21 Flowering Perennial Plants For Minnesota Gardens

Are you looking for a few perennials to add to your Minnesota Garden this spring? There are a number of cold climate perennials you can grow in the land of 10,000 lakes. In this article, certified master gardener Laura Elsener looks at some of her favorite Minnesota-friendly perennial plants.

Perennial Flower Growing in Minnesota Garden


Minnesota is a Northern climate gardening region. The state is in USDA hardiness zones 3a in the northern regions and 4b in the southern regions. Then there is a small region in the very south, in and around Martin and Jackson, that is considered zone 5. While this means that the winters are cold and harsh and the growing season is shorter than in southern states, it does not mean gardening is out of the question.

Minnesota is a great place for gardening. The soil is full of organic matter and can retain moisture. This is ideal for growing flowering perennials.

Here is a list of 21 zones of 3-4 perennials that will grow great in the beautiful state of Minnesota. I chose some of my favorite and most reliable perennials. But there are many, many more to choose from.


Close view of a Sarah Bernhardt peony flower with dense, bright-pink petals. The petals are ruffled, while those in the center are curved inward like a spoon. The background shows green leaves and leafstalks but is blurred.
The ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ peonies grow voluptuous, pink flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Paeonia
bloom-colors bloom colors Pink, Red, White, Yellow
sun-requirements sun requirements Full/Part Sun
height height 34″ H x 36″ W
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Cold climate gardeners have one thing for certain over southern gardeners. Our Peonies are the best. The cold winters make the blooms bigger and brighter. The world seems to stop when they are in bloom. While it is a short bloom time, it is worth adding peonies to your garden.

They have lobed leaves that form a bushy mound. It will need to be staked or caged to keep the big rose-like blossoms from toppling. They like fertile, well-drained soil and part-full sun conditions. Established peonies need less water than newly planted ones.

Peonies are long-lived perennials that can live for a hundred years.

The flowers come in shades of pink, red, and white. ‘Sarah Bernhardt’ is one of my favorite peony varieties. With large, light pink double flowering blossoms, it is stunning.

Purple Coneflower

Closeup shot of a purple coneflower against blurred background with green and purplish colors. The flower has about 20 thin, purple petals and a green leafstalk. The cone-shaped center of the flower is dark-brown with orange, spiky-like tops.
Purple Coneflowers are low-maintenance and attract various pollinators like bees and butterflies.
botanical-name botanical name Echinacea Purpurea
bloom-colors bloom colors Purple-Pink
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 36″ H x 24″ W
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Echinacea is a wonderful addition to a Minnesota garden. They are native perennials with big daisy-like, purple-pink flowers with large centers that both people and pollinators love.

Plant Echinacea in a full sun location. They aren’t terribly picky about soil and don’t require much extra water once they are established (except in periods of drought).

They flower in the mid-late summer months. Their blooms last a long time. They are large, sturdy flowers that can handle wind and rain. I will plant some purple coneflower in with peonies, so once the peonies finish blooming, the coneflower will take over.

Bearded Iris

Closeup of a Bearded Iris flower against a blury, green background. The flower has 3 burgundy-colored petals facing down and 3 pinkish, curved petals facing up. The burgundy petals have some pinkish spots at their base. At the center of the leaves there is small orange, hairy spot, called the beard and right behind it there is a pink stigma. At the bottom left side of the image there is a purple part of a bud. At the right of the flower there are some green stems with purple buds.
The Bearded Iris blossoms in various spectacular color combinations.
botanical-name botanical name Iris germanica
bloom-colors bloom colors Purple and combinations of white, blue, yellow, burgundy, peach
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Shade
height height 12-36″ H x 12-24″ W (variety dependant)
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Irises are a great little perennial to add to your garden. They have beautiful blooms in the spring. They have ruffled petals characterized by three downward-facing petals and then 3 that point upwards. Their sharp spiky foliage adds structure and texture to the garden even after they bloom.

