Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Plant List: Hardy Perennials for the North

Here is an inventory of the perennials that do well in my yard, or that I have seen growing around town.

My garden conditions: zone 1b, a short season, acidic soil (no one lives far from a bog), brutal winter temperatures, with lots of snow from November to March (the lake thaws in May).

A few of the plants are generally known as hardy, but I've never tried them. Local gardeners are encouraged to give feedback here! I included my own photos where available.
Gardenista's List of PERENNIALS FOR THE NORTH
(Z=minimum hardiness zone rating)

Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) - hardy but spreads quickly. I removed mine.



Monkshood (Aconitum napellus) – Very poisonous, Z4. I planted some in my yard in 2008. Still thriving in 2012. Very hardy and highly recommended. Blooms in late summer when other flowers are done.
Aconitum napellus

Goutweeed (Aegopodium) Z3 - although it is an attractive groundcover, it is very invasive, I avoid it.

Lady’s Mantle (Alchemilla mollis) Z4, a favourite, beautiful chartreuse foliage, water beads collect on the leaves like beads of mercury, forms a nice neat dome-shaped plant. Mature plants died in severe winter of 2009, but self-seeds minimally if dead-headed and will replace losses.
Windflower (Anemone sylvestris) Z4 - seeds itself and spreads everywhere, I avoid it
Columbines (Aquilegia) Z3 -very easy to grow, does very well here, seeds itself a bit, I have several different kinds, grow in part shade to full sun, though foliage will get brown and ratty after blooming if grown in full sun (best to trim it down when it does this). There are some cutworms around here that like to chew off all the leaves, but these can be squished by hand.
--Aquilegia glandulosa (from another La Ronge garden) - a small blue-flowering plant-->

Rockcress (Arabis) Z3 - short mat with small flowers at the same time the tulips are blooming
--Arabis caucasica (white). Very hardy. Blooms here in May.  Short bloom time and looks drab the rest of the year.
--Arabis blepharophylla (pink flowers) --died in winter of 2007. Not hardy. 

Sea Thrift (Armeria pseudarmeria) Z4-looks like a small chives plant in flower, does okay in the rock garden. Marginally hardy in severe winters, however.  All dead by 2010.


Sage (Artemisia schmidtiana "Silvermound") Z4, flourishes, good dry-soil plant
Artemisia "Silvermound"


Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus/sylvester) Z3, prefers moist soil, looks like a large astilbe with cream-colored feathery flowers that bloom for two weeks, I started mine from seed 2 years ago, they flowered in 2007. Several plants show signs of rust and were thrown out, but the rest were okay until the severe winter of 2009 killed them.  Some seedlings appearing in 2012.
Asters (A. alpinus, A. dumosus) very floriferous and very hardy; the Alpine aster is short with large purple flowers, with a short bloom time in June. My fall aster (A. dumosus) blooms in early October. Frequent division keeps these looking good.
--Aster alpinus "Goliath" -->


Rockcress (Aubrieta deltoidea) Not particularly hardy here. Killed by most winters.Elephant Ears (Bergenia cordifolia) Z3 - excellent plant, evergreen, early flowering, highly recommended for sun or shade. Very hardy.
Siberian Bugloss (Brunnera macrophylla) Z3 - very attractive foliage, hardy perennial for part to full shade. Looks good alongside hostas. Small blue flowers look like those of forget-me-nots. Killed by severe winter of 2009.
--Brunnera macrophylla "Jack Frost"
Bellflowers (Campanula) Z3, very hardy bell-shaped flowers in blue, white, or purple.  Highly recommended low-growing plants, flower in late June and July.
--Campanula carpatica "Blue Clips"-->--Campanula carpatica "White Clips"
--Campanula percisifolia alba (white type)

Snow in Summer (Cerastium tomentosum) Z3 - very hardy, spreads moderately so cut it down after blooming, gray foliage, carpet of white flowers. Cut it back at its margins in spring to reduce spread.

Chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum morifolium, Morden series) While the grocery store mums are certainly not suited to the prairies (are not bred to flower in our conditions), the Morden mums are excellent.

Chrysanthemum morifolium "Morden Fiesta"
Snakeroot (Actaea/Cimicifuga racemosa) Z3 - I have a nice deep reddish foliage specimen that does very well in my garden.  A tall and attractive perennial that blooms later in the summer.

Clematis (Clematis macropetala, Clematis mandshurica)
--Clematis mandshurica, white, very fragrant flowers, blooms in late summer;
Clematis mandschurica, a fragrant clematis that I grew from seed.
Lily of the Valley (Convallaria majalis) Z3 - good shade plant, mine grows so slowly despite reports that they are invasive elsewher.  Comes in white and pink. "Rosea" (pink) planted in 2008 and has spread a few feet by 2012.
Convallaria majalis "Rosea"
Threadleaf Coreopsis/Tickseed (Coreopsis verticillata "Moonbeam") Z4 - I have grown this plant over two winters in the sun. It appears late in the season, so be sure to label it or you will forget where it is!  Does not thrive here, but perhaps it does not like my yard.

Bunchberry (Cornus Canadensis) Z2 - grow wild everywhere here, no need to buy them!

Delphiniums (Delphinium species)- beautiful, reliably hardy. Self-seeds, so cut off dead flowers.  May need to stake them to protect them in summer storms.
--D. grandiflorum "Blue Elf"
--D. elatum "Summer skies" (light blue)-->
--D. elatum "King Arthur" (deep purple)
--D. elatum "Blue Bird" (deep blue)

Delphinium elatum
Pinks (Dianthus - nice little flowers, look good in the rock garden; killed off by severe winter of 2009, but seedlings will keep this plant going. Will plant again, as they survive all but the freakishly cold winters.  Highly recommended for mid to late summer blooms.
Dianthus deltoides "Arctic Fire"
Dianthus gratianopolitanus "Firewitch"
Bleeding Heart (Dicentra sp.) Z2 - does best in part shade, foliage dies down and looks ratty after blooming but can look better in deeper shade.  Various types with different foliage shapes and pink or white flowers.
Dicentra spectabilis "Alba"
Gas Plant (Dictamnus) Z2 - I haven't tried one yet. The picture is of one in a friend's garden.

Foxglove (Digitalis) - Lovely spires of flowers in pink, white, violet, yellow and apricot shades.  All spread seeds generously if the seedheads are not removed.  Only grandiflora is perennial, white the others are biennial (so you want to let them spread their seeds).  Digitalis mertonensis (the strawberry foxglove) is also very nice.
Digitalis grandiflora
Digitalis purpurea

Shooting Star (Dodecatheon pulchellum) -- from another La Ronge garden. Blooms in June.
Leopard's Bane (Doronicum orientale) - grown by another local gardener

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) Z2 - very pretty, hardy tall pink flower. Mature plants killed off in severe winter of 2009. Flowers in second year and thereafter.  Most kinds can be grown from seed.
Wild-type Echinacea

Echinacea purpurea "Ruby Star".
Globethistle (Echinops) Z3 - I've never tried this one, but it should grow here

Sea Holly (Eryngium alpinum) Planted in 2007, bloomed in 2009. Over 2 feet tall, unique steely-blue brushlike flowers. Eryngium variifolium never grew more than a few inches tall and never flowered, so I got rid of it.
Blue Fescue (Festuca glauca) Z3-small, non-spreading ornamental grass. Cut off the seed heads to prevent self-seeding.

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria/vulgaris) Z3 - wintered well. I eventually found it a bit boring and weedy-looking so I got rid of it.

Gentians (Gentiana sp.) - Very pretty little plants with the most intriguing deep blue flowers. Very sought-after.
--Gentiana verna - blooms here in May
--Gentiana acaulis - large tubular flowers, blooms in June
Cranesbills/Hardy geraniums (Geranium cinereum, G. macrorrhizum, G. pratense "Black Beauty") - G. cinereum does okay, G. macrorrhizum is robust but not as attractive
Blue Oat Grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens) Z3- a mid-sized ornamental grass, non-spreading. After three years, the centers of mine rotted, but could be restored by dividing the grass and removing the rotten parts.

