Finding perennial flowers that can thrive in Oklahoma’s diverse climates may seem challenging. However, with careful selection, your garden can produce a tapestry of colors and textures year after year. Discover the fifteen best perennial flowers for Oklahoma. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a budding enthusiast, these blooms will flourish in the Sooner State.
1. Aromatic Aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium)
Bushy perennials like aromatic aster bring tidy shapes and bright colors to your garden. Aromatic aster, also known as wild blue aster and fall aster, is a low-growing, mounding flowering plant that only reaches up to 2 feet. Specimens produce slender blue-green leaves and stiff, branched stems. Stems are also hairy, producing bluish-purple, daisy-shaped flowers with yellow centers from late summer to fall.
Aromatic aster is low-maintenance and long-lived. It thrives in full sun and most soil types, including Oklahoma’s fertile Port silt loam. Because of aromatic aster’s low-maintenance characteristics, it is also tolerant of drought, salt, and poor soil. Additionally, it has no major pest issues and is deer- and rabbit-resistant. Aromatic aster is self-seeding but easy to control. Plant the show perennial in beds, borders, or containers to attract welcome pollinators to your landscape in mid- to late spring after the last frost.
2. Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Butterfly weed has many names, including butterfly flower, Indian paintbrush, and orange root. It is a vibrant, easy-going perennial that is also low-maintenance, drought-tolerant, and deer-resistant. It prefers full sun with well-draining soil. Specimens produce clusters of bright orange flowers throughout summer atop long stems full of hand-shaped leaves.
Butterfly weed attracts native pollinators to your garden, and thanks to its fall seed pods, specimens also attract songbirds in the fall and winter. Butterfly weed is a species of milkweed and is critical to Monarch butterfly preservation. Plant this showy perennial in the fall to enjoy blooms the following season. Place specimens in beds, borders, and containers. Cut stems make an excellent addition to floral arrangements.
3. Dotted Blazing Star (Liatris punctata)
Like most perennials, dotted blazing stars also attract native pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. The upright clumping plant produces dense stems topped with pinkish-purple flowers with wispy petals in the late summer and fall. Additionally, specimens produce grassy foliage and deep taproots. Dotted blazing stars go dormant in the winter until spring. Because of its deep taproot, the perennial is long-lived and drought-tolerant.
Dotted blazing star adds vertical accents to gardens and thrives in full sun and well-draining soil. It makes an excellent addition to rock gardens, borders, and meadows. It is deer-resistant and also pest- and disease-free. However, too much water leads to root rot. Sow dotted blazing stars when the weather reaches 65 degrees Fahrenheit, but note that it takes two years for the first blooms to appear.
4. Dwarf Plumbago (Ceratostigma plumbaginoides)
A low-growing option for Oklahoma gardens, dwarf plumbago, has a matting growth habit with wiry stems. It produces shiny, oval leaves in the late spring. However, the foliage turns bronze, red, and purple, putting on a fall show. Additionally, dwarf plumbago blooms from mid-summer to mid-fall, producing clusters of vibrant blue, star-shaped flowers.
The showy perennial loves full sun and the fertile soils of Cowboy Country. However, well-draining soil is a must to keep powdery mildew at bay. Dwarf plumbago has no pest issues and propagates through cuttings. Root cuttings in the spring to create an attractive landscape ground cover. Additionally, plant dwarf plumbagos under trees and between shrubs.
5. Homestead Purple (Verbena canadensis)
Homestead purple, also known as rose verbena and rose vervain, is a long-blooming perennial with vibrant purple flowers. Specimens produce clusters of bright purple blooms from spring until the first frost. Additionally, the low-growing plant produces small, dark-green leaves. Specimens reach up to 12 inches tall and 18 inches wide.