Grow irises in part-shade to full-sun conditions. They like sandy, well-drained soil. When planting bearded irises, make sure to leave the rhizome at the surface. If you bury them too deep, they will not bloom.

There are so many varieties of bearded iris to choose from. They are classically purple. But you can also find them in various combinations of white, yellow, burgundy, and peach. Try ‘Minnesota Mixed Up Kid’, which is a buttery yellow detailed iris that is lightly speckled with purple.


Image of three purple-blue Allium flowers with long, green stems against blurry, green background. The flowers seem almost like spheres and look fluffy. There are white bracts right below the purple-blue cluster. At the background there are a few more blurred flowers. At the background top the color is green, while at the bottom part it is light green.
Alliums come in various shapes and sizes.
botanical-name botanical name Allium
bloom-colors bloom colors Purple, Blue, White, Yellow (variety dependant)
sun-requirements sun requirements Part Sun
height height 24″ H x 3″-4″ W (variety dependant)
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Allium is a fall-planted bulb that will bloom large purple orbs in the spring. It is one of my favorite flowers to plant because it doesn’t take many seasons to mature. Plant a bulb in the fall, and the following spring, you will be welcomed with a big bloom.

They grow on tall stalks that have a flower orb that is composed of many small flowers. They grow best in part sun but will grow in full sun conditions as well.

Too much shade, and they will not bloom. They do not require much extra water or special soil. Just make sure they aren’t sitting in water; they will rot. They will also dry out in drought conditions.

There are many different shapes and sizes of alliums. One of my favorite varieties is ‘Gladiator’. This variety grows large round orbs that are up to 6″ in diameter.

Balloon Flower

Closeup of a single Balloon Flower with green leaves against dark green, blurry background. The flower has five petals and looks like a star. At its center there is whitish stigma with purple style and white stamens. The leaf that is visible behind the flower has some tiny spikes on its edges.
Balloon Flowers have an astounding purple color.
botanical-name botanical name Platycodon grandiflorus
bloom-colors bloom colors Purple, White
sun-requirements sun requirements Full or Part Sun
height height 24″ H x 24″ W
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

These little parcels are a perfect present in late-season gardens. I find there is a gap in blooms between summer-blooming and fall-blooming plants. This is when balloon flowers are in bloom, and they are unique and beautiful.

The balloon flower is a simple nondescript perennial with small narrow green leaves. Until it blooms, then it becomes spectacular. It gets its name from the way it blooms.

The bud expands like a balloon, and then it bursts from the center and explodes into a purple (or white) flower. Plant balloon flowers in evenly moist, well-drained soil that is rich in organic matter. The plant grows in part sun-full sun conditions.


Closeup of a cluster of pink Delphiniums against blurry, green and pink background. The flowers have greenish anthers with pinkish fillaments. Each flower has about 8-9 petals that look curly. The stem of the cluster is green and at the right side of the blurred background there are a few greenish buds.
Delphiniums produce clusters of flowers in various colors.
botanical-name botanical name Delphinium
bloom-colors bloom colors Blue, Purple, White, Pink, Red
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 1-6′ H (variety dependant) x 1-3′ W
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-7

Delphinium is a garden staple in many cold-climate gardens like Minnesota. The tall stalks of flowers are an almost tropical sight in the late spring when they start to bloom.

Delphiniums prefer rich, well-drained soil and full sun conditions. There are many different types of delphiniums.

The classic ones grow tall spikes of flowers that will need to be staked, so they don’t topple over. There are also small clustered alpine varieties that grow great in informal cottage-style gardens with minimal effort.

Delphiniums come in a whole range of colors; true blue, purple, white, pink, and even red. They come in huge fluffy double blossoms or in clusters of single flowers. ‘Faust’ is a popular variety of delphinium. It grows up to 6′ high, and its flowers are a deep velvety blue color with a black center.