Daylily (Hemerocallis) Z3- do very well here. Almost all were killed in severe winter of 2009, but this is a rare occurence and I would still plant more.
Daylily
Coralbells (Heuchera sanguinea splendens) Z3- suprisingly do well here, I have several different kinds with a variety of foliage colors including "Palace purple", "Velvet night", and "Firefly"; must have good snow cover. All killed off by the severe winter of 2009.

Plantain Lily (Hosta sp. ) Z3- several including H. sieboldiana "Elegans" they don't pop out of the ground till late May, but look nice when they do. Good for part shade. All killed off by the severe winter of 2009, but I replaced them, as they usually are quite hardy.
Hosta "Frances William"
Siberian Iris (Iris sibirica) - I have 2 varieties that do well in my yard, full sun and moderate moisture. Very winter hardy.
--Iris sibirica "Snow Queen" -->
--Iris sibirica blue variety -->English Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia "Munstead") - made it through 3 winters now. Grows from new growth from the base of the plant each spring, so pruning off the dead old growth in spring keeps it tidy looking. Looks quite terrible here in spring (vs. mild climates where they stay green), so don't plant it at the front of a highly visible area. Mature plants killed off in severe winter of 2009, but seedlings remain.

Bitterroot (Lewisia cotyledon) - once of the most beautiful small perennials in existence, in my opinion. It flowers for us in June and does well in very well-drained soil. Insert pebbles around the base of the plant to keep its leaves off the soil. Quite hardy, though freakish cold winter of 2009 killed all plants. They did self-seed though, which is handy, as I find them a bit hard to start from seed indoors. Seeds seem to need the cold and changing temperature of the outdoors to germinate.
Gayfeather (Liatris spicata) Z3 - a spiky purple wildflower that looks good in clusters, attracts butterflies. Most killed off in severe winter of 2009. They do self-seed a bit, so can leave a few offspring.

Perennial flax (Linum perenne) - delicate looking foliage with pale blue flowers on 10-12" tall plant. 

Lupines (Lupinus) Z4 -
--Lupinus polyphyllus "Gallery Yellow"; very attractive flowers. This is the only lupine that continues to do well for me.  Not a long-lived perennial here, and tends to die out randomly.Musk Mallow (Malva moschata) - pretty lavatera-like flowers, informal looking, bit gangly. Self-seeds moderately. Removed in 2008.

Ostrich Fern (Matteuccia) Z2- thrive here and multiply easily

Bergamot/Bee Balm (Mondarda didyma) Z3- a bit invasive but controllable, attracts butterflies. Center of old clump did not return in 2008, but had new growth at edges.  Short-lived perennial.
--large clump of M. didyma, started from seed;
Forget Me Not (Myosotis) - First planted in my yard in 2008, and now are reseeding around to make a gorgeous carpet of blue and pink in the spring. Biennial. Some killed in severe 2009 winter, but seedlings continued and will flower 2011.
Myosotis sylvatica "Victoria pink"
Catmint (Nepeta cataria) - nice spray of blue flowers just as the tulips are ending, self-seeds alot! Spent 2008 removing it. Still removing seedlings in 2009.

Poppies (Papaver orientale/Oriental poppy, Papaver nudicaule/Iceland poppy, Papaver miyabeanum, Papaver somniferum, Papaver rhoeas) Z3 - grow very well; P. somniferum and rhoeas aren't perennial, but reseed themselves reliably.

Beardtongue (Penstemon ovatus) Z3 - grows well, self-seeds a bit

Peonies (Paeonia) - still waiting for any flowers! Need full sun and moist soil.
--Peony "Lotus Queen" (single flowered, white), planted 2005.
--Peony "Bouchela" (pink), planted 2007. Removed 2008 because of rust.

Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata) - one of the prettiest May/June flowers, short dense evergreen mat that is covered in flowers; comes in pink, pale blue, and white. Severe winter-kill in 2009, but still alive.
Phlox subulata
Jacob's Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum) Z2 - pretty blue or white spring flowers, informal 3 ft tall plants; self seeds moderately so will have to pull a bunch of them

Solomon’s Seal (Polygonatum) Z4 - I don't have this, but I think it grows here

Primroses (Primula denticulata Z4, P. auricula Z2, P. cortusoides Z2, Primula x polyanthus Z4) - the polyanthus is supposed to be the least hardy of these, but I've had them for 2 winters in my yard; auricula has waxy thick leaves and is extremely hardy and not killed by any winter we've ever had.
Polyanthus

Primula saxatilis

Primula auricula
Lungwort (Pulmonaria saccharata "Mrs. Moon") Z4- very lovely plant with delicate blue spring flowers, part shade. Self-seeds a bit, which is a welcome source for new plants. Killed in severe winter of 2009.
Pasqueflower (Pulsatilla vulgaris)- blooms at Easter, I have white, purple, red, and pink flowered plants. Very hardy. Self-seed a bit. Highly recommended.
Rhubarb (Rheum) If you can't grow rhubarb, you can't grow anything! This plant is very hardy and stays attractive all season long. Of course, it's great for pies too. Attacked by slugs in 2009, but will survive.
Rock Soapwort (Saponaria ocymoides) Z2- Flowered for one year then failed to bloom again. I wonder if it is hardy here. Bloomed nicely in 2009, but is rather unreliable.

Stonecrop (Sedum sp.) Z3-there are so many different kinds, we have a "wall" of the stuff as groundcover.

Hens and Chicks (Sempervivum tectorum)- there are many sizes and colors. These do well in some corner where not much else will grow.

Sempervivum in bloom
Silene - various species grown by another local gardener. I started silene saxifraga from seed in 2008. It only flowers for about 2 days and then look unimpressive the rest of the summer.

Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina) - fuzzy grey plant, moderate creeper, keep its edges in check, attracts bees. Self-seeds if not deadheaded. Some killed in severe winter, but came back anyhow.
Meadow Rue (Thalictrum sp) - I grow T. rochebrunianum and it does well, growing to about 7 feet tall and seeds itself around; elegant-looking plant with airy purple/pink cloud of tiny blooms at top. Looks neat growing among the tall delphiniums and at the back of the flower beds.

BULBS FOR THE NORTH [F] = Fall planting, [S] = spring planting

Ornamental Onions (Allium sp.) [F] - I am going to be experimenting with a few of the giant flowering types in 2008. "Purple sensation" came up the first year after planting, but not after that.

Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa forbesii) [F] - tiny little early spring flowers; come in blue, white and pink; plant in clusters for effect
--Blue Chionodoxa

Crocuses (Crocus sp.) [F] - only the spring-blooming crocuses are hardy here.
--tiny snow crocuses, which come in several colors-->--large flowered crocuses -->


Daffodils and Narcissus - [F] Did not come up in quite shady areas. Random plantings did not come up at all even in sunny places, but several are doing fantastic in the raised bed with some late afternoon shade. Daffodils are a better value than tulips, since they will naturalize while tulips have to be replanted.
--Narcissus Poetaz "Geranium"
--Narcissus "Full House"
--Narcissus "Pacific Coast"
--Giant yellow trumpet daffodils-->

Fritillaries - [F] Fritillaria imperialis is NOT hardy here, but F. meleagris (Snake's head or checked lily) is hardy
--Fritillary meleagris (purple type) 2008-->

Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) [F] - Took 3 years to bloom! I have heard you need to plant them as a blooming plant (not a bulb) to have them thrive.

