Durable perennials for sun and shade

Here we list durable perennials that thrive in the sun, can withstand drought and are easy to care for. Read more about which perennials suit your garden and how you take care of them.

Perennials for your garden

Perennials are satisfying plants to have in the garden. You plant them once and they come back every year. Plant perennials that suit your garden and you will get lovely and easy-care flower beds.

What do you want your garden to look like? What feeling do you want to convey? Perennials are available in all colors, shapes and heights. Choose from countless grasses, leafy plants and flowers and combine to create your own unique combination.

Focus on a few varieties in bigger quantities instead of mixing too many varieties. It's both easier to maintain and gives a more harmonious impression in the garden. A safe bet is a few varieties with a long flowering time that take over one after the other during the growing season. Add bulbs and you will get even longer flowering in your flower beds.

Coneflower blooms high summer to fall

Long-flowering perennials

Long flowering time is often the dream when planning flower beds. Here are some really loyal ones. Combine from both groups and you will get flowering all the way from early summer to autumn.

Flower in early summer to high summer

Columbine meadow-rue, Day lily, Geranium, Helleborus, Korean goatsbeard, Moss phlox, Nepeta, Red valerian, Big betonya, Heartleaf foamflower, Serbian bellflower, Bistort och Sea thrift.

Flower in high summer to autumn

Anise hyssop, Astilbe, Aster, Himalayan bistort, Red bistort, Great burnet, Blue globe-thistle, Baby's breath, European goldenrod, Fall phlox, Baneberry, Whorled tickseed, Culver's root, Great mullein, Orpine, Sea holly, ornamental grasses, Perennial sunflower, Purple toadflax, Siberian larkspur, Purple Joe-Pye wee, Coneflowers, Yarrow, Sage, Crimson beebalm, Pearly everlasting and Pincushion flowers.

Where perennials thrive

Choose plants according to the place where they will be planted. Is it shady or sunny? Is the ground dry or wet? It affects which perennials will thrive. When you choose the perennial for the right place and the right soil, you also avoid having to water except just after planting.

The leaves of the perennials can reveal where they thrive the best. Large leaves indicate that it likes shady and moist conditions, while silvery small leaves show that it likes sunnier and drier conditions.

Perennials in the right place can largely tend to themselves. Look around the area where you live and see what thrives at the neighbors'. There's a good chance that you have similar basic conditions what thrives on the other side of the fence can also thrive with you.

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The Fall anemone enjoys the sun

Sunny location

Easy-to-maintain perennials in the sun

There are many lovely perennials that thrive in the sun. Among easy-care perennials in the sun, we find, for example, Torch Lily and drought-resistant, gray-leafed plants such as Lamb's ear, Snow-in-summer and Pearly everlasting.

Enjoy the sun

These plants that thrive in the sun are also liked by butterflies and insects, Anise hyssop, Great burnet, Blue globe-thistle, Purple loosestrife, Fall anemone, Fall phlox, Lamb's ear, Lavender, Catmint, Coneflowers, Woodland sage, Perovskia and Sea holly.

Sunny location and drought tolerant

Perennials that can withstand drought and like sunny locations include Bulgarian geranium, Catmint, Orpine, Purple coneflower, Serbian bellflower and Sea thrift.

Dry and lean soil

Perennials for dry and lean soils are, for example, Yarrow, Baby's breath, Catsfoot, Cornish bellflower, Tufted phlox, Wild marjoram, Orpinet, Lavender, Wormwood, Sea holly, Knapp's carnation, Thrift and Winter savory.

Shady location

Shadow is a broad concept. There are degrees of shade and how shady affects which perennials you should plant to get the best results.


The term woodland often includes these shadier locations. Hosta, Pacific bleeding heart, Hazelwort, Helleborus, Lady's-mantle, Lungwort, Woodruff, Barrenwort, Wood anemone and Primrose thrive here, for example.

Half shade or shade in dry conditions

Perennials that enjoy partial shade or shade in dry conditions are, for example, Elephant's ears, Hosta, Great forget-me-not, Mukdenia rossii, Fern, Barrenwort and Male fern.

Muddy location

Varying wet and dry soil

For heavy clay soil, it's important to choose the right perennials so that they can withstand the muddy conditions. The clay soil is not always wet but can periodically dry up and then become rock hard. A couple of plants that thrive under these conditions are Siberian iris and Meadowsweet.

Improved clay soil

If you want more options, you can improve the soil by adding organic material to the clay soil. Then the soil not only retains moisture well but is also nutritious. Under these conditions, for example, Day lily, Hosta, Lady's mantle, Chinese peony, Colewort, Goat's beard, Great masterwort and Primula thrive.

Constant wet soil

Some examples of perennials that thrive in constantly wet conditions are Purple loosestrife, Yellow iris, Marsh-marigold, Loosestrife, Astilboides tabularis, Siberian iris and Globeflower.

A good ground cover for clay soil is Bugle.