Gas Plant

Closeup of Gas plant flower that has five pinkish petals with dark pink streaks. The anthers are greenish and the fillaments are dark pink. The stem and the stalks are dark pink. There are some droplets on the petals. The background is blurry and has light blue-green colors and several flowers.
The flowers of the Gas Plant have long, prominent stamens that curve upward.
botanical-name botanical name Dictamnus albus
bloom-colors bloom colors White, Pink
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 24-36″ H x 34-46″ W
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

The gas plant is a less common perennial that is unexpected and lovely in a Minnesota garden. It gets its name from a vapor that is released from the flower that can be ignited.

The gas plant is an upright mounding perennial with narrow pinnate leaves. In the late spring, long reddish spires emerge and burst with light pink five-petaled flowers.

The plant gives off a citrusy scent that may be irritating to people’s skin. It prefers moist, rich soils and full sun. It does not tolerate standing in water.

This plant is a low-maintenance perennial. Its strong scent makes it resistant to deer, rabbits, and other animals. It also rarely has problems with pests and diseases. It looks great in cottage-style gardens.

Sea Holly

Closeup of a Sea Holly flower with purple petals and green stem. There is a cone-like cluster of purplish  and thin, long, purple spines like hair. The center of this cone is green and at its base there are yellowish stamens popping out. The upper side of the leaves is green while the lower side is purple. The leaves are spiky all around their perimeter. and the bracts are of the shape and color but smaller. At the background there are blurred flowers and yellow -green colors.
This unique flowering perennial grows eccentric flowers with shades of blue, purple, and lavender.
botanical-name botanical name Eryngium planum
bloom-colors bloom colors Bluish Purple
height height 24″ X 24″ W
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Sea holly is an unexpected perennial that looks like it’s from a different planet. It has spiky silvery foliage, and then it grows spiky flowers with a big oval center. They are purple-blue, but it looks like they are just spray-painted purple because part of the stem is also a bright lavender color.

While I could only find sources that say it’s a zone 4 perennial, I have seen it grow happily in zone 3 gardens. They like full sun and dry sandy soil. Established plants are water-wise and require no extra eater except in periods of extreme drought.

The plants can get quite large. I like planting them in large beds; they aren’t as suitable for small space gardens.

Bees and other pollinators love sea holly. The plants are always buzzing with life. The blooms last all through the summer.


Image of pink Astilbe flowers in abundance, outdoors. The clusters of flowers have a conical shape and look fluffy. The stems are  reddish. At the background green leaves with brownish leafstalks can be seen.
This popular perennial grows fern-like flowers in lovely colors.
botanical-name botanical name Astilbe
bloom-colors bloom colors Red, White, Pink
sun-requirements sun requirements Part-Sun
height height 24″-36″
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Astilbe is a sweet little garden perennial that packs a big punch when it is in bloom. It adds color and texture to shady areas of the garden. Astilbes are tidy, clumping perennials that stay in their place and flower year after year.

They don’t have many problems with pests and diseases, in my experience. So, if you’re looking for an easy plant that has big flowers, this is the one.

Astilbes have lacy foliage and fluffy plumes of blossoms that come in red, white, and pink. They like being in rich, evenly moist, but free-draining soil. This popular perennial will not tolerate soggy conditions. They grow best in part shade-part sun. I have seen them grow in full sun if they are given lots of extra water.

There are some varieties of astilbes that bloom in the early summer, while others will start to bloom in midsummer. If you want your astilbe to bloom longer, choose two varieties of astilbe with a similar color but different bloom times.

Try pairing the early blooms of ‘Hyacinth’ with the later blooming ‘Pumila’ for purple Bastille blooms throughout the summer.


Closeup top view of two Ligularia flowers and side view of one more. The flowers have sparse, thin, yellow petals. The center of each flower is yellow with dark brown filaments and yellow anthers popping out. At the blurry, green background, more flowers can be seen with brown stems.
This yellow-blooming perennial needs lots of water and shady places.
botanical-name botanical name Ligularia
bloom-colors bloom colors Yellow
sun-requirements sun requirements Shade to part-shade
height height 48″ H x 24″ W
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Ligularia is a large perennial that really adds structure to gardens. They also bloom in the late summer, which fills the gap between summer-blooming flowers and fall-blooming flowers. The big leaves and bright yellow flowers on ligularia are a welcome sight.

