Perennials That Love the Sun

These colorful garden plants want to bathe in the sun every day.

Daylily

These super-easy perennials require nothing special in the way of soil and a minimum of maintenance. The blooms are available in a multitude of colors and heights; each flower lasts only a day but each stalk produces several blooms. Most varieties flower for a three-week period; combine early-, mid- and late-season varieties to have color from early summer to fall. 'Stella D'Oro' repeat blooms. Divide every three to four years. USDA Zones: 3 to 10 (Pictured: 'Stella d'Oro')

Field of Black-Eyed Susans

Black-eyed Susan

This drought-tolerant perennial (Rudbeckia fulgida) produces a mass of late-summer and early-fall color in sites where many plants don't thrive, like dry hillsides and rocky terrain. Black-eyed Susans do best in average, well-drained soil. Divide every three to four years to keep the plants vigorous; expect reseeding. Attracts butterflies. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 11

Bright Yellow Achillea Flowers

Yarrow

This tough summer-blooming perennial performs best in average to poor soil and likes things on the dry side. In fact, give it too much moisture or a soil too rich, and the foliage flops. Varieties come in bright yellow, white, orange, red, pink and coral. Attracts butterflies and hummingbirds. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10

Shasta daisy

Its large, cheery flowers and troublefree foliage make Shasta daisy a natural addition to a sunny garden (also great for a moon garden). This clump-forming, perennial blooms from early summer to fall on 2-1/2-foot-tall stems. Provide support to keep the taller types from falling over. Tolerates a wide range of soils; provide consistent moisture. USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9 (Pictured: 'Becky')

Purple coneflower

A dependable, drought-tolerant perennial, purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) blooms atop 2- to 3-foot stems in mid to late summer. The protruding flower centers (cones) are butterfly magnets. Cultivars come in a striking array of colors, including orange, yellow, raspberry and white. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9

Purple Woodland Sage

Salvia

Hundreds of species of salvia exist, and they all share the common characteristic of vertical spikes of vibrant flowers and gray-green leaves. A favorite of hummingbirds, the tubular blooms can be found in hues of blue, red, pink or violet. The variety dictates the time of bloom, and the color. Most types can withstand periods of moderate drought. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 10 (Pictured: Salvia nemorosa)

Blanket flower

An excellent choice for the novice gardener, blanket flower is easy to grow and drought tolerant. Vibrant blooms come in red, yellow, orange or a combination of the three. Plant the flowers in masses for brilliant color from late spring to fall; deadhead to prolong bloom. These daisy-like flowers attract butterflies, bees and birds and are deer-resistant. Reseeds freely. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 11 (Pictured: 'Arizona Sun')

Balloon flower

Named for the shape of its buds, this long-lived perennial blooms from mid to late summer. Blue is its most common color, but white and pink selections can also be found. Balloon flower prefers moist, well-drained soil. Once established, it's virtually maintenance free. Don't divide; the fibrous root system can be tricky to transplant. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8

Swamp sunflower

This cheery perennial sunflower (Helianthus angustifolius) is a great choice for a moist or wet site. It blooms from late summer to fall, and, depending on the variety, can reach 6 to 10 feet tall. Space plants 3 feet apart to give them room to colonize. In early June cut the plants back about one-third to avoid having too-tall plants that get toppled by wind. USDA Hardiness Zones: 4 to 9

Bright Purple Cranesbill Geranium

Cranesbill geranium

One of the most reliable and longest blooming plants for the garden, cranesbill geraniums add a burst of color that starts in spring and lasts until first frost. The small, cup-shaped blooms are available in blue, pink, rose and magenta. Select a site that has good drainage. Not related to the annual geranium used in planters. USDA Hardiness Zones: 5 to 9 (Pictured: 'Johnson's Blue')

Gayfeathers Flowers

Gayfeather

The dramatic spires of this sun-loving perennial create an eye-catching vertical element in the midsummer garden. Reaching up to 3 feet tall, the lavender, purple or white blooms attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Gayfeather needs full sun and air circulation to avoid mildew; plant roughly one foot apart. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9

Image courtesy of Reiman Gardens

Joe-pye weed

A staple in butterfly gardens, joe-pye weed is known for its tall, stately habit, attractive foliage and oversized flower clusters that appear in mid to late summer and typically last until hard frost. Plant in moist, well-drained soil. Varieties range from 2 to 6 feet tall. USDA Hardiness Zone: 3 to 9 (Image courtesy of Reiman Gardens)

Bee balm

A must for the wildlife garden, bee balm's tubular flowers attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Dark, aromatic foliage complements the white, pink, red, or purple blooms that appear mid to late summer and often into fall. This perennial is susceptible to powdery mildew, so plant in full sun and select resistant varieties. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 8

Purple Mexican Bush Sage

Mexican bush sage

Distinguished by its velvety purple and white spires in late summer and fall, this drought-tolerant shrubby perennial is loved by butterflies and hummingbirds. Mexican bush sage needs well-drained soil. USDA Hardiness Zones: 9 to 10 as a shrub; to Zone 7b as a perennial

Bearded iris

Sweet-scented delicate blossoms appear in spring. Named after the goddess of the rainbow, iris color choices are enormous. Varieties include repeat bloomers and variegated foliage. Plant the rhizomes roughly a foot apart, leaving the top half of the rhizome above ground. USDA Hardiness Zones: 3 to 9

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