Flowering perennial plants have a life cycle of two years or more. They require less maintenance than annual flowers and they include regional native flowering plants. Familiar flowering perennials include hollyhock, roses, Shasta daisies, carnations, iris, coreopsis, azaleas, hydrangeas and peonies. Native perennials such as Ceanothus, salvia, abutilon, yarrow, columbine and pawpaw, thrive in the natural climate and soil conditions of their native regions and do not require additional soil amendments.
Common yarrow, also known as milfoil, is native to the entire United States. It is a member of the aster family of flowers and has many hybridized variations. Yarrow grows 3 feet in height, has lacy gray-green leaves and white or pink flat-topped clusters of flowers. This native flowering perennial adapts easily to a home garden where it spreads through seed from its mature flowers. It has fragrant foliage and has been traditionally used as a medicinal tea for stomach ailments. Yarrow blooms April to July in the south and west and from mid-July through September in the north.
Butterfly weed, butterfly milkweed, orange milkweed and pleurisy root are the common names for this showy, abundant-blooming native perennial. Its bright yellow-orange flower clusters are 2 to 5 inches across and bloom from May to September. Its sturdy blooms are good cut flowers and are grown with other mid-size flowering perennials. It has a high drought tolerance, very low water usage and prefers sandy, well-draining soil. Indigenous people used the root of this plant as a cure for bronchitis and other lung ailments. Regional native plant nurseries provide seeds and started butterfly weed plants.
Great Blue Lobelia
Showy lavender blue tubular flowers grow on the stems of the native Great Blue Lobelia. This native plant flowering perennial thrives in moist garden conditions in sun or shade, in clay or sandy soil. It blooms July to September. It is commercially available through native plant nurseries, propagated by divided root clumps or seed. Seeds sprout easily on a slightly scratched soil surface. Great Blue Lobelia attracts birds and butterflies to the garden.
This flowering short-lived perennial is native to the drier regions of the southwestern United States. Seeds are commercially available from online native plant resources. It is easily grown in home gardens where it provides yellow daisy-like flowers that bloom continuously from early spring to fall on a 12 to 18 inch mound. Its leaves are woolly and grayish, with one bloom at the end of each slender, leafless flower stalk. The desert marigold thrives in dry soil, part shade and extreme heat. It has very low water requirements and it attracts bees and butterflies.