Ligularia is a shade loving perennial. Plant it in the shade to part-shade. I will say I have seen it planted in part-sun to full-sun as long as you give it lots of extra water. Ligularia likes rich soil and lots of water.

They are divas when they dry out and will droop and pout and look dead. Give them some water, and you can almost watch them perk back up. Be warned they like a lot of water, be prepared to add supplemental water to your ligularia even after they are established.

My favorite varieties of ligularia are ‘The Rocket’ and ‘Othello’.

  • ‘The Rocket’ features large jagged leaves and spires of yellow flowers.
  • ‘Othello’ has large, rounded lily-pad leaves in a bronze hue.

Annabelle Hydrangea

Side view of spherre-like clusters of small white flowers. The cluster grows out of green stalks with green leaves (visible at the left of the image). The small flowers have white petals, their center looks greenish-yellow and they have greenish-yellow stems. At the left side of the background, blurry leaves and flowers can be seen, while at the right side of the background there are some blurred, dark green trees and blue sky.
This hydrangea grows lovely, rounded clusters with a plethora of small, white flowers.
botanical-name botanical name Hydrangea arborescens
bloom-colors bloom colors White
sun-requirements sun requirements Part Sun
height height 48″ W x 36″ H
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Annabelle hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers for cold-climate gardeners. The huge blossoms and round chartreuse leaves steal the show in the summer. The showy white blooms last a long time and can even be left through the winter months to add interest.

Plant Annabelle hydrangeas in part sun locations. This cold-hardy hydrangea can even take full sun if you are prepared to give them lots of extra water. Plant them in rich, well-drained soil. They require extra watering; they will droop if they do not have adequate water.

I would add compost to them every year-second year to keep them healthy and blooming.

Annabelle hydrangeas do require a bit of extra work. You might need to stake or cage them. You can cut them down to the ground in the fall or spring. Or you can leave them up and simply cut to where the new growth is starting.

I like leaving some of the woody stems up; they act as a natural cage and will grow from old wood. This also will make them sturdier in the long run. But cutting them to the ground doesn’t seem to hurt them. ‘Incrediball’ is a sturdy variety that does not require staking.


Top view of a pink masterword flower against green background, which is blurry. There are several pinkish bracts that resemble petals with pointy edges, surrounding a circle-like group of small pinkish flowers with pink stems. The flower-heads are whitish-pink.
This popular flower looks like a pincushion with leaves.
botanical-name botanical name Astrantia major
bloom-colors bloom colors Pink, White, Red
sun-requirements sun requirements Part Sun – Part Shade
height height 24″ W x 24″ H
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Masterwort is an underrated perennial, in my opinion. The flowers explode like fireworks with delicate stamens and an outer row of petals. The flowers also last for weeks.

Even when they finish blooming, the spent blossoms can be left on for a week or two after. They are a tidy mound perennial with five-lobed leaves. Then pretty pink, white, or red flowers will rise and bloom.

Plant masterwort in part-sun to part-shade conditions. A spot with morning sun and then dappled afternoon shade would be perfect. They like rich, well-draining soil. Keep them evenly moist but not soggy.

Masterworks are a sweet cottage garden plant. Plant them with other wildflowers for a soft romantic garden style. I also like planting them in and amongst hostas; they rise up above them and then explode with beautiful flowers.

Shasta Daisy

Closeup of a daisy against blurry, green background. The flower has many thin, white petals and a bulgy, orange-yellow center that looks fluffy. There are two more flowers in the upper part of the background but they're blurred.
Although common, these daisies have a delightful combination of yellow and white colors.
botanical-name botanical name Leucanthemum × superbum
bloom-colors bloom colors White
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun
height height 24″ H x 24″ W
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-9

Daisies have a bad reputation as an invasive species. The oxeye daisy is invasive and is not suitable for gardens. But if you love the sunny look of daisies, you can plant the beautiful clumping shasta daisy. This variety forms a large mound and has very large, sturdy daisy flowers that bloom in the early to midsummer range.