Dwarf iris (Iris reticulata "Harmony") [F] - I have plenty of these and love them! They are the first to bloom of all my flowers (in mid-April) in a very sunny sloped rock garden.
--Iris reticulata "Harmony"-->

Lilies (Oriental, Asiatic, LA Hybrids) [S] - do very well, I prefer the LA hybrids such as "Fangio" or, Oriental Pot Lily Farolito was very fragrant; summer flowering
--LA Hybrid Lily "Courier"-cream colored
--LA Hybrid Lily "Auckland"-white
--LA Hybrid Lily "Fangio"-->--LA Hybrid Lily "Yellow Tycoon", extremely long bloom time-->--Hybrid Asiatic "Cote d'Azur"-pink, multiplies rapidly

Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginia) [F] - grown by another local gardener

Grape Hyacinths (Muscari) [F] such a joyful spring flower, multiplies and naturalizes well
--Muscari latifolium (flat leaf muscari) - bloom is not as nice as the others

--Muscari armeniacum (blue)--> --Muscari botryoides "Album" (white)--> these multiply very slowly compared to the blueSiberian squill (Scilla siberica) [F] Z3 -spring flowering bulb, need a bunch of them to have any impact, small blue nodding flowers. Look more amazing every year.
--Scilla siberica --> Tulips, Botanical/Species [F] -These are naturalizing (return every year, spreading and multiplying) tulips that are tiny like crocuses, but come in bright colors and will outlive any of the larger showy tulips, which only last a few years. They either are wild-type or closely related to the wild-type tulips from Turkey.

--Tulipa tarda /Daystemon tarda--> --Tulipa turkestanica --> --Tulipa humulis/pulchella "Eastern Star"-->--Tulipa batalinii (in another La Ronge garden)-->
Tulips, Other [F] - I have had success with the large spectacular "Single Late", "Darwin Hybrid", and "Triumph" types; but I would never try ones labeled "Single Early/Double Early" in our climate, because the flowers could get deformed by late frosts. Gregii, Fosteriana, and Kaufmanii are probably good choices too, and they should return year after year.
--Double Late "Blue Diamond"-->

--Triumph "Negrita" (purple) and "Zurel" (white and purple) - the first large tulips to bloom
--Darwin hybrid Yellow tulip-->


--Single Late "Menton" - initially peach colored, then turn pink -->
--Single Late "Maureen" (white)
--Single Late "Skagit Valley"-->
--Single late "Florissa" (dark pink)-->
Lily-flowered tulip "Tres Chic"-->

This is not a comprehensive list of hardy plants by any means, but possibly informative to new northerners!

22 comments:

Kate said...

Interestingly, there is not much difference in the plants that you can grow there and what we can grow further south. I was surprised to see that some z. 4 plants like Solomon's Seal can survive in La Ronge.

If you can get your hands on a gas plant, go for it. It is one of the most beautiful blooming plants I think. The plant increases slowly and takes a few years before blooming, but it is well worth it. Plus, you can have fun trying to light the volatile oils the plant gives off (I have yet to be successful in that endeavour!!)

PerennialGirl said...

Luv your blog! I'm into irises to. Been wanting to try the Iris reticulata "Harmony" and now that I see it growing great in your garden, I'm going to have to buy some.

I don't have any pages started yet in my blog. Such a chicken about starting it.

KR said...

I stumbled upon your blog today while looking at an outdated local one!

You are doing a fantastic job with your garden! Your plant list is very similar to things that grow here (Newfoundland, zoen 5b). Keep up the great work!!

Jesse Becker said...

This has to be one of the best lists of hardy flowers I have seen. Thank you very much.
Jesse, Estevan SK

Anonymous said...

Hi, You have created a very interesting blog, The amount of flowers you have is awesome.I find La Ronge area to be very interesting and have travelled north there. I have 2 sisters in Air Ronge.
I just wanted you to know I was happy to find your blog as I had in fact started a blog yesterday.
htt://ofthewildbypatches2008.blogspot.com
Dee
getting a website started, will be http://www.naturephotosbydeemarie.com

miriam@mysisterdalesgarden.com said...

you have beautiful flowers---love the columbine, day lillies--i'm jealous of the lily of the valley.
enjoy

Eija said...

