Best Perennials for Southeastern PA. Top Performers for Landscaping in Philadelphia, Delaware County, Chester County & Montgomery County and the Pennsylvania Main Line.
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Many different considerations and ideas must go into a Landscape Design.
Only after these questions are answered do we consider the plantings - which is often the first thing that many homeowners wants to discuss. When designing the plantings, again many different considerations and ideas must go into a Landscape Design.
This is why it pays to hire a professional. Please see the examples below and on our Landscape Design Page, and on many other pages throughout this website.
*The photos below were taken at various locations in the area as good examples of perennials and do not necessarily have any connection to Robert J. Kleinberg Landscape Design and Construction.
Shown here are a sample of some of the flowering perennials we use with photos and short descriptions. We use many other perennials not shown here, and if you have a favorite perennial it can be used in our designs.
Perennials for Sunny Areas
Hemercallis - common name Daylilies: Daylilies come in
many colors, sizes and blooming times. Older wild varieties grow to 3-ft.
tall with floppy foliage, are usually orange and bloom for a short time in June
and that's it. Many newer varieties were developed with many different
colors, larger flowers, and more refined foliage, but they still have a rather
short period of bloom. The latest varieties (and in my opinion some of the
best perennials of all) are re-blooming Daylilies. The plants will bloom
in June and then off and on till frost. The foliage is denser and more
upright than the wild varieties, and the plants usually bloom at a height of
about 18 to 20-inches. While wilder varieties can grow in some shade, the
more sun the re-bloomers get the better they do, and the more they bloom.
If they get enough sun they are very easy to grow. Some of the more
common varieties are "Happy Returns" a light yellow variety and
"Stella d'Oro" a golden yellow variety. These plants are nice
enough to be used alone and still brighten up a garden.
Phlox paniculata - common name Summer Phlox: Newer
disease resistant varieties of Phlox are greatly improved over past
varieties. Phlox grows as erect stems, 2 to 3 feet tall, with large
colorful flower heads. It comes in a lot of colors and blooms for weeks in
summer. Phlox is one of the most colorful summer perennials. It is
important to get one of the newer disease resistant varieties. Phlox does
best in a sunny location.
Rudbeckia - common name Black Eyed Susan: Rudbeckia
"Goldsturm" (the most popular variety) is an easy to grow long blooming perennial that can stay
in bloom for two months. It has a tendency to spread so it need some room
or you will spend a lot of time pulling it away from your other
plants. Rudbeckia grows to about 2-feet and blooms mid-summer into
fall. It does best in the sun but it can take a little shade. A
great perennial in a location where it can be allowed to take over, but needs
some maintenance when planted close to other plants.
Coreopsis verticillata - Common
name Tickseed: Coreopsis will bloom most of the
summer and even into fall. "Moonbeam" has a pale yellow flower which is small but
the plant is covered with these small flowers. Easy to grow in sunny
location. The leaves are very thin, almost needle like. "Moonbeam" is the
a popular variety of Coreopsis, and many other reliable varieties
are available; some with darker yellow flowers, and some newer varieties with
dark red flowers. A good low maintenance perennial that may not be as
showy as some of the larger flowered plants, but still a colorful great plant
for the garden.
Iris: German or Bearded Iris come in many colors (Iris
is the Greek word for rainbow) They have about 1-inch wide sword like
leaves that can range from a few inches tall to over a foot tall. Flower
stems can range up to 3-feet tall. Bearded Iris normally bloom in spring,
but some newer types bloom again in fall and these are recommended over other
varieties. Bearded Iris sometimes have problems with insect borers and
have to be divided every few years so they require some maintenance.
Siberian Iris are easier to grow. They have a more limiter color range -
white, blue and purple - but the leaves can give a much nicer effect in the
garden. Siberian Iris leaves are narrower but form a thicker upright clump
about 3-ft. tall. Japanese Iris have flatter, wider
flowers and because of that work nice if you are viewing them from above.
Japanese Iris are said to be a little harder to grow than other varieties. Iris need some sun for best results.
Lilium - common name Lily:
Often grouped with bulbs, but for all practical purposes the are used the same
as the other perennials on this page. Lilies have very large
colorful flowers and are very popular in cut arrangements. Lilies bloom
for only a couple of weeks each summer and taller varieties sometimes need
staking. With these drawbacks in the garden I still like the Oriental
varieties because of their great fragrance. Different varieties grow 2-ft.
to 4-ft. and they come in various combinations of white, yellow, pink, and red
with out facing flowers. Asiatic hybrids have more colors and upright
flowers but they do not have the fragrance of the Oriental hybrids. Lilies
generally have narrow stems and can be grown with other perennials or annuals at
their base. Lilies do best with some sun.
