Perennials are an excellent way to add color and interest to your yard, and there are many lovely options. If you live in zone 5, you’ll want to choose plants that are hardy and will withstand the cold winters. Zone 5 is located in a northern climate with frigid winters. The minimum temperatures usually range from -20 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. Even though it snows a lot, the snow can protect plants from freezing. What are the best perennial flowers for zone 5 gardens? Read on to find out!
1. Coreopsis ‘Zagreb’
Have you heard of coreopsis ‘zagreb’? It’s one of the best perennial flowers for zone 5 for a few reasons. For starters, this pretty yellow flower is perfect for adding a splash of color to your garden. Coreopsis ‘zagreb’ is also tolerant of drought and heat, making it an excellent choice for areas that get a lot of sun. The plant typically reaches about 12-18 inches in height and works well in borders, rock gardens, and cut flowers.
If you’re new to gardening, don’t worry, this plant is easy to care for. The biggest mistake to avoid making with this plant is not overwatering it. Finally, be sure to plant in well-drained soil. If the type of soil is too heavy or dense the roots will rot. Instead, choose light, airy soil allowing the plant to drain properly.
2. Asclepias syriaca or Common Milkweed
If you’re looking for a drought-tolerant, low-maintenance plant, consider Asclepias syriaca. Commonly known as milkweed, this plant is an excellent choice when looking for the best perennial flowers for zone 5. Not only is Asclepias syriaca drought-tolerant, but it’s also heat-tolerant and deer-resistant.
This beautiful perennial can reach up to 4 feet in height and blooms from June to August. The flowers are a lovely pink color that will add beauty to your garden. One of the best things about this plant is that it attracts butterflies and pollinators! Attract some different wildlife to your yard with common milkweed.
3. Bee Balm
Are you looking for a plant that will attract bees to your garden? If so, you need to check out bee balm! Also known as bergamot, this plant is a member of the mint family. Bee balm is a beautiful perennial that blooms from July to September.
This plant thrives in full sun or partial shade and moist soil. Bee balm can reach up to 3 feet in height and has lovely lavender flowers. In addition to being attractive to bees, this plant is also deer-resistant. There’s no doubt about it; bee balm adds beauty and pollinators to your garden. It’s a smart move for beginning and veteran gardeners. One of the reasons it does well in zone 5 is that it’s extra adaptable.
4. Grape Lollipop Phlox
The grape lollipop is a great choice if you’re looking for a plant with unusual blooms. As the name suggests, this perennial has blooms that look like lollipops! The blooms are a deep purple color and appear from June to September.
This plant likes partial shade and soil with average moisture. It can reach up to 2 feet and look lovely in borders or rock gardens. One of the best things about this plant is that it’s drought-tolerant once it’s established. You won’t have to water it as often as other plants.
Finally, deer stay away from grape lollipops, so you don’t have to worry about them eating your plants. All in all, it’s a great choice in your hunt for the best perennial flowers for zone 5.
5. Prairie Smoke
A beautiful perennial wildflower, prairie smoke blooms from April to May. This plant is perfect for adding some early and vibrant color to your garden. The blooms are a deep pink color that will add elegance and beauty to your yard. This plant thrives in full sun or partial shade and prefers dry soil. Prairie smoke can reach up to 18 inches in height and looks lovely in borders or rock gardens.
Another drought-tolerant plant, prairie smoke doesn’t need a lot of water once it’s established. This is always a bonus for gardeners in zone 5. Just ensure you don’t plant in an area that gets too much rain, as this can cause the roots to rot. With its early blooms and beautiful pink flowers, prairie smoke is a classy choice.
6. Sedum SunSparkler ‘Cherry Tart’
Are you looking for a plant that’s both beautiful and easy to care for? If so, you need to check out Sedum SunSparkler ‘Cherry Tart’. This perennial is perfect for beginners and experts alike.
Sedum SunSparkler ‘Cherry Tart’ blooms from July to September and has stunning pink flowers. This plant needs full sun or partial shade and prefers well-drained soil. It can reach up to 12 inches and looks lovely in borders or rock gardens. One of the best things about this plant is that it is fast-growing and low maintenance. You can’t go wrong with Sedum SunSparkler ‘Cherry Tart’!
Blooming from June to September, yarrow is a beautiful perennial that is perfect for adding color and interest to your garden. The blooms are a lovely yellow color that will brighten up any space.
This plant enjoys partial shade and dry soil. Yarrow can reach up to 3 feet in height and looks lovely in borders or rock gardens. One of the best things about this plant is that it’s deer-resistant. You don’t have to worry about critters eating your yarrow!
Along with being drought tolerant, yarrow is also a pretty low-maintenance plant. That makes it an excellent choice for beginning gardeners or those who don’t want to spend much time caring for their plants. Or, if you travel a lot, this is an excellent plant to have, since it doesn’t need a lot of water.
Fun fact: yarrow has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It’s still used today in some herbal remedies. For example, it’s sometimes used to help stop bleeding. How do you use yarrow to stop bleeding? The leaves are traditionally chewed and then applied as a poultice over open wounds to control bleeding. You may also mash the leaves and flowers with a mortar and pestle before applying the paste to the wound if you don’t want to chew your yarrow.
Bonus: Three More Pretty Perennials for Zone 5
We found three more perennials for your consideration – two towering show stoppers and one delicate harbinger of spring. All three grow from bulbs to provide beautiful flowers for years to come!
Lovely canna lilies thrive in full sun and rise up to 5 feet in height. These showy flowers will grow just about anywhere – in chalky, loamy, sandy, or clay soils. They come in many colors and attract pollinators of all types – including hummingbirds and butterflies. As with many zone 5 bulbs – you may have to excavate the bulbs for the winter.
Allium is another tall-growing bulb plant with the added benefit of being especially cold-tolerant. These relatives of garlic grow to be four feet tall with giant flowers that measure as much as eight inches across. Allium isn’t picky where soil type is concerned – and is another flower that loves full sun. For the most beautiful display – plant allium in the fall in clusters of 10 to 15. Drought resistant and cold tolerant – allium may be the perfect zone 5 flowering plant!
Crocus bulbs can be planted in full sun or partial shade in the fall for beautiful blooms in late winter or early spring. One of the most frost-hardy flowers – crocuses actually need a cold winter in order to bloom properly. They need to be planted in well-drained soil – soggy conditions can cause the bulbs to rot. Small crocus flowers look pretty near the front edge of flower beds. After blooming, the foliage fades away to make room for other plants.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/Lurida
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- Gardening Know How, Available here: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/garden-how-to/gardening-by-zone/zone-5/zone-5-gardening.htm
- USDA Agricultural Research Service, Available here: https://planthardiness.ars.usda.gov/