Hi!

It was nice to look at your perennials. I found many same flowers I have in my garden :)
The climate must be almost same. I grow my perennials in Finland and the growing zone is III.

Have a nice Midsummer!

shannon aka midnight gardener said...

hey there, I stumbled upon your blog and I love it! I live on Cape Cod in Massachusetts but I'm looking for plant info all the time from different sources. Right now, I'm working on a zen meditation garden that is in the middle of a huge courtyard. Got my nickname because in the spring and fall, I wear my camping headlamp and garden into the late evening. I live in an apartment complex and my neighbors must have thought I was crazy but now they just appreciate my brightening up the place.

joseph said...

This is fantastic! I'm in Fairbanks Alaska and have begun the test process for seeing what I can grow year to year as well. Very comprehensive and informative blog! I'm going to keep my eye on you! :-) I have most of my garden as it grows posted at www.growsonyou.com/greenthumb

Mrs Arctic Rainbow said...

A friend directed me to your blog, as I live in Lapland, Finland.. which has similar short summer seasons and very cold winters. This year I have put in borders to the front of my house and am testing things... your blog has been very useful.

Many thanks from the land of the Midnight sun!

Love Michelle x

Mrs Arctic Rainbow said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

I'm new to La Ronge and this page is just what I was looking for. I especially appreciate the ones with pictures and the advice for sun/shade. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great list of ideas. I live in northern British Columbia and I had no idea of what to plant here as it is winter from October to usually the beginning of May. This will be helpful!

Anonymous said...

Great informative list of flowers! I can't wait to start growing with my mom this spring. We live in Northern BC and love to hear from Saskatchewan about gardening as my daddy's from there! Thanks again

nancerose said...

Hi~
I love your perennials.
I live north western Ontario, where we enjoy the bulb colors sprout then the rest follow.

Great description & work you have done~

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your website and found your list of plants helpful, as I live in zone 2. Just thought I would mention that the photo of the primula is not a P. auricula. Auriculas are hardy here, but have a very distinct leaf and flower. I also really like lewisias and gentians too. Keep up the good work!

mytoys10 said...

I'm not sure if you check this frequently or not, but I am often on here, looking for perennial ideas.. we built on an acreage 5 years ago and every spring and fall since then I have been adding and rearranging trying to get things just right. I have a question - I am from Prince Albert SK. Last weekend, I dug out about 50 huge assorted perennials from my MIL (who's about 400km south of here).... I have been dropping them in a few a night, but its getting dark early and working fulltime, I haven't gotten too many in. They are stacked in boxes in my garage (about 10 degrees).... how long will they hold in those boxes before the roots die off? Some have dirt, the bulbs don't.... how long do I have to get these things planted for the best chance at success? Also, what can I do to ensure they weather through our northern winter? I currently only have red mulch chips on my beds. Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Gardenista said...

To mytoys10 - you should plant them ASAP, as all bulbs or plants need several weeks of relatively warm weather to take root and get ready for winter. All plants/bulbs could benefit from mulch or straw or boughs of evergreens over the soil, but if they are truly hardy plants, they should live anyhow.

chilly hollow said...

You have similar growing conditions to my garden in the low lying, acidic areas west of Edmonton that get down to -50 C.

Have you tried growing European Bistort? It grows into a lush two foot mound of leaves that stay fresh all season if given enough moisture or growing in semi-shade.
It starts blooming with pink bottle brush flowers in late spring and continues blooming until cut down by very hard frosts. It spreads somewhat but is easy to contain. It is among the hardiest plants I grow.

Anonymous said...

LOVELY THANKS FOR SHARINg!!

Ashley Morrissey said...

I am certainly going to take over my parents garden this year to try out some new plants! I am so tired of the same old bearded iris and tiger lily. We need more spice up north! Writing you from Winnipeg, MB.

Cheryl Herman said...

Very informative. I'm looking for ideas on fall planting perennials so your blog is giving me some great ideas. Thanks :)