Homestead purple is easy to grow and incredibly low maintenance. Because of this, specimens are tolerant of drought, heat, and rocky soils. It grows best in full sun and has a spreading growth habit, which makes it a great option for vibrant ground cover. Homestead purple self-seeds and grows well in borders, rock gardens, edging, containers, and hanging baskets. Aim to plant the violet bloomer in early to mid-fall.
6. Indian Pink (Spigelia marilandica)
Like most clumping perennials, Indian pink, or Carolina pink, adds tidy color to gardens and landscapes. It produces glossy, dark green leaves on stiff stems. Additionally, specimens bloom clusters of trumpet-shaped red flowers with exposed yellow stamens in early summer. Because its flowers bloom upwards, it is a favorite amongst native pollinators, especially hummingbirds.
Indian pink is easy to grow as long as you have a shady space and moist, well-draining soil. However, specimens tolerate full sun with enough moisture and, once established, they are drought-tolerant. The low-maintenance perennial is also free of most pests and diseases. Plant Indian pink in beds and borders beginning in late summer to early fall.
7. Mealycup Sage (Salvia farinacea)
Mealycup sage, or blue bedder, produces unique spiked flower clusters with deep violet blooms on blue stems from late spring until the first frost. The long-blooming perennial also produces lanced, grayish-green leaves. Because of its long blooming season, erect specimens add long-lasting color to Oklahoma landscapes.
Mealycup sage can reach up to 3 feet tall and has a rounded, clumping growth habit. It grows best in full sun to partial shade and most soil types. It is low-maintenance and drought-tolerant. The highly ornamental plant is also deer- and rabbit-resistant. Plant mealycup sage in beds, borders, or containers in the spring. Specimens bloom in only four months, and cut flowers make great additions to floral arrangements.
8. Narrowleaf Bluestar (Amsonia hubrichtii)
Narrowleaf bluestar is another clumping perennial with erect stems and three seasons of interest. It produces star-shaped, light blue flowers and bright green spring and summer foliage. Additionally, specimens provide a golden fall color and reach up to 3 feet tall.
Narrowleaf bluestar is largely pest- and disease-free. Specimens tolerate most soil types and full sun or partial shade. However, locations with full sun produce the best fall foliage. It is deer-resistant but attracts native pollinators to your garden. Plant narrowleaf bluestar in borders, rock gardens, and mass plantings beginning in the spring.
9. Narrowleaf Coneflower (Echinacea angustifolia)
Another compact perennial with daisy-shaped blooms, narrowleaf coneflower, also known as black Samson, invite pollinators to your garden. It produces large pinkish-purple blooms with orange cone centers from early to mid-summer. Like milkweed, the dried central cones attract fall and winter songbirds. Narrowleaf coneflower also produces hairy, single stems, oblong leaves, and deep taproots.
Because of its taproot, narrowleaf coneflowers do not spread. They are also low-maintenance and tolerant of drought, heat, humidity, and poor soils. It performs best in full sun and tolerates most soils. Plant the showy summer bloomer in spring in meadows, beds, and borders. Additionally, cut or dry specimens for all types of floral arrangements.
10. Ozark Sundrops (Oenothera macrocarpa)
Ozark sundrops, or Missouri evening primrose, is a long-blooming perennial that thrives in Oklahoma. It produces large, bright yellow flowers resembling hibiscus blooms amongst lance-shaped leaves. Additionally, foliage sports silvery centers that contrast with its dark green hue. Blooms only last one day before withering. However, Ozark sundrops produce a multitude of blooms from late spring to early fall.
The showy perennial is deer-resistant and winter-hardy, standing up to the tough Sooner State winters. It is low-growing, only reaches up to 1 foot tall, and thrives in full sun and well-draining soils. Sow Ozark sundrop seeds in early spring in rock gardens, edging, banks, slopes, or containers. The creeping plant also makes a great ground cover.