Shasta daisies like full sun and rich, well-draining soil. They don’t require any extra water once they are established except in periods of drought. Once they start to fade, I will deadhead them, or they start to look scraggly. This can also prompt a second smaller flush of flowers later in the season.

I like planting them at the foot of delphiniums. They cover the scraggly bottom foliage of the delphinium and they both bloom around the same time, which creates a beautiful combination of blue and white.


Closeup of a cluster of monkshood flowers against blurry, green background, probably a grassy field outdoors. The petals of each flower are purple and look like small hoods, hiding the rest of the flower parts. The cluster grows out of a green stem which is not clearly visible in the image. At the left side of the image there is a blurred, purple monkshood with its stem and leaves at the background and at the bottom right side of the image there are some blurred, green leaves.
This flower’s petals look like tiny hoods, thus its name.
botanical-name botanical name Aconitum
bloom-colors bloom colors Purple, Pink, White
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Shade
height height 24″ W x 48″-60″ H
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-7
pet-toxic pet toxic Yes

Monkshood is a lovely tall flowering perennial. It does have a bit of a bad reputation because it is very toxic. So, plant with caution around children and pets.

But I will say people and pets avoid this plant; I’ve grown it problem free for years around my family and pets. It has tall lacy foliage similar to delphinium and then it has purple, pink, or white flowers that bloom and look like little monk’s hoods.

Monkshood grows happily in a wide variety of conditions. From full sun to part shade. It will grow in full shade, but it will be very spindly and won’t bloom.

Monkshood doesn’t care much about soil conditions and doesn’t need extra water after it’s established except in periods of drought. Monkshood does spread through the roots. Not aggressively, but it will grow quite large and fill an area. You might need to stake or tie your monkshood to prevent it from falling, depending on its location.

Use gloves when handling this plant; it can cause skin irritations.

I like using monkshood as a background plant, especially along fences. A common question I am asked is how to deal with neighbors’ weeds popping through the fence. I think planting a thick row of monkshood will hide and maybe outcompete the weeds. It is also deer resistant and makes a great natural barrier to keep them out if you plant it around the perimeter of your garden.

Clustered Bellflower

Top view of a bunch of bright purple campanula flowers against blurry, green background. There are about 6 flowers and some purple buds below them, all facing towards different direction. Right under the cluster of flowers there are green sepals. The flowers have five, bell-shaped, purple petals, a light purple style and yellowish stigma. The flower in the center looks like it has some cobweb inside it.
Campanula is the Latin word for ‘small bell’; the name suits this stunning bell-shaped flower perfectly.
botanical-name botanical name Campanula glomerata
bloom-colors bloom colors Purple
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun – Part shade
height height 24″ W x 12-24″ H
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Creeping bellflower is a huge garden no-no; it is a weed that will take over your garden. But if you love the dainty bell-shaped flower, you are in luck because there are lots of campanulas that are not invasive.

Clustered bellflower is one of my favorites. It is a perfect Minnesota purple perennial. It has low-growing heart-shaped foliage and then big dark purple heads composed of lots of small bell-shaped flowers.

Clustered bellflower will grow in part-shade to full-sun conditions. It doesn’t care about soil and does not require any special water. If you have a large space or an area where not much else grows, give clustered bellflowers a try. It also makes lovely cut flowers.

This no-fuss perennial looks great in wildflower and cottage-style gardens. It blooms in the early summer and will blend in beautifully with other summer-blooming flowers like Shasta daisies and hardy roses.

