The Ultimate Guide To Zone 5 And 6 Perennials

Are you looking for new plants to add to your garden that will return year after year? Maybe you are after a new zone 5 and 6 perennial but don’t know where to start? Or are you curious about planting perennials and want to know more?

The Ultimate Guide To Zone 5 And 6 Perennials

No matter the reason that brought you here today, we have the answers for you! Finding out what perennials to plant in zone 5 and 6 can be challenging, especially if you have never planted them before.

You head online for some guidance but are met with page after page of conflicting and contradicting information. Frustrated and confused, you are left unsure where to turn or who to trust.

How do you know what perennials to plant now? Well, that’s where we come swooping in to save the day! Keep reading for your ultimate guide to zone 5 and 6 perennials.

Whether you are new to perennials or a seasoned planter looking for a new perennial, we have the answer for you!Let’s not waste any more time and get you the answers you need now.

What Are Zone 5 And 6 Perennials?

Let’s start with a quick recap for those that need it! Perennials are plants that return every spring. All you need to do is plant your perennial and it can be enjoyed for years.

You can get perennials for any location, landscape, or need you might have, including those for Zone 5 and 6! Perennial plants range in size from tall to low-growing plants.

You can also choose perennials that produce colorful flowers and those with glowing seed heads. Or they can be plants that add some extra foliage to your garden. You can expect plenty of choice when it comes to finding the perfect perennial for your garden.

Perennials are a great way to add joy to your garden for years to come! You can find some super easy, low-maintenance perennials too that will just require some pruning in the spring!

They are perfect for low-maintenance gardeners that want to enjoy a beautiful garden year after year! Now that we have established what zone 5 and 6 perennials are, let’s move on to see what the best ones to plant in your garden are.

Zone 5 And 6 Perennials

Below we have a list of the best zone 5 and 6 perennials you can plant in your garden. We have selected perennials that are easy to care for. These plants require some pruning in the Spring, but no additional care throughout the year.

This makes them ideal to plant if you travel a lot, or are unable to care for your garden as much as you would like. Of course, you will still need to ensure that these plants are cared for properly, providing them with water during drier seasons, and keeping pests away.

Overall, these perennials are low maintenance and can be sourced easily, whether that is as seeds or cuttings that are planted. Let’s dive into the list now and learn more about the best perennials for zone five and six!

1. Purple Coneflower (Echinacea)

First up, we have Purple Coneflower. Otherwise known as Echinacea, this is a firm favorite in gardens across Illinois! These flowers are similar to daisies in appearance and will attract plenty of birds and butterflies to your garden.

The popular perennial will brighten up your garden and is easy to maintain! They can live for years and are pretty drought-tolerant, so you don’t need to worry about this plant during a dry spell.

Purple coneflower can be found in a variety of colors too, like yellow, pink, orange, cherry, red, and white!

They look wonderful in any garden and even can be found in combinations of the colors listed above, adding plenty of brightness to your garden, without the worry of upkeep.

2. Phlox Paniculata (Becky Towe)

Next, we have Phlox Paniculata. This summer blooming flower tends to be taller and more upright than other perennials on the list. The flowers usually clump together too, adding bunches of beauty to your garden!

They typically come in a salmon pink color with a magenta eye in the center. They also come in other colors, but pink is the most common. Not only is this perennial beautiful, but it is disease resistant too, allowing you to plant it worry-free!

Phlox Paniculata attracts butterflies too, making your garden a hive for butterflies! It’s perfect for sunny weather.

3. Baptisia

If you love shrubs like plants, you will love Baptisia! It features beautiful blue-green foliage and blooms similar to sweet peas. They will have dark seed pods too that stand out in any garden! If you want bright and bold perennials in your garden, you need to plant Baptisia!

This plant can stand the test of time too! It is a long-living plant that flowers regularly and is easy to grow. Plus, it’s rabbit resistant, so you don’t need to worry about it being snacked on in your garden!

The pretty periwinkle blue flowers are sure to brighten your day and your garden for years to come.

4. Campanula (Pink Octopus)

We bet you will have seen these beautiful purple flowers before! This is your sign to add Pink Octopus to your garden! This perennial loves rock gardens and borders, making it perfect for the rocky areas of your garden that might need brightening up!