11. Purple Poppy Mallow (Callirhoe involucrata)
Like Indian pink, purple poppy mallow, better known as winecup, blooms upwards, attracting pollinators to your landscape. The low-growing perennial produces cup-shaped, dark pink flowers atop slender stems and dense lobed foliage resembling hands. Because of its short stature, the mat-forming perennial sprawls across the ground, reaching up to 3 feet wide and only 1 foot tall.
Purple poppy mallow loves full sun and well-draining soil. It is drought-tolerant and extremely hardy thanks to a deep taproot. Because of this, it is easy to grow and has no pest or disease issues. It makes a great addition to borders, rock gardens, and ground covers in the spring. Additionally, let specimens trail stone walls to add visual interest.
12. Showy Goldenrod (Solidago speciosa)
Showy goldenrod is an upright, clumping perennial and the showiest of all the goldenrods. It produces clusters of bright yellow flowers along stiff stems with narrow leaves for approximately one month in late summer. Its vibrant blossoms and mild fragrance attract local late-season pollinators.
Because of its underground rhizomes, showy goldenrod has a moderate spread rate and reaches widths up to 4 feet. It is low-maintenance and self-seeding but not invasive. It is deer-resistant and has no serious pest or disease issues. Plant showy goldenrod in the spring or fall in beds and borders. Specimens tolerate full sun to partial shade and well-draining Oklahoma soil.
13. Toad Lily (Tricyrtis)
Unlike most flowering perennials, toad lily thrives in shade. It produces oval-shaped, dark green leaves and clusters of white flowers with dark purple speckles that resemble orchids. The late-bloomer grows up to 2 feet and is pest- and disease-free. However, watch out for slugs and snails.
The low-maintenance perennial loves partial to full shade and moist, well-draining soils. It also loves Oklahoma’s organically rich soil and benefits from a layer of mulch to reduce evaporation. Plant toad lily in borders and under plantings for a pop of late-season color. Transplant specimens in the spring for fall blooming, and mix compost into the soil to encourage large flowers.
14. Wild Columbine (Aquilegia canadensis)
Wild columbine, or Canadian columbine, offers vibrant colors and unique blooms. The flowering perennial reaches up to 3 feet and produces drooping, bright red blooms with yellow center stamens. Additionally, specimens produce fern-like foliage.
Wild columbine has good disease resistance and is low-maintenance. Because of this, it is a favorite amongst gardeners, inviting welcome pollinators to Oklahoma’s diverse landscapes. It thrives in full sun or partial shade and most soil types as long as it is well-draining. Plant wild columbine in the early spring or fall in bed, borders, under trees, and in naturalized areas. Specimens mix well with roses, peonies, and irises.
15. Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow is another compact, bushy perennial that also loves the heat of Oklahoma summers. It is a showy plant that produces large clusters of small flowers in shades of white, pink, yellow, or red. Specimens are aromatic and semi-evergreen with fern-like foliage. Its blooms are long-lasting and attract beneficial pollinators to your landscape.
Yarrow is low-maintenance and disease-resistant. Because of this, specimens are tolerant of drought, heat, humidity, deer, and rabbits. It grows up to 2 feet and loves full sun and well-draining soil. Wait until there hasn’t been frost for two weeks to plant yarrow in beds, borders, and rock gardens. However, note that it is toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
Summary of 15 Perennial Flowers for Oklahoma
|Number||Common Name||Season of Interest|
|1||Aromatic Aster||Summer to fall|
|3||Dotted Blazing Star||Late summer to fall|
|4||Dwarf Plumbago||Summer to fall|
|5||Homestead Purple||Late spring to fall|
|7||Mealycup Sage||Late spring to fall|
|8||Narrowleaf Bluestar||Late spring to fall|
|10||Ozark Sundrops||Spring to fall|
|11||Purple Poppy Mallow||Late spring to summer|
|12||Showy Goldenrod||Late summer to fall|
|13||Toad Lily||Late summer to fall|
|14||Wild Columbine||Late spring to early summer|
The photo featured at the top of this post is © TamasV/Shutterstock.com
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