Bee Balm

Top view of a red bee balm flower against blurry backround with big, greel leaves. The bee balm has several tube-like, long flowers. Reddish stamens protrude over each flower. The calyx in the center is brownish and looks like it consists of small reddish tubes from which the flowers grow out.
Did you know that Bee Balm flowers are edible?
botanical-name botanical name Monarda didyma
bloom-colors bloom colors Red – also pink, white (variety dependant)
sun-requirements sun requirements Full Sun to Part Sun
height height 48″ W x 24-36″ H
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

The shaggy flowerheads of bee balm are a unique addition to your Minnesota garden. The leaves give off a pungent citrus bergamot scent. Bee balm is a native flower that pollinators love.

Bee balm grows best in part-sun to full-sun conditions. They like rich, moist, well-draining soil. They will not tolerate sitting in standing water. Bee balm blooms in the early midsummer, and the flower heads last a long time.

The common variety is a bright red color. My current obsession is with the variety ‘Bubblegum Blast’, which is a slightly shorter variety. It is covered in bright bubblegum pink blooms. This variety stays in its space and is perfect for small gardens.

Joe Pye Weed

Closeup, bright image of Joe Pye weed clusters of pink and light-pink flowers. The clusters grow out from link green stems The cluster seen clearly at the center of the image has several pink bouquets, green stem and about 4 small green leaves under the bouquets. There are more pink clusters with green stems at the background which is blurry. The bouquets have numerous tiny flowers; the petals are light pink while their center is a deeper shade of pink. The upper side of the image is too bright from the sunlight.
Heavy traffic of pollinators is often seen on these pink clusters.
botanical-name botanical name Eutrochium purpureum
bloom-colors bloom colors Pink
sun-requirements sun requirements Part Shade to Part Sun
height height 36″ W x 8′ H
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 4-8

Joe Pye weed is an interesting native perennial. It grows over six feet in height every season. Then it explodes into puffs of pink flowers at the top. I always see butterflies and bees in these flowers when they bloom in the late summer to early autumn.

Joe Pye weed grows best in part-shade to part-sun conditions. It can grow in full sun if it is getting lots of water. It loves water and can be planted in low-lying or boggy areas of your garden. Do not plant Joe Pye weed if you are not prepared to water it frequently.

Joe Pye weed is a tall perennial; if you love the feathery puffs of flowers, but don’t have the space for big Joe, try planting the dwarf variety, Baby Joe. Baby Joe Pye weed only grows up to 3’ in height. It’s a great late-season bloomer that is an attractive leafy mound even before it blooms.

Globe Flower

Image of three, standing, yellow Globe flowers against blurry background in nature. The background shows a grayish mountain and a glimpse of the blue sky at the top right side of the image. The middle-bottom background shows green-beige ground. The flowers's petals are closed towards the inside making them look like yellow spheres. The stems look dark brown and there are some small leaves of green and dark colors at the bottom of the image.
You can find Globe flowers in orange or yellow colors.
botanical-name botanical name Trollius europaeus
bloom-colors bloom colors Orange, Yellow
sun-requirements sun requirements Part-sun to Full-sun
height height 24″ H x 24″ W
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-8

Globe flower is such a sunny spring blooming perennial I add to many gardens. It has low-lying lacy foliage and round globes of bright orange flowers. Plant with allium for a spring explosion of purple and orange balls.

Globe flower grows best in part-sun to full-sun conditions. It likes rich, well-drained soil. It doesn’t need much extra water; make sure it isn’t in soggy conditions. This is a low-growing perennial that doesn’t need much extra attention. Deadhead the spent blooms to keep them tidy.

There are many varieties of globe flowers; some are sharp orange, while others are bright yellow. If you are looking for a unique variety, try ‘Golden Queen’. This variety is slightly taller and airier. It has large guard petals surrounding long delicate stamen.


Top view of a blooming daylily against blurry, green background. THe lily with a few more blurred lilies of red-yellow colors. The lily has 3 red sepals and 3 red petals all of which look a bit ribbed. At the part where the petals/sepals get together at the center of the flower, they get yellow. 4 stamens grow out of the center, starting as yellow-colored and becoming red with yellow-black anthers. In the middle there is yellow style with white stigma.
Daylilies can be found in a variety of colors and combinations, many of which are spectacular.
botanical-name botanical name Hemerocallis
bloom-colors bloom colors Red, Orange, Yellow, White, Pink or Purple (variety dependant)
sun-requirements sun requirements Part-sun to Full-sun
height height 24″ W x 24″ H
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

The daylily is a classic garden perennial. The grassy foliage and long stems of flowers add texture and color to the garden. Beware of the common variety of daylily. It can be invasive, especially in small gardens. Choose a variety that will stay neatly in its place.

