Perennials are often the flowers of choice for people who prefer a lower-maintenance garden. Unlike annuals that bloom and then die off, perennial flowers have the ability to grow back, which means you don’t need to replant them yearly.
Perennials can also vary quite a lot in terms of color, sunlight and water needs, and longevity. Some types only last for a few seasons, while others can thrive for decades. To help you pinpoint these long-lasting varieties, we’ve rounded up 14 of the longest-living perennials that are perfect for both beginning gardeners as well as experienced gardening enthusiasts who prefer to enjoy their flowers for as long as possible.
Peonies are a popular wedding flower because of their vibrant coloring and large, soft blooms, and they’re also surprisingly easy to grow in well-drained soil that gets full sunlight. Under ideal conditions, peonies are some of the longest-living flowers around. Some reports claim that they can live up to 100 years!
2. Butterfly Weed
For a drought-tolerant perennial, look no further than butterfly weed, an orange-colored clumping flower that earned its name for its ability to attract butterflies. Although it can take several years to establish before any blooms appear, this flower prefers full-sun and, like other milkweeds, can live up to 10 years.
Another favorite of pollinators, catmint (not to be confused with its relative catnip) offers long stalks of bluish to lavender flowers and is considered long-living. It thrives in sun and partial shade and loves well-drained soil.
4. Bearded Iris
Living anywhere from five to 20 years, bearded iris is another easy-growing perennial that loves full sun and rich, well-drained soil. Pet owners, please note: These flowers are highly poisonous to dogs and cats.
5. Oriental Poppy
Oriental poppies can last for decades if you treat them with care! These orange- and red-hued perennials enjoy full sun and cooler climates, and, like most poppies, are toxic to people and pets.
For a perennial that blossoms in shady, moist gardens, look no further than pigsqueak. Named for the noise it makes when you rub one of its leaves between your fingers, this long-living plant produces pretty magenta or white-colored foliage.
7. Lily Of The Nile
Also known as Agapanthus, this blue-flowered perennial thrives in full to partial sun and warm temperatures (but can be grown in a container and moved indoors in colder environments).
Hostas are another shade- and moist soil-loving plant that can live up to 30 years when properly maintained (though you can find varieties that thrive in full-sun, too). They’re known for their lush and often large leaves, but they produce funnel-shaped flowers from the center of the plant, as well.
Baptisia, also known as false indigo or wild indigo, is a bush-like perennial that grows stalks of brightly colored, often blue or purple flowers. These native wildflowers can live for decades and grow up to 4 feet high when planted in full sunlight and rich, well-drained soil.
10. Trumpet Vine
If you want to encourage hummingbirds to visit your garden, a trumpet vine is a great plant to grow, thanks to its bright red, orange or yellow flowers! Once established, this perennial can survive for decades, though it should be noted that these plants are considered aggressive spreaders and are best planted in a spot where their roots can be contained.
Boasting a lifespan of up to 20 years, coneflowers grow well in both sunny and shady areas with well-drained soil. These lovely perennials also attract butterflies and pollinators, thanks to their large, sunflower-like blooms that come in a range of vibrant hues.
For a vining perennial that can grow along arches, walls and fences, the beauty of wisteria and its long rows of blue or purple flowers can’t be matched. Plus, under the right conditions (including preferably full sun), they can live as long as 50 years! Keep in mind that these plants grow large (so make sure to plant it somewhere with plenty of room to grow) and while the flowers give off an alluring fragrance, they can be toxic to pets and humans if chewed or ingested.
A daylily is a great perennial to grow as a novice gardener. This plant is pest- and drought-resistant, tolerates most sunlight and soil conditions, and can live for many years without much maintenance (although they flower more when you divide them every five years or so). Their large blossoms also come in a wide range of both warm and cool colors. But note that like other lilies, daylilies are extremely toxic to cats; even minor exposure can cause kidney failure that is usually fatal.
14. New England Aster
As its name implies, New England aster is a perennial wildflower that’s native to eastern and central North America. Butterflies love this plant’s pink or purple blooms, while gardening enthusiasts often love the longevity of this plant. It can live up to a decade under optimal conditions that include full sun and moist soil.
Curious to know which garden flowers are the most fragrant? Check out our list of the 10 sweetest-smelling flower varieties.