The small flowers are usually purple, but you can find them in pink too! They open down from flowering branches and can grow in virtually any condition! You don’t need to worry about Pink Octopus too much either, simply plant it and it will return year after year.

5. Black Eyed Susan (Rudbeckia Goldsturm)

If you want an easy-to-care-for plant that will add lots of color to your garden, plant some Black Eyed Susan! This perennial has been loved by gardeners for years, and it is no wonder why! It’s colorful, showy, and vigorous, you don’t need to worry about this plant!

Black Eyed Susan will grow in virtually any condition, you can plant it in either the sun or shade. It’s a versatile plant that blooms for a long time. Plus, these look fantastic as cut flowers!

Why not plant some and enjoy flowers you can cut and place in your home or gift to friends for years to come? You can spot a Black Eyed Susan easily, thanks to its golden yellow petals and dark brown central cone. Think of a daisy, but brighter, and bigger!

6. Hosta (White Edge)

If you want more foliage than flowers in your garden, you need to plant some Hosta! The shiny green leaves have a distinctive white border that you are sure to love!

Make sure you consider carefully whether you want this in your garden before you plant it, as it has a fast growth rate! Once it’s planted, there is no stopping it from growing. You don’t need to worry too much about where you plant it either.

Hosta grows well in heavy shade and has wonderful sun tolerance too. No matter what kind of light your garden gets, Hosta will find a way to grow!

It’s easy to grow too, so you don’t need to worry about caring for it or any issues when planting it. If you have a partly shaded garden, why not brighten it up with some leafy Hosta?

7. Bee Balm (Monarda)

Bee Balm, otherwise known as Monarda will add a burst of color to any garden! The pink flowers make wonderful cuttings and brighten up any garden! The flowers come in a variety of colors too, allowing you to choose the perfect ones for your garden.

Our favorites are pink, or red with a yellow center, they look like beautiful raspberries! Not only are these flowers beautiful for you to enjoy, but animals love them too!

You can expect to find bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds flocking to your garden to enjoy your beautiful Bee Balm!

8. Yarrow (Achillea)

Yarrow has been a staple in gardens for generations, so why not keep the tradition alive and plant it in yours? They are super easy to grow, so you don’t need to be an expert to have these in your garden. You can plant them pretty much anywhere too!

Yarrows are salt and drought-tolerant and do well when planted next to mailboxes, driveways, or roads. There isn’t a place this plant won’t thrive in! Yarrow comes in a variety of colors too, from pale white to bright red, with beautiful yellow centers.

They are complemented beautifully by gray-green foliage that makes a compact mound around the flowers. You also don’t need to worry about pests or animals coming for your Yarrow, as it is rabbit and deer resistant!

If your garden frequently has furry visitors, they won’t touch your Yarrow, saving you the trouble of protecting it from hungry animals.

9. Russian Sage (Pereovskia)

If you want drought-resistant perennials, try Russian Sage in your garden! The plant works well with sedums and grasses, giving you a hardy combination for fall. The plant often gets confused with lavender due to its appearance.

You can expect silver foliage covered with spikes of lavender-blue flowers. The confusion with lavender makes sense now, doesn’t it?

Russian Sage grows beautifully in large mounds too, making it a perfect plant to put at the end of a perennial garden or as a border of beautiful flowers around existing flower beds or plants.

10. Potentilla Pygmaea (Cinquefoils)

If you love a bright and showy flower, look no further than Potentilla. You don’t need to provide much care for them, but they will offer a long season of bloom. Lots of brightness and flowers with little work? It sounds like the perfect flower to us!

Potentilla does have a sprawling habit, so you can expect it to cover lots of ground! It’s a good option if you don’t want to plant lots of plants, but still enjoy flowers.

You can expect small bright yellow or orange flowers surrounded by dark green foliage. The bright flower looks wonderful anywhere in a garden, but we love it along the edge of a path or in a rock garden.

11. Common Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

If it’s a low-maintenance plant that you want, you can’t go wrong with Common Milkweed! The plant is the perfect choice for low-maintenance gardens, especially if you are prone to droughts. It is also heat-tolerant and deer resistant!