Dry and barren location

If you have a rock garden, it's probably dry and barren right there. Plant Maiden pink, Sedum, Mountain avens, Catsfoot, Great mullein, Ashy cranesbill, Liveforever, Thyme and Thrift.

Lady's mantle in bloom

Three extra durable perennials

There are some really durable perennials that thrive in all types of locations in the garden. Elephant's ears, Lady's mantle and Bulgarian geranium are real garden heroes!

They're unpretentious and can do both without extra nourishment and care. Take care of them and water them if it is very dry in the ground immediately after planting, but then they do well on their own.

Elephant's ears

Elephant's ears is a hardy, ground cover that blooms with pink erect flowers in early May-June. The large green, often slightly reddish, leaves are green all year round. Elephant's ears grows up to about 40 cm tall.

Bulgarian geranium

Bulgarian geranium grows almost everywhere and quickly forms a dense carpet that even keeps many troublesome weeds away. It blooms nicely in pink in May-June, gets nice colors in autumn and the snails don't like it. The height is about 30-40 cm.

Lady's mantle

A classic in the perennial bed that is both beautiful and durable. It has hairy leaves that catch the drops of morning dew, which gave it its name. It thrives in both sun and shade as long as the soil is not too dry. Lady's mantle blooms in June–July with lime yellow flowers. It grows about 40 cm high and is very hardy.

These three particular plants can outcompete others from the flower beds with their vitality. Therefore, place them in spots where nothing else thrives and where they can be allowed to spread without affecting slightly less powerful varieties.

European goldenrod, a very hardy perennial

Durable perennials

In addition to the three extra powerful Elephant's ears, Lady's mantle and Bulgarian geranium, there are a number of other perennials that are really easy to care for and difficult to fail with.


During late summer, August-September, the Woundwort blooms with its small yellow flowers. It's a very hardy plant that varies a lot in height, 30-100 cm, depending on the variety. It has small demands on the soil it grows in but prefers to stand airy and on somewhat well-drained soil.

Enchanter's nightshade

Enchanter's nightshade is a ground cover that grows about 20 cm tall and is well suited for planting under other taller perennials that lack leaves at the bottom. The small white flowers rise like a sky over the leaves in July-August. Can be grown throughout Sweden.


A lively yellow long-flowering ground cover. The Cordyalis sows itself profusely and likes locations that not many other plants enjoy. Make sure that the soil isn't too dry and the Cordyalis will thrive in your garden. It grows to about 30 cm tall and blooms all summer long.

Creeping navelwort

A nice ground cover of about 15 cm height that hides bare ground under bushes and trees. Creeping navelwort blooms early, in May, in blue or white, depending on the variety. The white is not as strong-growing. It's semi-hardy and can be more difficult to overwinter in higher growing zones.

Big betony

An easy-to-grow perennial that does well in the flower bed. In June-July it blooms with pink-purple flowers. Big betony thrives in both sun and shade, but the sunnier, the richer the flowering. It will grow to about 40 cm.

Dotted loosestrife

The flowering period for Dotted loosestrife is in mid-July. It spreads easily and can compete with other plants in the flowerbed, so be mindful and place it where it has space to do its thing without affecting its flowerbed neighbors. It's very hardy, likes both sunny and shady conditions. It will grow to about 80 cm.

Reed canary grass

A perennial grass with striped leaves in green and white that can grow up to 150 cm high when it blooms. The Reed canary grass spreads violently with underground shoots and is recommended for planting where it can be contained so it doesn't take over completely. It prefers moist soil and is very hardy.

Spotted dead-nettle

A fine flowering ground cover that spreads quickly. Spotted dead-nettle can compete with other plants and therefore is a good fit for under trees and shrubs where it can spread without damaging. It both sows itself and spreads willingly with shoots. The silvery leaves with green edges and pink-purple flowers light up your garden.

Clustered bellflower

With its beautiful blue-purple flowers in June-July, the Clustered bellflower thrives in sun and partial shade. It's usually about 40 cm high, but there are both lower and taller varieties. It's considered a hardy perennial. The Clustered bellflower is a good option when you want to create a flower meadow.

Let the perennials wither down in fall

How to take care of your perennials

When you plant perennials by location and soil, they don't require much care.


In the beginning when planting, you need to water, but then they basically take care of themselves. If there's a long lasting drought, you can give them some water but don't get them used to it.

Let wither

Wait to trim off the blooms in the fall and let them wither. Do the cleaning come spring instead.


Fertilize a small amount in the spring, Perennials don't need much or often. New compost soil is usually good enough.


Many perennials enjoy being divided and replanted every few years. Perennials that bloom in spring are divided after flowering. Those that bloom in the summer are divided either in the spring or after flowering. Some perennials are not divided at all, such as Astilbe, Baby's breath, Sea holly and Peony.

Winter cover

Protect your perennials against bare frost in particular by winter covering with, for example, spruce twigs and leaves.

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