Daylily does best in part-sun to full-sun conditions. It doesn’t care much about soil, but rich and well-draining is preferred. Water to establish, then your daylilies will only require extra water in periods of drought.

One of my all-time favorite varieties of daylily is ‘Stella D’Oro’. This variety has fine grassy foliage and lots of small orange stalks of flowers. They bloom continuously throughout the summer. They make an excellent border plant.

Snowdrop Anemone

Close view of 5 snowdrop anemones against blurry background withground in the middle and green plants to the left and right. The flowers have 5 curved, white petals and bare, thin, brown stems with some green leaves at the bottom. All the flowers face upward. One of the flowers is almost fully hidden by its fron one. The center of the flowers is yellow with orange stamens popping around it.
Snowdrop anemones can take over your garden; if you don’t want that, try edging the plants.
botanical-name botanical name Anemone sylvestris
bloom-colors bloom colors White
sun-requirements sun requirements Shade to Part-sun
height height 12″ H, spreading
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 2-9

When snowdrop anemone blooms in the spring, I am flooded with picture messages from people asking me what this plant is. It has low-lying lacy foliage and thin stalks of lovely white bell-shaped flowers.

This perennial is a creeping ground cover and will need to be kept under control, or it can spread into unwanted areas.

Plant snowdrop anemone in shade to part-sun conditions. It likes rich, moist, well-drained soil. It likes damp and shady areas of the garden, but don’t let it sit in standing water.

After it blooms, I will deadhead it with a pair of hedge clippers. You might get a smaller second flush of flowers in the fall if the season is long enough.

Bleeding Heart

Closeup of a dark-pinkish horizontal stem with pinkish stalks from which the bleeding-heart flowers are hanging. The are are 5 flowers visible and two more at the right edge of the image that are blurred and cut. The flowers have a bright pink (fuchsia) calyx that resembles a heart which, at the bottom it splits into two small, pink lobes (sepals)
 facing upward. At the bottom where the heart splits there are two hanging white oblong petals covering yellow stamens with purple top, facing down. The background is blurry in shades of green and pink.
Lamprocapnos resembles a heart dripping, thus its name. It looks more like an ornament rather than a plant.
botanical-name botanical name Lamprocapnos spectabilis
bloom-colors bloom colors Red, Pink, White
sun-requirements sun requirements Shade to Part-sun
height height 48″ W x 36″ H
hardiness-zones hardiness zones 3-9

Bleeding heart is a classic garden perennial. It is a big bushy perennial that grows long stalks of dangling red, pink, or white, heart-shaped flowers.

Plant bleeding heart in shade to part-sun conditions. It likes moist, rich, well-drained soil.  Do not plant in boggy conditions; it will rot.

Bleeding hearts are up and out of the ground in the very early spring and will die back before the end of the summer. I like to plant them with other plants. If you have an area with just bleeding hearts, you will end up with a hole in your garden by mid-summer because they turn yellow and die back after they bloom in the spring.

If you blend it in with other plants, the other plants will cover the hole. Hostas are great for this. They come up later in the spring and can cover the hole left by a bleeding heart.

Final Thoughts

I have merely scratched the surface of flowering perennials that grow in Minnesota. When choosing perennials, make sure you know your zone. But also play with your zone if you feel like it. Zone 3 perennials are a safe bet. But if you live in a zone 3 area and have a protected backyard, you may be able to easily grow zone 4 perennials. Gardening is all about trial and error.

Another thing to note is bloom time. Make sure to plant a variety of perennials that bloom at varying times to keep your garden interesting all season long.

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