You don’t need to worry about anything bad happening to this plant when you place it in your garden. Common Milkweed can grow huge too! It has been known to reach four feet tall and has a decent bloom season, from June to August.

These tall flowers will also attract pollinators and butterflies to your garden, bringing wildlife to you! The pink flowers are beautiful and will add some brightness to your garden, without the worry of it surviving a dry spell.

12. Prairie Smoke

This unusual-looking perennial flower is one you should add to your zone 5 or 6 gardens! The Prairie Smoke will bloom from April to May adding slime color to your garden in the early summer.

These blooms are a deep pink color that provides beauty and elegance to your garden. The tall thin strands blow in a gentle breeze, adding plenty of movement and color to your garden.

The flowers will grow up to 18 inches tall and are stunning when planted in rock gardens or as borders. It’s best to plant Prairie Smoke in dry soil in partial shade, it loves these conditions best! Once the plant is established, it doesn’t need a lot of water either.

The drought-tolerant plant is perfect for planting in zone 5! Take care if you plant it in an area that gets a lot of rain, though, as it can cause the roots to rot. Avoid over-watering the plant too as this can cause rotted roots.

Other than that, there isn’t much to consider when planting Prairie Smoke, it’s another low-maintenance flower. If you want an early blooming flower to add some beauty to your garden, plant Prairie Smoke today!

13. Cherry Tart (Sedum SunSparkler)

Again, we have another beautiful perennial that is easy to care for! Cherry Tart, otherwise known as Sedum SunSparkler is a wonderful plant for beginners, experts, and everyone in between!

The flowers bloom from July to September, covering the plant in beautiful pink flowers. It is a sight that you won’t want to miss! For best results, the plant needs to be in well-drained soil in either full sun or partial shade.

Cherry Tart is one of the shorter plants on today’s list, reaching heights of 12 inches. It works well in rock gardens or borders, adding a bright pink burst of color to these parts of your garden.

What we love most about this plant is how fast-growing it is! Once it is established, it takes no time for Cherry Tart to start growing! It is also a low-maintenance plant, so you don’t need to worry about caring for it too much. Simply plant it and enjoy the beautiful flowers!

14. Zagreb (Coreopsis)

That’s right, we have another yellow flower for you! Zagreb is a wonderful perennial flower to plant if you want to add some color to your garden.

It can be planted in areas that get a lot of sun, as it is heat and drought-tolerant, making it ideal for those sunny patches of your garden. The plant can grow surprisingly tall too!

They generally reach heights of 12 to 18 inches, making them a good plant to use in borders. We often see them in rock gardens too, adding plenty of brightness to an otherwise drab part of your garden.

And if you want to clear the flowers, they make wonderful cut flowers that can be distributed to your friends or family. Zagreb is super easy to care for too! Just plant in well-drained soil to prevent the roots from rotting.

You will want to use light and airy soil that allows the water to drain with ease. Make sure you don’t overwater it too!

15. Grape Lollipop Phlox

If you love unusual blooms, you are sure to love Grape Lollipop! The blooms on this perineal look like lollipops with their deep purple blooms that will appear in your garden from June to September. That’s a long time to spend enjoying beautiful flowers!

Grape Lollipop thrives in partial shade with soil with an average moisture. It doesn’t need anything too fancy, just some shade to enjoy on those sunnier days. Generally, the plant can reach two feet in height and is perfect to plant in rock gardens or as borders.

Once the plant is established too, you don’t need to worry about it! It is drought-tolerant and doesn’t need to be watered as frequently as other plants. This is one that you can plant and forget about, it won’t punish you for it!

You can simply sit back and enjoy beautiful blooms. Plus, it is deer resistant! You don’t need to worry about any animals sneaking into your garden and grabbing a bite or two of your Grape Lollipop!

16. Iris Cloud Ballet

If you want to add some light blue petals to your garden, look no further than Iris Cloud Ballet! These ruffling petals are slightly paler towards the center with a sweet fragrance that will fill your garden!

These beautiful petals will rise above the sword-like green foliage, creating a beautiful contrast. Once the flower is established too, it becomes drought resistant, so you don’t need to worry about it when it’s planted!

