University of Missouri Extension

G6650, Reviewed April 2010

Flowering Perennials: Characteristics and Culture

Reviewed by David H. Trinklein
Division of Plant Sciences
Mary Kroening
Missouri Master Gardener Program

Flowering perennials represent a large group of garden plants with roots that persist from year to year. Stems and leaves of some may remain, but in most, the tops die back to the soil each winter.

Perennials are suitable for many locations. Most frequently, they are incorporated in a flower border that they share with annual flowers and shrubs. Perennials with similar cultural requirements are grouped into plantings known as rock gardens, wildflower gardens, bog gardens or perennial flower borders.

The pages of this guide list some major perennial plants and their important characteristics and cultural preferences.

Space is not available here to fully describe the plants and flowers. Reviewing garden catalogs or visiting a nursery, garden center or botanic garden will help you become familiar with available plants.

Mixed borders of perennials Figure 1
Mixed borders of both perennials and herbaceous perennials can provide an interesting landscape year-round.

Description of terms and codes


The height range, given in inches, helps to determine whether a plant is suitable for an edging (1–12 inches), for the middle of a bed (12–36 inches), or for a background plant (more than 36 inches). Where a very wide range is given (such as Bellflower, 8–36 inches), some dwarf varieties are indicated.

Bloom period

The month or months of peak bloom are listed. Time of flowering varies with exposure and climatic area. These listings are primarily for central Missouri.


Plant are keyed with their most common colors. Many blends, shades and tints exist.

Cultural requirements




Relative ease of care


Unusual or outstanding plant and cultural characteristics are listed briefly. Included are notes on cultural ease, winter hardiness, or special uses, or emphasis of an extremely important cultural requirement.

G6650 Flowering Perennials: Characteristics and Culture | University of Missouri Extension

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