Ornamental Grasses: Grasses generally grow best with some sun and
are a nice textural change from the other plants in most gardens. They
come in many sizes from a few inches tall to over 6-ft. tall. The planting
of one group, Miscanthus (common name Maiden Grass), is currently being
discouraged because it is displacing native plants in the wild, but many other
nice varieties are available. Besides their interesting textures, grasses
come in colors that range from common green, to blue, to shades of maroon, and
variegated types with stripes of white or light yellow. The seed stalks on
some grasses can be more interesting than the leaves.
Iberis - common name Candytuft: Iberis is a low growing
evergreen perennial with white flowers in early spring. It keeps a
neat compact growing habit for many years. Grows best with some sun.
Perennials for Sunny or Shady Areas
Pulmonaria - common name Lugwort: Pulmonaria is an easy
to grow perennial that will slowly spread to establish itself as a ground
cover. The leaves are often spotted white - sometimes described as spilt
milk. The flowers are nice in eary spring but they are more often grown
for the nice effect of their leaves. They like some shade and can get a
little brown on the edges if grown in too much sun. This plant looks
better close up and it does not stand out in the distance because its leaves are
usually under 1-foot tall.
Ajuga - common name Bugleweed: Ajuga is usually grown
for its ground hugging purple leaves. It spreads quickly and can be an
aggressive ground cover and a problem in lawns. It will grow in sun or
shade and has short spikes of violet flowers in spring. Very colorful when
in bloom and nice color in leaves when out of bloom. Care has to be taken
to make sure it has room to spread without interfering with other plants.
Dicentra eximia - common name
Fringed Bleeding Heart: Dicentra eximia is shorter and has smaller flowers than the more often seen
Dicentra spectabilis, but it has a much longer period of bloom from May off and
on through fall with pink heart shaped flowers. It also has nice foliage
all season long with fine textured bluish gray leaves. It can grow in sun
or light shade. A nice plant but not real showy; best seen up close.
Epimedium - common name Barrenwort: Epimedium is often
grown for its foliage and for its ability to grow at the base of trees. It
can grow in shade and has small but colorful flowers in spring. Another
nice plant that is not real showy and best seen up close near a walk. Slow
spreading ground cover. New leaves and leaves in fall can have a crimson
color on some varieties.
Heuchera - common name Coral Bells: Heuchera has two types
that are commonly grown that work in completely different situations.
Coral Bells grown for their flowers bloom in late spring for about a month with
tall stalks about 2-ft. and filled with many small bell shaped pink to red
flowers. The flowers are nice but work best mixed with other flowers
because of their small size. When not in bloom the foliage of some
varieties have interesting ring markings on green leaves and are usually low
growing clumps. These varieties work best with some sun for best
Liriope - common name Lilyturf: Liriope is a great
perennial for sun or shade. It is grown primarily for its foliage and I
prefer the variegated types (green leaves with white stripes) that can brighten
up shady areas. Liriope has nice violet flowers in August, but they are
secondary to the foliage which is evergreen. The older foliage on Liriope
does get a little ratty at the end of the winter and it can be removed at that
time before the new growth comes in. It looks nice around evergreen shrubs
in a foundation planting or in groups in open beds. Highly recommended.
Perennials for Shady Areas
Hosta - common name Funkia: Hosta is usually grown for
it foliage and does well in the shade. Hosta is easy to grow and multiplies
in a clump form that is easily divided. Many people get hosta from
neighbors with extra plants but often times much nicer varieties are
available. Larger varieties can grow to over 3-ft. wide with large
leaves. Some varieties have variegated leaves (green with white or light
yellow) that can lighten up a shady corner and can look good in the
distance. Hosta flowers in summer and some varieties have attractive large
white or light purple flowers, but hosta's main attribute is usually the
foliage. Highly recommended for shady areas.
Ferns: Ferns are nice old fashion plants that are great
in a shady garden. Christmas ferns have evergreen foliage that will give
you a nice look year round. Japanese painted fern has interesting leaves
with different colors. There are many different varieties with different
full grown sizes and textures to chose from. Ferns do not have colorful
flowers so they work best when you are trying for a restful look in your shady
Please view various examples of shrubs on this page and examples of trees and perennials by clicking on the links below:
Please view recommended perennials on this page. You can also view various landscaping examples by clicking on the links below. See the difference proper landscaping can make.
Please view additional examples of landscaping by clicking on the links below:
If you are interested in any of Robert J. Kleinberg Landscape Design & Construction services, you can contact me at (610)325-2313, cell 484-225-0614 or email me at RJK@kleinberg.com
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