Do take care, though, as this is not an edible plant. When ingested it can cause discomfort, this applies for you and your pets!

17. Dianthus Fire And Ice

If you want compact flowers that smell beautiful, and look good too, Disanthus Fire and Ice is the perennial for you! These small flowers feature raspberry petals with pink spots and white edges. They tend to grow in large clusters, filling your garden with a wonderful scent.

The flowers will bloom from early summer until the fall, giving you lots of time to enjoy them. They shoot up from green foliage that is quite short, offering some greenery in between the sea of pink! Again, this is a low-maintenance flower to plant.

They attract plenty of butterflies and bees to your garden too, so expect lots of action around these flowers in the summer! You will want to plant your Disanthus Fire and Ice in an area that gets plenty of sunshine.

18. Fritillaria Meleagris

Fritillaria Meleagris is a beautiful flower to add to your garden. The checkered design on the petals is unique and will add an interesting depth to your garden.

You can expect the perennial to bloom from mid to late spring with petals ranging from white and purple to red and brown. The flowers will also grow green-blue grass-like leaves that spread out. The flower itself tends to drop down, creating a lampshade style.

It looks great planted alone or with other perennials if you want to introduce different textures to your garden.

We think it works well in rock gardens or other naturalized areas you might have in your garden. It isn’t a demanding plant, but be sure to plant it in partial shade or full sun areas. 

19. Turkish Delight (Papaver Orientale)

For bright flower lovers, you need to plant some Turkish Delight in your garden! Otherwise known as Papaver Orientale, these salmon-pink petals have a crepe-like texture that creates show-stopping blooms in your garden!

These flowers are a little different from other Oriental Poppies as they don’t have any black spots at the base of their petals. However, their bold color is a fantastic addition to any garden. We think they work well in borders around paths or your garden.

Turkish Delight blooms from late spring through to early summer, giving you ample time to enjoy the flowers. And once the flower dries, you can use the seed pods in dry flower arrangements!

20. Anemone Wild Swan

If you want a wide, beautiful white flower to fill your garden, Anemone Wild Swan is for you! These flowers can reach 4 inches wide, making them the perfect flower to grow in containers or flower beds.

We love watching these flowers and how they change throughout the day! Early morning, the petals will have a lavender-blue shade on the bottom and start to open. Then, in the evening, the flowers will nod down and close.

It’s like something out of Alice in Wonderland! You can expect these beautiful flowers to keep you entertained from early Spring until the first frost. That is lots of time to appreciate your Anemone Wild Swan.

21. Helianthus Happy Days

If you love sunflowers, why not plant this dwarf Sunflower? Helianthus Happy Days is a wonderful flower to plant in your zone 5 and 6 gardens.

These small yellow flowers are surrounded by mounds of dark green leaves, adding plenty of contrast and depth to your garden. The flowers bloom from midsummer until early fall, adding lots of brightness to your garden!

The flower features golden yellow petals around a center of yellow petals. Not only does the flower look unique and beautiful in your garden, but it works well in bouquets or as cut flowers. If you leave the flowers in your garden, you can expect plenty of action!

Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are drawn to these flowers. The summertime will see your garden full of animals coming to enjoy these bright flowers. We think it’s best to grow these flowers as borders or in flower beds.

You can grow this in your garden from mid-March to mid-November with little need to maintain the plant. You can leave it alone and enjoy the yellow blooms when they start to open!

22. Viola Sorbet Lemon Blueberry Swirl

Finally, we have the Viola Sorbet Lemon Blueberry Swirl. This breathtaking perennial is the perfect addition to any garden. The compact flower grows small yellow flowers with violent edges and indigo whiskers at its center.

You truly will not have seen anything like this mesmerizing flower before! The spectacular flower blooms from Spring until Fall, tolerating virtually any weather that comes it’s way!

Not only does it look wonderful in your garden, but the flower is edible too! We think it works well in fresh salads or as a garnish for your other meals (it even looks good floating in a cocktail)!

Final Thoughts

And there you have it, your ultimate guide to zone 5 and 6 perennial flowers! We hope you have found your next flowers to plant here today! Don’t forget to follow any tips and tricks to care for your perennial and you can enjoy blooms in your garden for years to come.

Diane Peirce
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