun.
Lamium maculatum by Andreas Rockstein / CC BY-SA 2.0
26. Lamb’s Ear
Lamb’s Ear is one flower that comes back every year that loves the full sun, and it gives you an interesting focal point if you plant it around your pond or incorporate it into your backyard design. This plant comes with fuzzy silvery foliage that feels soft and velvety to the touch, and you get pink or purple flowers. The flowers grow in tall spikes that set slightly higher than the foliage. It works well as a border plant because it only grows around a foot or two high at the most, and it can tolerate different soil types without struggling to thrive.
Lamb’s Ear by Don LaVange / CC BY-SA 2.0
The final entry on the flowers that come back every year list is Heuchera. This plant has nicely ruffled leaves that come in a huge range of colors, including the deepest burgundy to peach or chartreuse. You’d add this plant to the mix for the beautiful foliage, and it’ll hold a striking color all season long. It does grow small spikes of flowers, but they can get lost in the foliage’s colors. Depending on the variety you choose, it can grow well in shade or sun as long as you have it in a well-draining soil. You can use it along borders or edging because it stays low to the ground.
Heuchera by James Petts / CC BY-SA 2.0
These 27 flowers that come back every year can help you create a stable and stunning landscape in your yard or garden. They’re lower maintenance once they establish themselves, and you won’t have to worry about replacing them every year. You can mix and match to create layered looks in your landscaping and ensure that there aren’t any dead spaces, and this will give you a full and lush look that you can’t wait to show off.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.